Monday, March 28, 2011

2011 March - Malta

In the beginning of March I decided to visit the Carnival on the Gozo Island.
I live on Malta, the main island so I traveled by bus to Cirkewwa and took the ferry to Gozo. There were many people traveling by car and on foot. 

I was here few times before but usually only for 1 day. What is important, is that till June 2011 all buses on Gozo don’t operate on Sunday and everyday all buses have a break between 12 and 2 pm. 

This time I decided to visit the Ramla Bay and the Calypso Cave. I had been hosted in Mario’s house in Xaghra and after I visit him I decided to walk down to the Ramla Bay. There is not often used road, very steep but the views around are picturesque. 

The Ramla Bay is a famous one because of the beach which have red sand and the Calypso Cave. To get to the Calypso Cave there is a small path near a lowered house. 

The second option is to go back to the Xaghra and from this town there is a road with a sign to the Calypso Cave. The cave is not so big but the view is awesome from there and it is easier to find the way from the Calypso Cave to the Ramla Bay. 

There is a road going down which finishes near the old house and near this house there is a small path to the beach. On the other side there is another cave but at this moment I don’t know how to get there.
For a moment I was in Victoria – all buses goes to Victoria or from Victoria where is the Citadel and lovely views around. Inside the Citadel there is a church in front of which is a statue of Jean Paul II. 

I didn’t walk around Victoria because I quickly went to Nadur which is the higher town on Gozo. In Nadur is very famous bakery called the Maxxok Bakery (N 36’02.694 E 014’16.762 near St. James Street) where I bought ‘Ftira’ - this big, round, oven-baked bread with a 20 cm diameter looks a bit like a plain, toasted focaccia but has a thick dark crust. 

I eat my ‘Ftira’ near the ‘Kenuna Tower’ which was built in 1848 by the British to serve as a telegraph link between Gozo and Malta and now near the tower there is a botanic garden. From this place are impressive views on the Comino, Malta and Mgarr Port.

The Carnival in Nadur
In the evening I visited Nadur once more but this time for the Carnival. Many of my friends told me that in Nadur there is the best Carnival – the spontaneous one. 

I decided to visit it and of course I made a simple costume. My friends told me that the busses are every hour from Victoria so I decided to walk from Xaghra to Nadur. My GPS showed me a short way and I followed it. Unfortunately, the GPS way wasn’t the shortest one, the road was private and I needed to find another way. When I got to main road to Nadur few times busses passed me. Near Nadur some Britishmen asked if I needed a lift and they picked me up to the centre. 

There were many cars parked and many people. It looked like all the Maltese and tourists decided to go and participat in this spontaneous carnival. Everybody was dressed up, there was laud music and some small colourful platforms. 

The main square near the Parish Church was full of people. Mostly, people had purchased costumes and usually they covered faces to be anonym. A good idea was to have a group of friends and made similar costumes or similar brands like animals because it is easy to loose contact and then is really hard to meet again. 

The Carnival is called spontaneous because you never know what will happen.  This time was a platform boatlike – firstly, the crew were unwind a fishing net to make a space for fish thrown by other crew members. 

Nobody was hit but when the platform moved everybody was walking on this fish and the smell was really disgusting. Many of guys wore women’s costumes which is probably some kind of tradition. 

For sure the Nadur Carnival is for adults not for children. At about 1 am. I decided to come back to Xaghra and I took a bus to Victoria and walked to Xaghra. When the bus was full they had another one.

What is probably important there were busses to Victoria and Mgarr going from the opposite side of the town in every hour. The ferry was communicated with them till 4 am so everybody who wants to come back to Malta had an opportunity to do this.

The Carnival in Valletta
I can’t write a lot about the carnival in Valletta because I was on Gozo but on Sunday, when I came back from Gozo I decided to visit the capital city of Valletta.

This Carnival is different than on Gozo. Of course there were many children and some adults. The difference is that in Valletta there is a fenced place for events and they have huge platforms.

The platforms were breathtaking, colorful and with laud music. Usually in front of them were dancers wearing costumes, also on platforms was a space for dancers. I was when the main parade just started from the bus terminal and followed to Floriana. 

In Floriana at the end of main street near the Fontanne all platforms turned back to another side and went to Valletta. Also during the next day it was possible to see the platforms in the bus terminal in Valletta.   

Thursday, March 10, 2011

2010 June - Malta

Trip from The Popeye Village to The Golden Bay
June was really busy. We had many quests in our flat and we visited many places.

Near Mellieha there is the Popeye Village. We didn’t have got a car so the best way was to get a bus to Mellieha Bay bus no.45 and got off at the first bus stop in Mellieha Bay.

Then we went back to a round abound and climbed a little on the main street. It was a 7 min walk to a road sign informing which way is correct to the village. There is a local road approximately 1 km long. 

The Popeye Village is superb especially when you to go there with children. On the right hand side we had the Popeye Village and we went straight on our road where is a ‘wild parking place’ and a spectacular view of the village. 

There is gorge carved into the rock and at the end there is an old breakwater. There is a very good place for snorkelling and an amazing one for diving. Sometimes there are fishing but not in summer time because there are many children in the water of the Popeye’s Village water park. 

We stopped there for a moment and went to Golden Bay. The weather was really good, sun was high and the wind was not too strong, so the trip was very nice. 

We walked near the sea, where we found fossils of shells and many fig-trees. When we pass Snuber Tower we started to climb, it wasn’t easy way. 

The rocks were sharp and sometimes there was clay area. All trip takes us about 3 hour and on sandy beach we have a good rest. 

There are 3 sandy beach, first is Golden Bay, second one is Ghajn Bay and third one called Gnejna Bay, but in my opinion the best one is Ghajn Bay. From here there are buses to St. Paul’s Bay and to Valletta.  

Between Mosta and Mdina there is Ta-Qali. An old airport and the National Park, a playground for children, a green zone for weekend barbeques, The Craft Village, The National Soccer stadium and the Aviation Museum. 

The Craft Village consists of old barracks inside which you can find all kind of handcraft from Malta. There are some jewelry shops, craft shops and two glass factory inside which it is possible to see how they make the Maltese glass. There are shops which are very exclusive and normal ones – what is important is that it is possible to have a special price when you buy two or more things in one shop.

The green zone is a very huge place with a greenery and benches – every sunny weekend many Maltese are spending there free time playing, eating or reading books. Near this green zone is the National Soccer Station with a national swimming pool inside. Near the parking place is an entrance to the playground which is new and very colorful. There are special areas for smaller and older children. At the end of the playground there is the Adventure Park for children and adults. 

This is a very simple steel construction, which starts  in the same place where finishes. The lower course is for children and higher one for adults. The park has about 12 different obstacles and is very safe. 

Near the stadium there is the Aviation Museum but I have never been inside.
There is also The National Park which is green and quite big. All trees are planted by man there because this park was created at the old airport. Now this place is quiet on a sunny day. There is a possibility to hide in the shade of trees. 

The ‘Festa’ of Zebbug
In the summer time probably every weekend there is Festa somewhere. This time we decided to go to Zebbug which is between Rabat and Qormi. 

We were there on Sunday to see the fireworks. This is something really typical for this island, and Festa needs to be accompanied by fireworks.  We were there at about 7 pm to see a procession. 

It was like the one on Good Friday Procession, statue of saints were inside the church and then had tour around the city. People were sitting, walking and having good time. 

Firstly we visited the church then we found the procession and walked with them. The main street was full stalls where it was possible to buy something to drink, eat and typical island sweets called nuggats.

We tried some nugatts and enjoyed this amazing evening. At about 10 pm fireworks were started. This city had 2 different fireworks factory, so they competed. We had amazing time and back home very late.

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