Wednesday, January 18, 2017

My Maltese ABC

It seems ages ago ...the time when Malta used to be my home. Gathering the most important memories in one blog post seem to be impossible. My head is full of pictures, my heart full of people met there and missed so much and my mind full of stories I want to share with you, dear reader.

Let's start with A, A for Air Malta which took me numerous time back to Poland to visit my family and friends. Hours spent reading novels, admiring the Alps from the birds' perspective, trying to spot Etna's peak and finally seeing the familiar shape of Gozo and Comino on the way home.

B for Buses, those yellow, old ones without doors. How many hours did  I spend hurting my ass on the bus seat on a bumpy road? Just imagine it was raining, not only outside the bus. The rain and wind always found their way to get inside and ruin your hairstyle. And the voice of the driver 'Move back, please!'. They earned their place in my heart. It's a pity you can find them now only on a souvenirs shops shelves gathering the dust... 
C for Carmen, a lovely lady from my favourite grocery shop in St. Paul's Bay, who shared with me Maltese recipes. The country is all about the people. 

D for Dwejra Lines, one of my favourite walks in Maltese countryside. It was not only about the landscape, especially in winter months but also about friends I shared the time with. Just imagine, it's minus two in central Europe and you're sending photos of a lazy chameleon wandering on a tiny stick to your family. The sun shines, the grass is green...winter in Malta. 

E for Easter! You wouldn't expect anything crazy happening on the streets on Easter time, would you? I couldn't believe my eyes where I saw the Good Friday Procession for the first time and found a great pleasure in  showing it to my family and friends visiting me at that time. The most memorable procession took place in Mosta with hundreds of people wearing white hoods walking silently and barefoot ( almost all of them). I was moved by the Procession of Light from Siggewi to the Laferla Cross, Maundy Thursday. Highly recommended!

F for Fireworks! There was no summer weekend without fireworks and a feast around a church in Malta. I do have so many mixed feeling about them but I must admit they're impressive. Fireworks in my home country are mostly used for NYE. Imagine my surprise having a late night show on the sky from my balcony almost every weekend. 

G for Gozo which is such a unique and quiet place...if you leave Victoria and tourists elbowing their way through narrow streets you'l find peaceful villages, beaches, people sitting on doorsteps, unlocked cars with keys in the ignition. You'll meet Mario who hosted me in his 100 hundred years old house and told many fascinating stories about the island. There was not a single visit to Gozo without having ftira from the Maxxok Bakery,  I still remember the smell of my favourite pizza with potatoes ( as my friends named it) eaten somewhere on the bench with a breathtaking views.

H for bread, no mistake here, the best hobż comes from Malta. Just imagine a warm loaf bought straight from the baker.

I for Inland See. One more memory from Gozo. Going through a tunnel cut in a rock on a small boat to the open sea, to see the impressive Azure Window. I've just realised I don't have a clue how the Inland Sea was created. And I do wonder how many years are left for the beautiful rock formation. I don't want to see it collapsed into the waves.


J for JAZZ and hours spent on cushions laid on stone steps listening to jazz music, drinking beer and chatting with friends. And all of it under the stars. Quite an unique atmosphere, wasn't it? The Bridge Bar in Valleta found a place in my heart too. 

K for Kinnie, just try it out once in Malta. You'll either love or hate it. No picture needed...oh, maybe I shoud have posted a photo of me enjoying Kinnie,Maltese sun and pastizzi in front of the Crystal Palace in Rabat ...

L for Landscapes, especially those shown to me by Rich, Stefan, David, Silvan and the rest of Maltese friends who shared with me places off the beaten track, little hidden treasures of the island. I haven't seen them listed in any guidebook.

 M for Mistra Bay, a perfect place for a barbecue on the beach. How I miss it! And a walk around. The taste of fresh strawberries sold straight from the field on the way to the bay April!, two black Maltese snakes in the Fort Campbell , lots of snails hidden in the ruins, blooming capers ....simply unforgettable!

N for Nadur and its carnival. In fact, there are 2 main and very different carnivals in Malta.Some people travel to Brasil to experience the carnival madness. There's no need to travel so far. In the heart of the Mediterranean See you will find the beauty, the craziness, the passion of people preparing it months before it all starts. My camera especially loved the colourfulness of floats in Valletta but me myself felt more for the spontaneous, spooky atmosphere in Nadur, Gozo. Which one do you prefer? 

O for oranges, bloody oranges and their taste in winter months! I saw oranges growing on trees for the first time in Malta. Not mentioning kilograms of lemons from my friends' garden and hours spent on finding out ways how to save them from wasting. 

P for Popeye's Village, a film set changed into a fun park for families. The bay looks so charming with those little wooden houses.I liked the view from the cliffs nearby. Watching the old and ridiculous movie shot there made me laugh so many time. 

Q for Qawra  where I used to live. None of the foreigners could pronounce the name correctly!

R for Rabat and Mdina where I got lost several times. Lively streets of Rabat and silent alleys of Mdina. Did I mention The Crystal Palace in Rabat and the best pastizzi served on the island? They could compete only with pastizzi sold on Mosta bus stop where they always saved me from starvation after work.

S for St. Peter's Pool.
It was worth going over an hour by bus and then walking to the best beach on the island! A hidden gem!

T for Tuffieha Bay, my favourite sand beach in Malta. The whole area is picturesque. The Golden Bay will always remind me of Queen Elisabeth, who stayed in the nearest hotel. Just before the visit I enjoyed my breakfast on an empty beach, closed to visitors... I mean, how could I know it was closed when all signs were in Maltese only!

 U for Upper Barrakka Garden. Just show up there before noon to get yourselves enough room to see the canon fire. If you're there for spectacular views, avoid middays. Drinking wine at night ( unlimited wine tasting) and listening to the music at night...unforgettable! 
 V for Valletta, a perfect location for photography lovers and street wanders. Full of interesting places to see and eat, cats and little small shops. Would you guess Malta used to have trains, one train connection to be specific. I managed to visit the train tunnel in Floriana ( suburbs of Valletta).
 X for Xlendi. Yet another  place in Gozo from my favorites. 

Z for Zurrieq, last but not least. The Blue Grotto with little corals growing on the rock. You can take a boat ride inside and enjoy the unbelievable blue water inside. I still remember the depth of the colour.

Congratulations to you! I hope you're not bored to death. Just simply inspired to visit the rock which used to be my home. I can't believe how many names, memories, places, smells, pictures, people, both funny and frustrating situation I still have in my head!

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