Nick Gilmartin's Weblog

And he used to be such a nice, quiet boy

Malta: It’s big, it’s clever, it’s grown up.

with 5 comments

We had an absolutely brilliant, brilliant time in Malta.  Something we needed so much, we finally got a chance to let our hair down.

Easyjet flew us out there early on a sunday morning out of Gatwick.  As an airline, Easyjet is sometimes thought of as a bit of a gamble, but we found them both punctual and their aircraft spacious.  The only snag was an extra £20 baggage fee which we were made to pay.

Malta airport was small and clean with a lot of it’s history framed on the walls.

The capital, Valetta, isn’t a place for youngsters or small children, nor is it truely for the elderly and infirm (too many hills).



The Valetta does however, exude drama and romance.  It was here that the Christian Knights held out against an overwhelming Ottoman Armada.  Centuries later it held on in the face of Hitler’s Stukas and potential starvation.

It is the only country to have been awarded, as a whole, a British bravery decoration, the George Cross, which is presented on the national flag.

A brief run down of what we did included the following.  Monday we did a tour of the capital, Valetta, on foot.  It is a beautiful place, with boroque balconies and faded grandeur.  (I know what I am talking about, I have seen Grand Designs..)



Tuesday we just chilled out in the sun.  Our hotel, the Fortina had a lovely lido deck where we could lounge in the sun and sip cocktails.

Wednesday we took a bus tour around the coast, finding ourselves in Marasokk bay, which was full of little market stalls and brightly painted fishing boats.  We loved it.

The painted eyes were there for good luck

Thursday we did a boat trip to Comino.  On any other day it would have been fantastic, a chance to see a turqoise lagoon, but the sky was gray and the weather was cold!  We spent most of the time on the boat trying to keep warm.

Friday we did a smaller harbour boat trip, exploring the three cities, the Grand Harbour and gawping at the rich people’s yachts.

Saturday we had a walk around Valetta and did a bit of souvineer shopping, then chilled out on the hotel’s lido deck for the afternoon.

Sunday, we came home..

Our hotel, the Fortina Resort, was, even by my standards, extremely impressive.  It has two parts, the four star part and the newer five star part.  We stayed in the four, but we had access to the five star part.  We had an outdoor lido deck with a seawater pool in front of the harbour, with an outdoor bar.  We went all-inclusive so all our drinks were included, including cocktails… heaven!



The food was of a very high standard.  Maltese cuisine is virtually none existant, but they take a lot of influence from British food, which they do rather well, and italian food.

Valetta and in particular, Sliema, are highly commercial.  They have every shop you would find on a British high street, including BHS, Marks and Sparks, Evans, Burger King, KFC, and most high street retailers.

The Maltese themselves are a nice sort of Mediterrainiean people.  They are not as arrogant as the French or the Spanish, nor as Hawkish or grasping as the North Africans.  Nor are they as boisterous as the Greeks, they are just nice, slightly reserved well brought-up children of Empire.

They don’t hassle you to go into their bars or shops.  You could walk around, even at night, and feel completely safe.

I set myself the slightly sad task of photographing as many people as I could who wear socks and sandles.  My target was twenty, but if had been quick enough, I could have easily doubled that.  My poor travelling companions were rather embaressed by my strange quest, but it didn’t stop them acting as my spotters or getting very excited when one came my way.

Anyway all in all, it was the best holiday we have had in ages and I cannot recommend the place enough.

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Written by Nick Gilmartin

July 3, 2008 at 11:13 am

Posted in Uncategorized

5 Responses

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  1. Hi Nick

    Glad to read you liked Malta, it’s very refreshing to read such positive comments.

    All the best and we hope you visit the islands again soon.

    All the best

    Karl

    Karl

    May 27, 2009 at 7:31 am

    • Glad to give it a positive review. I love it’s history and drama.

      Nick Gilmartin

      May 27, 2009 at 7:53 am

  2. Congratulations for your blog.

    Should you want to immerse yourself into the historical details of the island of Malta, then get yourself an interactive dvd of Valletta and Vittoriosa. Before your visit view a virtual tour of the city (1hr) then upload voice content on your mobile and when visiting use the attached booklet whilst you roam around like a local

    cultel.com explains it all

    lawrence saliba

    June 15, 2009 at 12:21 pm

  3. Nick so nice to hear to hear someone praising Malta. Just wanted to say , malta cuisine does exist their rabbit dishes are exquisite , as is Bragioli and Timpana. I have the advantage of being married to a maltese so I can enjoy true maltese cuisine whenever we go over, u need to locate the resteraunts. If u go back take a day out to sail over to Gozo and visit Mdina the silent city – right next to Rabat.

    xxxxxxxx

    Gill Calleja

    August 6, 2009 at 3:37 pm

  4. Hey nick just spotted this blog through twitter. Nice review! We’re really happy you enjoyed your stay in Malta. If you or your friends ever plan to come back to the islands during summer time you should check out our blog/info website @ beachmalta.com … no tips on socks and sandles hunting though 😛

    Mariella and Daniel

    September 17, 2010 at 8:15 am


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