I know, I know..it’s been ages!! I’m sorry, I have been off gallivanting sans computer. This will be a long one, set in Malta, so grab a cup of tea..and maybe some biscuits to dunk and I’ll start day one from the beginning..
On Monday morning we woke up to fog. We were completely covered in the stuff! Even at the airport..all the flights before ours were cancelled and those niggling thoughts were beginning to creep in… ‘will we get to escape??’…’will our flight be cancelled too??’.
But Malta was calling, and we were the first flight to get up in the air..it was meant to be! When we arrived, the sun had already set. We hired a car, navigated our way up to Mellieha towards the north of the island, and checked into our hotel. And of course, first things first, decided on where to go eat!! Unfortunately not thinking we would need our camera so the photos of dinner don’t show the food off as well as they should!
Tucked away off the main road, we found Rebekah’s. Down the back streets is always where to go looking, you find the spots that the locals love going to. It looked warm and inviting and we quickly decided to ask for a table.
We quickly flipped through the menu, appreciating the selection of fresh, local dishes. Prawn carpaccio, a ‘surf & turf’ with roasted confit pork belly and langoustine, casserecci pasta with slow cooked rabbit ragout, risotto with calamari..such a choice!
The decor was romantic, cosy and full of character. I particularly liked the beamed roof..but being English I suppose that is somewhat to be expected.
Very shortly after having ordered, these lovely little squid ink balls on a bed of tomato sauce arrived complimentary of the chef. They were delicious!
Appetite wetted, we were quick to tuck into the fresh, warm bread that arrived at our table..which I made sure to slather in the salted butter of course!!
For my starter I opted for the beetroot, feta cheese, puff pastry discs and wild rocket. Beetroot is an ingredient I absolute love but just never seem to prepare myself at home, so I couldn’t resist it when I saw it on the menu!
P opted for the special of the day, bruschetta on a bed of warm fresh local tomatoes topped with mozzarella, rocket and a balsamic drizzle. Both dishes were extremely tasty. It’s so nice to have tomatoes that taste like sunshine! Ours just never seem to get full bodied sweetness that make them taste like they have been injected with flavour.
My main of hand-made tortellaci, sweet pepper confit and a mustard velouté looked absolutely scrumptious! And tasted just as good. The salty ham was balanced just right with the sweetness of the peppers.
P’s linguine, tossed with fresh lobster, a lobster bisque and soft herbs..was not so much to my taste..but perfect for the seafood lover!
For dessert P opted for the white chocolate delice with strawberry textures and I’m a sucker for pannacotta so pannacota with a peach compote and honeycomb biscuit it was!
We sat and finished off our bottle of wine, relaxing in the warm glow long after all the locals had left, having thoroughly enjoyed our dinner at Rebekah’s.
The staff were incredibly friendly and professional and made us feel at home. Great service, great food, great first night in Malta!
The next morning we stepped onto the balcony of our hotel to be greeted with brilliant blues. Enticing us out into the early morning.
We decided to head south for the day and visit the Hagar Qim and Mnajdra temples. Driving along, we spotted this old Morris stunner parked up on the side of the road and quickly decided to turn in and grab a bite for breakfast.
Being early in the morning there was only really one option, the Breakfast In A Bun…As much as I would have loved the Philly steak bun!
So we gave our order and waited for it to be freshly cooked whilst we took in the view.
Clear to see why he parked up here!
Food ready, we perched on a wall and enjoyed breakfast with a view.
Look at how yellow that fresh yolk is! You’ve got to love street food, wherever you are.
Having lined our bellies we got back on the road and after many a wrong turn, ended up at our destination.
The temples of Hagar Qim and Mnajdra were built during the end of the Neolithic period, a whopping 5000 years ago..that makes them older than the pyramids! Being a lover of history, I couldn’t pass up the chance to have a look at them.
Both temples are made from limestone and as such they have had shelters built over them to protect them from the elements to help preserve them for future generations. Especially as they are built on the crest of a ridge overlooking the sea.
Inside the museum back at the entrance, there were a number of carvings of naked fat bottomed ladies which had been found in the temple…
Looks like they left this male carving we eyeballed in place!
Comically placed boulders..
Mnajdra is 600 metres down a south facing slope..so we set off walking..
Stopping to look at the wildlife..
And the views along the way..
Until we reached Mnajdra.
Part of the charm of Mnajdra lies in the fact that no modern development is visible from the site, allowing it to be enjoyed in its original setting. Which suits my romantic nature just fine.
This temple was built in such a way that its main doorway is aligned with sunrise during the spring and autumn equinoxes. During the winter and summer solstices the beams of the rising sun pass along the sides of the main doorway hitting two decorated slabs within the first chamber of the temple. What a sight that would have been!!
These holes decorated many of the stone pillars throughout the temple and it has been suggested that they may be a tally for the rising of particular constellations and stars.
Quite impressive when you think that this was 5000 years ago!
Having had a good root about we decided to take a walk off the main path on our way back up so we could admire the stunning views.
Such stunning coastline..it would be lovely to spend a day walking the length of it..
But having realised that boots were not the correct footwear for such an occasion and already having acquired a rock in my shoe, we decided to walk back to the car and make our way to the capital for some lunch!
We managed to find our way out fuss free and were able to enjoy the views as we passed..
Until we reached to quirky old city of Valletta, officially recognised as a World Heritage Site. The capital of Malta is nothing short of an open-air museum filled with baroque architecture and charming narrow streets.
The window boxes that line the streets catch your eyes and lead them upwards..
Making sure you don’t miss all the detail of architecture that surrounds you on all sides.
Then you’re met with steps that pull your focus back to street level again..
Making sure you don’t miss out on views down each and every alley..
and through every archway..
until you reach the waterfront and it’s time to take a different route back through the city..
being given little reminders of home..
before finding somewhere to stop and take some local food and wine.
In the form of Trabuxu.
Being such a lovely day, we opted to sit outside so we could enjoy the sunshine and do a spot of people watching. In doors offers an arty style bistro with a relaxed atmosphere and a rather substantial wine list.
The menu offered a delightful selection of fresh local dishes, and being in Malta I thought I had best try their national ingredient! Rabbit. It was on the menu in the form of a risotto and it arrived smelling of heaven. It was so smooth and creamy and the rabbit was so delicate, we had very happy bellies! And very full ones too..the portions were hearty! Would highly recommend this place for spot of lunch. The service was quick and friendly, the waiters stopping to chat and make you laugh.
By now it was reaching 4 o’clock and the idea of watching the sun set sprang to mind. Having our own car, we thought why not?? So we headed west to a small beach called Golden Bay.
Not before taking one last memorable snap!
Apparently this day was much longer than I thought…so I will cut it into two posts and continue with sunset tomorrow!