Blue Grotto on Malta

My travel companion suggested stopping at the Blue Grotto while on the South Tour Bus. We caught the end of that day’s sunlight when we got off at 4pm.

Blue Grotto

The light, reflecting from the sand-colored stones and bricks, was just beautiful.

Sun on Blue Grotto

More people waiting for the local bus.

sundown

We were going to take the 4:30 bus back, but it didn’t show up. So we were quite relieved when the very last bus at 5pm did come around. As we only had 30 minutes, we did not see much. The other 30 minutes we spent waiting for either the late 4:30 or very last 5pm bus.

We decided to stay put at the station and watched the sun go down.

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Taking the South Tour Bus for Marsaxlokk on Malta

On day two of our visit to Malta, we hopped on the South Tour bus, which runs a total of 2:50h around the southern part of the island. There are 14 stops along the way, and with the nice hop-on/hop-off arrangement, one would expect to see quite a bit.

In reality,  if you take the bus by 10am, it is advisable to make three stops.  The first one is for lunch around noon, then you get on the bus around 1:30 or 2:00, you travel for an hour and get off for sightseeing once more. Wherever you are along the route, you will be able to catch the bus, e.g. at 15:30 from Marsaxlokk to be back in Valetta by 16:50. The very last bus brings you back by 17:50 (but not on Sundays – check your schedule).

Buses were somewhat unreliable, we missed two of them. One did not show up and the other we might have missed, but only if it had come early. Which I doubt.

Wish we could have stopped here in Marsaxlokk, but we were already on one of the later buses and we still had plans to see the Blue Grotto. This was at 15:30 in Marsaxlokk. It looks nice and sunny, but it does get dark and cooler around 16:20. The photos were taken from the bus as you can tell by the reflection.

Marsaxlok Fishing Village

This is an interesting fishing village with lots of vendors along the water promenade.

Marsaxlok in the sun

Loved these various colors on their doors and windows.

Colored doors in Marsaxlok

This photo shows  the traffic sign for various town names in Maltese. My iPad location told me I took this photo in the area or town of Multigas.

Multigas

Our next stop to get off was the Blue Grotto, of which I have some photos to share in my next post.

I recommend the bus tour, it is the best way to see the island. The ride is pleasant on these double-deck buses, the bus driver sells beverages, and he will let you off on his route anywhere near your hotel.

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A Good Reason to Travel

Once a year, go someplace you have never been before.

- Dalai Lama

Rote Weide

Where would you go?

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Of Churches, the George Cross, and WW II Bombs on Malta

Malta is home to more than 360 churches on just 122 square miles of land. We passed by quite a few churches and domes, too many to even list any names.

During World War II, Malta was heavily bombed, having been a strategic outpost for the Allies. The bombing was so extensive that by the end of the war, Malta was considered the most-bombed nation on the planet. Later on, this title went to Laos, because of its bombing during the Vietnam War.

Quoted from Wikipedia:

The George Cross was awarded to the island of Malta by King George VI of the United Kingdom in a letter dated 15 April 1942[1] to the island’s Governor Lieutenant-General Sir William Dobbie, so as to “bear witness to the heroism and devotion of its people”[2] during the great siege it underwent in the early parts of World War II. The George Cross is woven into the Flag of Malta and can be seen wherever the flag is flown.

Dome in Mosta, Malta

Dome in Mosta

The best way to travel around the main island is by tour bus. We took the North tour one day, and the South tour the following day by double-deck buses.

Malta by bus

Touring Valetta. We had head phones to listen to the recording, but sitting on the deck of the bus, made listening very difficult during traffic.

Valetta, Malta

We got off in Birgu to take a look around for half an hour. More churches.

Birgu church

Sign in Birgu

The next bus for Birgu was supposed to come by 30 minutes later, but some Maltese have a very different attitude towards time and timing, especially compared to us Germans. Be prepared that buses sometimes are late or do not even show up, which was the case in the town of Birgu.

The bus stops are usually located in very nice areas, so waiting another 30 minutes was no problem. We were waiting in the sunshine! We watched this man throw out his fishing rod for about 40 minutes. The fish were so quickly off with his bait, it looked like he had come to feed them.

In the end, he dumped the remainder of his bait straight into the water. It was fun watching him.

fisher & bait

Touring the island by bus is great. Hotels usually sell tickets, and you also find ticket sellers at the bus stop. They are working on commission, and we overheard a feisty female Irish ticker seller arguing over customers with an elderly male Maltese. Be prepared for entertainment.

North tour: 15 euro p.p.

South tour: 17 euro p.p.

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Of Cats and Men on Malta

Near our hotel, at the end of the road, we noticed this strange little area of plush animals, dolls, bears, and cat trees and beds. It also had a sign and box asking for donations for this Cat Village.Cat Village, St. Julian's

When you looked closer, you could see various real cats nestled among the plus animals.  This one I found to be a very interesting composition.

The cats have a good life here, at least in this corner of Malta. Here in St. Julian’s, you see cats everywhere and they look well fed. Occasionally you see a restaurant owner feeding them with  fish. At least five cats were always present at breakfast on the terrace. Nobody minded them and they seem quite happy.

Cat-friendly Malta

From cats to men. The local men we saw were mostly fishermen, rugged looking and hard working.

fishing boats Spinola Bay, Malta

A tourist chatting up a fisherman.

Fisher at talk

This one was too tired for a conversation.

Man on bench

The cats around our hotel and nearby restaurants looked much better fed and groomed than those guys working the seas.

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