A surprisingly addictive Malta: crumpled landscape and endearing locals – Part 2

It’s a beach life and much more

The island is littered with beaches. I am hoping for an off the beaten track Malta. However, I am worried the experience might be unpleasant as we are at peak season. We start our beach life in Gozo. After the boat ride, we go up and down some torturous bumpy tracks in the sweltering heat. It is only 10am. This is a price I was more than willing to pay though. The prize: a secluded area off the track! Quite a few locals are already perfecting their tan flat out like a lizard drinking. My brother firmly places the parasol in the sand.

Who can resist Gozo? There aren’t that many people on this island for a start. The waters are amongst some of the clearest I have seen on this side of the world. What’s there not to love about the place? Relaxed. Rural. I am surprised there is a green countryside. Aside from swimming in fascinating clear waters, we trek along the coasts. This is the other surprise.

I was hoping for an off the beaten track Malta, we are striding along the cliffs

My brother is used to this. I am not. We are rewarded with stretches of coast, crashing waves, bays, intriguing red gold sandy beaches, rugged cliffs, turquoise waters. This is stunning. I was expecting a package holiday island. I am instead discovering a diverse crumpled landscape. This is what i might have hoped for an off the beaten track Malta. There are far more walking routes than i could imagine.

We are met with surprising rough paths and flat expanse of rocks. Spectacular views as far as the eye can see. So far I have seen more than I expected. On our way back, we gaze through the Azure window. This is an arch that has formed as a result of the erosion caused by waves crashing against the rock. Absolutely stunning.

Blue lagoon calling in Comino

In Comino, the white sand seabed, the turquoise and warm waters of the Blue Lagoon are an invitation to just dive in. Blue Lagoon is the stretch of water between Comino and Cominotto, which means that confident swimmers can swim across Cominotto. Not me then. That didn’t stop me from enjoying the bay and the crystal clear waters. Fabulous. The area is safe as boats are kept off the swimming area. Comino is very popular. To avoid the throng (and dare i say the heat), we get in there early am and later in the afternoon. Places like this are just perfect to enjoy, relax and build those wonderful lifelong memories.

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Getting across and within the islands is fairly easy. We hop on board the regular ferries running to Comino and Gozzo. The bus network is reliable and cheap. Reliable as in according to the driver’s own take on schedule. As I realise since I started this journey, rush is not the world. You can read all about it here.

Sampling local food

My first experience of local food is tea. It is mid morning. Temperature has already gone past 26 degrees. This promises to be a day my skin will not thank me for. On a small backstreet I pause at a cafe/pub. There are 4 plastic tables on the pavement. I am sitting on one of them at the front. The chairs and the table were once white. The off grey colour shows the passage of time. I am a sucker for these places. For me, they are a bed of culture. I absolutely cannot make head or tale of the music i am hearing. A skinny dog is asleep in the corner. I could channel his example right now.

On the table at the back are two old men. The lines on their faces can tell a thousand stories. The various stains on their clothes bear the weight of the day; Or life in general. I smile at them. They do not. They are staring at me though. It is funny how people often stare at me in these isolated places. I can thank my ebony skin colour for that. Good. I am not one to shy away.

When in Rome…

The tea I order is brought to me. Surprise: it is served out of a glass. I think it is English breakfast tea. It is very sweet and mixed with condensed milk. This is how local drink tea here. Don’t know what to think of it really. It is very sweet. I look at the men again. Cheers. The one on the left raises his beer. Cheers. One hour has passed. There i am trying to have a discussion with two endearing old men in a very broken English.

One of them is drinking beer. I am not a big fan of beer at all. However, when in Rome… I therefore try the local Cisk beer. Locals say it’s tasty. Well… my palate doesn’t like it that much. They laugh. That deep roaring laughter. I drink mine with a big dash of lime juice. That’s better. Don’t shoot me 😉

The restaurant scene is varied and creative. One restaurant i do love though for lunch is La Trattoria Da Pippo in Valletta: tucked away and authentic. A mix of Maltese and Italian. However, I have to admit i am not smitten with basic maltese food. That being said, I adore Pastizzi. They are small savoury pastries. The local equivalent of fast food. You can find them everywhere virtually. They are my on the go food. My favourite are the spinach and cheese ones. Yummyyy!

British influence

Maltese sausage is tasty. So is the leavened bread. The bread is made with tomato paste and topped with tuna, capers, olive and sun dried tomatoes. The Ftira is pleasantly delicious and quite filling. It’s like a sandwich with various fillings of your choices.

Now i have to admit: you can take a girl out of England but you can’t take England our of a girl. There is a Marks & Spencer. British influence has left it’s mark on the island. Some things are just essential in life 😉 I am grinning.

xoxo M. Let’s share our inspiration