It has been suggested that I write a blog about our month in Malta during February/March 2011 so please bear with me if my first few posts are a bit amateur.
We left Birmingham airport on a cold Valentine's day and landed in Malta in the dark. Our ordered transfer driver drove like an absolute lunatic - which I have discovered is the norm here. I actually saw a learner driver the other day and was surprised that people are actually taught to drive. Like this? I digress. Our accommodation is the Bayview Hotel on Sliema seafront, we are are not in the main hotel because the self catering apartments are dotted all over the place, ours is on a little side street practically next door. We get to use the hotel facilities so I am swimming daily in the indoor pool. Usually alone. Our little flat has a kitchen/dining/sitting room, a very large bedroom and a shower room. Quite sufficient for our needs, the kitchen is not particularly well equipped, but adequate. We have a balcony off the bedroom with a couple of chairs and a small table quite large enough to hold a bowl of olives and a bottle of wine.
Day one saw me up and raring to go by 7.30 am, my husband (known as Onslow) was happy to permit me to go off foraging for his breakfast whilst he had another hour in bed. So off I went, trying to work out the best place to find a shop. I had done a bit of research on the area via the internet and realised that the main shopping area was to the left of the hotel so I turned left and started walking along the seafront. The sun was shining, the sea was sparkling and I saw very few people at first. After about five hundred yards I turned left up what appeared to be a main shopping street and noticed a sign saying supermarket so I followed it and found a massive multi storey car park with a Carrefour entrance. It was a very odd sort of supermarket, loads of groceries in jars and tins, a bakery corner and some fridges containing cheese, milk and cooked meats. No fruit and vegetables or cleaning stuff. No matter, I bought eggs, bread, butter, milk and cheese and ham and went home for breakfast. The following day I noticed a sort of escalater you can put shopping trollies on lurking in a far corner, threw caution to the winds and went for a ride on it. On the floor below was more cleaning stuff than is carried in a large Tesco and a big butchery counter taking up about a quarter of the entire space. More was to come, there was another escalator down another level and there I found all the fruit and vegetables one could wish for and also freezers and beverages. My very first three storey supermarket - and I had to come to Malta to find it.
The first couple of days were spent just mooching around Sliema and Valletta and trying to find our bearings. I spent a small fortune on the Malta Heritage multipass and the City Sightseeing four day pass to do various trips. Our location was carefully chosen for proximity to the Valletta ferry and also the fabled yellow bus routes but since Onslow has trouble with his knees we are tending to catch the bus into Valletta and then the ferry home. Which is lovely. The bus station is at the top of the city and right by the main gate so we amble around losing height gradually and end up by the ferry terminal at Valletta ready to come home.