I have spent a wonderful week in Malta and Gozo with two of my work colleagues. April was an ideal month for our visit to these two tiny islands. It was warm, but not uncomfortably hot. It was almost guaranteed that the rain wouldn’t fall. All the fields were green and the aroma of countryside flowers and herbs was in the air. I was under the impression that the Maltese people wanted to enjoy the spring before the summer heat began.
Valetta, the capital of Malta and UNESCO World Heritage City, was the first place we visited. Our journey started with a short walk into charming Barraca Gardens situated on a hill that overlooks the harbour. Separated by carved gates, the gardens hide fountains, exotic flowers and sculptures. They truly are a safe haven surrounded by vibrant streets.
A friendly Maltese man greeting us from his baroque “balcone”.
Then we went to see Rabat and Mdina. Rabat used to be a suburb of Mdina surrounded by fortified walls. Mdina is a former capital of Malta and it actually looks like a heritage site itself. It truly is one of the most enchanting places in Malta, full of lovely tiny alleys, medieval and baroque architecture.
Tiny alleys of Malta.
The fishing village of Marsaxlokk seemed to be an ideal place for me to try the so far unknown, taste of Maltese cuisine. I am not sure however what tasted better, the freshly made lasagne, ravioli filled with local goat’s cheese, incredibly soft lamb shanks, delicate fish delivered by the villages’ fishermen or hot pastries with date mousse. All these had to be, of course, accompanied by good wine and local beer. Maltese cuisine will definitely stay in my memories for a long time.
Fishing boats in Marsaxlokk.
Our next destination was something rather special. We visited the 5000 year-old Mnajdra and Hagar Qim Temples situated on the picturesque coast. These temples were so cleverly designed that one can still walk through them. It is still uncertain how they were built out of such enormous blocks. They are said to be amongst the most ancient religious sites on Earth.
We had such a wonderful time in Malta that we could not think of any surprises that may wait for us in Gozo, a much smaller island than Malta. We were so wrong. Our journey to Gozo started from a short and gentle cruise. The ferry passed next to an island of Comino inhabited by only three people.
First impressions of Gozo were unforgettable. The air smelt of thyme and chamomile; the sea breeze was pleasantly cooling and the views of gentle hills covered with flowers were welcoming us to discover the rural paths. We simply could not resist and decided to join our Ramblers clients for a walk.
A coast walk in Gozo
I would recommend a trip to Malta and Gozo to everyone who would like to visit a Mediterranean country and still feel like being at home. English is widely spoken and even the telephone boxes are same as in Britain!