Malta We're In You: Our Travel Recap - Part 2
We last left off as our hero (that’s me) narrowly escaped being enveloped forever into the depths of the Mediterranean Sea - if you missed it, you can check it out HERE.
Day Four - Exploring the Caves of Comino and Swimming in the Blue Lagoon
You would think that by now I would have developed a crippling fear of the sea after my tubing experience in Melliha but I guess you could call me glutton for punishment. And with that, we climbed upon the S.S. Hornblower (not to be confused with our up and coming cruise line, the S.S. Noseblower) to explore the caves of the island of Comino. Comino is just off the coast of Malta on the way to Gozo and is host to many eery caves and the bluest water you’ll ever lay your eyes on. Something about the gentle rocking of the boat and the smell of salt water in the air was calming but soon enough we made it to the Blue Lagoon. Some of us (obviously not me) went down the massive slide attached to the boat, splashing into the crystal clear water; and some of us (obviously me) clung onto the ladder for dear life until the line up to get into the water was so big it was too embarrassing to continue. Once I actually got in the water, I was all good and honestly, it was a cool experience to swim in the cove - even if we did have to dodge the odd “friendly” jellyfish (still not sure I’m buying any of that nonsense TBH).
We left the Blue Lagoon in the late afternoon and made our way back to St. Paul’s Bay so we could freshen up, have some drinks and head to dinner. Dad picked the restaurant and after making 4 different reservations on different days and at different times, we finally booked a table at Tarragon. It was essentially the Maltese version of The Keg in terms of ambiance (because Dad is obviously boujee AF) but the menu was more extensive and rather… adventurous?
I started with the venison ravioli in a coffee cream sauce. It was such an odd combo that I felt like I HAD to try it. The ravioli was flavourful and the sauce had a slightly sweet coffee taste that was so unique, I enjoyed it a lot! My main was a duck breast with an orange sauce. I hadn’t had duck in a while so I thought it would be a good choice to mix things up a little. I wasn’t disappointed! It was tender and the sauce was AMAZING - I wish I could recreate it at home! Finally, I finished the meal off with an apple crumble, which I think is hard to screw up honestly, and again, it was fabulous.
After dinner, we headed home and sorted out the game plan for the following day. Knowing it would be full of adventure, we hit the sack and caught a few Zzzs
Day Five - Hop On/Hop Off Tour (North)
We woke up at the ass crack of dawn and made our way to the stop for the CitySightseeing Malta bus tour. We started with the North route and made a few stops along the way. This day may have been my fave! The sightseeing bus was great! It was a double decker so we were able to see so much of each town without having to walk for miles to find the major attractions. We made our way through St. Julians which was definitely the most modern spot we saw in Malta. It’s a more wealthy area and there were tons of new high rise buildings and a lot of shopping. We didn’t actually explore St. Julians off the bus but it was interesting to see the visible differences in the architecture compared to that of some of the older towns.
Passing through Sliema, we made our way to Valletta. Brandon and I were on the hunt for side-of-the-road pizza. The streets in Valletta are lined with shops and there are tons of pastizzerias that sell our new fave snack (pastizzi) as well as delicious looking pizza slices. It was amazing - you didn’t even have to go inside, you just stood on the sidewalk in front of the storefront counter and ordered whatever you fancied. We need more of those in Canada, and more pastizzi too (I’m looking at you Phyllis). We headed to St. John’s Cathedral to take a tour and while I wouldn’t classify myself as religious in any way, I enjoyed the architecture and the stories that dated back to the 1800s. Everything was covered in gold and built by hand and honestly, it was stunning. I forgot both my phone and camera in the backpack outside so my cousin Melissa was nice enough to share some photos!
Once we wrapped up in Valletta, we headed back to the hop on/hop off stop and caught the next bus to Mosta. We grabbed a snack in a little cafe called Mellow’s and we all mowed down on the softest, most delicious almond cookies. Google tells me they’re called biskuttini tal-lewz but I think I’ll just call them heaven. We headed over to the Mosta Dome (after a brief tumble - if you know, you know) and took a tour of the church that was one the scene of a WWII bombing. Get this - the bomb fell through the dome, during mass, and didn’t explode. Not a single person was injured! If that’s not divine intervention, I don’t know what is. And again, I awestruck by the design and architecture, seriously, nothing like it.
We grabbed the next bus out of Mosta and headed to my FAVE city - Mdina. Otherwise known as The Silent City, Mdina allows no vehicular traffic (with the exception of residents of the town) and it is surrounded by walls. It was so quiet, so peaceful and there were beautiful gardens everywhere. My aunt actually went to school in Mdina so we got to see the convent and that was a really cool experience. Truthfully, having our family (who was familiar with Malta) was such an invaluable asset, it elevated the trip to the next level. I personally loved to hear their stories about different parts of the cities we visited and the anecdotes about their life in Malta before coming back to Canada.
We grabbed some lunch and then walked over to Rabat which was just the next town over. Rabat was the town that my aunt’s family lived in and we got to see the village that her mother grew up in and got married in. Not to mention, they had the best pastizzi joint in the whole country. We checked out the St. Paul Catacombs which was interesting but also sort of creepy. People would seek shelter underground during WWII and seeing these tiny little bunkers really put life into perspective, and scared the shit out of Uncle Robbie (it was good to have some comic relief).
We wrapped up in Rabat and headed back to St. Paul’s Bay. We didn’t have any plans for dinner so we walked along the pier towards Buggiba, hoping to find something that would strike a chord. Luckily, there was a restaurant along the pier that was giving out samples of their White Fish Fritters and we all tried a piece; and unanimously decided to halt our restaurant search and grabbed a table at L’Ostricaio. I’m not big on seafood so I was a little worried about my options but I had the Pappardelle Ragu, and I shit you not - it was the BEST meal of the entire trip. Perfectly al dente pasta, a delicious, flavourful and hearty sauce, and fennel. I LOVE FENNEL. So so good. Naturally, we topped off the night with a trip to the Gelateria and a quick drink at the Horse Meat Tavern before turning in.
To be continued…
We’ve still got 4 days left to recap, so at this rate I should be done this monstrous post by 2021.