Mediterranean Odyssey 2019 travel blog

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Hagar Qim

Mnajdra

Mnajdra

Near the Blue Grotto


We had a slow start as C had one of her wake up and stay awake nights, and J woke up with a leg cramp!

Looking out we could see it was overcast and the streets were wet. It felt a little cooler too.

The plan was to visit some temples located in an isolated position on a rugged stretch of the islands southern coast - Ħaġar Qim, a megalithic temple complex dating from the Ġgantija phase, and the nearby Mnajdra overlooks the isle of Fifla.

But before that we needed to get there. The bus we wanted was No.74, so we walked in a light drizzle to the bus station and found our bay. J and C thought they would be in for another fearful ride, as there were crowds of people. But it turned out they all wanted to go to Marsaxlokk as it was market day. Extra buses were brought in to clear the crowd. So we stood waiting in the rain and had a pleasant talk with a London couple who were travelling on the same bus. It was nearly a 1 hr wait ( Sunday timetable that takes no account of the actual demand by tourists!) then the bus finally arrived ( or we thought it was). Driver went for a pee. Then he could not reset the destination of the bus. After much fiddling about and with help from a controller. We were set to board. J and C were second on and got seats. The English couple sat in front, and off we went.

The man turned around and said “ more of your lot in front”, as one had a Sydney 2000 cap. C said “they not be - ask them”. J said “ ask them about the cricket”. “Pardon. “ Ask them about the cricket” (slightly louder). “Pardon”. By now J detected his leg was being pulled! It was a tolerable ride, but as anticipated water started dripping again! The bus is basically a commuter bus so it travels all over the place and along narrow roads and around sharp corners. It’s a fairly barren island - lots of stone and rocks, prickly pear, not much growing although we saw grapes and oranges today. We also saw some dairy cows - no grass though. They must feed them hay and grain.

The bus stopped at Hagar, and we squeezed off and walked up the hill to the site. The cafe was closed (awaiting new operators) but there was a machine so J and C had a coffee. Then we viewed a 4D film about the history of the site. The extra D included sound, light, water drops and wind. It was quite good.

The Megalithic Temples of Malta are among the most ancient religious sites on Earth, described by the World Heritage Sites committee as "unique architectural masterpieces." (Wikipedia). Both are protected by large awnings, and have good paths leading to them. They were very impressive, and possess the light pathways for the winter and summer solstices, etc. if you want to know more, look it up!

It was quite a climb back up the hill and by now the sun was blazing and the temperature back up.

There was a ice cream and drink van at the site, but J decided it would be better to go down towards the Blue Grotto where there would be cafes and restaurants. Luckily it was all down hill, but it was a 2.4km walk (J thought only a couple of hundred metres!) so C was not amused. When we finally arrived at the little town, the first 2 cafes had no free tables, but down around the corner was a less busy one and we got a table inside where it was cool. Lots of cold drinks, and a Tuna, and a ham and cheese baguette. Both with a small bowl of the essential potato crisps.

J and C were a little hot and bothered and decided to grab the next bus back rather than hang around. Unfortunately it was standing room only again. So an arduous trip back and all they could think of was to sit down and anaesthetise themselves ( well J did, C had an iced coffee!)

Then home for a siesta. We really didn’t want to go out, but needed some water and a few bits, so we had some Qassatat with peas. Early to bed, and no buses tomorrow!!



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