Mediterranean Odyssey 2019 travel blog

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Valetta harbour

On the cruise

Valetta harbour

The 39 Steps

Another fine day - yawn!

We decided to have a day where we didn’t walk all day. Not that J and C have lost any weight - so much for exercise.

We asked around until we found where to buy bus passes, and got 2 x 7 day passes. We may god inland to Mdina and Rabat tomorrow. But today we planned a cruise of the harbour.

We walked down Melina street which we hoped would take us to the Ferry terminal. When the street reached the water, we were too high. Down some steep steps. Still too high! Down a curved steep street, past the Cockney Bar, and there was the terminal for the Sliema ferry.

Then a strange occurrence, the first of many. a tourist kiosk selling cruise tickets, etc - can’t use cards, and when we offered cash, they got all hoity toity because we didn’t have 2 euros in coins! Anyway, we got the tickets to Sliema where we board the cruise. “Turn left when you get off the ferry.” Wrong - needed to turn right for the Captain Morgan cruise. It started at 11:30 not 11:00 as J thought, so we skipped across to the shopping area and had a coffee. Again excellent. We bought doughnuts ( don’t say anything!) and returned to find the traditional brightly painted wooden boat “Maryanne” nearly full. Got good seats and all under cover of a large canvas.

We soon got underway and had a very relaxing cruise around Sliema harbour, Manoel Island and Floriana, then around Valett itself and into Valetta harbour past Fort St Elmo. J asked the skipper about moving about the boat - he was friendly and suggested the best locations for different photos. He gave J a heads up about the 12 o’clock gun from the battery. A suitable photo captured the shot! The boat then took us around the harbour to Palumbo shipyard ( two oil rigs there being overhauled) where we saw some large cranes - one painted yellow and tan like a giraffe - for obvious reasons.

Then into the 3 creeks for the 3 cities - Birgu (Vittoriosa), Senglea (Isla) and Bormla (Cospicua). All the while we saw small traditional painted wooden boats being used as water taxis. A large cruise boat was in port, and as we cruised around, another was reversing into the harbour. It was a calming trip, and C nearly nodded off!

Back to Sliema, and J and C did a bit of shopping. Looking to buy some hand cleaner, and C asked at a shop. “No sweet” the man replied and directed us elsewhere as C muttered “I’m not your sweet” under her breath.

They spied M&S (Marks and Spencer) and suspected clean toilets and a cafeteria. They were right. They had a drink , C had a baked bean baked potato, and J a baguette. All very English with a pile of potato crisps and a salad. We were a bit shocked seeing a woman with a small dog at her table, first sitting on a chair, then with paws on the table, then being fed with a spoon! After, the waitress came to clean up- J was pleased that she wiped the chair, and not pleased that she then wiped the table with the same cloth! New rule - don’t eat food that has fallen from plate onto table!

Then a quick trip back on the ferry; strange site with older man, shirt fully open, fanning various parts of his torso to keep cool! C and J just looked at each other - no words were spoken. We landed and a slow walk up the hill back to our neighbourhood. We had heard a rather loud tourist on the ferry. He latched on to J and C as we walked up the hill. Making comment about our hats (he was bald and should have had one!). Then asking if we were British... As we climbed, J followed a pigeon; when it sped up, so did he. When it changed direction, so did he. Must be the heat!

We stopped at the top to visit a fruit shop where J was conned into buying a very large yellow melon “very sweet”. We will be eating melon for a week!

Back to the apartment, stopping to get a few things for tea at the next door bakery. Then a siesta.

J had some idea that we could sit on the roof terrace with a wine. When he looked, the same annoying tourists were hogging the tables ( as they do every day!) didn’t acknowledge him in any way. Bloody Tourists!

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