Malta, briefly

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I’m gonna take a quick pause in the ‘journey through Tapas-land’ to give a photovoyage of last-last weekend’s journey to Malta.  

This was not my first time in Malta. Andy and I visited way back in 2013(here, here, here), over the Christmas break and with my mother in tow.

Malta has a kind of link to my mum’s heritage- both sides of her family basically squatted on the island from the 1700s to the mid 19th century, before which the were in the south of Spain, and after which they were in Egypt.

(If for some reason you care about my family’s various squatterships, my sister can tell it much better- just go here.)

So Medientrainer Malta was interesting. Partially because (and this might just be confirmation bias), every second Maltesean (Malteser?) looked exactly like my great-uncle Tony. And partially because every medeterrainean place looks a bit like Australia.

But largely because of the food.

My first stop on landing was to get a mushy-pea pie, a delicacy that my grandfather could describe in great longing detail with a gleeful look in his eyes (my mother hated the concept of the peas), and hands reaching to grasp the imagination-pie. And then, oh my!, the Pastizzi. Similar in style to those of my childhood, but these, I’m sorry to say my dear grandfather, were even cruncier and jucier.

But ok. Last time we visited it was Christmas, and Christmas in this hemisphere tends to be cold, and/or wet. It was chilly on the main island, and miserable the day we visited Gozo (a small island to the north).

Malta was ok, but that was it.

Which is my incredibly long winded way of saying: my reason for visiting Malta this time around was not really about the weather, the food or the sightseeing.

It was about visiting the fine fellow in the photo above, and his lovely lady-friend.

My cousin-nearly-in-law* Steph, and my cousin Kym.

*The proposal happened on Malta a couple of days after I left. In reality, Kym had it planned for months, but I’m going to pretend for now that I’m some kind of lucky rabbit foot of marriage. Feed me pastizzi if you want your beloved to propose within the next few days!!

(Also, and I know this is an aside to an aside- but why in the world are rabbit feet lucky? Tiger foot I would get, but rabbits seem not only easy to come by, but also fairly easy to de-foot, right?)

  

Anyway, I flew out of Berlin at a reasonable time in the early evening, and arrived at a less reasonable time, but still in the same evening. Thank you Ryanair- your service is terrible, your flight attendents were rude, but you are cheap and direct.

Anyway, the next morning we woke up and headed in to Valletta- the old capital city.

It will not surprise you at all to know that our first stop was for food.

I got a ftira, which we half thought was a misspelled fritata. It’s basically ciabatta. But it was filled with fetta and roast veggies and was delicious and filling.

I also learnd that Maltese apparently eat crisps in restaurants instead of hot chips or salad.

This is clearly odd behaviour, but I am willing to embrace my heritage on this matter if necessary. But only with salt and vinegar chips. Not with that German Paprika flavoured crap.

We wandered throughout the city, running across an ironmongery store, that is presumably owned by a relative on my maternal grandmother’s side.

Hello Uncle Alf.

In other news, we also finally found a pie/pastizzi shop. My personal mission was to eat pastizzi for breakfast (ok, I admit, for every meal), but we hadn’t managed to see one on our short journey through the city.

We found it, just at a time when our bellies were the fullest, and vowed to return in the afternoon.

Which we did. And it wasn’t there.

I’m pretty sure it ran out of pastizzi and closed. But I am also pretty terrible at directions so.. you know.  

The city is both beautiful, and filled with horrifying wiring. Kym and I commented that it was the kind of electrical job that would make our Granddad proud, and carried on our way.

Behold, the REDS!…

… The BLUES!

The REDS AND BLUES…!!! 

Also pretty?

Yeah I don’t know what I was doing with my face.

 

 

Next up on my delightful journey through Maltese food traditions was a Kinnie- a kind of soft drink with herbs.

You guys. It’s not good. And it’s not refreshing. (Sorry Maltese Heritage).

Anway. I bought the drink at the Upper Barrakka gardens and then carried it down the (85% EU funded ‘verticle connection’ project) lift, and held on to it for about half an hour more while I tried to get it all into my body.

Two stars. Would not buy again.

We wanted to cross the harbour, but instead of taking the ferry, we took this guy’s boat for a couple of euros each.

Safe on the other side, we walked through a rather dry looking garden, said hellow to a rather mangy looking cat, and stared longingly over the ocean. 

… And then we headed into the city, which was strangly quiet.

Turns out the Maltese are also pretty invested in the siesta concept (or at least they are on Fridays?). At this point, I realised that all my water had run out, and there was not a single open shop, vending machine or house tap in sight.

Some panic ensued.

Anyway, we walked up to The Church, a church that is significant because it is where my great great great great etc. grandfather married my great great etc grandmother. I.e., the first trace of my family’s squattership on the small island of Malta after they moved from Cadiz, Spain.

We wanted to go into The Church to look up some family records, to see if we could fill in some holes in the tree (for example, the names of the women).

Turns out Churches also take Siesta.

So Kym made friends with some young kids who spoke fluent English, and we posed with Our Church, and then headed on our way.

And that was pretty much it for day one.

I mean, we also ate bragioli, one of my favourite of my grandfather’s meals (we used to call it DIRS. ‘IRS’ is ‘in red sauce’. This photo will help you guess what the D stands for.).

But to be honest, it was a bit dry, and not nearly as good as his.

So that was that.

The next morning we woke up, used modern technology to find our nearest pie shop.

And I got this:

Oh yeah, and this.

Day 2 was swimming and sunning day.

We didn’t so much do laps, as ‘stand and float around the water’ while watching all the people.

And then it was time to go for a walk.

Pretty eh?

We didn’t walk a whole lot, but it was enough to earn some more pastizzi, and an octopus pie. Oh, and some horse (dinner).      

Shame is a stupid emotion!

And that was it from Malta.  

Thanks so much Kym and Steph for inviting me- I had an awesome time, and it was so good to catch up with you two again!

and of course… Congratulations to both of you!!

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