Tuesday, 3 February - Departed San Francisco on Virgin Atlantic nonstop to
London Heathrow. 11 hours to reach London, then 11 more hours until my connecting flight
on Air Malta, arriving in Malta around 2:30 a.m. Thursday, then on through Customs and
to a waiting taxi driver with the key to my rented flat in St. Paul's Bay, a town
northwest of Valletta, the capital.
A map of the western Mediterranean shows the Maltese islands between Sicily
and Tunisia; the second map will give you an idea of where St. Paul's Bay is, in
relation to the rest of the island; the Maltese flag features George's Cross, awarded
to the Maltese people by Great Britain for their valiant defense of the island in World
Thursday, 5 February - What a treat to wake up and see this view from the
balcony of my 3rd floor flat! Days are mostly sunny, nights are still damp and chilly.
Just recovering from jet lag and beginning to learn how things work over here. First
day was consumed in shopping for necessities and getting this Internet connection
working. The telephone in the flat is a prepaid card "Easyline" system that required
special setup to work with my modem.
Pictured above are scenes from my balcony of St. Paul's Bay, looking across
to Xemxija (just ask me how to pronounce it!) and St. Paul's Islands (the
Mediterranean Sea and Sicily are to the upper right) and the living room, dining room,
kitchen and main bedroom of the flat.
Saturday, 7 February - I score Malta this way, so far: Old charm: 9, Food: 6,
Convenience: 4, Weather: 3. Now I think the weather is likely to improve and once I've
learned more about getting around, that will probably get better, too. Despite the cold,
windy day, I determined to get outside today. Sure glad I brought fur-lined gloves!
I discovered one (count 'em, ONE) restaurant quite near, and one "Self Service" (tiny
grocery) only a block away, neither of which were open, but I returned after 4 p.m. and
was able to buy groceries. But with three customers at the same time, it was hard to
maneuver around inside! [Later: actually, there's another very nice
restaurant equally close that I failed to notice at first.]
The first photo above is the outside of Seabreeze (the pink building)--I'm
the middle of the 3 balconies. The next photo is on my street (Triq Ghajna Rasul),
where a neighbor keeps his fishing boats. Notice the eye painted on the bow of the
boat--every Maltese fishing boat has this for luck. If you can't spot the eye, look in
the light tan triangle right at the bow. Also note the cat perched on the wall--I don't
know what a cat breeder might call it, but since it lives here, I can state assertively
that it's a Maltese cat! The next photo is the promenade immediately down the hill from
me one block. Finally, a sunset as seen right out my balcony window!