February 18, 2019 – Balzan, Malta

Yesterday was our first full day in Malta and we made the most of it. Bob scoped out the route to the large grocery store, it was only about an 8-10 minute walk. We got well provisioned and after lunch at home we started out for the San Anton Gardens which are quite close to us. Unfortunately about halfway there we turned right when we should have turned left and ended up walking a bit further than we planned. Google maps on Bob’s phone is getting a good workout.

The gardens were lovely. There were all kinds of birds including ducks, peacocks, swans, both black and white, lots of turtles in one pond and parrots in large cages. There were a lot of orange trees full of fruit, we wondered who, if anyone, picks the fruit. It’s a bit early for a lot of flowers to be in bloom yet but I’m sure the gardens will be spectacular in a couple more months.

We went to dinner at the place we tried to go to last night. The food was good but was mostly sandwiches and salads with two mains specials, lasagna and chili. The building was interesting, and we think quite old so we were surprized the menu was not more extensive. We were sitting upstairs and of course no one else was there but by the time we left the place, upstairs and down were packed.

Today we took a very meandering bus to Naxxar where we visited the Palazzo Parisio, a Maltese stately home, it was pretty stately! The very large gardens were fabulous. A large orangerie and what looked like recently planted rows on pansies all over. This is perfect weather for pansies.

We then walked for about half an hour, mostly downhill, to Mosta where the main site is the Church of Santa Marija Assunta that has the fourth largest unsupported dome in Europe. The dome is stunning and very catholic with all its many statues of Mary and Jesus. Malta was very heavily bombed during WW2 and there was a bomb shelter just outside the church. It’s now open to the public and had had a lot of good photos from when the shelter was in use. Malta was a very strategic place for the allies to hold on to after Hitler and Mussolini joined forces. The pictures included a visit from Churchill during the was and the Maltese people were awarded the George Cross for their bravery and efforts during the war.

We had a big lunch in Mosta so we’ll be grazing at home for dinner, we’ve got lots of wine, cheese, cold meats, picks up some nice cakes for dessert – life is good. The last two days have been sunny, not much wind, so 14C temps are great for walking.

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