Archive for Oktober, 2010

Okt 31

Diving at Dwejra

Fortunately the hour changed last night so we got one hour extra sleep (end summer time) ;-)

The diving centre picked us up around 08:30 at the hotel.

Our dive guide “Dino” was very nice and we were diving alone with him. The dive site is known as “Blue Hole & Chimney & Coral Cave”. The dive was just great! The visibility was good and there were many fishes to see. The cave was really cool and the reef wall was beautiful! We found it better then our last dive in Sardinia and we decided to go diving again tomorrow!

It was around 14:00 by the time we got back to the hotel: we were both starving and very tired! We just dropped our diving gear in the hotel room and went immediately for lunch! Amazing: the restaurants were all full!!! It looks like all Maltese decided to come to Gozo for the weekend and they were all having lunch around 14:00 !!!! Well, we found ourselves a nice restaurant … had to wait a while until we got our food but it didn’t matter: we just wanted food!

After lunch and with a full stomach we went to the yacht in order to check if everything was ok. The yacht was fine and we did have a better place then other boats that got later: lucky we’re so small!!! We double checked everything and every mooring line again and went back to the hotel: the wind is supposed to blow stronger tonight and although the Marina personnel is the whole night around and controls everything, we don’t want to have any surprise tomorrow morning!

The rest of the day was very relaxing: we slept until now and are just getting ready for dinner in the hotel heheh ;-) We do are getting old and lazy ;-) ))

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Okt 30

A visit to Victora and Xlendi

Once in Gozo you have to go dive (if you’re a diver of course!). We met a diving group yesterday and they told us there was no diving school in Mgarr so we had to go to another city on the coast to arrange a dive.

The good thing is: Gozo is only 14km long and 7km wide so there are no big distances here :-)

We took the bus from Mgarr to Victoria (Gozo’s main town) so we could go to Xlendi (a city on the coast where you have several diving schools).

Victoria is the main town from Gozo and all buses start/stop there! It’s interesting though, since it is not (as someone would expect) on the coast but in the middle of the island …but you can see almost the whole coast from Victoria!!!

Once in Victoria we visited its famous Citadel “Il-Kastell”. It had a different charm in comparison to the French citadels in Corse: it is smaller and older but also very beautiful. We walked through the old streets and ended up having lunch in a small restaurant there. It was windy and cold and we needed something to warm up ;-)

On the way out we found an interesting site to visit: the old silos where, around 1648, which were used to store grain and were later used for water (until 2004!)! The site also had some kind of shelters built in the walls of the citadel’s cliff where some soldiers used to live during the war.

We went then to Xlendi and were able to book a dive for tomorrow morning. Xlendi is a very beautiful small fisher village … it is for sure a very crowded place in the summer! Check the photos ;-)

With our dive for the next day planed it was now time to return to the boat and checking in to the hotel: I didn’t mention it before but we decided to have a short sailing break and spent the next three nights in a hotel! We realized we are very tired since we slept so bad last week as we had so many thunderstorms during the night!

We could hardly wait to spend the night in a bed that doesn’t move the whole time! The boat is safe and we both checked more then once if everything was ok. It was now time to move in to the “Grand Hotel” in Mgarr Harbour (we’re not crazy -> the hotel is very close to the Marina so we can very easily check the boat if necessary ;-) )

We’re at the hotel right now and we are enjoying our short break already. The hotel has a small private cinema (it’s cool since it is really a small cinema version!) and we’re going to the cinema tonight ;-)

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Okt 29

Gozo and Squid Fishing by sunset

We had a light breeze now and just old waves today: a good moment to continue our trip! We left Vittoriosa in the morning and set the course towards Gozo. It is not far away from Vittoriosa so we had more then enough time to enjoy the trip and do some fishing. Unfortunately I spent too much time below deck and got sea sick, so we had to stop moving around and had to head straight to Gozo (my fault we didn’t get a fish today!).

Right opposite from Gozo’s harbour “Mgarr” is the famous “Blue Lagoon” bay. We did a short visit but didn’t anchor there: it was too cold for me to go swimming … but believe: there were people doing it (swimming I mean!)!!

We got a really good place at the Marina and having the boat safe we went for a walk in Mgarr. On the way, we watch as some guys were bathing a horse in the harbour! That was interesting to watch: we didn’t get the feeling the horse was enjoying it though ;-) .

Since the evening was quiet and there was almost no wind, Basti convinced me to go with him Squid fishing: we got the Dinghy ready and all our waterproof clothes and fishing gear ready and left before the sun went down!

That was cooll!!! We just went outside the harbour, far away enough to get away from the Ferries traffic. Basti gave me one of his fishing rods and explained me what to do so I could get a squid. As the sun went down and we got a wonderful strong red sunset to watch, we were both with a fishing rod in the hands and trying to get a Squid!!!! What an adventure!!!!

Well…meanwhile it got dark and some fisher boats joined us (not too close) but we still had no Squid :-( We kept on trying and sometime I realized my rod was a little heavy! Basti helped me and by the time we got the fishing line out of the water we had a fish!!!! It was a small fighter though and …unfortunately he was able to get free while we were trying to get him inside the boat :-( Good for him or he would end up in our pan ;-)

We ended up returning to the Harbour without a squid and without my fish … had to eat pasta with green pesto tonight :-(

I might give it another try if the weather gives us a chance again … it was funny ;-)

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Okt 28

Mdina and the north side of Malta

We are planning to leave to Gozo tomorrow so we decided to do the north sightseeing tour and go to Mdina (it used to be the capital of Malta, before Valletta).

In order to get to the sightseeing bus we needed however to get to Valletta first. Today we decided to try something different: instead of taking the bus we took a “Taxi boat” :-)

It’s not the cheapest way to get to Valletta from here but it is in fact the quickest!

The north sightseeing tour took us through the known “three villages” where it’s possible to visit the best island’s gardens “San Anton Garden” (we skipped it), by Ta’Qali which is known for its crafts and Aviation Museum (we also skipped it), by the Chadwick Lakes and finally we got to Mdina.

If we found Valletta or its surrounding cities small then that was because we didn’t know Mdina before!!! Mdina is for sure smaller then all the other cities! It has in fact less then 400 inhabitants! It is however very very beautiful and worth a visit! It was unfortunately very windy and cold so after seeing most of the main buildings we were searching for a place to eat and where we could get warm! It was really cold today!!!

After eating something and getting warm we went back to the bus stop and decided to move with the sightseeing tour. We were not very keen on hoping-on, hoping-off … more on sitting on the bus and watching/taking photos while passing by ;-) Can it be that we’re kind of getting lazy????

Well…we did the rest of the tour…passed by the beautiful Golden bay and the famous St. Paul’s bay…and went back to Sliema along the coast.

To be honest, by the time we got to Sliema we were both very cold and tired of sightseeing. We just wanted to get back to the yacht, relax and enjoy our heater fan…which we are doing right now ;-)

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Okt 27

The Hypogeum

We didn’t sleep very well again: lightnings and thunders almost the whole night! Fortunately it stopped around dawn and we were finally able to get some sleep in the morning!

Since the Hypogeum’s visit was only in the afternoon we decided to have a quiet day: we went for a walk at the Marina and watched the “Rolex Cup” yachts which had returned during the night.

In the afternoon we went to visit the Hypogeum: it was great!!! Trying to summarize, the Hypogeum is a 3600 BC kind of “graveyard and temple”. It’s really impressive and somehow a beautiful pre historical site which should not be missed if you ever come to Malta! By the way, only 60 people per day are allowed to visit the Hypogeum: 10 per tour. Usually you need to book with 2 to 3 weeks in advance! Unfortunately, it was not allowed to take photos so…you’ll have to check in internet in case you want to know how it looks like :-(

After visiting the Hypogeum we just walked back to the Marina (needed to do some sport after such a lazy day, right ;-) ).

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Okt 26

Move to Grand Harbour Marina

We go up really really early today: we wanted to be around 08:00 at the “Fine Arts Museum” so we could get the last minute tickets for the famous “Hypogeum”.

We were lucky and got a bus immediately and managed to get there about 08:05. There were already 6 people in front of us!!! No idea what time they got there… Unfortunately they don’t control the amount of tickets a person can buy and there was a woman buying 6 tickets!!! Good we got there so early…we managed to get tickets for us!!!!! :-) 15 05n4tes later and we wouldn’t have so much luck!

Well, by the time we got back to the yacht it was time to change. The owner of the berth we’re currently in, is expected to return today so we had to move to another Marina.

We were on the Msida Marina which is on the west side of Valletta and had to move to the Grand Harbour in Vittoriosa which is on the East side of Valletta. It was the shortest trip we’ve ever done in the last months: 3 miles (less then 45 minutes from one berth to the other :-) )!!!

If you have never been to Malta just take some time and look at a map: it’s a completely different city concept here. Just for you to have an idea, the capital city “Valletta” is less then 1km long and 600 mt wide. The city where we just moved in “Vittoriosa” is 800m long and 400m wide!!! Cities are very small and very close to each other…in fact, we thought at the beginning that it was all just one city not 4 or 5 :-)

On our way to the new Marina we were accompanied by 4 helicopters. No idea what they were doing but they flew for several times over us!

The new Marina is great!!!! The place where we moved in is much quiet and it has excellent 5 star washrooms!!! I loved it….almost better then at home ;-)

Since the Hypogeum tickets are only for tomorrow we decided to spend the rest of the day doing a “Malta sightseeing tour” …. What else to expect from us ;-) ?!?!

There are two sighseeing tours: the south island tour and the north island tour. We visited the south today: we passed by the fisher’s village “Marsaxlokk”, the “Blue Grotto” (we didn’t get out though … too lazy and tired for hop-on, hop-off), the “Hagar Qim Temples” and back to Sliema (the tourist centre of the island).

It was a good idea the tour: after that we were so tired that we just went to the yacht and enjoyed the great 5 star showers at the Marina ;-)

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Okt 25

Another day at Valletta

Our first worry today was to clarify where we could stay for the next three to four days: we’re expecting strong winds until Thursday and we would like to have a safe and “comfortable” place for the yacht and for us :-)
The berth we are in now belongs to a yacht which is participating in the “Rolex Middle Sea Race”. Depending on how fast the yacht sails, she might return tomorrow evening or on Wednesday. Once the yacht returns and finishes the Race we have to leave the place where we are now.
Fortunately, Basti called another Marina close to here and he was able to reserve a place for us from tomorrow until Friday! Really good news :-) Hopefully there is no problem with their booking system and they are overbooked!!!! Let’s think positive ;-)
Just by curiosity: we found out in between that there is another Marina right on the other side of the creek. It belongs to a five star hotel…we thought about (just hypothetically) staying there since the Marina has lots of places free but …after checking the prices in the internet we didn’t think it would be a good idea: the cheapest we could get would be around 200 eur per night!!!
Well….once the “Marina” problem was solved we took the Bus to Valletta. We had another two issues to solve: 1. we needed to find a laundry; 2. we wanted to know if it still was possible to get tickes for the famous “Hypogeum” (an underground prehistorical necropolis for which you usually need to book the tickets one or two weeks before -> we’re kind of late!!).
The laundry problem was somehow easily solved and regarding the Hypogeum Tickets we got good news: I’ll have to wake up tomorrow morning very early and try to be around 08.00am at the front door of a museum. They sell 20 last-minute tickets per day for the Hypogeum but there’s always a huge queue of people trying to buy them…just like us :-(
Let’s see if I’m lucky!!! Wish me luck ;-)
The rest of the day we spent visiting some historical monuments in Valletta: some churches, the president’s palace, the war museum, St. John’s cathedral …. impressive monuments that are worth to be visited! Unfortunately we were not allowed to take photos in some places but the few ones we took should give you an idea how magnanimous the monuments are (the cathedral was amazing!).
One thing we photographed a lot today was the buses: they are soooooo funny!!!! Some of them don’t even have doors anymore! Really old and sweat and funny ;-)

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Okt 24

Valletta, probably Europe’s tiniest capital

Two fishers woke us up today: before 07:00 am!!!! That was not nice…not nice at all!!! They had decided to fish right besides our boat and were chatting so loud the whole time!!! :-(

Well…we tried to ignore them as we could and to sleep for another hour… it worked somehow!

After breakfast we went to the Marina and we managed to get a berth for the yacht for a couple of nights. The good thing in Malta is: everyone speaks English!!! It makes life really easier :-)

After moving the yacht to the assigned berth in the Marina we went exploring :-)

We took the bus to Valletta (we’re staying close to it … difficult to explain -> check our position in the “Aktuelle Route”) and went sightseeing: this time on foot!

Malta’s capital is very beautiful and very rich in old buildings. Somehow it reminded me a bit of England but it has also very strong Arabic influences! Very beautiful!!!

The cars here drive on the left – like in England … so you better watch out when crossing the street! And the buses are very very old :-)

We’re enjoying our time here… we want to stay here for more time but we need to figure out where we can stay first! It’s really crowded in the Marinas right now :-(

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Okt 23

On the way to Malta

We woke up really really early today: 06.00 am! Before dawn!!! It was dark outside but we had a long day in front of us and we wanted to get to Malta before sunset: we were counting with a 10 to 12 hour trip.

We have full moon now and since the sky was not clouded we had a very good visibility. Around 07.00 we could see the first sun signs at the horizon and it was really cool: the big round moon on one side and a light orange/red sky opposite….beautiful!

We had a wonderful sailing day today: we were able to set the sails before noon and we sailed the rest of the day. The wind and the waves were just perfect for such a trip: not too strong and not too light :-)

Around 14:00 we suddenly noticed several sailing yachts far away from us but coming in our direction: we had just met the sailing yachts taking part on the “Rolex Middle Sea Race”! We had checked before in internet and there were between 60 and 70 yachts participating on the race this year. These 60 to 70 yachts were now all coming in our direction!!! We had to keep on watching so we wouldn’t get in the way: they all had right of way!

We had AIS on and were able to track all maritime traffic around us. We took a screenshot from AIS by the time the Rolex Cup Yachts were getting close to us…check the photos, it’s really cool to see :-)

Basti got a big fish this time: we had to split it in two meals (too much fish for the two of us)! And fortunately, he only got the fish after all the yachts were gone!!!

We managed to get to Valletta (capital of Malta) around 17h. The Marinas are all complete because of the race so we had to improvise a place to stay for the night.

We went then for a short shopping walk in town (needed to get something to cook with the fish!!). On our way back it started to rain….a lot!!! We managed to get back to the boat right on time: some minutes later we had a thunderstorm!

Well…the rest of the night we spent it cooking and we went to bed as soon as we could: we’re no longer used to get up so early ;-)

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Okt 22

Archaological Park of Siracusa and Marzamemi

Before we left Siracusa we visited the “Archeological Park of Neapolis”.

The Park includes a roman amphitheatre, a greek theatre (which is very big and still in use today… in the summer months only) and an amazing huge cave known as “the Ear of Dionysius”!

It was really worth the walk and the time! The most impressive was really the Cave … it has an incredible acoustic!

Just one tip if you ever think about vising the Park: you need to have cash with you in order to buy the ticket. They don’t accept any card and the next ATM is 10 to 15 minutes walking (we know it…we ha to do it!).

On our way back to the yacht we passed by the very famous Siracusa’s sanctuary “Santurario Madonna delle Lacrime”. We were kind of disappointed: from the see it looks like an amazing construction, but once you get close it is just a huge cement block….well, it’s purpose is more religious …

We left to Marzamemi around midday. The see was a little rough in the beginning but as the time passed by it got smoother. Sometime on the way we even got the visit of a school of dolphins! In fact, we saw more then once a school of dolphins passing by. Coolll…. we missed the dolphins. It was a long time ago, the last time we’ve seen them! We tried to film them but it didn’t get very good…we put our best online so, see if you can see the dolphins ;-)

We don’t have any photos from here since we had to get our yacht ready for the big trip tomorrow. We’re planning to leave around 06.00 am and need to have everything ready before we go to bed! Our next destination: Malta!

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