Arrival in Malta

IMG_20181101_161515.jpgSlept fine in the Bloc and woke up when the alarm went off at 615.  We were out pretty quick and through security, driven by a need for coffee!  We boarded about 730 and took off on time.

The flight was pretty full and in true BA tradition these days, there was no entertainment at all.  Not even an overhead movie shown.  They came round to sell coffee and M&S sandwiches at one point. Unbelievable.  Turkish Airlines give you a full hot meal and bar service free en route to Istanbul and in the meagre hour they have between Istanbul and Cyprus manage somehow to come around again with a hot panini and a full drinks service.

It was pretty uneventful and smooth though and we landed in Malta at 1215, midday.  Bags came through pretty quickly and we came out to find the lady from Aquarius rental car waiting for us.  Bob did the paperwork with her and we were soon on our way.  We have a Ford Focus estate car.  Needed the extra luggage space for our diving kit and cylinders.  We used our phone gps to get us to Maltaqua in St. Paul’s Bay, about 30 mins away.

Using the gps here always gives us a big laugh.  Maltese is a mix of Arabic and Italian and it has a lot of words with X in them or even XX.  The GPS lady comes out with some cracking pronunciations of the place names.  They are so incomprehensible that we just have to look at the direction of the arrowed route rather than look for her turning direction.

It’s feeling nice and warm here: 24C today with scattered clouds.  It had definitely rained a bit at some point but nothing since we landed.  Our first stop was at Maltaqua, our favourite dive operator on the island.  We walked in to find a dear old friend, Jack Ingle, filling cylinders.  He’s out here running a series of wreck diving expeditions.  We’ve known Jack for over 30 years.  He is another survivor of the Estartit BSAC Instructor training event where Bob and I met.  Big hugs all round and a catch up.  Hopefully we will meet up for dinner soon.  Then Agnes (the owner of Maltaqua) came out and there was more hugging.  Such nice people.  We got all the paperwork out of the way and will go back tomorrow to sort out the rental cylinders and weights.

We were starving by now.  Just a yoghurt in the airport and two coffees were leaving a yawning hole!  We went into the little pub/café next door and ordered a snack.  I had grilled octopus.  Bob had a chicken Caesar salad which was very odd and nothing like a Caesar salad.  We ate it.  It was cheap.  The octopus was quite tasty actually.

Then we drove around the corner to the cash and carry where we usually stock up with food.  Bought a real trolley full: vegetables, chicken breasts and legs, different sorts of fish, a massive bag of meatballs; dips, breads…. lots and lots of things.  I looked at it and had £200 in my head, but in fact it was only 137euros (£120).  Perhaps it was the lack of alcohol.  We bought a bottle of rose and 4 cans of beer, not very much at all.  Still, a pleasing result.  We have noticed before that food is cheap in the supermarkets here in Malta.  A puzzle as much of it must be imported…..

On to the hotel, about 20 minutes from the dive centre.  So nice to be back at the Radisson Blu.  We really like it here.  The condo is very comfortable: huge bedroom, bathroom with spa bath, separate shower, double sinks and vanitory units and separate loo.  Massive lounge/diner/kitchen.  It’s a full kitchen with stove, hob, dishwasher, microwave, fridge and freezer.  There is a sofa bed in the lounge.  We’ve stayed here with Daisy before and she’s had the sofa bed and that works well.  If it were another couple you’d definitely want one of the two bedroom units though, in my opinion.   There is also a huge balcony with dining table and chairs, accessible from both the bedroom and the lounge.  The view is up to the mountains although if you look left and crane a bit you can see the sea!!!!

We unpacked all the food and our cases and were completely straight by about 630.  At this point, I have to confess, that we were totally exhausted from our long day, and we decided to get our jimjams on and flop about the condo.  Looking forward to some sun tomorrow and then Stuart and Fi arriving tomorrow night.