April 2, 2008

Hiking Northwestern Malta

Posted in Exploring, Travel, Visitors tagged , , , , , , , at 9:12 am by Lauren

On March 6, our second full day in Malta, we allowed ourselves a couple of extra hours of sleep and then had a cappuccino with one of the hotel employees. We thought he wanted to talk us up (ie, sell us a timeshare), but it was a pleasant chat with no mention of trading firstborns for vacation rentals.

Since we were taking a day tour of the island on Friday, and it was too late to venture to Gozo for the day (we wanted a full day there), we opted instead to do some hiking. Originally we wanted to hike to Ghadira and Mellieha Bay, then start a second hike northwards around Marfa Ridge. But we left on our hike around 1 pm, which meant we could get to Ghadira and back (or perhaps do both hikes and take the bus back).

The beginning of our hike, finding our way to the trail from the hotel, wound along almost-paths through ruins and cacti.

We followed pebbly tracks upwards and towards the coast. We reached the edge and caught our breath while we looked out over the cliffs and the shore below. Then as we walked away, Mom said something like, “Are you paying attention about how to get back?” (Sorry, Mom. I really did think this was hilarious, which is how it’s making its way onto my blog a month later.) I said something stupid about how I’d been dropping breadcrumbs instead, but “to appease her” (because I think I’m SO funny, when really I’m a terrible dork, which you’ll see) I took a picture of the hotel which was still in view.

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Then we continued along the coastal cliffs for quite a while. From one bay, we were able to see the Maltese island of Gozo in the distance. (Little did we know that a few days later, we’d be standing on Gozo, looking at Sardinia in the distance.) We turned inland on a road “fenced” in by traditional Maltese limestone walls.

Shortly afterwards, we arrived onto an overlook of Popeye Village. This is where the movie Popeye was filmed in the 1980s with Robin Williams. (Who in our group remembered that? Was it Dad? Well played.)

After Popeye Village – which looks a lot more quaint in the picture than in real life, where it looked like a sad spoiling of a beautiful bay – we walked through the back of a children’s amusement park. It was quite strange. But this picture says it all.

Then we proceeded to get slightly lost for a long time, but we did arrive at Mellieha Bay. (But not before running into a pen-like enclosure with no fewer than 15 cats inside. What!) We checked our watches, looked around, and walked straight for the nearest hill. Then went up it. For a really long time.

Dad and I actually jogged up part of the hill, which I think concerned Allen because, you know, alien abductions are real, and he thought they had gotten me for sure when he saw me running up a hill. Eventually, we were all at the top of the hill in Mellieha, so we looked around to see how we could continue going up, up, up, and climbed some more. And you know, we went over one of the highest points in Malta. So there was nothing left for it but to go over and down again. This time we walked along the roads, which was no less pretty (perhaps more), a little more exhilirating (highest road accident rate in Europe), and definitely easier on the feet.

This time it was Mom and Dad who were jogging and downhill. That was just too hard on my knees. At the bottom of the hill was an aqueduct and fields with rich red dirt and the sun going down.

From that point, it took us about another 30 minutes to reach the hotel. (Don’t worry – we referenced the picture to make sure it was the right hotel. That just gets funnier and funnier to me.) We got there just as the sun was really dipping below the cliffs.

That night I hit Google maps to see how far we walked. I suspect it was about 10 miles, but since Google maps don’t include any towns or roads (or similar frivalous landmarks) in Malta, I was unsuccessful. But we didn’t really need to know just how many miles it was. Our legs would remind us for days how long we’d walked. 

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1 Comment »

  1. […] than Mom and I, as he was looking for a bathroom. In some ways, the little buildings reminded me of Popeye’s Village in Malta. Think about it. Both were built purely for entertainment. And like Popeye’s Village, Marie […]


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