Saturday, May 02, 2015

Saturday May 2nd 2015

Woke up - and it's my birthday!
As far as I can remember it's the first time that I am on a trip when this happens.

Anyhow; busy day today!

We got on a bus towards the southwest part of Malta and to the Malta Falconry Centre - a place where they have different birds of prey to help preserve the species on Malta and to educate the public about birds of prey.

They also have shows where the birds (and the falconers) show off their skill. Unfortunately it was too windy so there was no show today.

But we did get to meet met the birds anyhow in a private showing.
Some of the larger birds were not used for training and were just kept in large cages, but the ones we met up close included several hawks, eagles, owls - and of course falcons.

The also had a very affectional vulture - hatched at the centre.

The owners of this place were very caring of their birds and the birds they trained seemed to have a good life.

We also got to hold some of the birds (sitting on our hand) - and pet them. They liked that! :)

Here is me with an owl:

And an eagle: 
Also: here is picture of an proud hawk (sitting by its own):

After this very interesting place we continued to the coast and to the Blue Grotto (also featured on The Amazing Race!  ;)

Close by there was one of many watch towers on this island. The massive threat of invaders tends to get these towers built.

After some lunch with a beautiful view of the Mediterranean Sea, we headed down to the harbour where small boats took us to the caves along the shoreline.

We went into some of the caves with the boat and you could really see the blue water: 

A few other spectacular colours could be found on the cave walls: 

After this - on the bus again and towards the town of Paola.

We intended to see Hypogeum, a subterranean structure dating back 5000 years. Let me say this again: FIVE THOUSAND YEARS. That is about 1000 years before the pyramids.

Unfortunately you had to book ahead to be able to go in there (and it was currently fully booked for the next two months!) It also cost about € 30 to go in there. Expensive - but it was (probably) exciting stuff.

Instead we went to the Tarxien Temples a few hundred meters away. Its oldest part is also around 5000 years old, but this was in a more open area (as opposed to Hypogeum which was located in a house! - I guess the site was dug out underneath the house?)

Anyhow; this is how it one looked:

Note that some stones (the ones that looks remarkable undamaged) are replicas made after the temples were discovered.

The site consisted by several temples from different ages.

After this, we aimed for this cannon I wanted to see yesterday (but never did).
However while waiting for the bus, we discovered that the fort where it's at, closes at 5pm (and it was a 4:45 when we saw this) so there was no way we would make it.
And to make matters worse, it was closed on Sundays = I won't be able to see it. :(
And that's one of the main things I wanted to do on Malta! Bah!

Anyhow, instead we headed back to the hotel. Once there I got a surprise; in my room there were some chocolate and a bottle of sparkling wine!
The hotel had noticed that it was my birthday and gave this to me along with a Happy Birthday card!

Nice going, InterContinental - and thank you! :D

Today the dinner was to be had at a place recommended by a friend; Meat & Co.
The food was good, especially their La Classica Tagliata. Fantastic!

I heartily recommend this place, but make sure to reserve a tables on their balcony. We were in luck and got one of these table without reservation.

Good food with a lovely view!

Today I also wanted to get this dip in the ocean-thing done with (can't visit Malta without taking a swim in the Mediterranean, right?)

So we went to the small beach close to the hotel and jumped in for a few minutes.
There were more people on the beach, but we were the only ones actually swimming this late. The water was cold. Brrrr.

After this is was back to the hotel again.
Tomorrow is our last day here.

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