Showing posts from June, 2019


I have a range of options to choose from when looking to flee the country. The two most common departure points are Heathrow and Gatwick airports. At about 2 hours and 3 hours respectively, they don't make for a quick getaway, but they do provide the widest choices of destination, particularly if one is looking to  go to far flung shores. Stansted and Luton airports are a good four hours away, but as the likes of RyanAir and EasyJet use them, they are good for ultra cheap fares. I've made use of all these options more than once.
The most local airport is Bournemouth International which offers some cracking fares courtesy of RyanAir, to some pretty decent places. Malaga, Krakow, Prague, Dublin and Malta to name but a few. Indeed, I could continue to reel off some desirable European destinations. But it's a small airport, so if I did continue, I wouldn't add an awful many more words to this paragraph. We've used Bournemouth airport plenty though.

But living on the c…

Bus 81 to Marsaxlokk

Shall I rate the four Maltese locations visited by Mrs P and yours truly? Scores out of ten, as is the normal practice. Rabat and Mdina score an easy 9 for its beauty and tranquility. The capital, Valletta, gets a 7.5 for its blend of history and shabby chic aesthetics. The Blue Lagoon on the Island of Comino also scores 7.5. If there'd been a thousand people fewer, I'd have given an extra point. If there'd been no one but Mrs P and I, it'd score a perfect 10.
The final destination on our whirlwind tour of Malta took us to Marsaxlokk, a small fishing village tucked away on the south eastern tip of the mainland. I'd seen pictures of the colourful fishing boats bobbing gently on the mirror like waters in the bay. It looked magical. Up close and personal, in the flesh, it's less so. The brochure doesn't show the cranes, tankers and other items of industry that lie in the background across those tranquil waters. But that's not to say that the place doesn&#…

The Alleys of Rabat and Mdina

First impressions count. The first impression one gets of a city is from the window of your aeroplane as you fly in. The first sight I had of Mexico City was a breathtaking view of the mountains silhouetted by the setting sun with the vast metropolis in the foreground twinkling as the lights came on. My first sight of Malta was less majestic.

We flew over a yellowish landscape that was largely rural, with small towns and villages dotting the lanscape. And I wondered aloud if we were overflying Syria. So many half built shacks. Or were they half destroyed? It's tough to tell from 10,000 feet in the air. But it looked a bit of a mess. 
We stayed in Rabat, with Mdina just a short walk away. One could argue that this area has a look of Syria about it, but from a decade or two ago, before the bombs and shells did their work. The names Rabat and Mdina certainly have an Arabic ring to them. It seems that everyone and their mother have been through Malta at some stage. Phoenicians, Roman…

Monzo in Malta

Our trip to the Blue Lagoon on the tiny island of Comino was a highlight of our short trip. The water is postcard perfect, is it not? Alas, the island has one tiny issue. People. Lots of people. Boat loads. If you want to pitch yourself on the tiny strip of sand, you'll need to be there at the break of dawn. By early morning, even the rocky bits are occupied. You're best of doing what we did and stroll over to Santa Marija Bay. It's a 20 to 30 minute walk, or a few minutes in a shuttle jeep at €3 each way. 
But unless you have a physical impediment, go for the walk. It's a very pleasant and scenic stroll. And Santa Marija Bay will be far less crowded. It's not quite so dazzlingly beautiful. But it's good enough. There are a couple of dozen sun loungers for rent, and half were empty. But this will at least in part be due to their cost, €10 each. We went for towels on sand. There's a couple of huts there serving up food and drink, and a small hotel with a ba…


Mrs P and I have been to experience the delights of Malta, the tiny island in the middle of the Mediterranean, just south of Sicily. And why not? It's the perfect short getaway for a resident Bournemouth. Flights from the local airport, just a ten minute drive from home, are cheap - from £60 to £100 return - and it's just three hours away. We set off early on a Thursday morning, enjoyed two full days in the sun and flew back mid-morning on Sunday, lightly bronzed and thoroughly relaxed.
What did I know of Malta before I went? It's small and rocky. The islanders bravely fended off the Nazis in WW2 - the Maltese flag features the St George cross, awarded by their then imperial master, the British. There's a bit of an issue with organised crime and suppression of the press. There's the Maltese dog. That was about it. Mrs P and I argued over just how small Malta is. I said smaller than the Isle of Wight. She disagreed. I have checked. And I was right. 
What didn't …

The Secret Garden

We Brits have few nice things to say about our weather. We do not receive the amount of sunshine that we would like. But it's not just about the gross amount of solar rays that reach our little island. It's the useable quantity. Let me give an example. Last week we set off on a day trip, deep into rural Wiltshire. It had been sunny all week, so why not make the most of it? Needless to say, the sun disappeared the moment we departed. And stubbornly refused to to reappear until the moment we returned home. We Brits have been playing this game of galactic hide and seek for millenia. It's a game that we are handsomely losing.
The garden? It's a strenuous half hour walk from the nearest train station at Avoncliff, up and down a steep hill. But that is all I can say. Mrs P has declared it a 'secret garden', just for us.