Location: Whitby, Ontario, Canada

Born in Malta but in Canada since age 5. Has written three books and presently does several columns about wine and food for various magazines.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Day Three: August 30th-----Once More With A Twist!

Back To The Future!
Very attractive guide, Trudy Grech, picked us up the next morning at 8:30 to take us to several areas that would be filmable. We got on the rather large bus (there were only two of us going) which sat at least 10 persons and the driver, Trudy, Greg and me went on a jaunt------to Blue Grotto!!!!! This time we got into a boat and went into the illuminous cavern. Greg got a whole new perspective on Zurrieq since he saw the cliffs from the bottom up. This was quite a stroke of luck since we now had two perspectives on the same place.
Marsaxlokk Market
One would not have guessed that this peaceful bay was once the scene of so much activity. About 60 Turkish Galleys appeared and tried to land here in 1614 but were driven away (only to ravage Zejtun). However the Turkish Treat as I call it was an on going problem in those days with the Knights of Malta acting as watchdogs over possible Turkish invasions. The battlements were stronger than they were in 1565 but the threat was always immanent.
Marsaxlokk today is a far cry from those times and this was epitomized by the rather large outdoor market along the shore. Here many fish stands as well as many other selling everything from sunglasses to records and tapes were patronized by crowds of people. Many tourists used this location to get various types of fruit and food to cut down on expenses. Why not? The food is fresh and the products good.
Greg did some filming at the stands as well as some stand up work in front of the camera. It was interesting to see that certain people enjoyed the exposure and just as many did not and refused to be on camera. The ones that we did get however were good.
We also went out to eat at a new and very fine restaurant called "Gente di Mare". The restaurant run by Mauro Azzopardi and Edward Schembri was an oasis in the heat of the day. Its air condition was very much appreciated and its food selection of which there was much seafood, was excellent. Greg went into the kitchen to film the chef cooking swordfish (which Greg ended up having) while I selected a Lampuka or Dolphin Fish (no relation to the mammal by the same name). Trudy had the Bream. It was an entire fish meal could to perfection and served with many Maltese trmmings. That and a bottle of Maltese white wines did the trick.
Hal Tarxien
The temple of Hal Tarxien dates back from about 3100 to 2500 BC. and being only several hundred yards away from the Hypogeum, some authors believe them to be "related" the four "household" partitions. The temple came complete with round smalled rocks (a majority think that these smaller rocks were used to move thirty-five ton rectangular rocks to place), animal and special rock carvings depicting bulls and antelopes, offering bowls and an array of tools and weapons. The Neolithic temple was found to be important since it predates the Pyramids.
Greg and I went there and basically did some filming. We left with plans to come back.
Senglea Point
We then went to Senglea Point---a watch tower that was built as protection from Turkish Invasion. Since the invasions were or seemed to be always immanent, these towers or booths were a common item built into many of the forts. Greg made use of the symbolic carvings: Ears, Eyes and a Feather by which he filmed the "SSH! Quiet! Someone might hear you!" routine.
Boat Ride
Walter was a gregarious friendly and very warm individual who also happens to run a small boat similar to an Italian Gondola but is a Dghajsa. He does a good business but his boat is very demanding. First it's a dying breed of boat. "There are only about one hundred left here now and the trouble is getting young people interested in the work and keeping the old boats going. It takes about 800 Euros a year to keep these boats maintained.
Walter worked in the British Navy and is now retired. He is a wealth of information trivia about Malta and the Knights. He also knows the area and can tell you who did what to whom and when so he knows his stuff. We toured the three cities Vittoriosa, Cospicua and Senglea from the sea.
Walter gives a good ride for the money on this boat and he even allows one to work it. I learned how to row the boat around and you know-------he said he'd hire me!
The group of us then retired back to the bus and went back home or should I say the hotel.
Greg and did the usual and tromped up to the Sliema promenade and had our supper----a Devil Dog from the Hot Devil Food stand.
Then it was back to the hotel to do some serious writing.