Malta

http://www.ypdbooks.com/ebooks/1467-malta-my-island--YPD01655.htmlWhen established author Mark Harland decided to turn away from novels for his next work, he chose to write his memories of living as a young boy in Malta. Born at the David Bruce Naval Hospital in M’tarfa, he went to England with his parents when he was two years old. When the Admiralty transferred his father, Victor, back to Malta in 1960, the author attended St. Andrews Army School for the next three years.
This book traces his life over those years, from living an idyllic life by the sea at St. Paul’s Bay to moving to Sliema, where life brought different but still memory-enriching experiences.

From the people he went to school with to the shopkeepers, hoteliers and farmers he befriended the author recounts tales as if they happened yesterday.
When he left ‘his island’ in 1963, he could not possibly have foreseen that over four decades would pass before he returned. The last chapter deals solely with the numerous visits he has made in recent years and he describes how the island today compares with the island he grew up in as a boy.

OK that's the plug for the book, now for some travel advice.

Nowhere in the UK, including Scotland and Northern Ireland, is more than three and a half hours flying time from Malta. Thus it is ideal for those of you who simply don't like long-haul flights or are medically prohibited from making them.
Several airlines fly direct to Malta from London Heathrow, London Gatwick and many regional airports including Leeds Bradford, Manchester, Newcastle, East Midlands, Bristol, Belfast and Edinburgh. Check the websites of Air Malta (my favourite), Jet2, EasyJet and of course the ubiquitous Ryanair. People knock Ryanair but I can tell you that they have never lost my bags and always arrived within ten minutes of the scheduled time – important if you're looking to make train connections. For two years I have been trying to persuade Air Malta to fly to Doncaster Sheffield airport – watch this space.
There is only ONE airport in Malta known as Malta International Airport. It is on the site of the former RAF Luqa (pronounced Loo-ah) and as it had to accommodate V-bombers during the Cold War it boasts a very long runway, half of which is never used. Your plane is never going to run out of concrete!
The airport is located in the SE of the island and nowhere is more than half an hour away by road. So having decided to go to Malta, perhaps for the first time, you then have to choose a resort and a hotel. Check out the following websites:
www.mercuryholidays.co.uk
www.chevron.co.uk

I have used both companies many times. Both are efficient with few problems with booking and transfers to hotels when you arrive.
I recommend you buy an Insight/Fleximap of Malta either online or at WH Smiths for around a fiver. It is laminated and waterproof – and wine-proof!
If this is your first visit to Malta and you just want a general flavour of the place then I would advise that you select a hotel in the Sliema area. Be warned though it can be very busy with crowded buses to Valletta. Night life can be noisy too.
If you're looking for a slightly quieter life with nice easy walks in the winter sunshine (my idea of a real break) then head north to the Qawra, Buggiba and St.Paul's Bay areas. I particularly recommend the Gilieru Hotel in St. Pauls and the Qawra Palace Hotel. The latter gives instant access to over a mile of superb promenade adjacent to the blue Mediterranean, all of it on the flat which is important for Seniors and wheelchair users. The Malta National Aquarium is about a ten minute easy stroll along this promenade and apart from superbly presented marine life it also boats a nice cafe with very reasonable prices indeed. The Cafe Royale coffee shop in the Qawra Palace is one of the nicest I have ever used. You know it must be good when scores of local residents use it at weekends for family gatherings.
Other reasons for staying at the Qawra Palace are the proximity of a doctors surgery within a hundred metres and several pharmacies within walking distance. I have had to use them myself on occasions and they are friendly and efficient. This is good to know if you arrive without your UK medication! Take your written prescription with you just in case.
Qawra and Buggiba are not central geographically BUT they share a great bus terminus which means you can board an empty bus and guarantee a seat. Very important in the hotter months! From here an express bus runs direct to Valletta the capital and to Rabat & M'dina the old medieval capital and an absolute must visit.

For convenience and considerable cost savings do buy a multi-use bus pass called a Tallijna (pronounced tal-een-ya) from the terminus. Cost is fifteen Euros for twelve journeys anywhere. Using a full twelve journey Tallijna will not only save you three Euros but also a lot of fiddling about for coins as you board the bus. Furthermore the Tallijna is valid for a year so any unused journeys can be saved for your next trip. I do it all the time!
THE BUS TERMINUS IS LESS THAN TEN MINUTES WALK FROM THE QAWRA PALACE.
Malta might no longer have its ancient and much loved orange and brown buses but the island-wide network is clean and efficient. Use it and get about!

The nearby Garram Masalaa Indian restaurant is also a plus for me as a curry fiend! Run by an Indian gent and his Maltese wife and daughter Ruth it is very welcoming with one of those spotless open-plan kitchens where you can watch your chosen dish being prepared.

If you have read my book 'Malta my Island' you will note that I mention a lady called Josette Gauci whom I met a few years ago when she drove me from the airport to the Osborne Hotel in Valletta. This charming Maltese beauty can arrange to be your Guide to Malta for a day or several days – to suit you – whether you are a solo traveller or in a small party. Drop her an email and introduce yourself.


gauci_josette1997@hotmail.com

Malta is my favourite island in the whole world. I hope you get to love it as much as I do.

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