Holiday in Malta … spending the day in Bugibba and Qawra …

dscn6696It is strange how things some times unfold. Malta had never been on my radar…in terms of going for holiday. I cannot even remember whether I had ever heard of it before, at least not until a few years ago, from a friend … which explains why it had never occurred to me to want to go there! But it seemed that the hubby had been wanting to go to Malta for many years … and this therefore piqued my interest in Malta. Especially when he mentioned that there were ancient ruins there dating as far back as several thousands of years ago … I was hooked!

So … when the hubby suggested going to Malta for the holiday, I was game for it. But as this was meant to be a holiday with and for the parents … we also checked out a few other places to see which would be good for them.

In the end, we decided to go for Malta because we were thinking that …

  • as an island in the Mediterranean with warmer climate than what we have here, this would meet the interest of the daddy-man who wanted to go somewhere warmer, loves to be near the sea and to swim in it; and
  • as an island with lots of interesting places to see and shopping areas, this could meet the interest of the mum who prefers sightseeing and shopping rather than lazing in the sun or swimming.

Alas … even the best of plans and intentions can fail, and they did! As I had shared earlier, despite showing videos of the island, Malta just did not interest the mum … not at all … so she refused to come with us! And so we went on our Maltese holiday … minus the mum! But that did not dampen our holiday spirit … and I think we had a good time (if not a great one) … doing a threesome holiday! Err … somehow that does not sound quite right when I put it that way.  But it was a clean fun, most assuredly … so if you were thinking of a different kind of holiday … shame on you!! 🙂

It had been raining quite heavily on the day that we were due to arrive in Malta. But fortunately, the rain had stopped by the time we arrived in the evening. But still … since our hotel was near the sea in an area called Qawra, it was quite chilly when the wind blew. And it was chilly in our hotel room, too, due to a draft from the window and the heating not working as well as it should have. A leak through the window from the heavy rain earlier in the day had also caused the carpet near the window to become very wet. And although I believe the chambermaid did something to dry it the next day … the damp smell never really went away throughout our stay. Not a very good start to our Maltese holiday, huh?

But thankfully, the weather the next day was not too bad. It was relatively sunny … albeit a bit chilly. And so … after breakfast, we decided to explore the area near our hotel.

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Entrance to the Dolmen Resort Hotel where we stayed in Qawra, located on the northeast of the Malta Island. Looks quite nice, doesn’t it?

One of the pull factor for choosing this particular hotel was certainly… not its Casino although it has quite a big one. 🙂 But.as its name suggests, there is an authentic Neolithic structure that stands undisturbed in the hotel landscaped gardens … called Bugibba Temple, which I will share more info on in a later entry.

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And then there is the Mediterranean sea close by and a small bus terminus situated only a few minutes’ walk away. There is even a bus stop in front of the part of the hotel building seen above … which made it quite convenient to go to any part of the island by public transport.

However, for a 4-star hotel … I think that service-wise, they could do better … especially on the front desk service. The staff there were not rude but they were not warm, either. And not as efficient as what one would expect of a 4-star hotel. In fact, there were times when there was no one at the front counter. I should have known that something was lacking when I didn’t get any reply to the email I sent to confirm our hotel stay a few days before our arrival. The only reply that I received was an automated one informing me that they would be getting back to me, which they never did. And then, to hear a guest telling the front desk staff that the toilet papers were missing from the toilet and another that the heating in their room was not working … as we were waiting to be checked-in … only served to point to the level of service we could expect from this hotel! I have a few more minor grievances … but … I think I will spare you the boring details lah!

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Nonetheless … we loved the view of the Mediterranean sea from our hotel room. This was taken when the sun was setting that evening after we came back from our walk. Quite beautiful, no?

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The beach area not far from the hotel. No one was swimming there that morning … for obvious reasons. 🙂

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The beautiful coastline as seen from the left side of our hotel towards the area called Bugibba.

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Qawra, together with Bugibba form part of the St. Paul’s Bay area.

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The junction of the road just after our hotel … as we walked towards the right of the hotel (not far from the bus terminus).

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The rugged coastline … on the left side of the road.

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A pole sticking out of the rock … which I thought might have been used as a fishing pole.

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Our hotel (the building on the left), as seen from this side of the bay.

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If not for the cold weather … I might have given in to the strong temptation to soak myself in the clear water on these shallow pools (since I cannot swim well). So … I could understand how disappointed the daddy-man was at not being able to swim, despite being near the sea.

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A zoom shot of a statue of St Paul that was on the opposite peninsula from where we were … across the bay.

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Enjoying our leisurely walk through the coastline in St Paul’s Bay … and decided to have a drink at a small café there.

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Prickly pear cactus which could be found all over the island … this one bearing lots of fruit (red in colours). The fruit from this cactus can be made into jam.

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Anyone care to sit on an old coca cola-chair … while drinking a glass of coke? 🙂  Well, we decided to pass …

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… and chose to sit on ordinary looking plastic chairs facing the sea, instead. A nice place to have a cuppa. Not only was the sea view a sight for sore eyes … the cost of the drink was great for the pocket, too!! A cup of coffee or tea cost only €1 each!You can never get that kind of price in Switzerland!!  Generally, prices of food and drink are much cheaper here than in Switzerland.

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An interesting looking restaurant in the area which was built around an old fortification structure (only the top is visible from this side).

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Wish I could have one of these in hilly Lausanne … 🙂

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Street view in the area.

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Residential apartments in the area … with their pastel cream colour … typical of the buildings’ colour pretty much everywhere in Malta. I quite like the look of their residential buildings … but not the wires and cables that hung across the street from one building to another (you have to look very closely to see them).

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Nor this …

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The people living on this floor have to contend with wire cables running across their balconies and windows. Hmmm … not a very pretty sight … more of a scary one …

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Another street view … but this time with a Singaporean model (not) in it! hahaha….

I was mistaken for a Filipina, there … maybe because there are a number of Filipinas that either work or came to visit the island. We certainly came across a few while there.

After checking out this side of St. Paul’s Bay … we then walked towards the other side of the Bay.

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A small square in the town of Bugibba with many eateries and bars.

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As it was quite nice area … we decided to take a break from our walk and have something to drink and nibble, here.

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No, no, no … not at Pizza Hut … but next to it lah. The bruschetta that we had here was so delicious that they were soon gone within minutes. I love the Maltese bread that they used for the bruschetta. And I also love their cappuccino … which is more to my taste (as I don’t like it too creamy). And it was cheap too … not even €1.50 a cup. So … I had two cups lor! hehehe … 🙂 It was also here that I saw the Malaysian restaurant … which unfortunately, only served Chinese cuisine. Too bad lah!

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Looking towards the area where our hotel was located as the sun was starting to set.

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It is a nice area to go for a walk regardless of the time of day … but of course, it is more romantic to walk along this seafront in the evening lah! Since he could not swim in the sea, the daddy-man went for long walks along this stretch of coastline almost every morning.

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A pier near the area … during sun set.

Unlike St Julian’s which also looked quite nice when we were passing through it (the area where we had initially thought of staying), St Paul’s Bay is further from the city centre. But there are more open spaces here … and the landscape, especially the coast, is more rugged. It’s a nice area … and I enjoyed looking at the landscapes whenever we took the public transport out to visit other areas on the island. So … except for some grievances with the hotel itself … I was glad that we chose to stay in this area. 🙂

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