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Date: 04 Aug 2010 15:44:24
Title: The oldest swinger in town

Wednesday 4th August 2010
We have been in Malta now for a week and a half, having missed our weather window last Sunday because our autopilot was still not fixed.  We thought we might get away tomorrow, but another look at the weather forecast says not.  There are some strong winds forecast, straight on the nose as usual, tomorrow and Friday, so we'll be here until Saturday, when the winds will ease, though they will still be on the nose. The autopilot was fixed on Monday,so the weather is the only thing holding us up now. 
That's really not a problem for us because it's very nice here and we are enjoying our stay.  We are moored in Manoel Island Marina which is very pleasant, with views across the creek to Valetta.  We have been into Valetta several times on the bus - the standard fare is 47cents - and it takes only 10 minutes from here.  There is also a ferry which runs from just along the promenade over to Valetta.  From the bus station there we can get a bus to anywhere on the island.
We began our sightseeing our first weekend when we shared a hire car with Rob & Sarah (Serafina) and went for a tour around the island, map in hand.  We found some very nice bays, went to the Northern tip of the island and looked out at Gozo, and found a very nice spot for coffee and cake which we then returned to a few hours later for lunch!  We had heard and seen fireworks going off every night since we arrived and decided to visit one of the villages in the evening to experience their celebrations for the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary (or some such thing!)  The town was decorated and lit up, and the streets were full of stalls.  We found a spot to get a bite to eat, and discovered we were right where the fireworks would be let off.  Later we moved to the town square where enormous catherine wheels had been set up, and when they were let off we decided we were a little too close!
The church by day...                                                                            ...and lit up like a fairy grotto at night.
At least we now had some idea what was happening every evening when we heard the fireworks, and of how the Maltese enjoy themselves!
Once the car went back we set about doing lots of mundane jobs on the boat, stocked up in the supermarket where we could get all sorts of British foodstuffs we haven't seen in a while and in between used the buses to see a bit more of the island.
One of the old buses in Valetta bus station.                                        The view of Valetta across the bay from the marina.
A Valetta street, decorated for St Dominic's feast
We had seen adverts for a Rod Stewart concert when we first arrived and had thought we would be gone before it took place.  However, as it turned out that we were still here, we got ourselves some tickets and went along.  The last time we had seen him live was in the early 70's in Brixton, and it was interesting to see him now, aged 65, still singing the same old songs.  He also sang a few cover versions too, mainly Motown, which was also interesting. It was an enjoyable couple of hours, though we both agreed it lacked a bit of 'umph'. 
Rod Stewart in concert
The plan now is to enjoy a couple more days here in Malta, and then to set off for Sidi bu Said in Tunisia, hopefully Saturday morning. It's about 230 miles, so we'll be a couple of days at sea and probably arrive on Monday.  Fingers crossed the weather settles down as per the forecast!

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