We started the day with the most important meal: breakfast.
Time for tea before heading off to Uluwatu.
Arrived in Uluwatu but not really sure what to make of it. Walked around, met some monkeys and watched the Kecak & Fire dancing at six, before we made ourselves scarce.
Had dinner in vintage restaurant Balique.
Malta for a couple of days: what to expect not sure but we will soon find out. We chose to stay at the Soreda Hotel in Qawra; not a bad hotel except the first room we were given was next to a building site so on our first morning we were rudely interrupted at six in the morning as building began. A swift phone call to the reception and a room change later problem solved, although: why put guests in rooms next to a building site when you have empty rooms elsewhere in the hotel doesn't make sense.
We decided to head off to St. Julian’s. Now, that's more like it: a nice town with picturesque houses dotted around the small but pleasant harbor. We wandered around for a while, had a cup of coffee and decided to go to the open air swimming pool next to the harbor. When we arrived there was only a couple of other people, locals it seemed, just there to do a few lengths for the exercise. The houses around the bay had a certain fading glamour about them, like a theme was building here, but we would give it time. The colour of the water in the harbour with pretty little boats bobbing around on it was worth the visit but I felt something was still missing?
We had dinner in another hotel on our way back which wasn't bad but nothing to write home about.
The next morning we headed for Valletta, the capital of Malta, by boat. Valletta had an almost cosmopolitan feel to it. Plenty of shops, a nice harbour, quaint streets, but then it started to rain. That put a dampener on things for a while, but after about 40 minutes the sun popped out again so we visited the Grand Masters’ Palace which was worth it, an impressive collection. After about an hour or so we walked around the wet streets to the view of the harbour from quite high up, in fact, I was surprised how high up we were but what a nice view.
We had dinner that evening in a restaurant in a row of about four different restaurants. It was warm enough for the time of year to sit outside. We had Italian food, not my favourite but nice enough as it turned out. There are not many places I've travelled to that I don't find some sort of connection with but this was one of them. I even found it hard to write this piece because of it but I had to get it out of the way. Sorry, Malta I'm sure you’re loved?
On a grey wet day just after Christmas we set sail for Brighton for the day. Motorway all the way down makes the journey even more grey than the weather but it does save a lot of time, and before we know it a sign comes up saying ‘Brighton & Hove’. I haven't been down this way in years so it will be interesting to see what has changed. First up parking, found the station car park easily enough but how do you pay; no machines in sight. We found a sign that said pay by mobile phone, except the system stated that our phone number is withheld and it’s therefore not possible to continue. Of course, we don’t have a UK mobile number. What to do? We walked a quarter of a mile to the car park’s booth but yes you've guessed it: no one there; next step try in station. Just as we were about to go a woman appeared saying she just had to do her rounds and that we can pay her. All’s well that ends well, even if it had taken us twenty odd minutes to get this far.
Next stop the Dorset Bar & Kitchen in the North Laine to meet friends for lunch. After a quick phone call for directions we are off. No time to waste as we were informed that they were already on the white wine. Can't be left out of that one… We were sat on the biggest table in the middle of the pub even though our friends had explained we may be a bit noisy, no problem they said. Seeing friends again after a certain amount of years always incurs a certain amount of screams and shouts but we soon calmed down. Brighton still seemed very busy even though the weather was still inclement. We had a great lunch of steak and chips, burgers and chips all washed down by a couple of glasses of white wine.
We needed to leave at about 4 o'clock and that left us just 45 minutes so we downed the coffee and headed back out into the throng, we did catch a glimpse of the sea at a distance but a walk along the sea front would have to wait till next time and I hope that won't be too long.
Born in Chiswick West London, grew up in Royal Berkshire, currently living in Amsterdam, the Netherlands