Picture of the Week

10 March 2017

Week 09: mostly Malta

Filed under: — Administrator @ 07:26

I spent most of the week in Malta, where we had 3 days of meetings and a conference. I have created a separate gallery of sights from Malta, but in this blog I focus more on the people with whom I spent the week, and various details, not least the delicious food we ate. But I start with some images from Sunday’s bicycle ride in the mountains.

9_1
Mountains and clouds, near Busot:
R001409

9_2
A small Danish flag in a driveway near Busot. Apparently there are Danes living in the house, and they must have had a celebration of some kind. It is very common in Denmark to use the flag in this manner:
R001414

9_3
Along the road between Busot and Aigües. There was a rally here in December, and a driver died in an accident. His friends have installed this small memorial plaque:
R001415

9_4
At the entrance to Aigües, there is a colourful mural, advertising the pleasures of living in this small town and claiming that you do not need a doctor if you live here:
R001419

9_5
R001418

9_6
On Monday morning, I flew to Valletta via Barcelona. At Barcelona airport, I came across this nice family. I asked the man if I could take a picture, and he agreed:
R001421

9_7
After checking in at my hotel, I went for a walk. Malta has lots of stray cats, just like Spain:
DSF1042

9_8
I stopped by the Bayview shopping centre to buy some essentials such as beer. They were having a carnaval event for children:
DSF1047

9_9
The beach at St George’s Bay. Not the usual beach attire on display here:
DSF1051

9_10
In the evening, I went for dinner at Del Borgo, a very local restaurant in the centre of Valletta. The olive oil and dressing bottles are very standard all around the Mediterranean:
DSF1061

9_11
Maltese food is an eclectic blend of Italian, North African and other Mediterranean influences. It is different from the Spanish food I am used too, but delicious nonetheless. This is the appetizer we had, a Maltese platter consisting of peppered cheese, sundried tomatoes, marinated sausage, fresh tomatoes, artichoke hearts and a kind of hummmus but made of beans rather than chick peas:
R001422

9_12
Our main dish. I replicate the restaurant’s description: “BIL-GUNGLIEN: Maltese bread dough stuffed with pork belly meat, ricotta cheese and oregano, sprinkled with sesames seeds and oven baked”. This is not light food by any means, but a a delicious indulgence:
R001424

9_13
Wednesday afternoon, we had a guided tour of Valletta. We started at Upper Barrakka Gardens, from where there is a great view of the city and its harbour:
DSF1095

9_14
DSF1104

9_15
Here is a distant relative of my golf course cats back in Alicante, on a statue in Barrakka Gardens:
DSF1100

9_16
DSF1101

9_17
Here is another kitty, enjoying the sunshine near St John’s Cathedral:
DSF1107

9_18
Our tour continued to St John’s Cathedral, an utterly magnificent church:
DSF1117

9_19
The Ten Commandments:
DSF1138

9_20
A grave inside the cathedral. Our guide explained that the smiling skulls were a particular (and strange) Maltese tradition:
DSF1134

9_21
We continued on to Mdina, an ancient walled part of Malta with narrow streets like this one:
DSF1181

9_22
Claire and Stephanie, two dynamic ladies:
DSF1171

9_23
An evening view of St George’s Bay. The Corinthia Hotel on the right was my home during the stay in Malta:
DSF1196

9_24
On Thursday, we had a conference on enforcement. I made a presentation early in the day on counterfeit smartphones, but afterwards I took my place among the audience and could photograph my colleagues in action. Here they are on the right; on the left is George Agius from Maltese customs, a very nice and very competent public servant, together with a Finnish customs officer:
R001440

9_25
During a lunchtime walk along St George’s Bay, I took two pictures that are among my favourites from the week, when juxtaposed. First, a group of young people playing beach volleyball:
R001445

9_26
An old man emerges from the water:
R001443

9_27
On Thursday night, we were going to a restaurant near the fishing harbour, owned by a friend of our Maltese host George. On the way out, I saw yet another kitty near the hotel pool area:
DSF1198

9_28
The area where we were going to eat is called Marsaxlokk. We arrived a bit early, so we went for a walk along the harbour. Stephanie found her boat:
DSF1210

9_29
The restaurant was called Ta’Victor, Maltese for “at Victor’s” or something like that. The owner is Victor Aquilina, a delightful man who takes pride in his cooking, and rightly so. Before dinner, he explained to us what were going to eat:
DSF1235

9_30
And Victor’s food turned out delicious, and the servings were huge. Quality in quantity is a winning combination. This was our starter, a platter of marinated sausage and other Maltese delights:
DSF1219

9_31
The second dish was this delicious ravioli. There is a discernible Italian influence in Maltese cuisine:
DSF1228

9_32
The main dish was a generous serving of fish:
DSF1238

9_33
DSF1239

9_34
A good time was had by all:
DSF1245

9_35
Malta is overwhelmingly Catholic, and small altars like this one, on a corner of Victor’s bar, are common:
DSF1221

9_36
Dinner is finished, and Victor relaxes and chats with his guests:
DSF1246

9_37
DSF1248

9_38
George looks stern here, but really he is not:
DSF1249

9_39
After dinner, we were offered a chupito by Victor:
DSF1250

9_40
The restaurant is decorated with articles and photographs, and Victor clearly enjoyed talking about them:
DSF1252

9_41
We finished a delightful evening with a group photo outside the restaurant:
DSF1259

And then we took a taxi back to the hotel, and on Friday we made our way back to Alicante. A wonderful week had come to an end.

No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Powered by WordPress