Malta Open 2017 – Book Now, You wont regret it…

Let’s cut to the chase, Malta Open + Sun + Sea = Awesomeness

Ask around and some bowler you know has played in Malta and will confirm it as one of the best European bowling tournaments. On the lanes competition is friendly and competitive, off the lanes it is where Euro bowlers socialise and enjoy the beauty that is Malta. Bowl, enjoy a meal in the many restaurants then hit the bars until the early hours is an option for some. Visiting thousands of years of history and lazing by the beach and pool appeals to others.

What makes the event special is the social aspect of the tournament and packed bars full of European holiday makers and a  buzz in the Superbowl and area.

The SuperBowl is Malta’s only 20 lane facility and has been around since 1988. Situated in St. George’s Bay the facility is a stones throw away from the nightlife and entertainment capital of the country. Sandwiched between the most luxurious hotels in Malta, St. George’s Bay is an upscale sea side area offering a variety of eateries as well as entertainment options.

esb_lanes.jpgThe Eden SuperBowl is just off the beautiful sandy beach at the idyllic St. George’s Bay, the only beach in the Maltese islands to have achieved the prestigious international ‘blue flag’ status. Part of the beach is managed by the luxurious InterContinental hotel which is right on the SuperBowl’s doorstep. The InterContinental is the only hotel in Malta able to boast it’s very own private beach among it’s fantastic facilities.

What better way to end your day, or indeed start your evening, with a meal at the InterContinental’s water’s edge restaurant, Paranga, one of Malta’s top eateries, Mediterranean in style and specializing in exquisite fish and seafood dishes. The hotel also offers various other dining options, such as Eastern Breeze for Malta’s best Asian cuisine, the truly relaxing Al Fresco setting in the lush hotel gardens, or else you can go for the lavish and varied buffet in the popular Harruba restaurant.

ich_pool.jpgJust click here to view the spectacular range of facilities InterContinental Malta have to offer. Once again the InterContinental has given us some great room rates, just for Malta Open bowlers. Send us an email on superbowl@edenleisure.com for all details. A stay at the InterContental Malta will make your trip to Malta something very special

St. George’s Bay is in St. Julian’s, where you will find a whole host of accommodation options. No matter what your budget is you will be spoilt for choice, be it a low-cost and functional guest house, a reasonable 3-star or 4-star hotel, or any one of the luxurious 5-star hotels dotted around the St. Julian’s and St. George’s Bay area.

bay_st.jpgThe Bay Street complex is literally just a few steps down the road from the SuperBowl, incorporating a hugely popular shopping and dining centre, as well as the 4-star Bay Street hotel. The Bay Street has again given us some fantastic room rates for Malta Open bowlers, and its proximity to the bowling centre makes it a great choice. Check the link on our main tournament page for more details.

Getting to Malta is now easier and cheaper than ever before. While our official carrier and national air line, Air Malta, undoubtedly offers the most flight options at very competitive prices, there is an ever growing array of other operators also flying to Malta, including many low-cost air lines. You can now reach Malta from some 90 airports in over 30 countries! Check out this interactive map to find the best travel options from your home town.

bay.jpgFor an alternative night out, the Eden Cinema complex is right next door to the SuperBowl, boasting no fewer than 17 fully air-conditioned theatres, and the best sound system in  Malta by far. Why not catch one of the latest movies before heading off up the nearby steps in to Paceville – the epicentre of Maltese nightlife! Paceville is bursting at the seams with bars and clubs, a top casino, as well as a whole host of restaurants to suit any taste. This once quiet village has been transformed into Malta’s No. 1 party-town, and seems to never sleep during the Summer months with locals and tourists alike pouring in, sure of a fantastic night out, any day of the week. The action just never stops!

Did somebody mention bowling?? Oh yes there’ll be plenty of time for a little bit of that, in the friendliest fun tournament you’ll ever have the pleasure of bowling in. If you’ve never played in it, you’re sure to know someone who has – so don’t just take our word for it, ask around! All in all the Malta Open is an experience not to be missed!

Online entry now open here

You can find details on the 2017 Malta Open here


visitmalta Talktenpin has been lucky to have visited Malta many times thanks to the Eden Superbowl manager Neil Dent and the Malta Tourist authority. Our reporter Dominic Gall has been around the island visiting the sites and here is his reports from past visits under the alias of Darth Munch!!
It was yet another blistering day in 2007 in Malta. I woke around 7am and trotted onto the balcony of my Executive room in the five star San Gorg hotel. “Wow another beautiful day in Zamunda” I thought, taking a scene from Eddie Murphy’s “Coming to America” film in mind as I looked over the hotel complex of three swimming pools, recliner’s and bar area’s below. Im up san_gorg early as I have a big day visiting lots of Malta’s finest attractions. As a kid I’d have been “Awww do we have to” as when I visited the island as a small boy all I wanted to do was play on the beach and go snorkelling in the sea or collecting bottles to take to the shop for cash. But now I’m older, even just a touch wiser and over the years I’ve gained an appreciation of history through watching the History Channel and Horizon on the BBC.  I’m actually looking forward to the day and places I will visit.
sg_poolviewI quickly throw on my swimming shorts and shirt and take the lift to the ground floor and down to the swimming pool number that I’d decided I liked best, having sampled all three beforehand. As I was working long hours during the Malta Open, I wanted to make sure I found at least an hour a day to visit the pool and get some sun and maybe a bit of a tan. For twelve or so hours after that I’d be reporting from the Eden Superbowl.  So, I get my hour or so in the pool and go back to my room to change, I’ve got a problem, for some reason my camera is playing up and I can’t take photo’s outside without them coming out white and unviewable, Doh I’m thinking as I have a brainwave, I will just do video shots and link them all together for a Munch visits Malta Video Podcast. More work but a nicer result than just photo’s and a report.
It’s time to leave, so I grab the laptop, in case I fill the camera cards, and head down to the plush San Gorg lobby area to wait for my guide.

sg_view_2I’m not even sure what my guide looks like as I wait just outside the lobby in the Malta heat. I know, I will just look for the person who looks lost! I don’t have to wait long till a car pulls up and a young Maltese lady steps out and into the hotel. She stops just inside the hotel and looks around “That’s her” I’m thinking as I head in and yep I’m right, this is Trudy my guide for the day.
We board the car waiting and I meet Terry our driver for the day, I few words from Terry and I soon realise he’s a Brit with a thick East-end accent. Terry lives on the Island with his Maltese wife and children and has been there over 14 years as he now nears retirement age. Well he’s actually past 65 but next year he plans to retire. Trudy explains our day and some background information on Malta as we head for our first point of call, the ancient city of Mdina, just a short drive from the capital Valletta. On arrival we exit the car and as you can see by the video this is pretty much what I saw so why explain too much when I can show you all instead.
Munch visits Mdina

Mdina is known to many as a medieval, walled city. Its history, however, dates back at the very least to the classical period, when the whole area, including the present-day town of Rabat, formed part of a Roman settlement.

Moreover, beyond the city’s walls, in the area known as ‘il-Bahrija’ (limits of Rabat), Punic remains were discovered, thereby suggesting the importance of the general region even to Malta’s earlier settlers.

But, more specifically, Mdina’s size is said to have been reduced by Malta’s Arab rulers, who added higher fortifications and a moat for greater protection of the city. The city’s appearance at that time must have been more like other Moorish fortresses found in Northern Africa. In fact, the very name ‘Mdina’ is a derivation from the Arabic ‘Medina’.ting the importance of the general region
even to Malta

The New Masters

But with the arrival of the Order of Saint John at Malta, its features were destined to change as the city was renovated and restored. Some buildings naturally date from before the Order’s arrival. One such building is Palazzo Falzon, built around the year 1233, as is suggested by the date on its façade. This palazzo is more commonly known as the Norman House owing to its architectural style. This was the place where the official reception was held in honour of Malta’s latest ruler, the newly arrived Grand Master Fra Philippe Villiers de l’Isle Adam. This function followed the public ceremony in which the Grand Master took oath to protect the Maltese Islands and the rights of his new subjects.

Thereafter, the city was adorned with baroque buildings, amongst which were various Churches and Palaces.

Grand Master Fra Antoine Manoel de Vilhena was responsible for the city’s restoration, around the year 1725, adding contemporary Baroque aesthetics by rebuilding the Magisterial Palace (later known as Palazzo Vilhena) and the city’s Main Gate, following the earthquake of 1693, which caused considerable damage in the old city.

The Cathedral, dedicated to the conversion of Saint Paul, was also rebuilt between 1697 and 1702 on the plans drawn by the famed Lorenzo Gafà.

Further restoration was undertaken during Grand Master Hompesch’s brief rule, before the islands’ capitulation to the French Republican Army – under the leadership of General Vaubois – on June 10th.

The French Takeover

Immediately upon Napoleon’s arrival, by decrees issued on the 13th and 16th of June 1798, all coats of arms of the Order and of Maltese Nobility were to be removed from façades (within 24 hours) and replaced by that of the French Republic (according to the second decree). This was done in the name of Equality, Liberty and Brotherhood, but also to spite the former ruling classes; the privileged aristocrats.

At first, this may have gone down well with the Maltese people, who had had enough of the Order’s oppressive rule.

But the high hopes of the population were soon shattered when, on July 5th, a mere month after their arrival, the new conquerors looted the Mdina Cathedral of its silver.

Messing with their churches was the biggest crime the French garrison could have committed against the fanatically religious Maltese people of the time! That same month, less than 3 weeks later, the Church of the Annunciation (Lunzjata) and the Carmelite Monastery in Mdina were both closed down by the French and, as if to prove that they hadn’t grasped the gravity of their misdoings, in August they even closed down the Benedictine Monastery in Birgu.

But their final act of abuse – the straw that broke the camel’s back – came when, on September 2nd, the French ordered the auctioning of the damask, richly draping the walls of Mdina’s Carmelite Church. This was thwarted by the angry crowd and, later that same day, rioting broke out.

French officer, Masson, and a group of his men were killed at Rabat, giving rise to a state of high alert. French troops gathered behind the walls of Malta’s fortified cities, where they were blockaded by the Maltese militia until their surrender 2 years later to the British fleet, under the command of Captain Alexander Ball, Lord Nelson’s bright star.

The Mdina blockade lasted only till the following day, when Maltese men scaled the bastions so the rest of their company could enter the city. The remaining French troops at Mdina were eliminated and the People’s Council was again set up
Centuries later, during WW2, the old city — located close to Ta’ Qali aerodrome — witnessed the prowess of the enemy’s air force and the unrelenting bravery of the Allied crusaders when defences were at an all time low. The Mdina walls served to shelter people hailing from remote parts of Malta, refugees crowding formerly unused buildings, escaping the blitz of the harbour areas.

Present day Mdina is known as the ‘Silent City’ as it allows limited access to traffic. Its unobstructed bastions, elegant palaces and quaint, narrow streets narrate volumes of historic accounts — some legend, but mostly fact.

Mdina, Malta’s “Citta Notabile”, the walled city of the Romans, the Arabs, the feudal Lords of the Spanish Crown and the Knights of Saint John, remains Malta’s prime historic attraction. The magic never ends.

malta_rabat_.jpgRabat

It must be nearly 90 degree’s today I thought as guide Trudy and I walked the short journey from Mdina to Rabat.  Rabat is much bigger than Mdina and is where most of the population of the area live.  Instant differences I noticed were lots more people (obviously) and more signs like Coke and Pepsi,  Trudy had told me that because Mdina was so old it was forbidden to spoil the surroundings with tacky advertising signs, in fact the only sign I remember in Mdina was a HSBC bank which wasn’t “In your Face” and seemed to blend in OK with it’s surroundings.

Rabat is as you could imagine a traditional Maltese town. There was a few older Maltese men sat by the town hall, all chatting as the day began. It’s still only around 11am and already the town is buzzing with people going about their daily business. We pass a Maltese sweet shop with all the many different cakes and sweet items, all nicely laid out. The roads are narrow and you must stay close to the side, always watching and listening for traffic passing, There’s not too much traffic this morning though, and we make our way through the town to our next destination on my days tour. Again I filmed the walk and you can see what I saw here.

Munch visits Rabat

 

maltatour42 St Paul’s Catacombs

We now get a respite from the very hot sun and enter into the Catacombs of St Paul. At last I can use my camera for photos I thought, as I entered the tomb down the narrow steep passageway. Well it’s not that narrow really and the old steps have been replaced with new ones to make access safer. After allowing for my eyes to adjust to the dark, I walk into the catacombs.

The first thing I notice is the nice cool surroundings in contrast to the heat outside, then my eyes are drawn all over the tomb to find my bearings.  After that, the details become clearer, like where and how big the catacombs are and how many in such a wide and well carved out area. Trudy has left me to it to explore for myself and you can’t help but wonder what it would be like to live or even die in such a place. The thing that always amazes me about such places is how long it must have taken to dig them out and reshape as well as bury their dead.

maltatour46You get the feeling that many people have used as shelter in the past or to hide from one of the many enemies Malta has faced over its history. Being an island, everyone had a pop at them and despite all this they are very proud of their history, much like we are in England, Scotland, Eire, Northern Ireland or Wales and of course in the rest of Europe. So I look about and take the shots you will see in the below and return to the “surface” and back into the beautiful hot sun, Trudy is waiting for me and we walk the short journey to a waiting Terry (our driver) and on to our next destination with is to be Dingii Cliffs featured in Podcast number 2.

We get to the cliffs and look over the calm sea.  As I film it Trudy points me to a small island just off the bay, “that Island was much bigger once” she tells me as I look over “The British used it as target practice during the war” she added. As you may have seen in the 2nd video, the first thing you notice about the island is the big “Golf Ball”

Munch visits St Paul’s Catacombs

 

 
the-malta-experience-theatr The Malta Experience

It’s then onto the Malta Experience where I will learn more about the Island in a 50 minute film. I get my ticket and wait for doors to open. Inside the cinema style area has earphones for most nationalities.  I select British and settle down to watch the film.

50 mins later I’m quite a bit wiser and parts of the film I remember from reading about Faith, Hope and Charity, three air planes that defended the islands during the war. All in all, it was an interesting viewing and well worth checking out if you were to visit the Island in the future.

On leaving my driver and guide rejoined me then it was off to Rubino’s a small Restaurant in Valletta for lunch. This is where I will start in my next report.

After a short drive from The Malta Experience we arrived at Rubino’s an authentic little but well known restaurant in Valletta. Formally a confectioner Rubino’s serves up Malta’s best and favourite dishes to a steady stream of locals and tourists rubinosthroughout the holiday season and well into the year. We sat down and viewed the menu, For a starter we had a sort of Bread and dips ranging from a pea-like paste and other vegatables, My guide Trudi decided on grilled fish for the main course while i thought id try the Maltese style lamb which i can report as amazing and id go as for as to say the best i’ve had for some time, Trudi then had an ice cream but i didnt bother, Just down the road from the Eden superbowl is an ice cream place with just about every flavour going, Id been there most days so I was a bit party’d out and passed on the dessert. Rubino’s were a very polite and friendly bunch and if im able to visit again I will be going back for another fine meal, Its well worth a visit if you are on the island anytime soon. Senior bowlers may note this if playing this years Open soon.

palace5Next up on our tour then after Rubino’s was The Grand Masters Palace in the centre of Valletta, another short walk in the blazing Malta heat along a shopping precinct and into the masters palace, They was a very large group of french senior tourists as we arrived, I could see Trudi listening in as there seemed to be a problem with a wheelchair bound french visitor, Speaking many languages Trudi was able to jump in and speak to a confused guard explaining the guest couldnt use the spiral staircase that leads to the museum and would need to use the lift.

With this sorted we entered the Grand palace as can be seen in the final video below. After the splendor of the palace it got grander as we entered St Paul’s Co-Cathedral a short walk from our previous stop. On entering all ladies have to cover their shoulders with a sort of large scarf where bare flesh was showing as an obvious mark of respect to the cathedral as a house of the lord, Wow is the honest opinion, I live near york and have seen the cathedral there but id not seen anything like this one, Wall and roof paintings with Gold ornate trimmings everywhere, Very busy too, full of tourists from all nations taking video and photo of the venue so as part of tours and others just taking in the sights. In one part of the cathedral are very old paintings of the death of John the baptist with sign’s clearly stating no photographs and video in this area, True to form people are using their cam’s and the guard seems to have missed it all, Trudi was straight in politely asking people not to film explaining why if various languages and alerting the guard to the filming, One thing I did learn was my guide was very passionate about her country and knew everything about the island and its long history and could also describe it to many nations, pretty impressive really,

malta_ruins.jpgMonolithic ruins
It was then onto see the Monolithic ruins id seen in The Malta Experience film, To some it might just look like a load of old stones in cases, its not really until you realise they are so old and were part of the early history of the human race, Then it kind of dawns on you the feeling you get to being close to pre history in some way, Id guess seeing the Inca, Mayan or Egyptian temples and pyramids or stonehenge are on a par with these maltese ruins even if they are not as well known as the others.

My day is nearly over or at least my tour is and last stop is another short walk through Valletta to what can be best described as a balcony over the Valletta harbour, As we look over it Trudi explains some of its history and the fact many Hollywood films had been shot there including The Count of Monte Christo with Aussie Actor Guy Pierce of Neighbours pre-fame and bigger still the one the only Mr Brad Pitt and Troy was shot in the bay, Great view, great weather and a great day, That was the end of my tour, Trudi and driver Terry dropped me off at my hotel and it was straight up to the room, Towel, swimming shorts, Pool. As I relax for an hour I think “This is great, Bowling tournaments and holidays go so well together”

san_gorgI will be honest right now and say when I saw the list of places I had to visit I wasnt overly excited and weighing up against a day by the pool it wasnt my first choice but I gotta say I had a great day, learnt a few things and had a fantastic meal with good company all day in Trudi and Terry, Id like to thank them both for my tour and to the Malta Tourist Authority for arranging my visit to the Island, I could have written a fake yes it was all great report but truthfully, I really enjoyed the whole experience and have no problem in recommending both the Malta Open’s and the Island itself to everyone, This is one event your should all try at least once, You wont regret it.

The video shows the Grand palace and then St John’s Co-Cathedral ending with views of the Valletta harbour area.

Munch visits Valletta

 

p6240036.jpg

2008 Trip to Gozo 
Our sponsors for the event the MTA or Malta tourist Authority arranged a tour of the Island of Gozo for Bowler’s Journal’s Keith Hale and myself. Last year I got to visit Mdina, The p6240081.jpgcatacoombs and grand Co- Catherdal in Valletta, I was looking forward to this trip as I knew the Neolithic ruins were there the Gantija Temples in the town of Xagħra, dating between 4100-2500 BC. now that’s old and predates our own Stonehenge.
So we were picked up at 8.15 and our driver pictured took us to our first stop at Cirkewwa to Mġarr on Gozo’s main harbour. Gozo Channel Co operates the service on roll-on / roll-off passenger and car ferries.
The crossing p6240091.jpgtook about 30 minutes so we got a drink to cool us from the hot Malta sun and rested ready for all the walking to come. The ferry was very busy with lots of Europeans all eager to visit the smaller Gozo island, p6240097.jpgOn our arrival after a short trip through the shipping terminal we met up with our guide for the day, Audrey Bartolo.
She turned out to be just as knowledgable as my guide Trudie last year as all the guides seem to be history graduates and have an interest in the history of their rich culture. Over time everyone has had a pop at Malta and the surrounding Islands and the Maltese and Gozitans have embraced a lot of different cultures, but we will get into that later in this report. Our first stop is the Gantija Temples in the town of Xagħra.

p6240117.jpg

The Gantija temples

There’s a few places I think humans should visit in their lifetime, the Pyramids, Aztec Ruin’s, Inca Trail, Stonehenge, Angel Falls and others but one overlooked would be the Gantija ruins on Gozo.

I’ve highlighted the names of the places visited and linked to the official website as I p6240116.jpgcan’t really describe the history of these places as well as the official records but basically the Temples were erected about 3500BC, so one of the very first in the world and was once two temples a north and a south. As Audrey described the facts to us, I took panorama photo’s to show a wider feel the the places we were to visit today. p6240125.jpg
Obviously not complete buildings any more but still standing around seven metres and you can walk into the structure to get a feel for how impressive these once were considering it pre-dates the bronze agep6240127.jpg and ability for speech. How did they communicate, how did they get the stones there, all interesting stuff and makes for good TV documentaries. I wanted to see these and tick off my list of places to visit and wasn’t disappointed.
To some, it just looks like a load of boulders placed neatly together, to me and others it’s as important, if not a lot more important as our own Stonehenge in the UK. World viewers of Talk Tenpin will all have their own historic places but should remember these temples pre-date so many others that they are well worth a visit. Next up would be a visit to the Ta’ Kola windmill just a short trip up the hill from the Temples.
gozo_4.jpg
gozo_3.jpg
p6240149.jpgTa’ Kola windmill

The windmill, now missing it’s impressive sails, houses a folklore museum. It was built in 1725 by Fondazione Manoel during the reign of one of the many Grand Masters Manoel de Vilhena.

p6240157.jpg
As we walked around we could see many of the tools used over the year’s. Its last owner Guzeppi’s photo hangs above a doorway as you enter. We continued up the spiral staircase to the living areas to get a feel for how someone would live in such a building, A living area, kitchen area and bedroom all with authentic items from a time gone by. Audrey  explained the building’s facts as we go, so we don’t miss anything. If it is renovated it will become quite a site on Gozo and even more of a reason to visit this 18th century classic. We move onto a trip to our next destination at Ramla bay and Calypso’s cave.
p6240190.jpgRamla bay and Calypso’s cave
Again another fine example of stunning beach and coastline greets us whenp6240193.jpg we arrive. We are first at Calypso’s cave. The legend goes Calypso, a nymph, lived in this cave and it is where she entertained Ulysses for seven years and is referred to by Homer in the Odyssey. It’s very steep and the steps are too small but I went down to have a look and got a cool photo of the cave opening.
I returned to the surface and the view over Ramla bay and the golden sands with a tint of red. I took a couple of panorama shots and we returned to our car and on to our next destination at the Dwejra national park and a boat trip.
gozo_7.jpg
p6240210.jpgp6240255.jpg Dwejra national park
The coastline around Gozo and Malta can look stunning sometimes if you are into geology and the way the earth was formed and continues to wear away with coastal erosion. Keith and I took a boat trip through the caves and around the aquatic park enjoyed by many for scuba diving among the coral on the sides of the cliffs. We travel through a large crack in the cliffs called the Azur window then in and out of a few caves. We then are shown a face carved by erosion into the side of one of the cliffs, then a crocodile and later a baby crocodile.
The water was an p6240228.jpgamazing deep blue and crystal clear and I even had to ask how the sea was so blue thinking it must be the light p6240239.jpgfrom the sky together with the right kind of rock formation below, but was certainly the most blue I’ve seen the sea. The blue lagoon close by on the island of Comino is a lighter blue and hence the name, but I preferred this blue, We returned to the bay and I took some half underwater shots, then up a hill to a small chapel to have a look around. We returned to the car and next it’s Lunch by the sea.

p6240268.jpgp6240265.jpg

Lunch at II-Kartell

Marina Street in Marsalforn Bay and lunch at II-Kartell a cool little restaurant placed right in the harbour area. Dining can be indoors just over the road to the harbour by the sea which is where we sat down, The waiter went through the menu and as soon as Keith heard swordfish and I heard T-bone steak we knew what we wanted, we ordered starters too with Keith deciding on the lobster soup and me a ham and pasta dish.

We could then chat with Audrey a little more and found out she’s actually a very interesting p6240277.jpgcharacter. She’s already just completed filming as an extra on a blockbuster being filmed on p6240278.jpgthe Island and is also a singer/song writer as well as a history graduate that was born and raised three minutes from the Gantija Temple so was born into history somewhat.
The food arrived and we tucked in, the dishes we all had were fantastic and the best meal I have had while on the Islands.  The pasta dish was massive for a starter and could easily have been a mail course on its own. When I was a kid and we visited Malta and I p6240276.jpgwas allowed a T-bone steak and this was the first one I had in twenty years so was always going to enjoy it. I even made a new friend (Pic left)
Great service and amazing food means I have no problems recommending this place to the seniors in Europe that will visit the Islands in October and indeed next year’s Malta Open visitors, If you want a really nice day out and great meal, this is the place. Back to the car and very very full and it’s off to the majestic Citadel a walled city.
gozo_8.jpg

p6240293.jpgp6240295.jpg

The Citadel

The Citadel, a small-fortified town/castle, stands on a rocky hill in the centre of the island. It is known that some sort of fortification on this site existed since Phoenician occupation. The Romans developed it into a Roman town.

We enter the impressive walled city and into the Cathedral, just as decorated as the Co-Cathedral in Valetta I visited last year, with artwork all over the roof and Gold and Silver Items everywhere. The Gozo Cathedral Museum has more than 2000 items on display, including the Cathedral’s archives, paintings, clerical vestments, silver vault and p6240318.jpgeven the chair Pope John Paul the 2nd used on his visit to Gozo before he died. A large carriage and collection of coins adds to the riches being p6240335.jpgshown, But it’s not all there, some is missing believed stolen by Napoleon or traded when one of the Grandmasters didn’t have enough money left to bury himself and is now in the Louvre in Paris.
A walk around the museum then onto the wall so see the fantastic 360 view of Gozo. This is where the Panorama camera comes in handy to show you the kind of p6240366.jpgviews we were to see. Yet another “must visit” place and just like the walled city in Mdina on Malta you can’t help get a feel for history and what it must have been like to live within the walls of the citadel.
This is our last stop on the tour but I want a Maltese nativity item, as my mum collects them, so asked Audrey where I would find one, luckily for me she has an aunt with a shop so we went back to the Ganjita Temples to I get what I’m looking for.
gozo_12.jpg
gozo_15.jpg
gtozo_13.jpg

 

p6240397.jpgp6240398.jpg

Comino
Two minute ride later we stop for a bonus picture opportunity given by Audrey to get some Panoramic shots of Comino and the Gozo harbour, She had seen me taking Panorama’s all afternoon and thought this one would be perfect to show Comino the smallest of the Islands.  Keith and I had got on one of the old Malta buses and took the boat to Comino a day earlier visiting the blue lagoon and actually a cool cave and quiet area away from the busy beach. Comino is a must for a day out for all ages, especially people wanting to snorkell or paddle round the island in a boat.
gozo_17.jpg
p6240099.jpgp6240414.jpg The Ride home
We arrived back at the harbour and bid farewell to our guide Audrey and driver Marco.  It’s one last chance to get more panoramas before the battery charge runs out, I’ve taken over 400 shots, video and Panoramas so far so just enough time to get a few more.
Off we go again and the short trip back to the Malta mainland meeting our driver after a quick drink on the harbour to cool down from the Malta heat. Our taxi took us back to the hotel and we headed straight to the hotel pool to cool off and relax after a lot of p6240029.jpgp6240413.jpgwalking in the sun. Another great day and perfect chance to see more of what Malta and Gozo has to offer for the tourist in us all.
Anyone coming to the Islands should take this tour and visit some of these places, There is something for everyone and is quieter than Malta for those who like a bit more peace. I recommend that Malta Open senior players spend at least one day or more visiting Gozo, you won’t regret it.
gozo_18.jpg
gozo_19.jpg

In 2009 I was sent to the Three Cities (Birgu, Bormla and Senglea), Marsaxlokk, Tarxien Temples and Blue Grotto.

As part of my trip to Malta I am sent to places all over the Island to report and show the TalkTenpin.net viewers just what Malta has to offer. You may remember two years ago that I visited Mdina, Dingli Cliffs and Valetta stopping off at St John’s Co-Cathedral and last year going to the Island of Gozo to visit the oldest free standing rocks in the world named the Ġgantija Neolithic temples.

Dom’s third trip round the sights

“Tomorrow’s your trip out isn’t it?” asks Eden Superbowl manager Neil Dent after the 2009 Malta Open had finished. “Tuesday I think” I replied convinced that I was right, “I’m sure it’s tomorrow” he added, “but I will check for you”. With the Open presentation now over we both forgot to check and settled down for a rest and drink before making the short trip to the Footloose bar for the after-party with the players. Maybe I’m getting older or maybe it is just because I got married last year but I decided to leave the party early and was in bed for 1.30am albeit after a few beers, shots and a hot dog with Jalapeños.

vinceanddriver.jpgI woke up at 8am and was contemplating if I should go back to sleep when the phone rang. “Hello Mr Gall, this is Vince Debono your guide for the day, I am in the reception area”, Doh, it IS today, “I’m on my way down Vince” I replied and quickly got changed and made my way down. I needed to get the video camera from the Eden Superbowl so I told Vince and quickly ran the fifty yards to the bowling centre and back to my waiting guide and driver and off we went.

Three Cities (Birgu, Bormla and Senglea)

Collectively known as the Three Cities, individually, the towns by the harbour are known by several names; however, Birgu, Bormla and Senglea are the names by which they are most commonly known. Click here for more details on the three cities

harbour1.jpgOur first stop in the Three Cities overlooks the harbour area and Vince pointed out places of interest and historical fact including Fort St Angelo (pictured right). Two years ago I visited the same place but from a viewpoint over the bay ahead of me where the defensive cannons were fort_stangelo.jpglocated that defended the harbour during World War II. Vince explained the unusual break waters at the front of the harbour telling me they were constructed on an angle to stop submarines getting a clear shot of the boats inside the harbour and although they help shield the bay from adverse weather, this was not their primary aim. I took a few photo’s as Vince further explains the area and, a keen photographer himself, he got out his own camera to join me in taking shots. I also got a few videos and we began to make our way back to the car,

vitoringalia.jpgWe stopped off halfway down just past the olive trees and fountain to look at one of the many statues dotted around the island showing famous and inspirational people from Malta’s history. The statue is of Vitorin Galea who a famous actress on the Island. I remarked that she looks a little like Margaret Thatcher and Vince told me an interesting story of the day he actually met “the Iron Lady”. While working for the government Vince had given her a golden wrapped book on Malta then noticed the secret service taking the seaplane.jpgbook from the building obviously thinking it could be a bomb.

We continued to the car and Vince’s keen ears told us the sea plane was about to take off. The plane circles the bay and harbour taking up tourists for a birds eye view of all below and a quick look through the video camera zoom confirmed that the plane was indeed ready to take off. Sadly the wind changed direction and we had to wait while the plane came down the bay as it needed to take off into the wind.  The take off was behind Fort St Angelo so we did not actually see the point of take off, but we heard the plane starting the trip round the bay. We returned to the car and waiting driver and moved on to our next stop.

Malta Military Museum and Birgu

maltamilitarymuseum1.jpgAfter a short drive we made it to our next destination, the Malta Military Museum. The National War Museum represents Malta’s important military role in the post-1800 period under British rule, especially during WW II.

birgufort.jpgVince recounts the history of the buildings while we both took photos. He explained how the defensive positions were used during the war and how effective they were. Firing from this point and across the bay the enemy would be caught in a cross fire and stood very little chance of success.

As we looked over the bay Vince pointed out buildings used in earlier centuries that housed the galleons of the day and each winter the boats would come in and be totally stripped and serviced ready for the summer. The boats would first pull up along side a aframe.jpgmassive building called Il-Machina with an ‘A’ frame on top and the mast removed (picture right), the boat birgugladiator.jpgwould then travel a short distance to the workshops and be taken apart.

The lifespan of the old wooden ships was around six years then the timber would disintegrate and be unusable. The building, which also once housed the Labour party, was built by the Knights. Also an interesting fact about the Birgu base was that scenes from the Hollywood blockbuster Gladiator were filmed using the massive arches (picture left). We continued into the base and had a quick look inside the doorway of the museum at the military uniforms and items from the era before continuing further into the structure as Vince explained its use.

statueatbirgu.jpgbirgustreets1.jpgOn our arrival in Birgu we walked down the street and into the main square. It was once much smaller than it is now and a few of the building have been either removed or destroyed. The square houses statues dedicated to the fallen during Malta’s victory against the Turkish.

We stopped for a coffee in a Brazilian bar and someone Vince knows passed by so I left them chatting while I surveyed the area and took in some of the things I had been told while drinking my Coca Cola. Vince’s friend works in the building where the ‘A’ frame is and he invited to view the building when he is next free.

We walked round the tight streets of Birgu and I took the chance to take a few more cool photos of the area. The streets have not changed much over the years and you can get a real sense of how things were in the old days and how scary it must have been during the times of conflict. The roads are so tight only one car can pass at a time and as the roads are two way I asked birgustreets2.jpgwaterfrontatbirgu.jpgwho has the right of way. “Whoever has the biggest car or the loudest horn” Vince replied.

Our walk continued down to the walled outskirts overlooking the harbour area before finally returning us to the square. During the walk I asked Vince how he became a guide and he told me he was once a teacher who took an interest in the history of Malta and decided to learn more and train for the role.

He was third choice for one of two places but with two people dropping out he got his chance. As we reached the square we turned right and walked into the church on the corner of the square. Inside were lots of items from history including very plaqueofthefallen.jpgearly playing cards which were a prized item considering gambling was banned in those days. bellinbirgu.jpg

More interesting was when Vince opened the back door of the box housing the cards and we found the flip side of the cards were printed tarot cards and the occult was certainly frowned upon in those days. The church was quite small but full or artifacts and on leaving we were given a book of music from Malta as a gift.

Passing the towers and a plaque with names of the fallen we continued down to the marina passing a religous man in traditional robes who was attracting the attention of many tourists who were all clamouring to get photos of him. On to the car and our waiting driver we set off for our next stop.

fortrinella.jpg100tongun1.jpgFort Rinella and the Armstrong 100 ton gun 

As fortifications go, Fort Rinella is pretty young, built between 1878 and 1886 by the British during the reign of Queen Victoria. It was built to protect a massive 100 ton gun, the largest gun made at that time. We were greeted by the boss of the building as we arrived and he told us that we could go deep into the fort. We were met inside the fort by one of the patrolling guards who led us to a darkened room with chairs set out and a video screen where we watched a short film explaining the Fort, Gun and history of the fortification (please see on the video below)

rinellasub.jpgrinellafilmset.jpgAlthough the fort and gun was interesting what interested me more was that at the back of the fort was a submarine in dry dock as it was the one used on the film U-571 (see picture left).  Just to the right were two giant pools and a complex being built. The area is owned by film companies and is used in many films that require filming in water, be it on the surface or underwater.

marsaxlokkharbour.jpgmarsaxlokkshopping.jpgLunch at Marsaxlokk 

Our next port of call was the fishing town of Marsaxlokk on the south side of Malta. It is a place where many travel to see the old harbour and sample the many restaurants which as you can imagine all serve the fresh fish caught in the southern Malta waters. I had visited here as a small child with my parents and remember sitting by the harbour with my crude bamboo fishing rod trying to catch the little fish you can see as you walk along the bay. As always there were lots of boats and today a small market selling traditional Maltese items such as lace, capers and other foods as well as tourist items like beach towels and ornaments.

marsaxlokkleonardos.jpgmasaxlokkhost.jpgLunch was in Leonardos restaurant and we were shown to our table by a really nice old gentleman. We were seated just outside at the back of the restaurant in a small square with a fountain overlooking an old fashioned windmill. Vince and I ordered drinks and while we were deciding upon our meals. Sometimes I really wish I enjoyed fish more because as you would expect the menu is full of fishy delights like Octopus and Swordfish. I sadly went for the safe option and ordered roast chicken as I could not find my favourite Maltese style lamb on the menu. Vince opted for the Swordfish and while we were masaxlokkfood2.jpg waiting, wed began to talk more about Malta, family and even politics and religion. Vince informed me that Malta still have a church attendance over around 70-80% and most families still masaxlokkfood1.jpgmake the trip to church on a weekend, even the younger Maltese,

We talked about our children and Vince gave me good advice as I have only just become a father and he has had two boys for a number of years. He told me that both boys are into music and enjoy learning to play the guitar with one favouring modern music and the other taking an interest in classical guitar. At last our food arrived and I’m not sure what they feed the masaxlokkfood3.jpgchickens on Malta but it is probably the biggest half a chicken I have ever had. Vince’s swordfish also looks inviting and both meals are very well presented as you can see in the photos. The food was amazing and very tasty and I can certainly recommend you all try Leonardos when visiting the Island. For dessert Vince had a small ice cream and coffee and I had an ice cream cake on the recommendation of our host, which was also amazing.

tarxien1.jpgtarxien2.jpgTarxien Temples 

I think I said this last year when visiting the temples on Gozo but to some people these are just a load of old rocks pointing out of the ground, to others like myself they are an interesting insight into our early history.

The Tarxien consists of three separate, but attached, temple structures. The main entrance is a reconstruction dating from 1956, when the whole site was restored. At the same time, many of the decorated slabs discovered on site were relocated indoors for protection at the Museum of Archaeology in Valletta. The first temple has been dated to approximately 3100 BC and is the most elaborately decorated of the temples of Malta. The middle temple dates to about 3000 BC, and is unique in that, unlike the rest of the Maltese temples, it has three pairs of apses instead of the usual two. The east temple is dated at around 3100 BC. The remains of another smaller and older temple has been dated to 3250 BC, and are visible further towards the east.

tarxien3.jpgOf particular interest at the temple site is the rich and intricate stonework, which intarxien4.jpgcludes depictions of domestic animals carved in relief, altars, and screens decorated with spiral designs and other patterns. Demonstrative of the skill of the builders is a chamber set into the thickness of the wall between the South and Central temples and containing a relief showing a bull and a sow.  All in all an interesting look into the past and well worth a visit if you come to Malta.

Blue Grotto

bluegrotto1.jpgOur final destination on this years tour was the Blue Grotto, The Blue Grotto, known as Il-Hnejja (meaning ‘The Arch’) in Maltese, was given its English name by a British soldier who thought it similar enough to Grotta Azzuzza (The Blue Grotto) in Capri to deserve the same name. Many people travel to the Blue Grotto and with good reason. It is located near Zurrieq in the southwest of Malta and is famous for its rocky coastline the natural sea caves.

bluegrotto2.jpgSadly due to the sea being a little choppy the boats were not running and we missed out on the boat ride to the grotto and the amazing blue waters below us, There were many tourists though taking photographs and remarking on how blue the waters were, Last year I was told how this is the case and it is when the sky reflects onto the rocks and sand under the water and reflect back up the blue skies above.

I was then driven back to my hotel and said my goodbyes. It has been another fantastic day trip for me and I have learned a lot more about Malta. I would like to thank the MTA (Malta Tourist Authority) and my guide Vince for showing me more of what is simply a beautiful island which, in my opinion, everyone should sample at least once in their life. There is so much to see and do for such a small island.

 

 Eden Superbowl (External shot)

edemsuperbowlexternalpanorama2.jpg

  Eden Superbowl (Internal shot)

edensuperbowlinternal1.jpg

 Eden Superbowl (Internal shot 2)

edensuperbowlinternal2.jpg

 St George’s Bay 1

stgeorgesbaypanorama1.jpg

 St George’s Bay 2

stgeorgesbay2.jpg

   St George’s Bay by Night 1

stgeorgesbaynightpanorama1.jpg

    St George’s Bay by Day 1

stgeorgesbay3.jpg

Eden Cinema

shinealightat_edenmultiplex.jpg

 Rooftop Pool 1

stgeorgesbay6.jpg

 Rooftop Pool View of St George’s Bay

stgeaorgesbay5.jpg

   Harbour with Island of Gozo behind

gozo_1.jpg

Ggantija – the oldest freestanding temples in the world

gozo_4.jpg

   Harbour on Gozo 

gozo_18.jpg

Overlooking Island of Comino

gozo_17.jpg

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*