You know..

It’s a slow day in Bugibba (boo-gee-ba) when Laura’s doing a food posting.  Cool and blustery weather persists.  When it does break, we’re going to bolt toward the cliffs on the s.w. edge of the island for some awesome hikes.  Meanwhile…

IMG_1425Fast food, Malta style.  These hot cases contain take-away food that includes pizza, lasagna, and other pasta and savory pastry dishes.  Have only tried the pizza (OK) and the pea pastry.


IMG_1431You know you’re getting close to one of these shops when you meet people walking and eating from white bakery bags… 🙂 comparable to U.S. drivers eating burgers & fries while driving.

IMG_1428A dish unique to Malta (I think) is their pea pastry.  All are not created equal – purchased from different shops (35¢ each), the near one had some nice spice added to the peas, and was crispier.  Nothing from these shops is healthy (duh!)- very greasy, and all carbs!

 Vegetarians, look away.


IMG_1418A delightful surprise at the grocery are the smoked pork products .  Way reasonably priced (at 2.2 lbs to the kilo, around $3 a pound) and tasty, and perfect for breakfast.

IMG_1419I can’t give the monkey-face “ham” (bologna?) a review, but it could be a fun to go at with a mustard bottle.

IMG_1417Yes!! Some real syrup from Canada.

IMG_1420Lots of olive choices in the deli –  pepper flakes, garlic, or ‘seafood” – tuna and anchovies mixed in.

Well – that’s all for now.  Dave’s taking me out to a nice Italian restaurant.  A break in the weather would be good for my diet 🙂 – Laura


Our luck – we’re only a 5 minute walk to an 8-plex movie theater.  It has the most elegant lobby I’ve ever seen – maybe it was a stage theater originally.  They have current movies, and we caught “Night at the Museum”.  They list “Big Hero 6” as coming soon – in 3D.  They couldn’t tell us when “soon” was, but hope its within the week, as we’ve heard good reviews 🙂 $12 got us both in, large popcorn  – around $3.  – Laura

By the way (BTW)–The movie had a 5 minute intermission ;  that took us by surprise. -Dave






Translation, please

This is an English Breakfast, common here with the large British population.
This “English Breakfast” is advertised at most restaurants, common here with the large British population. Pretty reasonably priced at round $4.00 – includes coffee or tea.

Totally not related to the photo:

“Wow, I’ve never seen you so excited about a computer app!” Dave says to Laura.  Yup – I’m excited.   With Google Translate, you can type in a sentence or phrase, and it is translated into the language of your choice.  Nice.  You can also download an app with the same functionality, plus 3 other ways to capture what you want translated:  snap a photo of written text , speak to it, or write on the screen with your fingertip.  These last 2 methods are transcribed first, which you can revise if needed before they are translated.  This isn’t needed in Malta, where though residents speak to each other in Maltese, English seems to be understood and spoken by all. It will be helpful when we trek back to Spain on Feb 8. – Laura

¿Dónde están las tiendas de ropa vintage?

Fejn huma l-ħwienet tal-ħwejjeġ vintage?


In spite of the weather report calling for thunderstorms in the afternoon, sunny morning skies were all it took to get us on a bus to Valletta – the capital city of Malta.  We got a little touring in before the skies opened up on schedule, with a little hail bonus.

These 2 were guarding “Buckingham Palace”.  Periodically they would do a little marching routine and exchange posts.  We came by later when it was raining hard, and they were in their little houses.

IMG_1380All of Valletta is on a peninsula.  This waterway, the Grand Harbor, is on the southeast side of the city.  Across the harbor, about five fingers of land poke out into the waterway.  This freighter was coming into port.  Note the yacht that likely couldn’t find a slip big enough! Ancient fortress walls are everywhere.

IMG_1382Following the freighter further into the harbor, a cruise ship was spotted.  Hope their shore excursions include indoor options.

IMG_1376It’s an old yet modern city.

IMG_1356This street scene was a deja vu –  we both remembered it from 2004.  The sidewalk is steps.

IMG_1349Who said “It’s later than you think”?  This cool watch collection was in the Art Museum.

IMG_1355The national art museum had mostly old religious (and gory) works, with a handful of modern pieces.  The ground floor of the 4 story building  included this courtyard open to the sky.   So these pieces are covered where they hang, but are open to the outside.

IMG_1385The mouth of the harbor, and our weather 🙂  When the downpour hit, we found a cafe for coffee and a sweet.  It did hail.  After the brunt of it passed, we hi-tailed it to the bus terminal.  Will be back another day for the remaining museums.

By design or not, the streets leading to Valletta channeled the runoff, and we truly were in a river for the first 15 minutes of our ride.  I felt like a salmon.  Water was to the top of some curbs, and cars stayed off the street. The following photo doesn’t do it justice.  By the lack of reaction from the other riders, it wasn’t unusual. – gawking tourist Laura



IMG_1310So.  Dogs ARE allowed to drive in Malta, but only in the countryside.  They’ve found that when allowed to drive in town/residential areas,   cats darting across the narrow streets prove too much for them, resulting in crashes, or abandoned vehicles when the dog takes chase on… paw.  It looks like this well-behaved fella is an apprentice, as he wasn’t behind the wheel.   Dogs are popular, and pampered, here, but I haven’t noticed any one breed more popular than another.  We’ve even seen several huskies! – Laura

What to Do on a Rainy Day

OnlineLearning ClassesWhat do you do on a rainy day?  Well, learn something, of course!   What has changed in the last several years is how easy it is to take quality classes online.  I have highlighted three online learning institutions above: edX, Khan Academy, and Udacity.  My first class was a Java programming class from Udacity a year ago.  In August I took a Solar Energy class from edX while we were in Mexico.  In the last couple of days I’ve worked my way through the first half of the Linux operating system class at edX.   While most of the edX classes are college level, much of the Khan Academy classes are along the line of Advanced Placement High School or Junior College (perfect for me to re-learn Calculus) on down to grade school.  While I’m mostly interested in technical subjects, courses in history, art, music, etc are available.  edX is a learning platform but most of the coursework comes from major universities all around the world such as Delft, U of Austin, MIT, and Harvard.  In addition, major companies such as Google, Nvidia,  & mongoDB have developed some of the classes because of their unique expertise in the field and a little self interest on their part.  Some of the classes are designed to be taken at any time in a solo environment, while others start on a specific date, have weekly lectures (that can be viewed at your leisure), regular homework and social media abilities to work with others in the same class.  You can take classes for free from all three institutions if your sole objective is to learn the subject.  If you want to be certified or get credit, there are nominal fees (compared to brick and mortar schools)  associated with the class.  Corporations are now beginning to recognize certifications from these classes, which in my view is an endorsement of their quality.  In any event, you can get a college level education for free or pay $30K plus a year to a university system more interested in your student loan money than your education.    In addition, you can make some real learning progress on a rainy day in Malta. -Dave


IMG_1079Waiting for the bus, and waiting for a call.  Maybe the phones are mounted low so the kids can reach them??   (on Gozo)

IMG_1146During a Gozo walk with the Citadel in the background.

IMG_1314Yup, I’d be embarrassed too – those are matching pants he (she?)’s wearing.

IMG_1209This guard dog is wearing a custom knit sweater.  At one time Malta was a producer of cotton and wool, so has a long tradition in knitting.   You’ll see shops with bulky hand knit people sweaters, as well as hand made lace in tourist sections of town.

IMG_1313and… the mailman wears a helmet!

Well – Malta winter has caught up with us.  Guess we were blessed to have that sunny week in Gozo, cause it’s been cooler and frequently rainy this week.  So our pace has slowed, and reading is the order of the day.  Take care – Laura


IMG_1326Good Morning!  This unopened package of a fine Italian dark roast (Made in Italy!!) has been in our possession for, oh, 12 days.  Purchased in a flash of optimism when it was found on the bottom shelf in the coffee section,  sadly isolated from all of it’s …


INSTANT neighbors.  Yes, the Maltese seem to drink instant exclusively.  Espresso (maybe only for us tourists?) can be found in any coffee shop or restaurant, but good luck finding a coffee maker.  A dusty French press was spotted in a hardware store, but was not purchased, as we wouldn’t want to pack it (our next stop is Spain again, where they drink real coffee), and we wouldn’t  want to leave it here, where it would likely not be appreciated, and collect dust again.  So – we’re drinking instant, and (geez, don’t put us on the Do-not-allow-back-in-the-U.S.  list)  it ain’t that bad.  (insert collective groan here!)

Have a Great Nescafe day 🙂  Laura

Post Script: Gozo scramble

Sunday is a big soccer day in Malta, as town’s local teams (adults) compete.  Gozo Joe offered to drive us to the ferry dock (very nice of him) but it had to be squeezed in before the start of his son’s soccer game.  On the other end of the ferry ride, our new host Mark had his wife (who also plays on a team) pick us up, as the team he coaches had a game.

Back to the scramble:  (Tom & Alyssa  – you’d enjoy this!)

IMG_1112 We had some free time Sunday a.m. before Joe arrived, so I started up the cliff.  Above you can see the zig-zag of the stair rail starting at the base.  Concrete steps correspond.

After that, there is a well worn path with steps carved into the rock where appropriate.  It was a quick ascent to a perfect meditation spot, and I took some mental snap shots to be recalled later.  Coming down took more attention but never really dangerous.  Laura