Malta – Comino and the Air Show

We opted for a temple-and-church-free day and boarded the Atlantis to circumnavigate Malta and Comino. The weather was perfect for being out on the water and it was wonderful to just sit and watch the coast slip past. The guide was making announcements in four languages, English, French, German and Italian. it was just like being at the Olympics.

We worked our way around the Islands clockwise, stopping at Comino’s Blue Lagoon for lunch. The water there is amazing – you can see all the way to the bottom and all the fish and scuba divers in between!

We clambered around the rocky cliffs and down a steep flight of stairs hewn into the cliff face to get to the ‘beach’. We then picked our way through first sharp rocks, then slippery mossy rocks to get into the water. It was worth it – the water is so clear you can stand shoulder deep and still count your toes. I floated around like a starfish in the crystal clear water, feeling more and more relaxed until I suddenly was hit in the head by a ball that some German boys were throwing around. They were very apologetic, but the tranquillity was lost so we clambered out back over the mossy rocks, the sharp rocks and up the rocky steps.

With time up our sleeve we decided to take a jet boat ride around the caves of Comino. You can easily imagine the scourge of the earth, pirates and smugglers, using the caves for shady deals and hiding treasure. Or maybe I’ve just seen The Count of Monte Cristo too many times.

We had spotted that the historical fort of Il-Fortizza had been turned into a restaurant and decided to go there for dinner. On closer inspection it was a TGI Friday’s, it was pretty strange to be drinking cocktails and eating wings and ribs while taking in the gothic doors and vaults. I wonder what they use the tower for – storage? We decided to pass on Tennessee Toffee Pie and instead went for a stroll down the promenade to get imqaret.

Our last day in Malta coincided with the Malta international Airshow so we caught a lemon meringue pie bus to the airport. We were barely inside the gates when Nato spotted an imqaret stall. We stocked up on imqaret and Kinnie and staked out a good vantage spot by the taxiway.

The aerial displays were fantastic, lots of jets which were so loud that they make the ground shake and moved too quick to photograph. Perhaps the man beside us managed the shot, he was all set up with a tripod and had about six different cameras hanging over his shoulders. He bumped me with them a couple of times, before putting them away in a hurry when I give him The Look.

The fire fighting aircraft were incredible, dumping large quantities of the Mediterranean all over the place. The highlight for me was the Harrier jet, it hovered like a helicopter, then flew BACKWARDS before turning and bowing to the crowd and roaring off. I added one to my ‘what to buy when I win Lotto’ list.

Something that I hadn’t seen before at an air show was the historical re-enactment society. The men were in military uniforms and the women decked out in 1940s clothing, makeup and hairstyles. One of the ladies was even sporting a fox skin wrap. The group were happy to pose for photos with the 1940s motorbikes, jeeps and weapons that dotted their display. However they all stopped to watch the Spitfire and Hurricane display.

There are still people living in Malta who remember it being thoroughly bombed, I wonder if the sound of fighters overhead makes their blood run cold, or if they were well and truly desensitised to it. Maybe some of them were present at the bombing of the Mosta dome, a church in Mosta. During World War II the church was packed with people sheltering from the air raid, when a German bomb fell through the dome AND DIDN’T EXPLODE! The bomb remains in the cathedral on display to this day.

For our final night in Malta we all headed to the Casino. Nato somehow found a bucket of casino chips so we had a great time gambling it away. We gathered in the casino restaurant for a bit of a farewell dinner. The family were staying on in Malta but Nato and I had an early departure to join our tour of Italy. The food was fantastic and we were so full that we couldn’t even fit in a final imqaret on the way back to the hotel. Oh well, there is always next time.

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