“3 NETWORK DOESN’T LIKE MALTA”

I’ve got a little behind with my blogging ..seemingly  3 network isn’t compatible with the  Maltese Islands and having left Emma’s fast wifi in Kercem for our night at the Azure Window …After waving a fond farewell to family the consensus of option was to do the sleep over we have wanted to do ever since we saw a campervan down at the Azure Window


…TRAFFIC CHAOS.   Johns input…

We needed to do a Lidl shop to replenish Hettys store cupboards so we set off through Victoria only to find that the roadworks had moved causing traffic chaos . I need to explain about Gozatan road works. They start and stop without warning ..one minute it’s OK.. the next thing two plastic bollards appear and away they go digging. When things get really bad they put a traffic warden out to direct traffic and stop people moving the bollards to get to their homes ..never more than two are used. This usually means more chaos as he is usually on his phone and taking no notice of the poor motorist. As a driver you need to know your way around as sometimes the only way to go is to drive in the wrong direction to a different village then travel to a second village and then come back in to Victoria about 100m from your starting point. So on this occasion our diversion was minor but all traffic was on a narrow road ..no-one had prevented  cars parking so it had become a chicane ..All was going well but slowly until a tourist coach drove past a safe passing place and pulled up adjacent to a parked car and only mopeds could now get past. Being quite large Hetty was stimied so we had to reverse downhill not easy with a car up your Jacksy ..Lots of honking but we slowly reversed 5 to 6 car lengths back to allow the ignorant coach driver to continue his journey ..
A little later than planned we arrived at Lidl topped up Hettys supplies and started back only to find that the traffic wardens had responded to the chaos by closing another road ..Three villages later we arrived at the correct road and set off for the Azure window for the long awaited sleepover GPS 36.052296 14.190076.     Here endeth Johns input …..

Morning at the Azure is quiet enough until the buses arrive disgorging tourists which is our cue to leave and head for the ferry to Malta ,A little bumpy to say the least but it’s only a 20 minute  crossing and a whopping €32.55 , The ferry company don’t charge to get you to Gozo but make sure you haven’t spent up to get away again ..no other way off the island Hetty was charged at commercial rate double to a car which is € 16-55 but who cares as its only once in a life time we will take her to the Maltese Islands

Melleiha Bay is our next port of call for a little light lunch before heading for Valletta and the ferry to Sicily ..This stop over is MH friendly GPS 35.974291 14.349784 and a good over night sleepy spot ..Now to get into Valletta in the rush hour but all is calm and easy ..good old sat nav ..an over night sleepy spot was found in the small carpark of Virtu Ferry terminal and the security guard couldn’t see any problem with us being here as he wasn’t  opening the gates untill 4am which is the time we set our alarm for loading at 4-30  to departure at 6-30 to Pozzallo..The ferry is a massive cataraman full to the gunnels with commercial vehicles , School outings,Tourist day trippers to Sicily ..Amusingly a tour guide tried on my return from the loo to herd me into line so I can’t have the unkept look of a traveller about me as yet ..sniffs at ones clothes…

Our exit from the terminal in Pozzallo was done with the ease of the well travelled as this is our sixth time in this super seaside town in the last couple of years adventures where we found an off road area on a beach full of none occupied properties of the very rich ..this sleepy spot is only recommended out of season before the owners arrive GPS 36.714886 14.81032

Our next destination is Mazememi where we promised ourselves if we ever came back this way we would eat at one of the restaurants in the square of this ancient harbour village ..as its now the start to our birthday and wedding anniversary on the 4th May (two weeks indulgence) and we’re not on a penny pinching budget as we were on our trip here in 2014


The restaurant chosen was Taverna La Cialoma ..Sun shades ..Gerainiums in massive pots..White linen tablecloths ..  Mediterainean blue painter chairs ..Crystal glasses and very yummy young hipster Italian male waiting on ..Tee Hee ..very pleasing to the eye ..our meal of choice was a pasta with shrimp and artichoke with a glass of Grillo ..Superb ..proberbly the best Italian food I have ever tasted .Marzamemi

The Italians have a bank holiday on Monday and the village in getting busy which is our cue to toddle off to pastures new after I shopped at the veggie van and was ripped off ..but hey ho live n learn .. Following our nose eastwards we have come across a tiny MH friendly free of charge beach GPS 36.853102 15.112105 south of Avola

 

“HETTY ON THE ROAD AGAIN”

We’re back here on the Maltese Island of Gozo after a tiring trip from UK ,Managed to wake at 3-30 am worrying if all was prepared for our off ,Enough cat food to last ,15 packs of 12,Big cat litter,Cat nuts..Done.. Switched Leccy off to every appliance  Done …Stuffed as much as I can into my hand luggage ..Done.. Now to ring the taxi to pick us up at 4pm for the airport ,But NO ,Can we get hold of either of our choice of taxi,No, One seems to be defunct and the other went to answer machine ,Minor panic so John drove to the taxi office and booked ..An early pick up as the firm do school runs and had to be back ..1pm pick up ..2pm arrived at Terminal 3 ..We had considered going by bus and train but then bottled out ,Too much hassle ..A little lunch in the Italian in Terminal 3 was most acceptable then the delay ,Plane running late ,A good book is a godsend and the fun started ..At 7pm gate 55 was announced ..off every body strolled queued for an hour , Another announcement will all at gate 55 go now to gate 48 , All the priority booked passengers were obviously at the front of the queue at gate 55..oh boy can they run as the back of the queue was first at the gate 48..How we laughed as Me and Him were now 5th in order in the line , barge , elbow ..push me over if you dare priority passengers ..The admin gate girl sorted the priority people out ..sweaty ,red face ,puffing with their run, into another line .We are let through after these people who have been told to enter the plane by the front door as have we ..priority are waiting in the cold drizzle at the steps ..cleaners haven’t finished so for all Priority ..Extra money spent we all got on at the same time some colder than others ..Ohhow we laughed ..Non event flight, No delay at passport control ,Now to find the jeep left for our use in the carpark ,Same place as we left it last time , How easy is that, Thanks to Dave and Min Williams for that ..Made it for the 2am ferry at the north of the island, A little more bumpy than usual as its a force 7/8 in the channel between Malta and Gozo 20 minutes later we head for Kercem and our bed .The dog wants to share it and wakens us four times with licks.

HETTY COLLECTION DAY 

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BY JOHN

Collected by Dave this morning and off we go. On my arrival at the garage I was told that Hetty was in the storage compound and after paying (which was not as expensive as I had expected  (170 Euros) I would be helped to wash here .This was because Malta can suffer from rains with a southerly wind locally called BLOOD RAIN. This is when the rain cleans dust raised in Africa from the atmosphere and is very messy.

So I jumped into their recovery vehicle and was taken about 3 Kms to the yard and was introduced to the junkyard dog who was very friendly (But I bet its different after dark when the gate is locked) . Hetty was very much like a camouflaged vehicle from “desert storm” when I first saw her. After a quick power wash the worst was removed and I went on the roof to carefully wash off the brown skin on the solar panel and roof lights ,Power washing the rest and rinsing  clean. We had to clean her again to remove the run marks(now more like a red/brown slime). She is now looking ok but will need a proper wash sometime soon to get the shine back.

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The drive back to our Daughters house was uneventful and much quieter as the knock \grumble seems to have gone…but as she doesn’t get to 60Mph on Gozo and Malta it is near impossible to hear anything and  will not notice the full effect until we get on to roads in Sicily allowing higher speeds

Even with the coating on the solar panel all batteries are full . So Hetty will now have her water tank filled and a trip to Lidl to restock beer wine and of course food and we will be ready for our first night.

LIFE IN THE FAST LANE

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Emma mulling over a new project ..Lap dog ..Sunshine suites John

“HETTY IN HOSPITAL”

WHEEL BEARINGS

Hetty is in camper van hospital on Gozo and we are back in Barrowford after rocking and rolling across Gozo ferry ..across Malta ..the back way to the airport to fly back for childminding and cat sitting over the Easter School holidays

Hetty’s problem started with what J called a knocking …or was it just a noise ..He said he thought it was a wheel bearing which after the Gozo mafia had taken him and Hetty to a mechanic it was confirmed The garage is some where in Xaghra

Things you didn’t know about Xaghra A hill town above Marsalforn The Blackpool of Gozo Not really Blackpool ..No amusement park..

Arrangments were made to order the bearing and have the mechanic collect Hetty from her sleepy spot in Kercem outside Emma’s house (for the new reader of my blog Emma is our Daughter who has chosen Gozo along with her husband who works in Europe as her home and education of her sons  around twelve years ago )

This is the view from Emma’s house looking towards Victoria and the Citadel Lovely Victoria (Rabat) A view I never tire of in all the many times I have visited ..

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Monday was a day of cubs …we had to pick the boys up from scout campP1000956

after their easter outing of an over nighter in a field at the back of the carpark in Dwejra at The Azure Window …an amazing place to camp out ..although to the boys its just camp Azure Window P1000962.jpg

Picked up two very tired ,very dirty boys as the sun was setting P1000966.jpg

The mechanic couldn’t start until after our return to UK so John decided to take the keys for Hetty to the mechanic in Xaghra …Wont take long John said but he didn’t hit the streets of Xaghra the way he knew …We drove round that town for an hour …Could he find the garage NO …Would he ask NO ..I became quite embarrassed as we went into the square for the 10th time where old men drinking coffee in the cafe stared at these nutters in a Maruti jeep obviously lost …In the end we went back to Victoria ..took the road into Marsalforn and out to Xaghra ..Up the hill and found the garage first time …Handed the keys over .Now to wait for the job to be done ..Without an estimate ..but hey ho the job has to be done and its only money …

Headed for the airport ..First the ferry to Malta ..Then a drive across country to the airport and yes we got lost ..Entering the airport from the backside ..but arriving with time to spare for our Treat curtsy of Emma .The VIP lounge had been booked for us ..free lunch with wine free ,wifi ,news papers and comfy sofas

Now home

“TWO PROCESSION DAY”

P1000828.JPGDawn from Hetty over Fontana P1000836.jpgSt George’s Risen Christ procession Easter SundayP1000867.jpgNext stop The Cathedral in Victoria for the next Risen Christ procession ..The way down from the Citadel is very steep and the priest carrying must be pretty strong as they carry the statue , wood base ..marble dais down thirty steps then down the steep streets to Independence Sq..we watched with baited breath for a wobble but again they held their statue without incident Info re:Gozo n Victoria P1000883.jpgAfter watching for a while we bombed of in the Maruti jeep to Marsalforn via the salt pans some dating back as far as Roman P1000898.JPGHarbour at MalsafornP1000902.JPG

Colourful local boats and this 50 footer who sneaked past us into the bay ..P1000927.JPGLunch at Pierre’s the sea front and boat watchingP1000945 A bit of a sunset later in the day at Xlendi

I’m sorry we haven’t much more to say about Hettys travels but she is sitting on her tyres outside the Morgan house in Kercem …Resting ready for the next part of the adventure after we fly back from UK at the end of April…So that goodbye from ME and goodbye from HIM until then when we continue our adventure via Sicily, Tuscany, Venice, Lake Bled Slovenia, Austria and last but not least Germany .. well thats the plan but it could alter as we rather like this flying home and back again ..

“FILMSETS AND CHAINS”

GOOD FRIDAY OUTING

Good Friday Day time outing was to a small restaurant at Xmagg ix -Xini P1000513.JPGwhere the film “By the Sea” Angelina Joli produced and starred in with Brad Pitt as her co star ..The film got terrible reviews but the setting is stunning“By the Sea”

After a very hairy drive in the Jeep P1000534.JPGon farm tracks and down a very steep road ( road is an odd word for this track )..There at the bottom is a lovely cove ..P1000530.JPGonly used by locals and people in the know…Tour coaches haven’t a chance but still the parking area filled up as dive schools four wheel drive vehicles came down and dispatched their customers on the pebbled beach ..All the tables were reserved so the wait was long ..but who cares ..Its waiting in the sun ..must admit the boys ..Emma’s sons Aged 10 and 7 got a tad bored P1000524.JPG…but eventually we ordered and it was Moules all round …4 chips and one Barracuda for the youngest..P1000515.JPG

At 5-30 time for the off to Victoria ..just 5 minutes drive to watch the Good Friday Penitent Procession … Barefooted Hooded Chained men walked in procession with the Priests and Parishioners carrying St George’s Church Statues for miles around Victoria … P1000701P1000644P1000632P1000662.jpgP1000672.jpgP1000724.JPGP1000803

St George’s Church lite in purple…interior in black which would be removed after friday’s ceremony P1000809

“ANOTHER DAY ON THE CALYPSO ISLE”

P1000505.JPGThe Xpats in Gozo can organise anything and quickly as J had such a problem with his tooth in Italy Emma organised for a dentist to look at him on arrival here ..and Thursday it was gone ..Xray.. Consultation…Scale and Extraction €110 = £97…
We had rumbling from Miss Hetty’s backend J thought the right hand wheel bearing about to give up the ghost . The Xpat gang sourced a tame mechanic in Xharra ..another small town up and up again above Marsalforn lots of toing and froing …a confirmation of knackered wheel bearing…Thanx again to Emma’s Gozo family..
meanwhile I was child and dog minding ..pegging out washing ..and cooking my carrot and potato curry for supper …need a holiday now ..I find working in a strange kitchen challenging to say the least ..Two nice views from the kitchen of Victoria and the valley P1000504.JPG

Part Two…Johns Blog Re-mechanic and fixings

The bearing is not available until Thursday (the day after we fly home for babysitting..catsitting and allotmenteering duties)
The garage doesn’t know the costs until Monday when the order can be placed on Malta due to local holidays.
I have arranged for Hetty to be collected from my daughters house whilst we are in the UK ..Repaired and returned.
I have still to decide whether to have the LH rear wheel bearing replaced at the same time. I may just get the extra bearing and carry it with us as I can do the job myself if necessary.

“FAMILY LIFE GOZO STYLE”

Tom and Emma have home work …The weather is awful …Gales from the west ..Over cast …and the sand landing on the terrace from the southerly blow on Monday ..Doubled pegged washing on the line …

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HOMEWORK
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IT’S MY SOFA !
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A ROOM WITH A VIEW OVER THE VALLEY TO VICTORIA
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OUR WASHING OUT IN A GALE
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ROOF TOP VIEW OVER FONTANA
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HETTY IN HER PARKING PLACE

“HETTY’S IN GOZO”


Hetty has now crossed to Gozo …A quick ferry ride of 20 minutes and not round the back of Comino as was feared with the gale force winds of the previous day ..

Gozo likes churches ..massive churches ..

  

The photos are all within the first half mile on the road to Victoria from the ferry ..


Lidl called as we entered Victoria …favourite shopping venue for Himself ..even parked like a Maltese ..just park anywhere is the way here ..even stop to have a chat double parked ..Road works are big business in Victoria but don’t worry a worker will move the safety bollards to let you past …there isn’t any way round holes in the road ..only road to Kercem ..No option of another route ..

We arrived in one piece ..Cloudy and hint of blood rain in the air ..Blood rain is the sand from the storm of yesterday coming off the Sahara and landing as rain ..or sludge on every …..Blood rain explained

“HETTYS HOLIDAY”

She’s in a hotel carpark awaiting our return to normality

Arriving in Malta a day early to be pull out of the line of traffic by the Maltese vet dept wanting to look at the dogs passport  ..how we laughed!!

Then  thrashed it from the ferry terminal just avoiding a head on collision as we forgot to drive on the UK / Malta side of the road .. Whoops

There is a Maltese MH club who have a few wild sleepy spots .. One happened to be next door to our hotel  in Mallieha Bay ..  Very convenient for a quiet sea view night

Parked Hetty in the carpark and hit reception only to find we aren’t booked in until the next day .. I think I said to J when he booked “Have you got the dates ” but it didn’t matter as this hotel bends over backwards to accommodate it’s guests www.melliehabayhotel.com

We’ve been here four times .. Twice last year and can’t fault it .. My only problem is the food ..it’s excellent .. In one meal I must eat more that I would eat in a day at home or in Hetty .. Ok you say .. Control yr self … I tried yesterday but the curry lunch was unmissable … Sighs .. It’s grass for me after tomorrow’s full English breakfast

I will just give you pointers as to the last 4 days here … To much going on to tell the full story of the  2016 IOM Malta Open Invitation event and don’t want to bore you reader who don’t know one end of a radio controlled yacht from the other

  1. It’s sunny  
  2. The wind was perfect for the sailing  
  3. The WAGs are entertaining 
  4. Just a general good do all round .. 
  5. Monday was another sailing day Dragons this time    Even though the main event finished on Sunday with a prize giving party  

TO GOZO VIA FRANCE AND ITALY ..THE OFF 

The map shows the loose interpretation of the intended route by road and sea  

AN EXCITING 24 HOURS

The adventure started well until the first traffic jam ..

 Then the fatal crash on the opposite carriageway .. (Bodies)…

Then the alternator belt started its whine.. This has been fixed .. Oh No it hasn’t .. New alternator New belt Grrrrr HE says its bedding in and needs adjusting.. I say it should be good to go as its a reputable garage that fitted it .. Make my hair stand on end when it screeches

Then the radio wouldn’t work .. No leccy to it .. I blamed the burglar alarm fitter..

THEN the water heater didn’t work

SIGHS

We put a message asking for advice from a Facebook group called Classic Hymers … Hetty is a Classic Hymer

Lots of help came back very quickly.. It’s the fuse someone said ..

Rang Ashley at Pendle Caravan and Motorhome repairs and he talked John though the intricacies of potential problems as he had to open up the boiler area .. Removing drawers and finding the offending circuit board


Yes the fuse had blown .. Now to go off to Canterbury to find a Maplins .. Of cause the store was two bus rides away at the other side of town

Fuse bought ALSO came out with a Dash Cam .. So now we can film the Arse who may run into us ..

Back to Hetty via Canterbury Cathedral .. Magically Spendid

  
Lots of useful info had come in from CH group re: fixing the boiler

A bite of lunch before J started … One hour later it’s fixed .. What a star of a husband I have ..Next the radio.. Wires out … Now fixed so apart from the screeching belt we are fit to travel and having a beer at The Plough and Harrow 51.211853,1.299569. A Motorhome stop over pub 8 miles from Dover ..

Ferry tomorrow 10am Force 8 forecast ..fortunately only a two hour to Dunkirk and we will be in France

It’s fifteen minutes walk SHE said !

Its only 15 minutes walk from the old Valetta to the ferry terminus What Emma Morgan … More like an hour in that heat at our pace … The terminus isn’t in the most salubrious of areas but a good cheap caf with tables on the street did a mean kebab and a can of Cisk ( local lager) … Hopped on the ferry to a mill pond crossing .. Hetty safe and sound her burglar alarm greeting us on our arrival .. Dark by now .. We just drove up to our water side secret parking place .. I wondered out loud WHY the lights were so bad on the vehicle .. I couldn’t see the road marking and was getting worried even though we hadn’t far to go … Take your sunglasses off HE said !!!
SIGHS…..
Parked up … So hot ..dripping .. So we made up the lower bed for me so I wouldn’t moan about being to hot .. Could spread my self out a bit better .. Lol … Slept like a top with only a thin sheet .. HE said it was about 30c … And we are do glad we have done Sicily early .. It’s to hot now ..
Heading home .. Well we are .. Turned north .. Up to Taormina to look at Greek ruins tomorrow .. HIS choice .. Emma says they are wonderful .. We are now in a pretty sosta / camping place …a paid one
!!!! Hecky peck … What next !!
It’s just off the main road and convenient for the bus to take us to Taormina ..

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Bus 1 bus 2 ferry 1 bus 3 and ferry 2

Made it to the first bus from Kercem to Victoria after putting the ferry to Sicily tickets some where safe !!!! Turned Emma’s house upside down .. Ok HE said .. HE hadn’t had them or seen em …. Woops . … Not another one of my safe places .. Lost my mothers silver tea pot once for about three years …. That was some where safe !!!
Anyway why would I have put the tickets in my makeup bag ?? Haven’t put any slap on for weeks
So off to first bus Victoria .. To catch next one to the ferry to cross to Malta …20 mins later we landed and got the next bus to Valetta .. Talk about white knuckle ride … Two hour and five minutes later we are now on the Battery terrace over looking the harbour ..

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Gozo done ..

Day 1…
Arrived to fire works

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Day2….
Walked to Xlendi for ice cream …

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And a swim
Back by bus to The Mill Room .. Emma’s work place .. Dropped boys off

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Beer at the Citadal .. Picked up boys
Very poor service in II Tuk cafe .. very tough pizza which is reported for Trip-advisor … Walked back to Kercem the LONG way … Sadistic boys …
Day 3 …
Pyjama day …
Day 4
Shopping and missed school finishing time so Mummy had the boys 😦 we cooked
Day 5…
Shopping .. Picked up boys from school… 2 hours waiting for and travelling on bus to Malsalforn to swim.. JELLY FISH
Had lunch at Pebbles .. Best lasagne ever … Met up with other Granny who has an appartment there .. Bus back to Victoria and Bus to Xlendi to swim … Phewwwww !!!
Walked back up the hill and two very tired boys

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Off to Malta and the Sicily ferry for a rest … But we have enjoy visiting the family and can’t wait for their visit to us for Ruby’s christening in September

Crafty ladies …

The Mill Room Gallery was an art gallery and restaurant ..in one of the lovely narrow lanes in Victoria Gozo owned by Billy Connollys Tikerty-boo group and loaned out to the crafty ladies on a monthly basis ..Emma my stepdaughter is one of the management team along with Abi Clark …the ladies make stuff …paint ..lace make …jewellery …dolls of amazing girth …does my bum look big in this type dolls ..the ladies have craft classes going all weekend with all sorts of arty farty things being made …and they make money ..here is a selection of the goodies on display last weekend

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And not to forget Odette who makes all the cakes to sell,with your lovely cuppa

An away day or two pictorially

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Hetty Hymer having R&R in a secure carpark overlooking the ferry terminal in Sicily

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Arriving on time in Valletta

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A taxi to the next ferry and arriving in Gozo

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The people of Victoria put on a firework display for our arrival in Kercem ( some saint day)

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And sunsets over Gozo