THE BEST OF THE ADVENTURE

THE STATISTICS OF THE COST OF FEB/JUNE IN A MOTORHOME

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This adventure has been much more expensive than the last few as factors such as Hetty maintenance ..Medical treatment..Ferries and lots of bugger the expence outings etc.

NOW A ROUND UP OF THE VERY BEST BITS..

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MOST EXCITING ROAD …GROSSGLOCKNER PASS AUSTRIA

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BEST EVENT AT FATTORIA LA VIALLA TUSCANY

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BEST FOOD IN MARZAMEMI SICILY

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BEST WILD CAMPING AT THE AZURE WINDOW GOZO IN THE MALTESE ISLANDS

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SECOND BEST WILD CAMPING  AT THE AUSTRIAN /GERMAN SIDE OF THE GROSSGLOCKNER PASS

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HIMSELF AT MELLIEHA BAY HOTEL SAILING IN THE MALTA OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP

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MOST WANTED TO SEE ..PALAZZO ADRIANA ..LOCATION OF “CINEMA PARADISO”AND A JOURNEY OF UPS AND DOWNS  ACROSS INLAND SICILY

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AQUA ALTA BOOK SHOP IN VENICE

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A COUPLE OF MEGA SUNSETS IN GOZO

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AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST A MASSIVE WELCOME SMILE FROM MISS RUBY ON OUR ARRIVAL HOME

“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  

“ONE FROM HIM AND ONE FROM ME”

A thought on Italian dog shit by John
We have noticed that all Italian dogs seem friendly.

Also at night Italians drive to a suitable pooch emptying spot open the car door and let out their four legged friend for matters natural. The owners never leave their cars probably for fear of looking like Susan the other day who walked through the town with a very unnatural gait trying to get dog poo off her shoe.

Are Italian dogs therefore trained to be friendly and lure unsuspecting foreigners to tread in their Poo with the Italian owners wetting themselves watching our antics when we tread on the depth charges(land mines) of their pets….

Statement of the day from HIMSELF

“You wouldn’t have thought there was all that down there now we are up here ”

Driven through a plain at sea level until the town of Comiso ..It seems to be a prerequisite of Sally Sat Nav to take us through the narrowest of cobbled streets …Up hilly lanes packed with cars and abandoned delivery vans ..We wait till the driver shifts the van to the side of the road allowing Hetty through ..We just wait no problem ..We seem to be in the Italian mind set of driving now …No Rush ..

This is a main road ..up and up …and again up the switch back bends …dry stone walls ..goats feeding from the lower branches of the olive trees ..more up to a plateau at around 2000 feet above sea level …and what look like lakes in the sunshine are miles of poly tunnels and green houses ..growing tomatoes corvettes amongst other things we couldn’t determine …then came the Statement of the day …!!!!!

Snow chain signs and viaducts spanning the towns 1000 ft below reminding me of the long legs of the Martian craft in War of the Worlds ..

 .An amazing feat of engineering considering the lesser roads are poorly maintained pot holed apologise for roads as we found out when nearly disappearing into a massive hole yesterday so deep I thought we were a gonna …this is why we prefer plastic plates …crash bang wallop …every thing on the floor ..good thing the eggs were in a lower cupboard ..

We’re now in Pozallo .. And have been put on an earlier ferry to Malta …

Photo to follow when we get to a decent wifi

“THE SUN HAS GOT HIS HAT ON “

Marsala to Gela via some Greek Temples Johns blog
We are working our way south for a ferry early on Wednesday morning to Malta. Trying to fit some sights in on the way.

So a visit to Agrigento seemed reasonable as its famous for the Valley of Temples. After a pleasant quiet night by the side of the carousel for the children we departed Marsala and took the road south with a destination of a free carpark close to the temples. A steady drive through a mixture of fruit trees.. olive trees and vineyards very pleasant but no scent as yet . Then we observed fruit of a different variety Dusky Maidens selling their services to passing lorry drivers or any body who would buy their wares..the first hookers we have seen this trip ..possibly to wet for them to sit by the roadside over the last week or two..

Upon achieving our destination GPS 37.288152 13.582376 we found the carpark to be €5 not free as reported per campervan ( very disappointed ). So the decision made over lunch was that I would take a walk around the area to take photos with Susan’s super camera

 ..She gets templed out easily after her disappointment at the Pathanon in Athens so the one in France The Theatre in Orange was plenty ..she says it’s a waste of money so I go off to these places by my self

Upon leaving said carpark after my wander and sneeking a look at the ruins without paying the entrance fee ..Susan paid in €5 to the carpark machine and received change (bonus €1 to the beer fund)

Overnight stops are few between Agrigento and Gela ..We looked at a few ..one €15 with power ..one €10 without so Gela was our last resort for a free overnight stay. I took a wrong turn and we found ourselves on a poor road to avoid a motorway which then presented the biggest and we found deepest puddle you can imagine…we could not straddle it so opted to put one side 🚐 of Hetty gently through the puddle the other on the Tarmac and promptly emptied our crockery all over the floor and turned the shower on…

After cleaning up the mess …nothing broken luckily…We set off for Gela and now we are at 37.074152 14.215723 This is a carpark overlooking the sea and beach Its close to a giant concrete school desk piece of art. Susan was not going to drink today but after our traumas we both deserve one(or even two)

The wind is fairly strong and on Hettys nose and the sun is setting over the sea . It has been the first day without rain so here’s hoping it’s the start of better weather.

“A SUCK IT AND SEE JOURNEY”

Woke to bright sunshine at La Pinela

  and breakfasted off fresh warm bread and Chocolate Croissants .. Before we packed up for an off to Erice the rain started hurling down .. So Erice was out of the question as its in the rain clouds high above us at around 700 m with a 360 panorama.. No point going if you can’t see your hand in front of you .. Mutual agreement is to go up in May on our return to Sicily … Then it was suck it and see route .. Passed Trapani …no where to park near to Center and it was raining .. Continued sauntering along the coast road .. Had a quick gander at the salt pans ..

  Past windmills (No Don Quixote) J said they are for pumping .. and on to and past Masala finding an over nighting spot but the wind piped up so back to Masala .. A car parking spot in the shore full of travellers of the itinerant persuasion with very flash campervans but after an overnight in Rosslare Ireland with tinkers.. their wives and her boyfriend we thought NO !! They have to much fun / fight at 3am .. Moved one carpark down next to the kiddies roundabout / carousel.. Now closed and quiet

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A walk into Masala where the fortified wine comes from .. Dog shit alley .. Well one turd that looked like a leaf and I stood in it .. Spent the next 10 mins walking like a cripple trying to get the poo off … Rubbed mi foot in a sandy base of a tree and on some artificial grass leaving brown stains .. Was it shit or sand

Anyway .. Stop laughing ! …

Masala is ancient and as per normal in Europe the town Center is intact .. Flash clothes shops .. Ladies in full length mink coats .. This was all very lovely till the thunder storm from hell with hail and direct hit lighting … BANG WOLLOP .. I hate storms .. So said shoes wash at the tap had to be postponed …

Italian dogs roam free nor do owners walking their pooch pick up the poo .. DISGUSTING …

“SUNSHINE TODAY “

The song from the 60’s comes to mind re: the weather and mood swings “Hello Mother Hello Father”

About a boy at summer school and its raining then the sun comes out and all is well again It’s the same here..rained continuously all night on the roof of Hetty..

John said there was a lot of noise around us with scooters,cars and an occasional drunk outside the van .. I hear nothing as I sleep so well when adventuring

Back to the weather SUNSHINE breaks through the black clouds Phew and the temperature rises from 7c to 20c in half hour .. Lovely !!!!

Now to the health of our invalid.. The antibiotics have turned the growling bear back to a pussy cat .. and sanity returns to Hetty Hymer

The over night free carpark on the quay has been at Castellammare del Golfo


 
GPS 38.030861 12.881552

The next place is Vito lol Capo the most northerly tip of Sicily .. Mountainous Craggy landscape Pine forests ..and the sea but once again the sun has disappeared and from 20c it’s fan heater weather

We don’t like campsites but need to do our laundry .. First lot in two weeks .. The campsite we were recommended to is La Pineta GPS 38.17699 12.73408 ..with washing machines wifi and leccy and restaurant ..now the shower room in Hetty looks like a Chinese laundry with stuff drying everywhere .. Pegged out but .. Yes it rained ..

You my lovely reader may throw your hands up in horror at the fact we’ve gone two weeks without a laundry visit but we’ve got a system .. Shower daily .. Deodorant..if cooking wear an apron.. John as well ..eat with your top layer on inside out ..if a spillage happens let said spill dry and pick off residue..then turn right side out .. Look no mess .. Lastly wear black as it doesn’t look mucky !!!!!

“TANTRAMS “

I’ve had a moment .. My idea of an adventure is small roads leading to who knows where … That’s adventuring NOT motorways !! As we bomb on from Palermo on such a duel carriageway MOTORWAY I felt my soul being ripped out .. This yomping on a road bypassing villages isn’t what I signed up for .. It was ok on the toll in The South of France as I knew we were on a mission then   but now we have six days to get to the ferry in Pozallo for our crossing to Malta ..it’s only 180 miles ..@50miles per day even on the back roads is easy ..Ok you say .. I will be coming back again to Sicily in May .. But still I need to see stuff or I might as well take a Saga coach trip .. get my drift ..

All is calm now We’re back to our bumbling ( quote Joanne n Craig) spent the last 24 hours on a beach at Cala Bianca ( thank to our tour.co.uk for the GPS coordinates) 38.05598 12.84011

 We are now in Castellammare del Golfo after a massive plundering of the local Lidl   .. Lovely little town with an historic castle dating back to Arab supremacy
38.03035 12.88132 This sleepy spot is on yet another harbour wall over look what could be a lively bistro and promanade area ..If it’s too noisy we may have to join in .

“TOOTH ACHE AND TRAVEL DONT MIX”

ourtour.co.uk Quote re: Italian driving

Italian Road Rule 1: All drivers are obliged to use whatever means at their disposal to get in front of the car in front. If there is a gap, you get into it, as long as you think other vehicles can somehow avoid a collision.

Italian Road Rule 2: Once a car has gotten in front of you, no matter how close they came to killing you or scratching your paintwork, you are not allowed to crash into them. Easy……….So true ….

Johns blog

These do not mix. My toothache started on the ferry from Genoa to Palermo but as we didn’t dock till 21:00 nothing could be done until the next day. So supper was painkillers and a gargle (or two) with Jamesons (no I did not spit). I managed to sleep till 04:00 then more painkillers and managed a couple more hours at our fish quay sleeping spot before the fishermen started to arrive we where parked among lifted out fishing boats.

 Susan found a nearby dentist on tinternet so at 10 of we went to find it only to find it was market day on the road out so a diversion was required only to find the only way was through road works along the full length of a narrow St ( much honking of horns but I did not participate) .On arriving at the dentists location We could not find it, but a kindly pharmacist showed me to the door on the ground floor of a block of flats (no signs evident at all).

After about 45 mins I was whisked in to see Her (no English spoken but with Google translate and sign language we managed) . The swelling was so large by now she could do nothing but prescribe Antibiotics . So €20 euro lighter( not bad I thought) I went back to the kindly pharmacist and was supplied with the antibiotics (as big as gob stoppers). By midday parked up at a beach carpark I was feeling much better and the gob stoppers where working well. So in 5 to 6 days it may be a visit to a Maltese dentist for an extraction.