Sunday, March 30, 2008

Finally made it to Gozo!

Terry and I realized chores will always be there and never be completely done so we decided over this long weekend we were finally going to get to Gozo, Malta's little sister island. According to most Maltese, everything is better in Gozo (better food, fresher air, less traffic, etc, etc). We kept holding off partly because Terry can't be off the island if his boss is away, and partly because we feared it would be a huge time-consuming painful process - which we hear it is in the summer.

Well, traffic and air are certainly better. When we boated to Gozo last summer we anchored by Fungus Rock. This trip we ended up taking a walk/hike in the same area, which is called Dwerja. Our walk/hike along the cliffs was nicer than anything we had done in Malta, but only by a little. The ferry to Gozo was a highlight in some ways - it is the first thing we found in Malta that was completely efficient and smoothly run. We happened to arrive at the ferry just a few minutes before boarding began on our way there, and from the time we left the house to the time we sat down for lunch in Rabat (Victoria) - after wandering around the center a bit - was 2 hours.

Otherwise we really didn't see the draw. Of course, we really didn't see or do much, we wanted to focus on the festival and outdoor things because the weather was so good, so we didn't stay long in Rabat or see any of the sights. Then when we got to Gharb where the festival was, it turns out we hit in the afternoon lull when nothing was going on. So that's why we got such good parking! The village itself is reported to be a sight itself because it is still very traditional but we didn't see much that was so different from in our own village in Malta.

We'll be back at least a couple of times - we need to see the Citadel and Ggantija and we want to do some snorkeling by the Azure Window - but we certainly won't be every-weekend visitors unless the next trip really wows us.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I met Pippa today

In a previous post I went through our hunt for a good Maltese cookbook, finally settling on 25 Years in a Maltese Kitchen by Pippa Mattei. Back when I had time to cook (pre-Alex) we tried about 10 recipes from the book and there was only one dud, in fact her tomato sauce recipe is the first one we have liked, and back in Philly we tried at least 1/2 dozen when our tomato crop went out of control.

This week when I went to our produce lady for groceries, I picked out some fava beans (called broad beans) and asked Joyce - the lady who runs the produce stand - how to cook them. She indicated a lady who was looking through the vegetables and said she was the person to ask, she was an excellent cook and even wrote her own cookbook. Yes, that was Pippa! When I went home I checked the book jacket and it turns out she lives in my village.

She also offered to answer any questions I had via email, as the address is on the book jacket. Terry suggested I get the book autographed :-)