Category Archives: Malta

Malta 101

I’ve stopped counting how many months ago our supposed two day stop in Malta turned into a month which turned our lives around once again, confirmed a third pregnancy, put our boat and home of several years up for sale and sent us of searching for our new destiny. Skip Spain, Morocco, Tenerife and the UK and fast-forward to Sydney where we are now counting week seven since our unexpected return home. Just before Christmas I had bumped into a lovely South African lady who was minding her grand-child at the opening of the fabulous Flying Yogis in Bondi Junction. We got chatting as her daughter was about to leave on a three-year adventure to Malta with her family. This followed by a couple of weeks me trying to pass on the best of the best of that little rock in the Med which we called home for a whole winter of our journey – and to which we’ll always feel connected somewhat having left many beautiful friends and treasured memories behind.

This post is for Gia and her family – and anyone else who’ll be lucky enough to spend some time on the honey island of Melita – now better known as Malta. Google, facebook (it’s big on the island!) or contact us for more details on any of the below and more.

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Connect with Nature

(This could go on and on and only includes our top favourites)

  • The Creativity Vortex – an almost utopia piece of land with veggie gardens for rent, regular holistic workshops and retreats and always a smile and someone to have a hug and a chat with.
  • Dinghli Cliffs hike
  • Trip to Gozo – different land!
  • Shop in a wheel-borrow: Pick your organic veggies up at a local farmer, like Louis on the most northern hammerhead Peninsula, and have a look around traditional buildings, bunkers and farms while you are at it.
  • While you are up there, visit Paradise Beach
  • Spend a day at Salmun Bay hiking and beaching away from the crowds
  • Ghajn Tuffieha – by far our favourite unspoiled beach on the island. Thanks to hundreds of deeps steps leading down to the bay, it kept most developers and some of the masses away. Spectacular Caribbean style views and swimming.
  • Hike starting at Mistral Bay, leading from St Paul’s to Mellieha Bay
  • St Peter’s Pool – amazing natural rock pool, not suitable in rough weather and with small kids, else exceptional and flabbergasting scenery, swim and snorkel.
  • Feeling the lack of green? Head to the place which most comes to resembling a forest on the otherwise barren island: Buskett Gardens.
  • Sail around and away… that must be a Sailing Family thing of our’s…

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Connect with history

(Once again, the list could go on and on…)

  • Valetta – simply impressive and unique fort city and harbour
  • Rabat & Mdina – the walled city and its adjacent neighbour on an elevated plateau in the middle of Malta overlooking the whole island
  • Trip to Gozo
  • Marsaxloxx Sunday markets (go off season, else this picturesque small fishing town in Malta’s East gets too busy and best – if you enjoy movement – cycle or hike there from Kalkara!)
  • Megalithic temples overlooking the straight towards Africa – oldest standing temples in the world!

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Organic shopping

  • Good Earth – organic shop in Balluta Bay
  • Casa Natura – organic shop in Sliema
  • The Veg Box at Villa Bologna’s organic store – buy in or delivery
  • Organic House for home deliveries – sustainable shop in St Paul’s Bay
  • Twice-weekly local fresh produce markets in Ta’Qali

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Delicious and wholesome eating

  • Grassy Hopper – Amazing little Raw Food Café in Gzira
  • Villa Bologna Café & Gardens, too picturesque – take your camera! Just down the road you’ll find the beautiful President’s kitchen with stunning gardens, cafe, playgrounds and little zoo which old and young alike usually adore.
  • Tea times with scones and cream at Palazzo Paraiso for special treats in English Gardens
  • The Mint Café – popular Sydney-style wholesome Café on Sliema’s seafront run by a bunch of kiwis
  • Theobroma – delicious cacao collective in Valletta
  • Good Thaimes, Gzira – most authentic Thai restaurant and German bar on the island. Sounds like a weird combo, but it absolutely works, at super fair prices also!
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Treats for body, mind and soul

  • A massage with world’s best holistic massage therapist, Cat Moyle from Butterfly Therapies. At the same place in Tigne Point you’ll find life alignment session with the lovely Elisendra as well as many other holistic therapies.
  • A yoga class with Kundalini inspired Michelle Bartolo in the beautiful setting of Lily Agius’ Art Gallery
  • Shopping scents at Charlene’s Soap Café in Sliema
  • Soak in healing sound waves at one of the unforgettable kirtans at WhyNot? in Paceville
  • See Robert Grech, THE osteopath of the island for any health issues and spine alignments.
  • Tigne Homeopathic Centre
  • Sip a delicious Japanese green tea in company of fellow mums as your kids play with wooden toys and selected books or grow, enjoy and learn during one of the many music and motion classes at Ludi’s in Mosta

Last but not least, some of these secret tips which will help you get the absolute best out of your Malta experience come from my dear friend and fellow blogging mum, Nadine. Check out her SunshineLoveFood for the most up to date and inspiring recipes and reviews on all you need to know about staying wholesome and happy in Malta;)

Il-gurnata t-tajba! (Maltese: Have a good day!)

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Interview with the SailingYogaFamily

Notice since the beginning of year I have changed the Sailing (via the Travelling) to the Sydney Yoga Family. On Facebook we have stayed the Travelling Yoga Family and on Twitter the original Sailing Yoga Family. What remains the same is the Yoga and the Family, my base pillars – and I guess, the undeniable fact that we are nomads who love and live the sea and the mountains, blue and green in all its shape and everything life has to offer – from the depth of our souls, past the doubts of our minds, to the highs of our hearts.

Interview

Here’s another recently published interview with us – the last which was done on Happy Dancer just before this third pregnancy threw all our cruising plans upside down and led us back home to Sydney (for now…). Thanks Hannah for another great piece and all the efforts you put into it – elephant journal or not, lol.

Enjoy the read and say hello – here or on Naturally Healthier – and be!

Little sailors missing their home…

Namaste, Dini

Travelling compared: Boat versus rental homes

It’s been almost two months since we parked Happy Dancer on the dry in Malta to travel overland instead. In hindsight – and with only two days left till we fly back home to Sydney – for us boat-life worked well until we fell pregnant with number 3, whereas travelling overland long-term-ish hasn’t, mainly due to the lack of grounding and having, albeit little, but a home to fall asleep in every night. Here’s some reflections and comparison – hopefully helping the travel-dreamers of you to figure out what could work best for you.

Pros of travelling on a boat

  • No packing! You’ve got your home always with you. Nice grounding in between all the moving and travelling.
  • Arriving by sea to a new place is always more magical than being freighted in with hundreds of others by plane, train or ferry.
  • Being at one with Poseidon with the right wind and exactly the right angle in the sails under a star covered galaxy is just unbeatable. Having said that – all the perfect conditions combine rather rarely.
  • Your kitchen with you at all times. Whilst tasting local foods is a wonderful part of discovering the world in itself, if travelling is your life, it can also be exhausting. Sometimes I simply want a non-dairy, non-gluten, veg-filled day with Chia-Shake in the morning and simple green veg soup with lin-seeds for lunch. When living on a boat, you can get the best of both worlds/cuisines – your own, and the country you are travelling in.
  • Potty training made super easy. Most times of most days the boys are either naked or in their swimmers. Plus weeing over the reeling has always seemed much more appealing to our two year old than having to go to a bathroom, take off your pants and boringly sit down on a toilet with no view.

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Pros of travelling overland

  • No need to worry about the weather. All you do if it rains or storms is change your plans to visit a history museum or old castle, instead of going for another hike.
  • No need to worry about the anchor. Whatever house you are renting is most likely not to drift away at night.
  • Enjoying local architecture. All the places we’ve lived in since parking the boat – from cosy country houses, over super luxurious modern apartments, to ancient fairy-tale riads or remote basic and cute mountain lodges – they’ve all given us, not only an additional insight into local cultures and traditions, but also provided bits and pieces of inspiration for the day we’ll build our own eco-friendly country house – somewhere, somehow, some day;)
  • Digging deeper into local culture. Not heading back to port every night somehow has given us the opportunity to dig deeper into local culture, whether that’s been by interacting with ancient folks from the most remote mountain villages, travelling further afield than most other visitors do or getting a glimpse into hotel staff’s lives.
  • No storms at sea. Weather on land is just so much more manageable.

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Winds of change blowing through Malta

I can’t believe how time has flown by since we sailed, once again, past Valetta’s impressive forts to drop the anchor for a little while. Catching up with friends. Laughing about old stories. Marveling at news. A new born baby (congrats again for little Zoe!) after pre-labour on the beach. Delicious BBQs. Uncountable fireworks (Maltese LOVE them at ANY time of the day). Divine yoga workshops (blessings to everyone who joined in!). Fun beach days. Delicious cream tea mornings at my favourite Palazzo. Hugs. Good times and more.

Unfortunately there’s also been another stolen bike (When will Pablo learn he has to lock them here?), vandalising local teenagers throwing stones at boats and setting off fire-alarms in the middle of the night and the usual frustrations when dealing with Maltese marinas.

Life is constant change.

On top of all that, the already forecasted winds of change have blown at storm force and turned out lives around 180 degrees. Many of these changes are still too big to fathom, and certainly too big to find the courage and words to put them out on the www screens. I can only tell you, for now, that the Atlantic won’t be seeing us this year. Instead, my old friends in Spain who I haven’t spent proper quality and quantity time with in ways too long, will. So will Morocco – a bucket list destination since I was 15 and of course Tenerife for my yoga retreat mid-November. And then, we can here Asia calling us for a while…

Lastly, don’t be surprised to see a For Sales sign up shortly. Sometimes some of the old must go to make space and embrace the fresh and new.

Our nomadic journey continues – just in a different way than expected. As sailors, we know that plans are just an illusionary game. A brief human notion that we can influence the Divine plan outlaid for our path, which, of course, is ridiculous. The only thing that matters is following life’s flow. Changing what you can, surrendering to what you can’t. This is what we are doing, and for now, it looks like it’s full of astonishing surprises – which, to be honest, I love and embrace. They are the salt and pepper (ok, admittedly also the spicy chilly) of my life and I feel so invigorated, privileged and lucky for being able to live a life as free as our’s.

Passage Notes: Crete to Malta, Day 1

The 20 knots plus wind gusting from behind the island canned our beach morning plans – as nice and uninhabited and uncluttered Gramvousa on Crete’s most Western point looked like. At 0820 we lifted the anchor one last time in Greek waters and were of ready to set our storm sail. Not only did we know that we’d get the tail end of a strong Meltemi, but we had actually planed on using it to give us a good sail for at least the first 24 hours. We didn’t wanna have another five day motoring run like when we came from Malta to Greece. And it did blow. 30 Knots and sometimes more which would have been fine had it not been for the ugly swell. Two to three metre waves consistent with the occasional five to six is definitely not my idea of fun sailing. The jib, while it was still up, regularly got soaked a third up and the boom end kissed the sea after every wave. Navionics noted close to 9 knots of boat speed when we surfed down the waves – with our supposed hull speed, ia max, speed being 8kts! The boom kissed the water after every surge and got regularly soaked in the cockpit by breakers that went over the boat – something never experienced before.  Happy Dancer was literally dancing and the only thing that could keep me from losing it was the thought of selling this boat before we hit Gibraltar and moving into a nice stable house with backyard and veggie patch instead… Contrary to what I might have believed before, I’m not made of the same material as Bernard Moitessier, John Kretschmer and the like. I’m a mum. I’ve gone through pregnancies and given birth naturally without any chemical anesthetics twice. I don’t need to force myself into situations which make me feel sick. I don’t need to prove myself that I have endurance. I don’t need to test how long I can hold my breath… Can I hear the winds of change blowing?

Several hours into this ordeal we changed course to take the waves from our stern quarter which made it much more bearable, never mind the distance we’d lost on a direct course West to Malta as we were doing our record day anyway: Over 150 nm in the first 24 hrs! We were glad to feel the swell slowly subside after this.

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If you could feel the 40 kts wind then you’d be able to imagine what the seas roughly looked like behind this protective island.

Malta Yoga Masterclasses with Dini on 3, 4 & 6th Sep’15

Chilling near Elounda in Crete, next to an ancient leper colony and fascinating fortressed island, I’ve had time to update my yoga schedule. If you happen to be in Malta early September, I hope to see you at one or all of the events below:

Vinyasa Flow, Thursday 3 September 7-8h30 pm

An invigorating session which will include it all: Flow, strength, balancing, reversing, relaxing and more. Not suitable for absolute beginners. More info and updates on Facebook.

Yin Yoga, Friday 4 September 7-8h30 pm

A soft, simple and meditative session made up of long-held seated poses, providing the opportunity to cleanse deeply and let go of anything no longer of use to you on a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual level. More info and updates on Facebook.

Donation: Both classes above are 15 Euros each, or 25 Euros if you attend both. Only advanced booking (email) and payment will safe your spot. Spaces are limited.

Yoga Masterclass: Yin, Yang, Meditation & Pranayam, Sunday 6 September, 10am-12pm

A unique and extraordinary two hour yoga session including

– powerful Pranayam to unleash any knots from your subtle energy channels

– invigorating Vinyasa sequence to boost your Pranic flow

– rejuvenating Yin Yoga to turn inwards and slow down

– meditation & Chakra cleanse to nourish your body, mind, heart and soul

Donation: 20 Euros. More info and updates on Facebook.

Logistics: All classes are held in the beautiful settings of Lily Agius Arts Gallery, 54 Cathedral Street Sliema (two minute walk from Zara’s near the ferry terminal). Please advice in advance if you need to borrow a yoga mat.

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Pictures taken by beautiful Angela from H is for Happiness Photography whose guest post we can look forward to here soon.

Malta to Greece: Family sailing video

Wrapping up a tough but rewarding week of boatyard work, with Happy Dancer back in the water we’ve started to turn out attention Westwards. It’ll be going that way for a looong time (How many miles to Australia?) and after Greece, we’ll stop over in Malta again for a few days to provision big times on all the good stuff from tons of nori and nato, over pools full of coconut juice, plus the other bits and odds like lucuma powder, chia seeds and, of course, veggie mite.

With another crossing soon ahead, what a better time to have a glance back at our five days leaving Malta for Greece and Turkey. Enjoy the video of five days aboard with kids and no wind.



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