Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Blue Lagoon-Commino Island

Since I can remember, I've always been fascinated with crystal blue beaches. They're practically non existent where I'm from in Australia so for me, the Blue Lagoon is a must-do in Malta.

The lagoon is a channel between two islands south of Gozo. It took ten minutes to get there by boat (I can even see it from my hotel room). It looked like God had colored the water with blue highlighter pen. So the legends are true-its glowing aqua!

I was fairly warned that going there on the weekend meant huge crowds. The main beach was chockers with rentable lilos and umbrellas.

There were still lots of people but I found a glorious spot off the main beach. With this many boats and cruises coming in a day, it's impossible to keep a place secret on Commino island.

For five hours I was in crystal blue water heaven. There were fish visible from above the water. I repeatedly jumped off an arched rock like a giddily happy child. And went seafood watching (or snorkeling).

I was also getting sunburnt on my back and erm, cheeks. (Let this be a lesson to re-apply sunscreen...everywhere.)

Also the jumping off areas for swimming are made of really hurty sharp rock. Walking barefoot on a bed of nails would be less painful!

So I got my fix of The Blue Lagoon, heaven on earth. Aside from the hurty rocks, crowds and litter that is, but still gorgeous.

Later I had a spectacular dinner at Etum which is a new seafood resturant and they make the effort to bring the freshest local seafood on the table. I had ribbon thin kingfish carpaccio.

Then the most exquisite homemade fresh spaghetti tossed in tomato, garlic olive oil and the creme de la creme of the sea, urchin roe. Sweet, creamy, and delicate as a kiss from the sea. I think my eyes glazed over when I savoured little bits of roe. The pasta was fresh and had the perfect bite.

I asked if they served the roe on its own but the head waiter (possibly the owner) suggested I dive for urchins myself as "it is the best way" to eat them. Believe me, I would if I could!

For the main I had whole grilled snapper which I picked from their selection of fresh fish. Might I add, the vegetables which came with it were cooked to perfection.

For dessert I had homemade vanilla ice cream. It had a thick viscous texture. It was luscious seduction!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Finally On Gozo Island

Of hot hot Malta.

It took me most of a day to get here via tube, bus, flight, another bus, ferry and stinking hot walk uphill to my hotel. I feel like I've trekked halfway across Europe to a remote island and that's exactly what I did!

Some places in Malta look like ancient cites. The buildings are box shaped and built into the hills, ranging from eggshell to tan colored. The locals here are bronzed and laid back.

As a natural forager, my eyes were gleaming at the abundance of wild cactus (prickly pear) and fig trees.

I'm staying at The Grand Hotel. Was a bit sneaky and booked an internal room for the first night and a sea view room for the second, knowing that I'd be upgraded for both nights. My room by Mediterranean standards is exquisite. And lookey at my hotel room view!

Went to the grocery shop to pick up supplies. Can you believe these imitations???

Took a "shortcut" from hotel to dinner. It was a weathered narrow track where skinks and other dark little thingys jumped out of your path. And I had to pass a gauntlet of giant cactus. Their prickly leaves were almost the size of my head.

The harbor is still being built. There was piles of rubble and a cat who stalked diners for food.

I had fresh grilled Bream (suspiciously smaller than the examples displayed at my table by the waitress) and Maltese rose wine. It was delicious.

Waddled back to my hotel with the remainder of my half bottle of wine and mineral water.

Ps. I love the hotel room.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

London Olympics 2012

After the long anticipation, the London Olympics is finally here. I got to watch the women's volleyball in Earls Court last week. The atmosphere is electric and I was in awe to see an event live.

Tonight my girlfriend and I went to Tirol House, the national hospitality house for Austria to entertain athletes and VIPs. There is a public area where you can drink and eat Austrian food outdoors. It was like a happy festival with communal tables, steins of Steigl beer and bratwurst sizzling on the grill. The staff was dressed in traditional Austrian outfits and there was an MC and performers to entertain us. There was also camera men so people in Austria could watch us forming a conga line and doing the macarena on TV!

The evening was worthy enough to break my alcohol embargo. However I still managed to eat vegetarian. I had the spinach and cheese dumplings. They were served with parmesan cheese and melted butter.

Austrian dumplings. Bouncy and tasty with mustard and ketchup. 

Afterwards we went for a walk over the fabulous Tower Bridge for a tourist shot.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Grey Skyride

I did a Skyride from Regents Park to the Seven Dials. Too bad the weather was perfectly shite. Just as we were about to start, a rumble of heavy rain crept in and soaked us like drowned rats.

We tried to seek refuge under a tree. Then thunder and lighting came. I was freezing and the rain did not let up for a good half hour. Many of us went home.

However we finally set off and while it still rained, riding through Oxford Circus and Soho was an amazing experience. Regent Street and Piccadilly Circus set the iconic scene with the red doubledecker buses and the flags of the world draped ceremoniously above the street.

The downside apart from fending off a chill, was that my iphone got waterlogged. After a series of dysfunctional behaviours, it became barely functional. The backlight is dead and there's no sound from the earphones and speaker.

The upside is my iphone is as energy efficient as ever.