Mike's Valletta Diary

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Thursday, 11th November

Friday, 12th November

Get up and go for breakfast. Breakfast options are rubbish. I have muesli and some horrible bread. We walk to the upper barrakka gardens and take in the views. David forgets batteries for camera so I go back to hotel with him. We head to bus station and take a bus to the Dingli cliffs. A bloke from breakfast who looks like Robert from Duty Free is on our bus. He also gets off in Dingli. Walk past church then stop to do cones at a little roundabout. Walk uphill and find ourselves at the Dingli cliffs. The bus also stops there! Look at cliffs, then walk along front. Robert joins us for some time, but we lose him as we go for a drink in Bobbyland restaurant. After a while, Robert appears from the back and sits at another table. We leave and walk along the front again, descending before finding ourselves at a dead end. We cut back and try to get through to Mdina, but our map is poor and we end up in a dead end with some barking dogs. We retrace our steps along country roads, walk behind a warehouse and some interesting foliage, before arriving on the outskirts of Rabat. Go past some catacombs into the main square of Rabat and get some lunch. Go for quite a poor fixed menu with an awful beefburger. Dave and Rupert have executive fixed menu with a sharing plate starter. Do X-factor round. David is Cheryl, Steve is Louis and Rupert is Simon. I play Dermot whilst Dave is an audience member. David is representing Dave's choices, Steve has Chris' choices whilst Rupert has the mascots. After five eliminations, Aalborg is the winner, but only Dave and I know this at the moment. The "Duh duh" noises are repeated throughout the next day and a half as we wait for the winner to be announced. After lunch, we head into the nearby St Agatha's church crypt. A tour guide shows us around the crypt and the grotto. He's wearing an Edinburgh T-shirt so I talk to him and we get a destination out of him. He chooses Douglas. We then walk back to St Agatha's Catacombs. We look at rubbish museum first and then go down into catacombs. Quite small but very interesting. Once we've done this, we walk towards Mdina. Go inside city walls, past people wasting money on carriage rides, and arrive at wall with view over Valletta and Mosta. Application about the Mosta Dome which wins application of the break. Walk around the wall and stop in cafe with great view for drinks and cake. I have great peppermint cake. Leave and walk back down to bus stop. Get bus back to Valletta. Steve wants to go to aeroplane museum but we don't have time. Get back to Valletta and go to room to get ready for dinner. Meet in bar for a drink then get bus out to Sliema. Get off at front but have long walk until we find restaurant. End up in pizza place and have nice meal. Very bizarre gents toilet with view over harbour! After dinner, walk back to outdoor bar and play schweinere tournament. I end up with record for pig outs. Rupert gets a makin' bacon when he's almost won which Steve finds hilarious. Dave wins the tournament and the envelope. Take long walk back along front, cross through town and wait at bus stop for journey back to Valletta. Get back to hotel and have final drink on balcony before punching the sack.

Saturday, 13th November

Get up and go for breakfast. Wander over to bus station to get bus to Gozo. Long bus ride. Arrive at ferry and get on board. Get rubbish drinks then go up on deck. Ferry arrives and get on bus to Victoria. Rude people bag seats as they are six peoples. We joke that we are five peoples. As we are about to get off the bus, some Poles behind us tell us they are seven peoples. We ask them for a destination. They choose Lisbon. Get off bus and go to old, walled city. Walk up to take in views and chill for a while. Look at Christ statue in distance. Decide to walk to Ramla Bay. Buy Malta bus from stall, then stop in shop in market place to buy supplies for the walk - some food and beers for the toasts. Walk downhill then long up hill past cemetery towards Xaghra. Pause for views then continue into Xaghra. Buy pasties and walk towards the beach. Arrive at Calypso's Cave and sit on cliff eating lunch. Do toasts - julia bradbury and matt the farmer (new presenters of countryfile), shavoed Vernon Kay, dead Gerard Kelly, the mentalist Robert from Duty Free and the Canadian Greg Rusedski. Once we've done this, go down into cave then descend to beach. Look at statue of Virgin Mary, then take long walk uphill into town of Nadur. Walk through Nadur then go down to Mgarr to catch ferry. Stop in bar and look out over harbour with drinks before ferry arrives. Get on board ferry and see Robert. Get off ferry and make sure Robert gets on same bus as us, then go back to Valletta. Return to hotel to get ready for stammtisch.

Stammtisch at the Pub. Dave arrives first, then Mike and David, then Rupert and Steve. After some time chilling, go for final night meal in ...

Arrive to be greeted by crazy waiter. Say we'll give him extra 10 Euro tip if he calls us hombres. Get in nachos and chicken wings for starters, followed by steak dish for main and creme brulee for dessert. Ask waiter for destination. He gets his friend to help and they choose Miami, even though Gran Canaria is on the list and that's where he's from. Also chosen by Hel 2006, so Miami is in hell. I won Pete Gibbon's round earlier and decide to tie P.G. envelope to Grosser Vass.

1st Mascot Draw:

Mike - Kurt, Steve - Barney, Rupert - La Dole

2nd Mascot Draw:

Steve - Shaft, Rupert - Chris - Kurt, David - Grosser Vass, Mike - LLL, Dave - Glogg

3rd Mascot Draw:

Dave - Hel2006, David - Eric

Revealing of Destinations:

1 2

Kurt's veto:

Rehearsal draw:

wins rehearsal draw

The draw:

Well, it's Bruges next time!

Leave restaurant and wander back to the hotel. Have a final drink at the bar then punch the sack to get ready for the final day.

Get up and go for final breakfast. Wander to

Sunday, 14th November

Get up and go for breakfast then wander to fort. Get tickets for recreation and grab seats. Recreation of Malta being invaded by the French and saved by the British. Cheer when the British arrive. When we leave, a bloke asks us if we know what the underground cages are for. We say no, he says, "well you should ask". Walk down steps to front and clamber over rocks round the edge overlooking the harbour and the sea. Go round bottom of fort then walk back into the centre. Head to outdoor cafe for final lunch. After lunch, walk back to hotel, pick up our things and head to the bus station. Speculation that Mr Meaker has been trying on our clothes. Rupert suggests it and we all laugh. Get bus back to airport. Say goodbye to Steve at airport and fly back to Heathrow. On arrival, I say goodbye to the others and rush to get my flight back up to Edinburgh. Arrive at Edinburgh and get picked up by Mum and Dad before going home to punch the sack.

End of Valletta. But it's Bruges next time!

Mike's Budapest diary