Walk 13 – St Paul’s Bay to Bahar ic-Caghaq
For the first time, I was doing an afternoon walk rather than a morning one. This was down to logistics as it was an easier time for me to get dropped off by. I had planned on walking from St Paul’s all the way to the end of my coastal walk (Spinola Bay). However, I decided whilst driving there that it would be too far (and too hot).
Although St Paul’s is quite a big and busy village in Malta I actually hadn’t ever really walked through it or explored. I was actually pleasantly surprised.
It was warm and although this was going to be a very flat and unchallenging walk, I wanted to take my time really looking around. So Taco and I meandered along the shoreline checking out the little bays and Taco constantly ran into the water to cool down.
We hadn’t walked far when we came to Wignacourt Tower. Built in 1610 this Tower was the first coastal defence tower built in Malta and therefore the oldest surviving post. Close by is a statue of Markiza Anna Bugeja who built St Paul’s Bay Parish Church and helped the poor. It was a really nice spot and I’m kicking myself that I’ve never been here before.
We carried on and after a while St Paull’s Bay becomes Bugibba. Bugibba has always been the place I try and avoid as it depresses me. It’s full of big hotels and ugly apartments with thousands of English tourists and ex-pats. There are English and Irish pubs everywhere and cafes on every corner serving a “full English breakfast”. Usually the promenade in Bugibba is packed but today it was quiet due to the lockdown. I came across a very un-Maltese street lift which I’ve never seen before. In fact I’ve never seen anything like this anywhere in Malta so I had to take a photo. In fact, generally, Malta is not pedestrian-friendly so just to see a big walkway and lift up to street level was very unusual.
A bit further along the beach and I could see the Malta National Aquarium. This was opened in 2013, and for Malta, it’s a pretty exciting building that resembles a big starfish sitting at the top of the Qawra headland. I have to say, having been to quite a few aquariums over the years, this one isn’t particularly good but it’s still a great location with a nice cafe and playground outside.
We pass the Aquarium and gaze at the tempting but currently unopen Café del Mar which boasts to be the biggest beach club in Malta. It is a great spot with a gorgeous pool and views out to St Paul’s island. However, the one time I went it was very busy, very overpriced and most annoyingly, filled with beautiful 20-somethings posing around in hardly any clothes. I thought for a moment Taco was going to go for a dip she was so hot and the water looked so tempting.
We carried on past the Qawra headland and round towards Salina Bay. Here you’re away from the commercialism of Bugibba and it feels a bit more remote and there are some nice swimming spots. We walked along the edge of Kennedy Grove which is a nice woodland park with a couple of good playgrounds and a cafe.
Stuck in the middle of Salina Bay are the saltpans which depending on the direction of the wind can be extremely smelly. I’ve walked past quite a few salt pans in Malta and Gozo but here apparently is the main production area of salt in Malta. There’s a long history of salt production in Malta dating back to the time of the Knights of St. John and the same ‘Salina Bay’ comes from ‘salty bay’.
A pretty boring and quite long walk from here to Bahar Ic-Cachaq following the coast road. I charged on trying to get to the end and my lift home and with little shade poor old Taco was so hot and tired. I felt very glad we’d arranged to be picked up at Bahar and not walk all the way. One walk left now!