Just Taco and I again for walk 6, starting at Birzebbuga. Today we are tackling the deep South of the island. We arrived early at 9.30am and parked at the Freeport in Birzebbuga, which is where we finished last time.
The Freeport takes up quite a bulk of land so we had to cut across the peninsula from here. Surprisingly it was a lovely road, peaceful and pretty, yet overlooked by this huge structure – the Freeport. There were farms and flowers but always looming behind was the Freeport. We headed up a hill.
It took a while but finally, it felt like we were leaving the Freeport behind and we could now just see blue sea, farmland, fields and fields of yellow flowers and stone walls. This felt like the most remote part of Malta I’ve been to as we hardly saw even a car and just a few run-down little farms off a dirt track.
We found our way back to the coast road – a small path running at the top of a cliff. A bit hairy but breathtakingly pretty wild coast. This was the best walk so far! (I keep saying that on each new walk – but really it was amazing). And absolutely nobody around. This is the place to live in Malta! Maybe we could renovate one of these little stone houses?
Looking down at the cliffs below I could see a rock column what I think is ‘the woman’ (l-Mara). I didn’t want to peer over too much as we were quite close to the edge of a high cliff. Also along here was the Ghar Hasan Cave which is reported to have amazing views from the cave of the sea and cliffs. Next time…
We were following little pathways but eventually, it got quite overgrown and difficult so we had to head inland a bit. We then came into the Hal Far Industrial Zone. Not the best part of the walk as we were now surrounded by warehouses and buildings. The only vaguely cheery thing was this guy at the Playmobil “fun” park. The title suggests this is a fun place to visit but trust me, I’ve been before, and it wasn’t much fun. Taco and I sat down for a rest and a snack.
We then had a rather boring walk through this industrial area but the coastal area was inaccessible at this point.
We must have taken a bit of a wrong turn because shortly after we were walking beside a huge quarry. However, we managed to get back on the right path and again suddenly were beautiful fields followed by a climb up to a water tower.
We then headed inland to the ancient town of Zurreiq. However, just before reaching the town, Taco decided to roll in some manure. And she really rolled in it. When I caught up with her she had it all over her fur and she STUNK big time! Yuk!!! And what a disaster as we were inland so I couldn’t throw her in the sea. Plus we were supposed to be getting a taxi back to the car.
I marched on crossly to Zurreiq dragging Taco to look for a shop to buy some water. I couldn’t find one so had to “borrow” a bottle from outside someone’s house. The Maltese have this strange thing of leaving full bottles of water outside on the street around their houses. It really puzzled me when I arrived but I’m told it’s it’s a superstitious thing and supposed to stop cats from peeing around your house. (hmmmm, not sure I can believe that works). This particular house had a lot of bottles and this was an emergency.
After Taco’s bottled water shower (she still smelt and now so did I) I found the middle of Zurreiq and it was lovely. It’s one of the oldest towns in Malta with gorgeous old houses, narrow streets and a beautiful Church in the middle.
My phone had almost run out of power so I called a taxi. But when he finally arrived he refused to take me! Well, he refused to take Taco and to be honest I couldn’t really blame him. What to do? The car was parked back at Birzebbuga. It had taken me 2.5hours to walk the 11.5km route around the coast. I looked on google maps and realised that if I walked directly back to Birzebugga along the main road it would only be about 7km and mainly downhill so I could probably do it in an hour. But I needed google maps so I went inside the bus station cafe and a very nice man who couldn’t really speak English let me plug in my phone for 20 minutes whilst I downed a cup of tea and a Mars bar.
I then part power walked and part jogged back to the car down the main road, which wasn’t really a main road as we saw hardly any cars. We made it back to the car in 55 minutes. I hardly needed the map because there was this big tower to guide me and after a while, I could see the Freeport. I could even make it back to the school by 2.30pm (although I’d already called in the reserves for pickup – thanks Antonia ;-)).
And that’s the South pretty much done. I loved it. Unexpectedly beautiful and remote. For the next walk, I will be headed up the West coast which I’m really looking forward to. Blue Grotto, and the Dingli cliffs, which is according to my guide book is “probably the most beautiful section of coastline in Malta”. Can it really better than the South coast? We will see.