9. Sep, 2018

Malta Story 4th - 9th September

We are visiting Malta for four nights and staying in an apartment in Fort Cambridge, Sliema. As usual, I am going to take every opportunity to go caching although it is accepted that I will “go for a wander” every morning somewhere.πŸ€” My target is to collect six cache icons while I am here for a challenge cache back in England. These would be traditional, mystery, event, earthcache, multi and a virtual. The last two will be tricky but I hope I am successful. I had solved a few puzzle caches at home in preparation for the trip. Here’s how the caching part of the visit went.

I got up at first light on the first morning and walked down to the Sliema to Valletta Ferry. I quickly found Sailaway, a trad, my first Maltese cache on the way. After a 5 minute journey across the harbour on the passenger ferry, I was off walking through unknown streets following my GPSr. 

In a couple of hours tramping Around, I found Malta Map Spot #1 Valletta puzzle, the multi Lower Barrakka Gardens and Seige Bell Monument, the trads Bridge Over No Water, New Horizon and Royal Flsh and another puzzle, Crazy Cacher In Space.

The last cache of the day was an Earthcache, The Grand Harbour. I walked down and then up to the Barrakka Gardens to overlook the Grand Harbour. I had read a lot about the siege of Malta. I watched the “Malta Story” film just before the trip so I was very keen to visit the monument. When I got here I took some time looking over the Great Harbour imagining the severely damaged oil tanker arriving strapped to the destroyer in the moment that broke the wartime siege.

I surveyed the harbour looking for the answers to the COs questions. I did ask a Maltese chap if he could help with some of the answers but he couldn’t so I was on my own. πŸ€” I did my research and sent the answers off to the CO hoping that they would meet their requirements. I now had to make my way though the city to get back to the ferry.

The next morning, I was up early again but I was just going to cache around Sliema so no need for the ferry. I had a couple of DNFs but I reckon that they were MIAs but who’s to say? I found the trads, Independence Gardens #1 and Sliema HQ. The latter was the headquarters of the Scouts of Malta Association. There was a bust of Baden-Powell outside but it had been vandalised.πŸ™

I had arranged an event near the Sliema ferry so worked my way down there via the mystery Sliema Cache. Unfortunately no-one showed up although a couple of Spanish cachers had showed some interest. As soon as the event period elapsed, I was off down the promenade to Gzira Island to have a go at the field puzzle of The Funky Monkey’s Pipe, a 4/1.5 trad. This didn’t cause much of a problem and it was off “home” for breakfast. πŸ˜€

I was up early again on our third day and I caught the 0730 ferry over to Valetta. My main target was the 1.5/3 trad Elmo, the Athlete. It had been recommended by Marcel TribblesNL, a Dutch cacher who I talk to on twitter as an absolute must do.πŸ˜€ I worked my way up through the streets to the start of the footpath. The route out to GZ was a real obstacle course - up and down rock and concrete steps, across narrow bridges, all it needed was a bit of via ferratta.πŸ˜€

Once I got out to GZ, I gingerly made my way over to the remains of the harbour searchlights (see the photograph) and quickly found the well hidden cache. I then made my way back along the rocky obstacle course to the road.

With the highlight out of the way, I walked up and down the streets collecting the mystery caches, Malteser Puzzle #1 and Mystic Mystery, and then the trads, SQUOK Club, 21-IX-1964 and the West Mediterranean Cruise Caches - VALETTA. The last one was missing but as it’s the first port of call for any cacher disembarking from a cruise, I replaced it. This proved to be my last one of the day and I had to get myself from one side of the peninsula to the other to get back to Sliema.

By the fourth day of our visit. I had found five cache icons but didn’t have much hope of getting a sixth. However the family decided that they wanted to go on a boat trip up to Gozo and Comino. What a result, there was a virtual cache on Gozo. πŸ˜€πŸ˜€

We got off the boat at the harbour in Gozo. The family went on some island tour which would end in a tourist oriented shopping villageπŸ™ and I set off walking towards the nearest cache.πŸ˜€ After I had found the nearby trad with the harbour view, I walked up the steep hill to Nadur and “found” the virtual at the Basilica of St Peter and St Paul.πŸ˜€πŸ˜€ There was a bus stop outside the Basilica with a bus going back to the harbour very soon so I thought that it was prudent to catch it. I got off the bus near the harbour and picked up the Phototime trad. I then set off back to catch up with the family.

We took the short journey to Comino and there were two trad caches that I should be get in the time available to me. Whilst the family went swimming in the Blue Lagoon, I walked along the dusty tracks to Gozoview, found the cache and returned to the landing stage at the Blue Lagoon.
It was very busy here as there were many tourist boats here. The Welcome To The Island Of Comino trad was very easy to find. However, I am not sure that a shrine, it certainly looks like a shrine, is not the best place for a cache. I met a lady cacher here who I now know to be Henna15 from Germany.πŸ‘‹

So that was that, my final cache on the three islands of Malta and I had achieved my target of six different icons during the visit. We had an early flight in the morning so I knew that I wouldn’t have any time for another cache.☹️

NB. We arrived at the airport earlier than expected and I had time for just one more.πŸ˜€ The trad, Gudja #2 - Welcome/Goodbye Malta (TB Hotel MIA) proved to be my final cache. Goodbye Malta.

1 Earthcache 1 Event 1 Virtual 1 Multi 5 Mystery 16 Traditional