Well I came back to the UK in November to have the Colonoscopy and they found two growths one of which was ok but the larger one was not ok, but they have removed them and I have to go back for another Colonoscopy in February just to be sure there is nothing missed or new growth after which it should just be annual check ups. They did say to me when I went back for the results that it was a wise move coming back early as another years growth and it would have been another story altogether. I am so pleased that Jun persuaded me to go back and have it done early.
Jun came over on the 22nd of December and we had a lovely Xmas together just staying at home and going for walks, a bike ride and a lovely trip out to Knaresborough. We also went up to Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey for part of the New Year retreat which was great to get back to as we missed the last two New Year retreats due to colds. We got back home late on New Years night and the next day packed for our trip to Malta and Gozo the following day setting off to drive to Leeds Bradford airport for a early morning flight in torrential rain and winds.
We arrived in Malta 3 hours later in a warm,sunny but windy day and caught the local bus for Valletta as the first place we were staying at was a self contained apartment in Floriana about 4 minutes walk to the centre of Valletta. The owner met us there and gave us the keys and chatted about the area and what to see, we had booked this and the converted farmhouse on Gozo through airbnb a great way to find interesting places to stay. We spent the rest of the day walking around getting orientated taking lots of photographs ( a great place for photographers) had a nice vegetarian meal in the soul café and on the evening had a pasta dish in a restaurant run by Floriana football club ( that's the closest I have come to football since I was 12 ha-ha).
We were up early the next day and after breakfast walked in to Valletta to visit The Church of St John which was very impressive with a large part of the floor covered in 400 marble tombs of members of the Knights Order from the times of the crusades, there were also two Caravaggio paintings which were amazing. Later in the day we took the ferry across the grand harbour to visit the three old cities and also looked around the Palace of the Inquisition. In the evening we walked along the old waterfront at Floriana and through some very old streets.
The next day we took the bus to Rabat the former capital of Malta, Rabat was fantastic such a beautiful place and visited the world war 2 air raid shelters and catacombs under St Pauls it was quite claustrophobic and seemed to go on forever and becoming narrower, so we both decided to leave and go to Mdina the ancient walled town, it was like stepping back in history expecting to see crusaders walking around the corner at any time. Later in the day we visited Mosta and the church with supposedly the third largest dome in the world where one night during the second world war a bomb came through the dome while the church had 400 people in and failed to explode. We then continued on to the seaside resort of St Pauls that was terrible it was dirty, scruffy so we quickly left and caught the bus to Sliema where we took the ferry back to Valletta.
The next day we left for Gozo and took the bus up to the ferry port ( 1 hour) catching the early ferry to Mgarr and picked up a hire car as the bus service isn't as good as Malta they wanted E20 a day but when I said no agreed to E15 a day. We were surprised that we didn't have to pay to get on the ferry till I asked later and was told you only pay when you go back, I guess they figure you can't go anywhere else. We stayed in Sanat at the converted farmhouse home of Peter a retired Marine engineer a very beautiful place he was a great host couldn't do enough for us and very knowledgeable about Gozo ( cooked amazing African/Middle Eastern breakfasts). Our first day we visited the famous Ggantija temples which are dated 3,600-3,000 BC where a whole race of people and culture disappeared, this was followed by a visit to a 17th century windmill where you could see how the family lived and worked within the windmill. We then followed the coast visiting some villages as well as the ancient saltpans that are still used to collect sea salt, by this time the weather had changed and it was very rainy and windy so we then drove up to one of the highest points where the Gorda Lighthouse is situated, very steep climb on roads which would be called dirt tracks in other countries, it looked very dramatic though as we looked across the sea at the approaching storm. We then visited the famous Azure window rock formation which is usually photographed with blue skies and sea hence its name but this day was grey with heavy seas.
Next day we went in to Vittoria Gozos capital walked the streets and visited the Citadel with amazing views across the Island then went back to Sanat for some breathtaking walks around the 150 metre cliffs.
The following day was beautiful weather so we re-visited some of the places and some more charming little villages talking and buying from a man with his own mobile shop with every possible space utilised, the people of Malta and Gozo certainly live up to their reputation for being friendly. We ended up at the seaside place called Xlendi with a very large swell bringing waves crashing on to the restaurant on the sea front, and we went back on the evening for a lovely last night meal.
The next day we caught the early ferry back to Malta ( and paid ) then took the bus which took 2 hours due to having to change buses and wait for a bus that no one was sure when it would arrive, when I asked someone about the timetable I was told they were all wrong ha-ha. We went to the other side of Malta for our last day and night at the fishing village of Marsaxlokk a very beautiful colourful place with small boats all coloured in red,white,yellow and blues, we spent the day walking around the harbour and a walk around the cliffs to see the new docks called Malta Freeport. We had a nice last meal then a early night as we had to be up at 4am to get to the airport arriving back in Leeds/Bradford to freezing rain but as we were so close to Haworth the home of the Bronte sisters and Jun had always wanted to visit the town and Parsonage we drove there before going home but it was very cold and closed. So we set off back home after what was a very busy packed week.