After breakfast at the Pebbles Boutique Aparthotel in Sliema, we walked to the bus stop across the street and took one of the many buses to the bus terminal in Valletta. There we changed to the Bus 62 to Siggiewi and made more use of our convenient 7-day-bus pass. Siggiewi is a small, rural town, that offers some especially interesting attractions. The first was starting at 11 a.m. – a Falcon Show at the Malta Falconry Centre. From the bus stop, it was a just short walk, first on a beautiful sidewalk and the last meters, after a crossing, on the street.
We arrived just in time for the Falcon Show and were led to a field with benches. It started with a cute little owl and continued with falcons. There weren’t many guests so everyone could take the birds on the arm. The woman, who apparently cared for the birds, explained about their birds. There was also a flying show and even a hunt, where a guest from Finland had to pull the prey across the field, chased by the falcon. The whole event was much smaller but also much more intimate than the bird show we saw in Singapore at the Jurong Bird Park. It was fantastic.
After the show, the woman showed us freshly hatched falcons, and we also looked around at the aviaries. We liked the center and its relaxed atmosphere so much that we stayed for a coffee in their small cafe.
Finally, we walked back to the north of Siggiewi and went to the Limestone Heritage Park and Gardens. I actually didn’t expect much, as I just knew it is about Limestone. But I was positively surprised. They gave us an audio guide and then we first saw a movie about the relevance of Limestone for Malta. Malta is fundamentally built upon and out of Limestone. Then the audio guide guided us through a modern outdoor exhibition, where we learned about the processing of Limestone in the history of Malta. It was quite impressive and the location – a former Limestone quarry – made it really special.
After the exhibition, we continued to their little garden, where they have some animals. There weren’t many people – we met the Finnish family from the Falconry Centre again – and it was quite relaxed.
From the Limestone Heritage Park and Gardens, it was just a short walk back to the Siggiewi Bus Stop, which is only a few steps from the San Nicola ta Bari Church. Unfortunately, we didn’t have more time to explore somewhat remote and charming Siggiewi, as the bus already arrived. We had planned to take a bus from Siggiewi to Hagar Qim, Mnjadra, and the Blue Grotto.
It didn’t take long until we reached the Hagar Bus Stop, which is just a few steps away from the entrance of the Hagar Qim Temple, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is connected within the Hagar Qim & Mnajdra Archaeological Park with the Mnajdra Temple Complex.
We started with the modern museum at the Hagar Qim Temple, where they showed a movie and some artifacts, as well as information on the temples, which rank amongst the earliest free-standing stone buildings in the world.
Now it was time for the actual temple, the Hagar Qim Temple.
Only 500 meters away was the equally impressive Mnajdra Temple Complex.
When we were finished with temple sightseeing, we thought about having a coffee, but the restaurant was closed. We still had another sight ahead, as we wanted to go to the Blue Grotto in the hope of a small boat tour. Actually, you can walk along the street from the Hagar Qim Temple to the Blue Grotto, and we considered that as the next bus to it would leave only in an hour (at least theoretically). But we found a taxi and after some bargaining agreed on a price (the driver’s first suggestion for the price was ridiculously high, given the short distance).
We got off the taxi at the parking lot nearby the Grotto, where also the bus stop is and walked downwards. Neither swimming nor taking a boat tour was possible due to the waves, but I enjoyed the ocean view very much. It always reminds me of home, the land of my birth.
Finally, we took a bus to Valletta Airport and switched there into a bus to Valletta and then to Sliema.