Floriana, Malta 17 July 2013
Packed the bags up and bid arrivederci to Taormina, Sicily. It was a 45 minute drive to the Catania airport and off we went. Well, not quite. Just as we gathered steam heading down the runway for lift off, an alarm began beeping the the cockpit and our pilot hit the brakes, the plane coming to a stop at the end of the runway. An alert signalling the plane was low on fuel triggered the alarm which happily was false. Certainly made everyone sit up though. In the end we circled back around, got in position and tried again, this time without triggering the alarm.
We arrived on the island of Malta in less than an hour. From the air it looked like a mass of beige stone, very little green or vegetation. It looked about the same after we landed. First time in Malta for me. Seems like there was a major push for construction over the last 20 or 25 years, most things looking fairly new. The whole place is monochromatic concrete.... all the buildings and apartments are either beige or some variation on it, everything. Maybe the recession took it's toll here but there are loads of buildings that look abandoned. Kind of weird. It's a vacation destination for families, loads of sun and water. We're staying in a large resort that caters to the family holiday trade, massive swimming pools, 12 different restaurants and bars, the rooms all have balconies that look out onto the water and the crush of a city bathed in beige. On the surface it sounds like it should be great, but it's pretty mediocre, sort of a Holiday Inn trying hard to be Monte Carlo. Not quite my bucket of blood especially coming from the beauty of Taormina.
The gig was held in the city square and the facilities were not good for hanging out prior to the show, so we checked in to the hotel from the airport and hung out here having dinner at one of the dozen restaurants. We left the hotel at 8 and drove down to the venue, Granaries in Floriana, a large city square. We arrived with just enough time left to change clothes and load up on mosquito repellant before taking the stage. It was a combination of seated in the front and standing in the rear. About 7,000 folks altogether and it turned out to be a great show, good playing all around and an appreciative audience.
A quick runner back to the resort. For all the activity of the afternoon, it was subdued and quiet when we arrived around 11. Makes perfect sense as it is a family oriented place and most would have turned in by then. We piled in to the bar for a couple of rounds and one by one called it a day.
Thursday the 18 is a day off here. They do have a pretty good gym that I plan to make use of then head down to the sea where I hope to find a patch of sand and a towel. With only 2 weeks left of this fantastic tour I'm looking forward to every day and feeling better than I have any right. It's a lucky life.