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  • Writer's pictureClaire

10. Malta

Updated: Nov 25, 2023

The Malta trip came about because I needed hot sun and my tan was fading. So, three weeks before my baby brother got married, my lovely son and I were on our way to sunny Malta.

The trip was very much a budget holiday. All inclusive but, nowhere near the standard of Jamaica. However, it was warm, sunny and would suit my needs. We flew from our local airport at Bristol. Airport assistance we received there was very good. It’s not supplied by airlines, but by the airport themselves. Believe me, every airport has a very different approach to it too!

I love how we get taken through and boarded quickly and efficiently. Also having time for a bite to eat and a pre-holiday cider in the departure lounge. It’s REALLY not a holiday otherwise, don’t you think?

Being wheeled onto the plane in an aisle chair is an experience I despise, but it serves a purpose. It gets me on the plane. I do have to keep an eye on my weight, or my thighs scrape the arm rests as I’m being wheeled down the aisle. Breathing in doesn’t help either before someone suggests it. I’ve already tried that. Less chocolate is the only thing that works, and frankly that’s asking a lot!

Our arrival in Malta went smoothly. Assistance was ready to greet us and Mildred was bouncing up and down in excitement to be reunited with us after being in the hold for the flight. She was almost shivering! Well not really but, if I’d been in the hold I’d be shivering!

Passing through customs and out through Arrivals I only had to do my Queenie wave. My lovely son had the bags and I was wheeled along by an assistant. I’d booked the holiday through a travel agent and transport from the airport was provided. A bus. Hmmmm, that was fun, given that I’d seized up completely and my whole body was now in spasm, getting on the bus was a giggle. The steps were steep and a bit grubby. I had to decide; was I going to rock up at the hotel with filthy hands and knees or rock up with a dirty bum. I opted for the bum approach. My logic being, that as soon as I was off the bus I’d be in Mildred and my bum would not be seen. Therefore, all evidence of ‘bus grime’ would be hidden from sight. I also had a bag of crisps I wanted to eat, so avoiding putting my hands down on a dirty floor was by far more appealing. I made it into the front seat and was pooped, but as we weren’t far from the resort, I hoped I would make it into the hotel without hitting the deck and showing myself up completely. Getting on the bus was bad enough!

Hurrah! I’d survived the journey. Our hotel was part of a group, the sister hotel was opposite. Being inexperienced in the art of holiday booking for wheelchairs I’d neglected to check the entrance to the hotel. Assuming there would be lifts and ramps well guess what ….? We were presented with a flight of steps. Check in was at the sister hotel. It had a ramp and air conditioning. As soon as we approached the desk, there was a porter on hand to assist us. Now, we were supposed to be staying in the hotel opposite, but they decided we would stay in the one with the ramp. It had lifts, and everything was set up for wheelchairs. It was also a star rating higher than what I’d booked. Happy days!! What a result. Our room was lovely, fully accessible and air conditioned. It overlooked the gardens at the rear of the hotel, and a quiet road. I say quiet, when I first saw it, I prepared myself for lots of noise. However, It was so peaceful, you’d never have known we were in such close proximity to a road!

The pool was lovely, not massive but certainly big enough in comparison to the size of the hotel. We parked Mildred and ourselves on the loungers. my lovely boy, bless him, isn’t one for sitting around, he gets bored. All was perfect, the food was basic but edible and was more than adequate. Drinks were included, but they were served in plastic cups. For me that was a bonus no worries when I dropped one. Which predictably happened, on numerous occasions. Also, health and safety, I guess. No one wants broken glass in or around the pool, do they?

As no-one wants broken glass in the pool, by the same token no one wants poop in the pool either. When I say poop, this was the biggest turd I have ever seen in my life, just floating there like a goddamn tree trunk. They had to shut the pool down to scoop the poop and clean up. We had to wait for the lorry load of chemicals they’d poured in to do their job.. The pool was now not an option for us. We no longer had the urge to float with the floaters. We spent several hours trying to determine who the culprit was, who was responsible for of the enormous turd.

After a lengthy discussion about the size of it, we deduced that it was an adult poop not a child. Something that size would have caused a serious lasting injury to a small child!

As we had declared the pool off limits, we decided a stroll around the town of Bugibba was in order. We made our way from the resort down towards the sea front. This all sounds wonderful, but Bugibba turned out to be very steep. I assisted with the braking until my favorite pusher said it wasn’t necessary. I think this was because there was a strong smell of burning rubber coming off the tyres. (You wouldn’t believe how quickly Mildred gets through them) It was beautifully hot, and I was feeling mighty fine!

Bugibba has a very pretty square, with lots going on. A lovely spot to stop and watch the world go by, have a cool drink and a Scooby snack. Which we did. Such a peaceful place to sit and people watch. Also, dog watch! Malta appears to have millions of dogs of all shapes and sizes. We saw one that was like our Tikaani. Except for the fact that he had been shaved all over apart from his head. He looked like a lion, not a dog. Most odd. The square is just across the road from the sea. I really wanted to dip my toes into the sea, but there is no sandy beach in Bugibba. To say I was a tad disappointed is an understatement.

However, my lovely boy made it happen. There was a small steep causeway down to what is described as ‘The Beach.’ It wasn’t a beach with sand, it was just all rocks that had been levelled over the years, either by man or natural erosion. There was a little Café down there that was doing a roaring trade in sun loungers and cold drinks. The food didn’t smell too bad either.

For normal people there was a flight of steps to access the sea and rock patio but that wasn’t possible in Mildred. He pushed me for what felt like miles around the mulberry bush to get me down there. I was ecstatic. Being at sea level was fab and it was also cooler with a stunning breeze rolling in off the Med. (That’s the sea not my tabs!) Not that I was complaining about the heat!!

The spot is used daily by elderly Maltese ladies and gents to swim. The sea formed a natural pool, and there were steps with handles built into the rock. This meant I would be able to swim. (No floaters) The sea was like a warm bath, and I could just touch the sea bed with my tippy toes. Once in, I didn’t want to get out. I stayed in there for a few hours, getting gradually more prune like from the water. My lovely boy wandered off to have a look around and came back periodically to check I was ok and to finally help me out of the sea. During this manoeuvre, I stubbed my toe, and whilst it didn’t hurt because I couldn’t feel it anyway, it did rip my very pretty, bright pink sparkly big toenail off. Completely. Not a happy girl. I was bleeding and now my feet looked stupid. How vain does that sound! But these things are important!!

Getting back into Mildred was ok, I was so relaxed from being in the water and the pain had become tolerable. All things that help no end with the transference, something that the boy is a pro at anyway. We then had to get back up the very steep ramp. I say we, I was clearly not pushing Mildred, that was a job for my lovely boy. I did lean forward, like you do on a horse, to make it easier for him. I have no idea if this actually works in a wheelchair, I just know it does on a horse going uphill. Bless him, It was no easy feat in ‘scorchio’ heat and flip flops when the road was far from flat and no pavement on route back to the resort. On his wander he had located a Macdonald’s. Whilst I’m not a fan, it’s always a good place to go for free Wi-Fi. Which we duly kicked the ass out of. We did buy a coffee, as we felt guilty just sitting there on our phones and laptop. It was overlooking the sea and was a beautiful spot to watch the sunset.

Bugibba has large aquarium which we spent half a day visiting. it was very easily located with the aid of a tourist map. So much so I do believe I could have found it on my own, even with my shocking sense of direction! It was a blessed relief to get inside and view the fishes (no chips) and educate ourselves on marine life. I recommend a visit there, it’s all wheelchair accessible and reasonably priced. We had the obligatory photo taken; in a shark’s mouth, as you do, and learnt a lot. After a few hours we’d seen all there was to see and, as we were out and about ‘we’ carried on walking.

I had absolutely no idea where we were. All I know, it got VERY steep and my lovely boys feet were slipping and squeaking in his flip flops. I’d taken mine off, no one wants flip flop marks on their feet! As we were on an adventure, we technically, weren’t lost. You’re only lost if you have a place to be and end up miles away somewhere else. As the road inclined more and more and got progressively narrower, we decided it may be safer to turn back, and we made our way slowly back to the resort.

I am so grateful to him for what he did, as a young teenager it’s not everyone’s idea of a great holiday. Holidaying with your mum in a wheelchair and having to push her around! I love to explore and see a some of where I stay. Some things were too difficult for us to achieve but in the main we managed what we wanted. I learnt a lot from this break; mainly about the amount of planning required to go away with Mildred. I was still resentful that instead of being able to be spontaneous, I had to plan, with military precision. Planning still not being one of my strong points! Discovering that I could request assistance, accessible rooms and accessible taxis/transport from the airport was a game changer. I was pleasantly surprised at how accommodating people are towards Mildred (In the main). It was an educational holiday all around and I loved it. Cheap cheerful, fun, hot and great company. What more can you ask for?

It flew by. A beautiful relaxing stay in a quaint little place, and somewhere I’d go again. We flew home a few days before my baby brother’s wedding, both tanned and relaxed. Feeling fab-u-lous. It did take a few days to recover but as it was warm the recovery time was significantly shortened.

As trips go, I was getting more adventurous, and I was feeling a little more ‘normal’ (Like that word is used frequently to describe me!!). The next instalment; my battle with being perceived by myself as normal and adapting slowly to Doris and Mildred. Thank you for dropping by and call back by if this has grabbed your attention in anyway. Flairey. x

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