{Travel Tales: Malta & Italy, Part Three – The Case of the Missing Keys}

The day began with missing keys.

We slept in a little bit and had some breakfast, taking our time to get out of the house as we had no major plans on the horizon. As we were getting ready to leave the house, Sarah’s mom realized that her keys to the apartment were missing. As we had a second set, and she knew that she had them earlier in the morning and no one had gone out, this was not a huge deal but it became a quest. We hunted the entire kitchen for the keys before we left, scouring even the garbage can to no avail, and the search of all the nooks and crannies of the rest of the apartment turned up empty as well. The keys were mysteriously, bafflingly gone.

Because we knew that they keys had to be somewhere in the apartment, and because we had a second set, we set off on our day, determined to continue to the search for the keys when we returned.

Our first stop for the day was Victoria. The town was originally named Rabat, but was changed to Victoria in 1887. However, the name never really stuck with locals, who mostly still refer to it as Rabat. I read this after the trip, which cleared up a lot of confusion for me during the trip that I never bothered to ask about! (Sarah and her family called it Rabat most of the time.) Regardless of name, it was the biggest city we’ve seen so far on the trip and a big shopping area. The narrow streets were lined with shops, as was the square.

Our goal that morning was to go jewelry shopping, and so we stopped in a few places. I ended up buying a filigreed Maltese cross necklace. Other than that, we spent most of the morning wandering through Victoria, ultimately stopping off at the restaurant where Sarah’s aunt Joan worked to have some cappuccino and to try and arrange a boat tour (which we didn’t end up doing but planned to look into again).

Sarah’s dad picked us up from the city and as we were waiting for him we picked up some fresh vegetables and fruit from the market to have for lunch. We ate back at the apartment, pairing the produce with crackers and cheese. It was perfect.

At this point, Sarah and her mom needed some dresses altered for the wedding we would be attending on Saturday, so after lunch we headed back to Beatrice’s house, where we found her working on the bride’s wedding dress. It was so cool to see the dress being polished off, and it made me even more excited to see the final product at the wedding. It also took everything in my power not to stand there and watch over her shoulder the entire time as she worked.

While Beatrice worked on the dress and the alterations, Sarah and I played with Mikayla, who was not too happy when it was time for us to leave.

Back at the house, Joan picked us up to drive us down to the beach at Mgarr Ix-Xini. The drive down there is nerve-wracking: it’s a steep, one way road that drivers need to navigate if they see another driver coming the opposite direction. After a few close calls, we made it to the beach area at the bottom. Trying to park was almost more difficult than the hill down to the beach – apparently the area used to be much less crowded, but has grown in popularity recently and there were a ton of cars and people at the beach.

The beach itself was set in a cove, and it was as beautiful as anything we’d seen on the trip. Most of the beaches on Gozo are not sand-based, but covered with rocks, so they are a little more difficult to enjoy for lounging but awesome for swimming, as I would learn later in the week. For this visit, I just dipped my toes in the water.

We set up on the small shore area and spent some time sunbathing and swimming before deciding to have dinner at a small cafe right next to the beach. This was one of the best dinners we had the trip. The restaurant serves whatever they catch that day in the bay and Joan made arrangements with the owner of the cafe, who made us fried ravioli stuffed with tuna, king prawns, calamari, tuna (yes, two types of tuna) and mussels. The mussels were so fresh they still had barnacles attached to them!

 

That night we got back to the apartment relatively early and took it easy for a bit. Two full days into the trip and with twenty-four more to go, and it was starting to feel like it was flying by!

IMG_5074

View from the car on the way back from the beach.

And what happened with the keys, you ask? Well, they come up throughout the day with various wonderings about where they could possibly have gone. Many theories were presented: they were under the fridge, they were in a nook on the balcony. At one point when we stopped back at the house, we did a thorough search again… and then Sarah’s mom remembered that Sarah had her jewelry bag out shortly before the search began. Lo and behold, the keys were nestled in with the jewelry! Not exactly the world’s most compelling mystery but it made for an amusing anecdote to remember the rest of the trip.

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