Two years ago my first grand child was born – that is not a joke! I sent him a birthday present – nothing special, but I am happy he has got it, even I sent the parcel as a usual letter.
I have been to Valletta in the morning. Unfortunately the cruise liner with the “BeWelcome-friend” was not coming, because the weather. It is very windy – especially at the sea and it is NorthWest-wind, what means ships cannot come into the harbour of Valletta. It was sunny and really warm, but the wind and I enjoyed to walk the streets. I fetched the butterfly in filigree, too. I will give it to my host in Hungary. Furthermore I have been at a pharmacy and bought more cream for my skin. The pharmacist told me, that I have to go to the Mater Dei Hospital because the colour of the skin, which is very dry. I thought anyway that I will try to get appointments at the ENT (Ear-Nose-Throat) doctor for checking my hearing aids and also I have to see someone for my nails of my big toes, when I see my doctor for the endocrine next week for my thyroid.
At work we have the monthly team meeting this day, therefore I have to leave half an hour earlier as usual. It is the last day of these four working days and I am happy, I am free the next three days again. By the way, when I am soon on vacation leave, I only lose some hours from my days for vacation because I only need two days for the week of vacation – actually I will be off for eight days in a row – and there were two public holidays this month, I was working. I will have around 149 hours left, that means 18,5 day. There will be some more public holidays, so I will have 5 more weeks.
On the Internet nearly all of the day, preparing my trip around the world. At 4pm my neighbor was here. I helped her with a form to fill on the Internet, saving it as a PDF and printing it out at the stationery shop, because me printer is still not working with my laptop. My neighbor followed me to the stationary and ask a lot of questions. A colleague was in there, too and smiling. Actually it is not easy at all for my neighbor, because she never has used a computer or laptop for more than writing and reading emails at my landlord’s.
I was shopping at the supermarket afterwards, because I rarely had anything to eat at home but cans with vegetables. Unfortunately I have not had any thought about the public holiday the following day (Good Friday), though I have to wait for the delivering of the main part of the shopping for Saturday morning. The things, which has to be in the fridge, I took home.
This day I was on the Internet again – preparing for my trip around the world. There are lots of things to do, because I have to find hosts or homestays in almost three countries, so I can ask for the visa for two of them. When retired, I have to get a lot of useful papers, which hopefully will help me into the countries with visa restrictions – even there is a Visa Waiver program and similar.
I think, I also found the place, where the movie “Freddy unter fremden Sternen” was filmed. It must have been there, where the Jasper National Park is now around the Maligne Lake. Close there I found a town called Brandon, too, but not the river is not named after the town. Internet is fantastic!
I spent all the day on the Internet applying for being a helpx (Southern of Australia) or looking for a couch (New Zealand). I also was checking additional information. Also I sent an email to the coordinator for Servas Malta asking for lists for Servas members in New Zealand, Southern Australia, Spain and Portugal.
Also I have got an email from the owners of the “Freddy Quinn Archiv”, they offered their help getting a new DVD “Freddy unter fremden Sternen”. I am happy about that, of course, but I will wait and see if the one I found on “Groove.land” is ok – or only a hoax.
I have got more positive answers from helpx-hosts. I have to list them and keep in touch with them in January 2016.
I have to go to work again. Four days of work in front of me. I will make that too, I know.
This day is a usual Monday here in Malta. I was on the Internet again and checked the conditions for the Visa Waver Program and Non-Immigration Visas for the USA because I will come from Canada and continue to Mexico. That make it a little more complicated I have seen.
I have got an answer of the Maltese coordinator for Servas, he told me I could log in and see the list of hosts, because I am a member, but I did not find any solution for that. Therefore I had to write to him again. I still hope to find hosts for all the days on New Zealand even I checked out backpacker hostels already.
I have not finished with Australia yet either and just started for Canada. There are still a lot to do.
I started that day by writing a “jobbansökan” – CV and cover letter in Swedish, because I found an interesting job with Swedish here on Malta. I had to do that from scratch, because I deleted all my examples in Swedish. It takes such a long time. I could not finish that day because I had to go to work and also it happened an incident in the middle of the day.
Someone was knocking very hard on hour hallway door, when I finally opened it was a neighbor from downstairs with two police officers. They asked me, which flat I am living in and then, they were not more interested in me. We had to knock on Carol’s door, because her window and balcony is to the street. The policemen were going out on her balcony and looking down. It took a while before Carol understood – and this with the help of other neighbors, that someone had thrown red colour on the car of the neighbor downstairs and now she was – with the help of the police officers – looking for, whom had done that. The policemen were entering the flat of Carol without a paper, they just did that. It was a little strange.
I have met a doctor at the Mater Dei Hospital. It was not the one I have had the appointment for. I think, I was not interesting enough for him. It was a younger doctor. She asked me a lot of questions and I understand that my symptoms are really usual when having a thyroid disease. At the end I got some tickets of referrals, which I had to leave at the main reception, but one – again they will send the time for the appointments home. I also have got one I should make today, too, as the doctor told me, but all the people responsible for appointments, did tell me, that I have to wait for an appointment by letter, that it is not urgent. Though they know better than the doctor – I could not make anything about it. Furthermore I have got a ticket of referral for the dermatology, but that is not at the Mater Dei hospital, but at the St. Paul Boffa Hospital in Floriana. I have to go there the following day and leave the ticket. In addition to that I have got a new appointment for this doctor – in November this year. I hope I will be in Sweden at that time and have no need to go to the Mater Dei again. It is really horrible to wait for more than an hour. Already when I came there were a guard, who did not let me in – in time for telling the receptionist, that I am there.
On my way home I was at the pharmacy. The doctor prescribed me a medicine, that costs 400 € for the 3 months I have to take it. I have to pay that all by my own. That was really not was I expected. That medicine is against fungus – on my big toes (I lose the nails), but can also help on other parts of the body. I hope it really will help and that I am not allergic against it. I have got another, cheaper medicine for my skin – it will only take the itching and that will of course be great, because it is so horrible for the moment. There is also a risk to be allergic against it, even it is a histamine. By the way I have got a bill “Return of Foreign Patients” and had to go with it to the billing section. I did not have my newest payslip with me, so I had to sent it by email to them, otherwise I should have to pay for the visit. I am happy, that I could do this by email and I did it as soon as I was at home again.
That was my adventure for today. There were moments at work, that I was close to fall asleep, because I had to awake early this morning for meeting the doctor.
I awake already at 8 o’clock in the morning, though I took my medicine and tried to get some more sleep, but I did not. I put my washing machine on, had an early breakfast, put my laundry on the roof because it is a perfect day for drying. Around 11am I left my flat and was going to Valletta. The first bus was just one minute earlier than me. I could still see it. The two following buses did not stop because they were full. Finally after waiting for 20 minutes, there were a bus taking me and other passengers into Valletta.
In Valletta I first went to a charity secondhand shop for leaving some clothes and shoes I have not used for a year. I will not take them home to Sweden and I think it is better to leave them now but the end of my stay on Malta. The assistant in the shop became very happy.
I continued to an ATM because I need money to pay for the gas bottle I have got of my landlord some days ago, when I ran out off gas. This ATM was close to the palace and I saw the Minister President of Malta be driven away. There were police offers on motor cycles in front of and at the rear was a security car. There were also the guardians in front of the door to the palace again. It looks so British!
Furthermore I was to the jeweller for fetching my chain, which he cleaned for me. Only two doors further down the road there is a household shop, where I bought two locks for my sauce pans, because I did drop them on the floor weeks ago and they broke. It is not good to cook something without a lock. By the way, the one fits perfect, the other one not so good, but I can use it. I am happy about the possibility to only buy locks, even they were quite expensive, but not so expensive like new sauce pans.
Afterwards I continued to the St. Paul Boffa Hospital in Floriana, where the dermatology department is. On the way I was close to the Valletta Waterfront and I saw a cruise liner in the harbour. The hospital was easy to reach by walking, but even I had my google maps, I had to ask someone for it, just close to it. I was very surprised, when I saw it, because it looked dirty. In the house I read that they started with refurbishing it. Also here, I was told, that they will send me the appointment by a usual letter. I took a photography of the hospital and also of some nice things on my way back to the bus station of Valletta.
I came home after a couple of hour, ate a sandwich and drinking some use. I did not forget to take my new medicine. Then I started to write my blog, but got so tired, I fell asleep for a while. For getting fresh again I cooked a coffee. It was around 5pm. I hope I can sleep tonight ;-). I had to go to the pharmacy and take out the rest of the medicine I bought the day before. Before I ate my evening meal I took down my clothes from the roof. Later on I finished writing my blog and wrote the text for the new job opportunity – about WWI and only facts for 350 words.
This day I was on Gozo again. I went there for meeting Jane. She is visiting Gozo until she will go home to Canada in May this year. I had to set my alarm clock for 6am and took the bus 8.05 from Kullegg. One never knows about the traffic and I will be sure I make it with the 9:45 ferry from Cirkewwa, Malta to Mgarr, Gozo. I did and I found a seat on the ferry even there were so many passengers this time. I also hurried on my way out to be one of the first to the bus for not only getting a seat, but also coming in. This time the bus was not so horrible full, because there were a lot of tourists coming by tourist companies or going by sightseeing buses or jeeps. Anyway I would not have got a seat if I would have been late.
At 11 o’clock I met Jane at the bus station Victoria Bay in Victoria, the capital of Gozo. We went first for a coffee to a little market place with nice coffee shops. She only took a coffee Americano. I thought, I might order something more, just for the coffee shop. They need to have some income. Therefore I decided to taka a cheese cake. I was thinking about that American kind of cheese cake I have eaten before in Marsascala, when I was with Dennis F. This time I’ve got a totally different cheese cake. The filling was fluffy and high lake a usual gateaux. It tasted good. Over the coffee we decided to go to Ramla Bay because we would almost like to see the Ġgantija Temples and Calypso Caves as well as the Ramla Bay. http://www.visitgozo.com/uploads/ckeditor/files/ramla%20walk.pdf We did not find the way on the folder because we did not find the cherry tree either. Though I have to look for the Ġgantija Temples another time. Anyway we were walking through valleys and under a Roman bridge. We also asked a local farmer about the route, but he did only know the streets. We tried different routes and used a very wet trail with green plants like seaweed on it. It was not only wet, but also slippery. The trail ended after a couple of kilometers at a gate. We went back and tried another way.
With help of my gps we came finally in the right direction, that means to the village of Xaghra. There we met a Maltese woman, trying to rent out her 4 bedroom apartment. She was walking in the same direction like us and made us company. She also told us, where to go to the Calypso Caves. Finally at the Caves there were a platform above them, but we could not really see the cave from there. We went down a road with a dead-end looking for the caves and found the Ramla Right Balincourt Battery, which was in a very desolate temper. If Jane had not went in there, I would not have. The inner roofs were already breaking down. We were happy, that nothing happened when we were in there. When we were back on the road we asked in a Souvenir shop about the cave and the old woman told us, that it is not longer possible to go in there, because I big rock was falling down in front of it. Therefore we continued to the Ramla Bay using a very steep road. We both were thinking about, that it would not be possible to use such a road during a Canadian or Swedish winter. Fortunately they get no snow on Malta. Down on the road, we went to the Ramla Bay, but Jane was interested in coming home, therefore we were not on the beach. We catch a bus just a couple of minutes after we arrived at the bus stop. The bus is turning around here and not going up for the hill. There is another route to Xaghra. At Victoria we took good-bye – promising each other to meet in Canada.
I met with Barbara, a new friend I have got by the Hospitality Club, at Valletta. Actually I was just in time at my bus stop for Valletta and Barbara rang me and told me, that she will be late. So I went back to put the other machine of my laundry on the roof. I was very happy about that, because I was late that morning.
It was not her first time in Valletta, therefore I asked her where she has been before and finally we decided to go to the Waterfront and to take the ferry to the three cities afterwards. At the Valletta Waterfront we were at a restaurant, where she was just drinking something, but I ate a chicken burger. This one had a chicken filet between. I was happy about that, of course. Barbara was more interested in my life than the Waterfront and the three cities. That was good for me, because I have never been over by ferry to the three cities, so I did not really find the way. Anyway we saw some back roads, were on a school yard and were coming out in Kalkara. I did not find the way at the cost line back to the three cities either, therefore we took the bus. On to the Mater Dei Hospital was coming soon.
Because the bus route was only to the main entrance of the hospital we went through the hospital and by feet home to me. We shopped a few items at the “All-in-one” convenience shop and took a cup of tea and Qaghaq Tal-Ghasel (Treacle Rings – mit Feigensirup(?) gefüllte Ringe) in my kitchen after I have taken my dry clothes down from the roof. I’ve got a smile because the Maltese word Qaghaq is pronounced like “a.a”. When we had our tea, Barbara has got a call from a friend on Gozo, therefore she want to go back quickly. It was already more than 7pm and no 40-bus was going from the Kullegg bus stop, therefore I was going with her to the bus stop Bombi. She was lucky, because she catched a 42-bus two minutes after we arrived there.
I had to “recover” from the two days before and just enjoyed my day until noon even I made my dishes. At the afternoon and during the evening I was working as usual. This week I will work five days in a row, because I will go on vacation leave on Friday. I count the days!
I also heard, that colleagues will leave again our imail-team. Soon I am one of them, which have been for the longest time, but our team leaders. I do not know for who long time I will stay, actually no longer than at the end of October this year, but I also have sent an application to another employer with a more interesting job and a little higher salary. I will see, if I will get the other job. I think, I have not to tell them, that I only will stay with them for some months, but maybe I could continue to do some work for them by the Internet.
After breakfast and hanging more laundry on the roof – there is a lot for the moment, because the weather was not good enough before – I was to the supermarket, I needed some ground coffee. I also bought small boxes of shampoo and conditioner as well as day cream, for the flight on Friday. Unfortunately I did not find some shampoo for the shower, though I have to look at another shop. I hope I will find some.
Before lunch I also wrote my blog and in the afternoon I was going to work again.
Today I asked Alfred one more time for a list of Servas members, he did send the request to the administrator. I looked for hosts in Spain and Portugal and send some requests to Spanish hosts by couchsurfing and BeWelcome. Most of them, I have seen, are on both sites (like me). I also found a host living in the Sierra Nevada and a family, which is hosting in Seville. I look forward to their replies.
I have to work again and I am counting the days for going to Hungary.
Jane was coming, but much later than I had expected her. The bus she was coming with had an accident in St. Paul’s Bay, though Jane was walking from there to Bugiba and took another bus from there. We could enjoy around an hour together, after that I had to go to work. Jane was to Valletta at the evening she was to the cinema. The name of the movie was “Still Alice” and was about a woman with Alzheimer. Unfortunately I could not follow her, but I am happy that I can offer her my couch.
Another day with Jane at my home. We enjoyed breakfast together. I had an interview at a Swedish company in St. Julian’s. It is a job position as a manager. I think I will not take it, because they do not offer the salary provided in the job description and I have to bring my own laptop! I would have to work five days a week for the salary I have now, have a longer way for coming to work and I will not get the most of it of my vacation leave. Furthermore I would have six month for prove. I went home half the way by feet and found small Maltese table clothes as a give away for Aniko’s friends, where we will stay over. I finally also found a little bottle body shampoo. It was a package with some other things including this necessary little bag for the flight.
Jane was going to St. Anton Garden, met D. F. for a dinner and was at the cinema again. She bought a piece of American Cherry Cheese Cake for me! She was already sleeping when I was coming home from work.
17th – 24th April
(17th) I had the alarm clock on 5:30am and 6 o’clock because my plain will depart at 9:25. Jane was awake at 6am, too. We had breakfast together. While Jane was going back to Gozo, I was going by bus to the airport. I only have cabin baggage with me, because I will not wait for a couple of days for my luggage in Hungary. I have bad experiences of changing planes. It was only me at the bus. No queue at the check in, splendid of time after passing the toll. I just had the time for writing an email with the directions to my place for all the routes stopping close to my place. Aniko was calling me. I think she is very nervous about missing me at the airport. Unfortunately it was a bad connection and it was interrupted.
Through the toll I was very good-by putting all my stuff in the boxes and my suitcase on the band, but my clock. Though there was that noise by going through that bow. Even I told the woman from the toll it should be my clock or maybe my hearing aids, she checked me all over. She could not find anything, of course.
The flight from Malta to Munich was good, but just a little short turbulence near Munich with rainy weather in Munich. By the way in Malta vi had to climb stairs to the plain and a gentleman helped me with my suitcase. I have got a seat closest to a window, which I enjoyed with my sunglasses on, because it was so sunny above the clouds.
I found my way at the airport in Munich and was waiting at my gate for more than two hours, because I didn’t have time enough to see the city. Actually I booked a direct flight to Budapest, but that was cancelled – I wrote about that before. I’m not happy about the change and the waiting time. I used it as good as possible and the free WiFi at the airport.
The flight from Munich to Budapest was delayed because weather conditions. There were a thunderstorm with lightnings. During the flight the plane were shaken a lot once. Some people get really scared, but we came through without any accident. We were landing around half an hour later than planed.
(24th) The flight home again also was a little adventure. I did not have any problem for coming to the airport and on my plane in time even there were a long queue at the check in point, though were it in the line at the toll. Unfortunately I could not check in my flight from Frankfurt to Malta in Budapest at the Lufthansa check in desk, they could not come into the system of airmalta. The flight to Frankfurt was very calm. I had a middle seat, but could see a lot out of the window. Especially when we landed that was great, because there was another plane landing at the same time. I have never been this before and the woman at the window was so kind to take a picture about it with my camera.
In Frankfurt I was not willing to leave the transfer area, checking in and passing the toll one more time. Therefore I asked if it is possible to get a boarding pass without leaving that area and it was – at the gate. So I did. The waiting time was a little long, but I was listening to my music by using my mp3-player and all went well. Even the weather report forecasted a thunderstorm this day, too, there was no and the flight was not only in time on Malta, but some minutes early. It was great to have only a cabin suitcase and I could went out from the airport straight away. A bus was already waiting for me and this time I left the pass at the right stop (Qroqq) even it was dark. I was at home around 10:30pm and emptied my suitcase before going to bed around midnight.
It was a Saturday, but I had to go to work again. By this way my vacation leave was only for my free days when I have been working on public holidays. There were no need to take of my vacation leave. I could not sitt on my usual place because I am usually not working on Saturdays. I had to read lots of emails about work related changes, reminders and explanations. The technic did not like me either this day, but I could change the server and it went well. Lots of colleagues have left and we have got new ones.
It is one of my usual working days and I could get the computer I like to work with, unfortunately I could not manage the screen. It was in such a bad solution, I could not work with it because all the letters were much wider than usual and not really scarp either. It hurt my eyes. I ask our techic freak for help, but he did not came further than me on the panel, where one usually can solve the problem. Furthermore he put the computer on an energy saving mode and it was not possible to maintain this again, though nobody could use the computer this evening. The computer I changed to were working well and that made my evening. I was a little earlier to bed as usual because I have an appointment at the hospital the next morning and have to awake and dress quite early.
The alarm clock rang the first time already at 6 o’clock, though I could take my medicine in time before breakfast. I left my home at 8:30am for being at the Mater Dei Hospital i good time for my “barium swallow meal” at 9:15. When I arrived at the service desk of the Medical imaging department, they asked me if I also will take the chest x-ray this day, but my appointment for that was the following day. I told them, that I would be happy about it, if that would be possible, because the appointment was for 4pm the next day and I had to arrange something at work for going to the hospital. I was so surprised, but delighted about this change. I did not expect this on Malta.
I was sent to the x-ray immediately and had to go to the fluoroscopy afterwards. Both possibilities were on the same hallway. I had to wait some time for the chest x-ray, then it was done very quickly. Afterwards I went straight to the fluoroscopy, but had to wait there for more than an hour. I was very surprised, when I here met the doctor from the sonography and it was her, who recognized me. After this new experience she told me, that there is something unusual with the muscle for swallowing and she will care about that I will get another appointment where they will take that sample of my thyroid, she was talking about during the sonography. After that I should ask for an appointment at my doctor. I feel that it may be a blessing that I am treated on Malta, it seems they are very competent. I hope all will be well and that I am able to live my dream.
I went home around 11 o’clock and was happy about a kind of flowers on my way home I have not seen before. I ate my lunch already at high noon, because I have been awake for many more hours as usual and I was very hungry. At 2 o’clock I took a coffee for not falling asleep at work. I also took a coffee at work and all went well.
I am still working on finding hosts in Spain and Portugal. I have some maybes, but I am not sure I will have hosts for all the time. Anyway in May it is not really holiday season yet and I am not going to Mallorca, though there should possibilites at hostels if I cannot get hosts for all the nights. I still have not got a list from my coordinator for Servas Malta. When I have got scanned my “Letter of introduction” I can ask Servas for help in the countries I will visit.
I have got answers from two more hosts from New Zealand. They will love to host me if they are at home at that time. I hope they will ;-). Anyway I have to look for many more hosts in NZ, I did not ask anyone on the Southern Island, but that has all to wait until after my trip to the Iberian peninsula.
I have been in touch with my bank here on Malta because a receiver told me before, that they have not got the money from my standing order. This day I have got a PDF from the customer service at my bank that the amount was paid as usual. I think there is a miss in the booking at the receiver. The called me this day, too, from the receiver and asked me if I finally have paid that amount and I told them about the email I sent some time before the call. I think they are not so very quick with checking emails. I hope all will went well. I am not willing to pay the same amount twice.
Today I have got my salary. Though I filled my fridge and my larder. I bought food for more than 100 EUR included a big box of strawberries for 1,99 EUR this time again and the clerk thanked me with an extra six-pack of water (1,5l-bottles). I was really surprised about it. The home delivery was working well again.
I also have been at the stationary and have got my flight tickets for Malta – Barcelona, Lisbon – Madrid and Madrid – Malta printed. I tried to get the Letter of Introduction for Servas scanned but the shop owner did not understand how to do and his son, who also works there was not there at that time. I am thinking about to install MS Windows again and to be without Ubuntu, though I can use my laptop with the printer and my blue-ray drive will work. Anyway I still hope that someone will help me with the partitioning and that I can use both MS Windows and Ubuntu.
I also have been at the Pharmacy again. I have not bought all of the medicin I need the upcoming month, anyway I already had to pay 50 EUR. I should buy a really good back pack, but I think I will wait with that. For the 2 weeks in Spain it should be enough with my cabin luggage and my little back pack as well as a handbag. I also need a new pair of sandals, but I think it is early enough to buy them after I have been in Spain and Portugal, because I need my trekking shoes for the Algarve, I will go with them. In addition to all that I topped up my phone. I only used less than 10 EUR each month so far, even it was less the other months and more in Hungary even I did not call anyone. I have to be more careful about the data traffic and the roaming when I am in Spain and Portugal, I think.
The afternoon I spent in the kitchen because I bought minced pork and minced beef again and I prepared some meals. I like better to cook a lot at the same time. The other days I just make meals, which do not take a lot of time, because I do not like to make just a meal for my one. After I have eaten I wrote my blog and checked some more details about my travels, but I still have not finshed my report about my travel to Hungary. I hope I can take the time tomorrow.