Saturday, 23 April 2011

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Easter Holidays

Diving in Malta
Tourism in Malta starts to peak over the Easter holidays, though it's not as busy as July and August. Many visit the islands for a short break to enjoy the sunshine. This year the weather is very stable with very little wind and warm temperatures during the day.

Whether you wish to enjoy the peaceful landscape or be more adventurous, here is a list of activities you can take up while in Malta at this time of the year.

These activities can be enjoyed by individual travelers, couples, families and also groups.

  • Agri-Tourism
  • Bird Watching
  • Boat trips
  • Countryside walks
  • Cooking traditional foods
  • Diving
  • Eco Tours

Enjoy and Happy Easter to everyone!

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Agriculture in Malta

Tempting strawberries
One of the best ways to enjoy local flora and fauna is to visit agricultural areas around Malta and Gozo. Rubble walls, soil, trees and corebelled stone huts form excellent habitats to a wide variety of species. At the moment strawberry plants are producing huge quantities of strawberries, while Japanese Medlars are just ripe. Agricultural land is not only useful to produce food but also has a recreational value for those who visit rural areas on Sundays to escape from the weekly chaos. Picnicking is one of the most preferred activities of locals during the cooler months. Those who are more adventurous opt for trekking. 

Tourists also appreciate the agricultural landscape and look for rural areas and their treasures during their stay in Malta. Agri-Tourism experiences are not as common as in other countries like Italy. That doesn't mean there are no options available. Since we started providing tours for locals and tourists, we felt that this area can be developed further. The local people will surely benefit since they are the owners and managers of the agricultural land.  Traditions and culture are very evident in the practices carried out in rural areas. Thus, promoting and providing such experiences can help in conserving traditions through the education of locals and tourists.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Spectacular Air Show (Spring Migration 2011)

Kestrel - Photo taken by Chris Cachia Zammit
Just spent a great time bird watching. We spotted some lovely birds of prey. During the span of an hour lots of Marsh/Montagu's Harriers and Kestrels flew over our heads. Most of them were finding a place where to roost during the night. We met some keen birders carrying out observations and taking photos. We hope that all the birds we saw will make it to Sicily and none of them will be victims of poachers during the night.

Bird watching is an activity to be recommended as part of ecotourism in the Maltese Islands. Hundreds of bird species reside and migrate across Malta. Migration seasons are Autumn and Spring. 

Leave only footprints...take only photos :)

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

What's cooking?

Fresh Local Vegetables 
Cooking has never been my passion but I know many others that can create a banquet without any efforts. The ingredients surely play an important role in the end result. Recent awareness towards organic products has got many people to think about issues such as "slow food" and "healthy products".

Recent arguments about organic products and food safety have surely drawn to the attention of consumers that one needs to take great care when buying food. It doesn't mean that products that are not organically certified aren't up to standard. Personally I know many farmers who are not certified as organic producers but are very diligent when applying fertilisers and pesticides. I often ask them, "did you spray this product?". Their reply is straight forward..."Why spray this product when there's no need!" Some vegetables are more resistant than others, while other crops need a stricter program of prevention and care. Going back to the theme of this article, now is the time to start getting in shape before summer. Salads start to be an attractive alternative especially when adding on tasty items such as olives, capers and herbs. By adding veggies to your diet you would be reducing the intake of starches and increasing the amounts of fibre, vitamins and minerals. The photo above shows vegetables that are currently in season...make sure you ask for local products! By choosing local products you would be supporting the rural communities that maintain the countryside and help to reduce the carbon footprint.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Reduce the Carbon Footprint - choose local products!

Masgar Eco Hamper - 20 Euros

Are you looking for that small gift for your relatives and friends this Easter? How about an Eco Hamper?! Individual products such as local wine, jams and olive oil may be nicely wrapped to make an ideal token. We have a whole range of products bought directly from the farmer. This Merill Eco Tours initiative has already generated a lot of interest amongst both the Maltese community and foreigners who visit our islands. The products do not only look nice but also taste superb :) 

Contact us on 79411388 for more info!

Easter is on the way!

Two day old kids and their doe
A small herd of goats
Today I visited a couple of sheep and goat farms in Malta. Was so delighted to see that kids are being born adding on to the expectation of Easter time.  The photos show a small goat herd that is still managed traditionally by one of the local farmer. Small caves give shelter to the herd. It felt so cosy inside these caves. Fodder is produced in fields close by giving the herd excellent building blocks to make milk. 

The farmer who manages the small herd spends a lot of time together with this sheep and goats and was very proud to show me the newborns. His wife still  produces cheeselets at home. Neighbours say that her cheeselets are absolutely the best. I'm looking forward to taste them :) The other farm I visited has recently been modernised and equipped with machines that make milking less time consuming. 

Such traditional mixed farms operate within a rich and varied agro-ecosystem thus contributing to the sustainability index of the area. Farm visits are the highlight during our eco tours. 

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Agritourism Experience in Malta - 10th April 2011

In spite there were many activities going on in Malta today, I still managed to gather a small crowd to  attend the Agritourism Experience as part of the "JCI Malta" social events for this year. Five out of twelve had already attended other agri/social events, while the rest had never been to such an activity. The farmer and his wife welcomed us and showed us around the ten hectare olive grove. They explained  the history and the future of their enterprise with great passion. The terraced fields slope gently toward a sheer dropping cliff made of lower Corraline limestone. Apart from the thousands of olive trees present on the farm, we had the time to appreciate a lot of endemic species. The view of Filfla (the tiny island in the photo) was the cherry on the cake. The experience ended with a lunch made out of organic products produced on the same farm. Capers, herbs and extra virgin olive oil gave a rich Mediterranean taste to the lunch. We also tasted local fruits that are in season such as medlars and melons. After a half day out in the fields I managed to get a suntan :) Looking forward to enjoy more days out in the sunshine!

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Architecture in Valletta, Malta

The Auberge de Castille in Valletta has been recently restored through EU funding. Apart from being the office of the Prime Minister it is also a landmark for many locals. Tourists often stop to pose next to the canons in front of the Auberge. Being two minutes away from the Upper Barrakka Gardens it is an ideal spot for those who want to have a quick view of Valletta. Parking in the area is tricky especially between 8am and 5pm. The Park and Ride option is a cheap and effective way if your going to Valletta by car.

Some info about this building:

Designed by Girolamo Cassar but later remodelled under Grand Master di Pinto, Auberge de Castille, situated in Castille Place, is one of the finest architectural works in Malta, as evidenced by its spectacular façade. Finely proportioned and strictly symmetrical, the building was badly damaged during World War II but was later carefully restored. The building now houses the office of the Prime Minister.

Friday, 8 April 2011

A cloudless day

After a jam packed week here comes the weekend! 

Many people are starting to take light summer clothes out from their's getting really hot. Tourists are already sunbathing. I don't blame them as it's hard to resist the temptation that Malta's lovely sun and sea offer. Are you planning to party tomorrow night or to have dinner at a restaurant outside? Whatever your plans are summer is in the air!

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