Thursday, 29 September 2011

The real Malta

Traditional Biscuits - Photo by Jeanette Borg

Punic Tombs - Photo by Chrisitan Borg

Honey Buzzard - Photo by Chris Cachia Zammit

Barracudas - Photo by Sonia Silvio

Hello Malta lovers!

We can now say goodbye to "September" and welcome to "October". Autumn look busy at tours and local products are keeping us on the go. We're very excited working on the new Eco-Hampers catalogue which will introduce a new range of delicacies and eco gifts that are strictly local and fair-trade :) 

At the moment eco tours featuring the culinary aspects of Malta are going strong. Appreciation of the local landscape goes part and parcel with this gourmet niche. In the meantime we pray for some rain to irrigate the fields and replenish the aquifers after a long dry summer. 

I added some interesting photos to this blog article showing a range of eco items in Malta. The traditional biscuits, known as "Biskuttini tar-Rahal" are still baked in traditional bakeries where the ovens are managed by hardworking bakers who keep recipes alive. Following that is the photo of the rock-cut tombs. These are very particular as their architectural arrangement resemble a set of pigeon holes. 

Autumn is a great time for bird watching. This is why I've uploaded a photo of a lovely honey buzzard in flight. Photo is kindly shared by one of our expert birders. Today I was at the Lippija area with some foreigners and  came across two hunters. We kept our distances from them and went on. We always adopt this approach during our tours and never encountered any problems so far. When necessary we do change our itineraries to avoid conflicts. 

In principle we are against hunting and very much pro bird watching. However we strongly believe that it is only through mutual respect that we can achieve harmony between eco tourists and hunters during the hunting season.  It is of no use pointing out a hundred and one negative aspects of hunting without promoting the fun and excitement one can experience while bird watching in Malta. 

Enforcement officers are all over Malta, keeping poachers at bay. Enough damage has been done to Malta's reputation because of poaching. Very few, if any, give credit to hunters when it comes to environmental stewardship. How many out there would spend money and time to irrigate trees and keep rubble walls in good shape? In my humble opinion there are only two active categories of stewards in Malta, whether people admit it or not: farmers and to a lesser extent hunters! All those that are not into agreement with this must bear in mind that tourism, especially ecotourism,  goes hand in hand with all stakeholders in rural areas. 

Last but not least, I added a stunning photo taken by our expert diver and underwater photographer, Sonia. This amazing shoal of Barracudas seems to be coming from a different world. Diving is such an eco-friendly activity for all nature lovers and photographers. 

Stay in touch for more news about eco stuff: follow us on Twitter (@merillecotours) and visit our website to keep updated.

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