Posted: 1/18/2011


       Sunday morning, and after my buffet breakfast I cross the Promenade in Sliema and sit on a small jetty sunning myself and watching the waves crash against it. A couple of young guys in half wet suits and spear guns come out of the clear blue Mediterranean holding some octopus and squid.There is a sign telling horse owners not to let them go swimming. NOTHING about whether they can't dive off the 1 metre board!!

      Michael has been coaching very young players at the Valletta FC Nursery and comes by and picks me up. He takes me home where his wife Jackie has prepared a delicious pork roast Sunday dinner for us and son Andrew and a buddy and another guest, Richard who is a Gillingham FC fan-A Man of Kent!. Richard has also brought with him a red Maltese wine which I enjoy, and then the piece de resistance, a scrumptious chocolate gateau.

       I was tired from a long walk the day before. I walked through the old city of Valletta, through the market, bought some Sicilian cassata cake. It's a tradional Sicilian Arab recipe made with ricotta cheese, candied peel and layers of sponge cake soaked in sweet liqueur !!, then down past Ft. St. Elmo and round the coastal ramparts.

       After lunch we drive to the National Stadium at Ta' Qali, for a double header in the BOV Premier League. It's busy around here with The only national park nearby and some vineyards and some guys exercising their harness horses. We see the second half of the first match, which is a blow-out. Floriana 6 v Vittoriosas 1.  The big match awaits us, Valletta FC v Tarxien.  In the main stand we are situated in the centre VIP section and either side are the rival fans, each with their own band, flags and continuous chanting and singing.    Also look at and click on Malta.

           Malta is one of the most densely populated countries in the world with 1,266 people per square km. By contrast, the second most populous country in the EU is The Netherlands, with around 400 per sq km.  All the league clubs seem to be within 10km of each other but there is intense rivalry.   Floriana and Valletta dislike each other intensely. Michael tells me that trying to even get their 2 under 10 year old  nursery teams to play each other and share a picnic with parents banned, is impossible.

          Valletta are the Lions while Tarxien have a rainbow coloured goat as a mascot. There are plenty of PULIZIJA, police on duty, as some Valletta fans rattle the very sturdy steel railings, and their club President tries to calm them down. The Lions are way out in front by about 12 points in the 10 team league, which will be increased to 12 next season. It finishes up 2-0 and they sing WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS, and then we are off to the airport to drop me off for my 3 hour flight back to UK. A GREAT DAY.