Unlike our fellow Europeans to the north, we can really make the most of autumn through to spring time in Malta as these are ideals seasons to don walking boots and enjoy mild outdoor temperatures. Well, it is usually the season, but perhaps this winter you might have been stuck in doors a bit more. We’ve just had the wettest January on record, and what seemed to me like the coldest February what with hail, flood and more or less everthing the sky can throw at us.
That said, it’s early March now and definitely walking weather. We’ve had a few days of true spring warmth and already almond trees are in bud, pomegranates are leafing up and fig leaves have already burst through giving a splash of vibrant lime green to the Maltese equivalent of the hedgerow. The ‘English weed’, a ubiquitous invasive plant, is now starting to carpet the countryside and from the plane as you come into land, you see fields of shimmering yellow – not rape here, but that weed in full bloom.
Some tips on where to walk for the next month to six weeks until mid April or so? Well, there are few places as good Girgenti and Fawwara to beat the madding crowd. They are vague areas that lie beyond the fringes of Siggiewi, below Mdina and just inland from Dingli Cliffs.
There’s a good round route (2 hours plus) that takes you from the edge of Siggiewi, uphill to Fawwara, skirting the start of the cliffs and above Ghar Lapsi beauty spot. Once at Fawwara, which is a hamlet with a few farms and two neat baroque churches perched on the cliff side, go up a rubbly, zigzag path to meet a peninsula that sticks out from Dingli cliffs.
If’s a beauty spot, but few people bother to either walk down or up from the peninsula to and from Fawwara so the chances are you’ll be totally alone, especially on a weekday. Just wave to the farming folk in the fields as you pass if you want some company! And don’t forget to have some cash to hand so you can call in and buy some Fawwara honey – you’ll see the ‘honey for sale’ sign on a house just as you start your ascent.