Not a huge sightseeing day yesterday. I spent some of the morning writing in the hotel room, working on a new story titled "Our Dependence on Foreign Keys." In the afternoon I wandered around St. Julian's, collecting such supplies as bottled water (a must, they say) and a universal-to-UK adapter that would accept my laptop plug and thence plug into my converter (found it at a photography shop after being directed there by a gruff but helpful ironmonger). I also collected the indelible memory, after turning into a dead-end car park down by the shore behind the Westin, of a couple having sex in a rocky declivity by the water. There were other people on the beach, less than a stone's throw from them, and I watched only long enough to be sure I was seeing what I thought I was seeing. Okay, maybe two seconds longer than that.
Together with her colleague from work, Laura and I hopped a bus that evening to Sliema, where the concierge had promised us we would find a wonderful little inexpensive traditional restaurant on a side street. "No sea views, but good food." Laura specifically asked if it was open on Mondays, because many restaurants are not. "Yes, yes, open all the time." You can guess where this is going, but what you might not guess is that when we tracked down the tiny shuttered restaurant and perused the posted menu of what might have been consumed on a Tuesday through Saturday, we discovered we had been spared a cavalcade of pizza, pasta, and burgers.
Guidebook to the rescue! One of the top restaurants in the area, The Kitchen, was a mediumish walk away on the Triq il-Torri, and on a Monday evening it was possible to secure a table without a reservation. The service was painfully young, surly, and slow, but the food was outstanding. Beef ragout in rolled pancakes with sour cream, pumpkin tortelloni, open pie of seabass fillets, stuffed pork fillets over baked beans.... We shared everything, stuffed ourselves, and topped it off with a nice local blended wine.
At the bus stop after dinner, around 10:30 pm, we saw our bus approaching, the 62. It quickly became apparent that the bus was not going to stop. We shouted and waved, and the bus stopped for us half a block later. The driver did not seem pleased to let us on. Was it an express bus that wasn't supposed to stop there? Was the driver just hoping to end his last run of the night a bit sooner? I don't know. But the gelateria where we'd hoped to score some dessert was closed when we arrived, and St. Julian's was crowded with pretty young people doing their best to get even more drunk, so we cut short our quest for gelato-not-Ben-and-Jerry's and called it a night.