A blog originally for keeping track of my hobby of being a Beekeeper which has evolved to include Home Brewing and even more recently to follow me and my families approach to "The Good Life". Eventually I hope to include baking recipes and stories of our flock of chickens also reporting on the success and failure at the allotments.

Friday, 30 May 2014

Malta

Malta is a tiny country in the Mediterranean closest to Sicily. It takes barely an hour to travel from one end of the island to the other (it takes even longer if you keep going the wrong way and having to backtrack). The name Malta is thought to derive from the Greek word μέλι or meli, which means honey and the ancient Greeks called the island Μελίτη, pronounced Melite (info taken from good old Wikipedia). This is believed to be due to Malta having its own endemic species of honey bee and being well known for its honey production.

Me, Steph, Lauren and Steph's Aunt have just come back from a 10 day holiday in Malta and in that time got to see a large amount of the tiny Mediterranean island and it's even smaller island, Gozo. Whilst we were there we had various sites we wanted to visit, including some that were used to film the first series of Game of Thrones! One site I really wanted to see was in a town called Xemxija, near the north of the island. In this town there is an area which has  several ancient sites including burial grounds, a Bronze Age village site, Neolithic remains and a Roman apiary site! Not surprising the area I was most interested in was the ancient apiary site. At the end if this post there will be some photos showing the area.

On Sundays there is a major fish market held in a town called Marsaxlokk, to the southeast of the island near to where we were staying. The town is fairly peaceful and quiet during the week but on a Sunday it seems like half the island descends upon this area for the fresh fish that is sold there. By the time we got there the market was well up and running and there were a large variety of fish and shellfish that I recognized and even more that I couldn't. Steph and Lauren weren't too impressed with the smell of the fish although in my opinion it wasn't too bad. Although it is best known as a fish market there was also plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables plus toys, clothes and general tourist tat. There was also a stall selling local honey. I bought a sample of 3 varieties of honey from the lady and also talked to her for a short while. Her husband is the Beekeeper and he has over 100 hives spread over Malta and Gozo. I'm a long way off having the time, patience, equipment and sanity to have that many Bees but maybe when I retire it could be an option. Below are lots of pictures of the Bee related parts of the holiday.




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The 3 sample honey's I bought at Marsaxlokk

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Inside one of the apiary caves - The bees would have been kept in these upturned jars.

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More inside the cave.

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The apiary site from outside.

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Yet another inside the caves.

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A different apiary site in same area.

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Below is a small selection of the photos I took of Bees on flowers.

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Bees and a beetle on a flower.
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I think this is my favorite!

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