The 360 Degree Penthouse Years

A few weeks ago I sent you an email about the end of the Palazzo Years. And I shared some photos of the amazing 400 year old house I was renting in a village called Zejtun in the south of Malta.

As it was prophesied, so it has come to pass.

The Palazzo Years have ended, and I’m now looking out over the rugged valley of Wied ta’ Isperanza from the terrace of my new place.

But we were able to toast the house in style before we left.

Some friends came by for a sort of “reverse housewarming.” And like locusts raiding a field, they cleaned out my entire wine cellar — we consumed 11 bottles of wine and a box of beer among 13 people. The last stragglers finally went home at 4am, just as the sun was peeking it’s confused morning face over the horizon.

Let's get this "reverse housewarming" off to a proper start with some sushi...

Let’s get this “reverse housewarming” off to a proper start with some sushi…

Wines, cheese, okonomiyaki and many more delicacies were on offer in the dining room...

Wines, cheese, okonomiyaki and many more delicacies were on offer in the dining room…

Holding a vigil to greet the dawn, first in the courtyard and later on the roof...

Holding a vigil to greet the dawn, first in the courtyard and later on the roof…

...let us salute our fallen comrades... it was a valiant battle, well fought...

…let us salute our fallen comrades… it was a valiant battle, well fought…

The move went surprisingly well. To be honest, I was worried the movers might not show up at all. Contractors don’t like to commit here in Malta. Rather than agree on a date and time, they say stuff like, “Call me a couple days before…” And they never write it down.

But the mover I hired is someone who worked on the palazzo in the past. And he did an amazing job.

He was also a lot smarter than the guys who brought my stuff in when we first came here from Canada. He took one look at all the boxes of books in my office, and wanted no part in trudging down the stairs with them. So they took them from the roof instead.

Using the lifter to take my books right from the roof deck... That's my office to the right.

Using the lifter to take my books right from the roof deck… That’s my office to the right.

There go my books... around the jacuzzi... past the olive trees... and down down down...

There go my books… around the jacuzzi… past the olive trees… and down down down…

Thanks to that lifter — a cross between a conveyor belt, elevated platform and slow motion catapult — they were able to fire everything right up to the new penthouse in 5 or 6 loads.

They showed up at the palazzo at 10am, got everything out of there, drove midway across the island to this new place, and had everything in by 2pm. 4 hours total door to door. I never expected that.

...now to get those books onto the terrace of this new place... way up there on the roof.

…now to get those books onto the terrace of this new place… way up there on the roof.

The weird thing is, no one wanted a beer after the move was done.

I’d picked up a case of Cisk and made sure it was chilled for the occasion. And everyone was sweating like mad. But when the job was done and I offered the crew cold beers, they all asked for water and cleared out straight away.

That was a bit of a cultural insult for a Canadian, I can tell you. Everyone must have cold beers on moving day. But I didn’t want to press the matter…

This new place is a penthouse on the outskirts of Mosta, a village near the centre of the island. It’s up on a hill, and we have the entire top floor. The terrace is massive, with a view of the sea in the distance, and a broad panorama of the entire south, the Mosta dome, and the old capital of Mdina. No other buildings overlook us, so it truly is a 360 degree view.

View of the Mosta dome from the terrace of The 360 Degree Penthouse...

View of the Mosta dome from the terrace of The 360 Degree Penthouse…

My books are finally unpacked, and I bought a new bookcase to free up some space. It took a fucking PhD in carpentry to put together, and it must have weighed 1000 pounds. But it looks good in my office, and I can finally get back to writing.

Unpacking my books.... yes I AM wearing a pith helmet.

Unpacking my books…. yes I AM wearing a pith helmet.

What's that? You want to hear some Rimbaud...?

What’s that? You want to hear some Rimbaud…?

It isn’t a 400 year old palazzo with 8 bedrooms, two cellars and a courtyard by any stretch. But it has its own sense of cool. And I’ve started settling in.

But I couldn’t just leave such a beautiful old house without a backwards glance. I’m a nostalgic person, and I need time to put those memories in their proper place.

So we went back on our own to spend one last night there, in silence. To uncork a bottle of champagne, pour a small libation on the wall of the roof terrace and sit back and think about all those memories — some good and some sad — of the past two and a half years.

We also stopped by our favourite pizza place around the corner: The New Wave.

My favourite pizza spot in Malta, right around the corner from the Zejtun palazzo...

My favourite pizza spot in Malta, right around the corner from the Zejtun palazzo…

Sammy from the New Wave — hardest working guy in Malta.

Sammy from the New Wave — hardest working guy in Malta.

Sammy, the owner, is the hardest working guy in Malta. He served us two pizzas and a bunch of beers, and refused to take any money. A very kind goodbye from our regular weekly spot.

It was sad to leave the palazzo on that last morning. Especially because my last memories of Dashiell are there. But it’s time to move on to new experiences and new adventures. The Palazzo Years were everything I hoped they would be.

Thank you to the house. I loved it there.

Farewell to the palazzo... You treated us well.

Farewell to the palazzo… You treated us well.

And so begins a new phase of my island life in Malta: The 360 Degree Penthouse Years.

Stay tuned for more adventures. There will be many.

 

 

Comments

  1. Mike (UK) says:

    Good luck with your new home base Ryan.

    Take Care Mate
    Mike
    PS “Laughter is what makes a home warm, and what makes a work place human.” Catherine Pulsifer, Possible To Give Gifts

    • Ryan Murdock says:

      Thanks Mike! And I absolutely agree with the quote. A giggle-free home or work environment is not a place for me.

  2. Wish you the best to both of you my friend! Many evening of reading and many more of sharing thoughts and adventure telling!

  3. “…a penthouse…up on a hill, and we have the entire top floor. The terrace is massive, with a view of the sea in the distance, and a broad panorama of the entire south, the Mosta dome, and the old capital of Mdina. No other buildings overlook us, so it truly is a 360 degree view.”

    Good to see that you’re still roughing it.

    Cheers,
    Simon

    • Ryan Murdock says:

      I’ll have you know it’s a lot more work to lug all these wine bottles up here! Luckily the lift goes from the parking garage right to my door. I mean, I could seriously strain something!

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