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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.