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WEB LOG of my visit to Malta
Don Ravey - February/March 2004
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Monday, 9 February - Well, first of all, my prepaid telephone card ran out
of minutes Saturday evening, fortunately just after I completed updating this blog
and handling nearly all of my email. And of course, there's noplace open on Sunday
to buy a new card. Now I'm back in business, but I've learned that telephoning is
expensive in Malta--it's about US$ 2.50/hour on top of the US$ 0.50/hour for my
dial-up account! Anyway, the sun came out today! I shopped at my local Self Serve
(blue doorway in the 2nd photo) and walked into "town" along a busy street and I
saw the traffic light. Now, I can't be sure it's the only one, but it's the only
one I've seen so far! [Later: there's another one further "downtown"]
Thursday, 12 February - I'm learning a lot about the Mediterranean winter
climate! My previous experience in the region has been in the H-O-T summer. This
cold, clammy weather came as a surprise (although it shouldn't have, I admit).
The weather changes by the minute, and lately it's been mostly discouraging to
set out on any excursions, especially using a bus service that I'm not familiar
with and that seems to be in ill repute with the locals. It rained this morning,
now the sun has come out, but it's still damp and chilly.
As it turns out, the weather took a turn for the better late in the
morning and I took the opportunity to take my first ride on a Malta bus and spent
a few hours in Valletta, the capital of Malta. The first photo after the
dark sky scene is the Valletta City Gate. The next one is the Auberge de Castille,
containing the offices of the Prime Minister, just inside the gate. The third one
is of me, followed by some of the buildings in Valletta. The excursion was very
enjoyable and I gathered useful information at the Visitor Information office in
Valletta. (Some of the old buildings have not been rebuilt since their destruction
during the ferocious bombing suffered in WW II.) The bus ride through Mosta and a
valley with small vegetable farms was very pleasant.
Friday, 13 February - It looked like "Surf's Up!" this morning along the
embarcadero. But despite the windy conditions, I took my second bus ride and returned
to Mosta, which is more or less in the middle of the island, but halfway to Valletta from here, the route the bus takes. Here is some of the countryside
I saw out the window of the bus. Then the town square in Mosta, and the renowned
parish church of Mosta, claiming to be the third largest church dome in the world,
behind St. Peter's in the Vatican and St. Paul's in London. Finally, a view inside
one of the old Malta buses, which are being phased out due to European Union
environmental standards that must be met in order for Malta to join the E.U. this May.
Notice the driver is on the right side. (Thus, Maltese drive on the left --
most of the time.)
Sunday, 15 February - Here comes the Navy! Or maybe the Coast Guard?
Also, here's a Malta version of the Farmer's Market, in Xemxija
("shem-SHEE-ya"), within walking distance. The weather has been a little
nicer the past two days and I've walked into town a couple of times, a distance
of about a mile over hilly roads. I've discovered some interesting spots and a
few upscale restaurants. I'll try some of them out one day soon. I'm starting to
get the hang of the bus routes and schedules. I plan to utilize them more, to see
some of the historic sights on the island. Nights are still chilly and damp.