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WEB LOG of my visit to Malta
Don Ravey - February/March 2004

SECOND WEEK

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Don at the dining table Self Serve Busy street Traffic light

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"]


Dark Skies Valletta City Gate Auberge de Ville Me in Valletta Buildings in Valletta

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.


Surf's Up! Near Mosta Mosta parish church Mosta parish church Mosta parish church

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.)


Patrol boat Open market

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.


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