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Trip Report Malta Trip Report: Little Island, Short Trip, Small Report

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Golden limestone buildings glow against the bluest of skies and the bluest of water. Thousands of years of history permeate the very air. Bouncy buses zoom to all corners. Malta is a lot of fun!

Logistics first: I got cheap airfare--Virgin Atlantic and Air Malta--transfers, and a good hotel deal at Hotel Castille through Academic Tours; they also prearranged my ticket to the Hypogeum (which is most important, o best beloved.)

The Castille is in Valletta, which is quiet and medieval at night but quite busy during the day, and is also the site of the bus terminus (get a schedule and check out the rounded chart on it for where your bus comes in; it's a little bit daunting at first glance.) I loved staying in Valletta because of its quietness, and the Castille is a lovely old place with a very gracious staff.

The weather was bright sunshine, 70'sF, and somewhat humid for a good part of the time. One day of rain added a new dimension and a terrific opportunity to sing "We Shall Overcome" at the bus stop outside of Hagar Qim with some German ladies.

Highlights:
a one day jeep tour of Gozo with a boat ride out to the Azure Window; sweet scents wafting over the fields, the Gigantija temples, candles lighting the way in Calypso's Cave

Neolithic temples: Oh, yeah! Tarxien, Hagar Qim, Mnadjara...but the ultimate, the very most intense...the Hypogeum. Only ten people per hour are allowed into this underground multilevel temple/ossuary; it's an awe-inspiring sight to see the curves and scrolls and red ochre paintings of 4,500 years ago. When I was there on the 15th, the next available ticket was for the 27th; book this one if you possibly can.

Military review, ca. 1565, at Fort St. Elmo in Valletta--including cannon shots!

Rabat's catacombs and Mdina's alleys

Fishing boats at Marsaxlokk (x is pronounced sh, by the way)

Watching the sunset from the Dingli Cliffs

View from the Upper Barakka Gardens in Valletta, over the harbour

Bruschetta at La Cave and fresh homemade lasagne at the Malta Labour Party Club (Republic Street, Valletta)

That's just hitting the highlights of the week; feel free to email me if you'd like any specifics I could help with--I'm going to be ex-forum for a while now. (Somehow there keeps being more and more and more to do...)

Oh, and there's a Lush shop in Valletta! (Lace and Mdina glass make good souvenirs too.)

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