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

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

Oct 26th, 2003, 01:35 PM
  #1  
Amy
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Malta Trip Report: Little Island, Short Trip, Small Report

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.)
Amy is offline  
Oct 26th, 2003, 02:04 PM
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Amy, thanks so much for this report - I love your opening description. I'm longing to go to Malta and have tentative plans to do so next spring.

How long were you there and do you think 2 weeks is too much?
adrienne is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2003, 05:11 PM
  #3  
Amy
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Hi, Adrienne!

I was there for a week (Saturday to Saturday; St. Elmo's Fort reenactment is on alternate Sundays.) I would happily have stayed for two; I'd suggest spending a few days on Gozo (instead of just the one that I was there) as well as on the main island of Malta.

Happy travels!
Amy is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2003, 07:58 AM
  #4  
 
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Grazie Amy--Malta is on my list.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2003, 08:15 AM
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You didn't have a rental car, right? It sounds like Valletta is a good base for just a week long trip then? I am trying to think of somewhere to go in March that does not require a rental car.
AP6380 is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2003, 11:57 AM
  #6  
Amy
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Nope, no car! Valletta is a great base--and I don't know that I'd recommend driving in Malta anyway--and I did feel that I was able to do most of what I wanted to within the week. Two weeks would have given me a little more time to just stop and smell the thyme.

Amy is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2003, 12:08 PM
  #7  
Ardfert
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I went in the spring and the weather was cool.I thought there is enough there for a week but not really for two weeks.It is a very small island with some interesting monuments.Gozo,the smaller of the two main islands is worth visiting.
 
Nov 3rd, 2003, 03:35 PM
  #8  
 
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Amy - Great travel log - Malta is on our short list of travel destinations for next year. Seems like more than 'nuf to do once you get there. How was Academic Tours to work with? Did you deal directly with them or thru a TA?

Debs is offline  
Nov 4th, 2003, 07:46 PM
  #9  
Amy
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Debs, Academic Travel was--um--unique to deal with, but they came through and everything was in perfect order, as well as being cheap It was unique in that they were some of the most laid-back travel people I've ever dealt with, but, as I said, everything was in order and the ticket for the Hypogeum was waiting for me when I got there, so that was major!

My primary contact there (that is, the one who seemed to get everything done) was Raj, but I had some interesting and informative conversations with some others.

Happy trip planning!
Amy is offline  
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