Meandering in Malta...

Old Jul 24th, 2003, 07:33 PM
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Amy
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Meandering in Malta...

Since I've now been back for a week from a lovely two weeks in Austria, it's time to start thinking of the next trip!

I'm starting to look at Malta for a week in October. I like to go on my own, stay in an apartment or small hotel, and use public transportation. The historic sites are important to me, but I like just wandering in little villages, too.

I'd like your advice on staying in Gozo or Malta (and in what section) and any other advice or thoughts you'd like to share. I've enjoyed reading the postings on Malta so far; it's starting to sound really really good.

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Old Jul 25th, 2003, 08:46 AM
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Amy: if you've done a search on this board on Malta, then you've found my numerous posts on Malta which we enjoyed immensely. We stayed in Sliema in a fairly modest hotel looking directly out at the sea and took buses daily all over the island, one organized day trip to Gozo. We like the location a lot, and enjoyed walking over to St. Julian's Bay for dinner, etc. You an email me directly if you wish for more info.
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Old Jul 25th, 2003, 08:55 AM
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Amy:

I would stay in Valletta @ the Hotel Castille which is a couple of blocks from the bus station.

Be forewarned: the buses are from the Year One,but only cost pennies & the Maltese travelers are quite friendly & helpful to foreigners.

Others might disagree w/me but I tbought the food was quite mediocre But the "quaints" made up for it.

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Old Jul 25th, 2003, 08:59 AM
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I'm off to Malta for a few days in August, staying at the Imperial Hotel in Sliema. Hopefully I'll return with some useful info so watch this space
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Old Jul 26th, 2003, 01:26 PM
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Thanks so much, everyone! Gailw, if you'd like to email me at the above address I'd love to hear from you (as I don't have your address.)

The Castille comes up quite a bit--sounds really good--but I'm also very interested in the villas/apartments if anyone has done that. (And I've been drooling over the Xara Palace website....maybe for one night...)
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Old Jul 26th, 2003, 01:36 PM
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Hi Amy. This may be of some assistance. I posted it on another thread about Malta and am copying it here. (When copying and pasting the URL make sure you get the entire thing.)

An article about Malta in the Washington Post, carried in one of our local papers this past Sunday...

"Isolated Malta is ideal for tourists seeking a safe haven"

http://archives.seattletimes.nwsourc...ortex/display?
slug=malta20&date=20030720&query=malta

An excerpt...

Relatively few Americans go there, and for no good reason. English (along with Maltese) is the official language, getting around is simple and cheap, there's little crime, and everything you'll want to do -- from snorkeling and museum-hopping to touring ruins and tchotchke-hunting -- is in close proximity.

Need more? Fine hotels are less than $100 a night, even in peak summer months, and off-season packages are inexpensive. If you don't get too fancy, dinner for two is about $30, and lunch can be had for less than a buck by grabbing a few pastizzis (pastry crammed with cheese or mashed peas) from street vendors. Museum and church admissions are usually a lira (about $2.50) or two.

Things may be about to change. After a divisive referendum was narrowly passed in April, Malta stands poised to join the European Union next May, opening the door to more industry ... and possibly more tourists.
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Old Jul 26th, 2003, 03:09 PM
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We spent spent a week each in rental houses on Gozo and Malta, last year. We rented the house on Malta through an agency called holiday-malta.com. They have quite a few villas and apartments, and the young woman I dealt with, Erica, was delightful (you'll find that most Maltese are delightful). You can arrange for a car to meet you at the airport through them, but after that buses will get you anywhere (and although some are 50 years old, there are some that are quite a bit newer). We chose a place in a small town near Valetta, because we knew that we wanted to travel around a lot, and we didn't want to be stuck in a tourist village. It was a good decision, especially since the town had its festa when we were there.

Gozo is lovely and laid back (Gozoans find the Maltese a bit excitable), but the bus system isn't as good, so you do need a car there. You could do a day trip to Gozo either by ferry or helicopter.

We had some good meals on Malta--particularly in Mdina and on Gozo . The wine is cheap and quite drinkable.

Do get a good guide book and read up about the places you want to visit. It's a fascinating country and the historic sites range from neolithic temples to World War II , but the visitor information can be a bit sketchy. It's not for everyone, but we loved it.
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Old Jul 27th, 2003, 02:27 AM
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Maltese wine is quite drinkable and enjoyable, but it's actually Italian. We toured a couple of Maltese wineries last year--and the vintners openly noted that most wine sold under the Maltese label is about 90% Italian with just a handful of Maltese grapes. Unfortunately, Malta doesn't get enough rain to support a large scale wine industry.
I liked Malta very much but a couple of surprises--it's much browner/grayer than I expected. It's still beautiful in its own way, just don't look for much in the way of lushness and green (the water along the coast, though, is beautiful). Also, on the subject of water, much of the drinking water is desalinated (or so we were told) so it may taste a little different. I also found the food just so-so, not great, but certainly ok.
The cats in Valletta were depressing--most of them seemed quite sickly.
Malta's history is fascinating, especially if you have an interest in the Crusades.
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Old Jul 27th, 2003, 07:28 AM
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National Geographic Traveler (April 2003)had a very good article on Malta. It peaked my interest and I am thinking about going there as well.
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Old Jul 27th, 2003, 09:28 AM
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I just returned from my week cruise and we had a stop in Valletta.. The boat docked there for about 6 hours, but we were on land for about 2.. It was INCREDIBLY HOT!!! We opted to take a taxi into town and thank goodness we did because from the port it would have been a long uphill walk. (We did walk back from town to the port though, thankfully all down hill) The taxi service was a nightmare because of everyone trying to get off the boats and get into town and the it seemed like the taxi driver had a dead animal in the back trunk...

Aside from that, walking around the town of Valletta was interesting. I went into some shops that were hidden inside little strip malls and found the most beautiful Gozo Lace (i believe thats what they're made of) tablecloths and napkins..They were actually a decent price too... Also picked up some of the famous MDINA glass.. It's absolutely gorgeous...

They had recently celebrated a festival (i believe) there because streamers and confetti were all over the streets...

All in all it was interesting to stop there and say i've been to that town (and the island of malta) but i dont plan on returning anytime soon.. Maybe on my next trip i'll go to one of the beaches... (and i'll also make sure to go in sept/oct).. (lol)
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Old Jul 27th, 2003, 10:12 AM
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I heard that Libyans know that Malta is nice and they visit the island. Libyans also buy car parts there and take them home because car parts are sometimes hard to find in Tripoli.
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Old Jul 28th, 2003, 05:59 PM
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Hmmm...does that mean that the car parts go "from the stalls of Malta, zooma, to the Fords of Tripoli..."?

Thanks, again, for the additional help, folks. Capo, I had gotten that article from an earlier post and it is surely making me even more eager. Thanks for posting it.

I'm still investigating my options (I really like my own itty-bitty self catering place!) and have come across a cheap hotel/fly package that uses the Kennedy-Nova or Metropole; anybody have any clues on those?

Planning is so much fun!
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Old Aug 19th, 2003, 12:57 PM
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I just booked a week in October at the Hotel Castille in Valletta, airfare on Virgin Atlantic (first time flying them--no obvious jokes, please )...and my ticket reservations to the Hypogeum.

Hurrah!

Thanks for everyone's help so far; Hanl, I loved the report you just did.
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