Friday, November 14, 2008


All I knew of Malta is that it is an island in between Italy and Africa, so it was quite a pleasent surprise when I heard I would be working there. One of the first things I learned is that this used to be a British colony so there are several English influences, such as driving on the left side of the road and English is the second national language.
I was excited by all the ocean views as we drove from the airport to my hotel, but I was surprised that all the buildings were the same bland, beige color. It was obvious that I wasn't really visting at the best time of year, the only tourists there were no less than 70 years old and there were several dreary storms. It was nice and warm overall though, and I could see that when it's sunny it is a very pretty place although I wouldn't exactly call it tropical.
The first morning, I took one of the iconic 1950s-style, yellow buses for 50 cents from my hotel in St. Julians to the capital city of Valletta, approximately 30 minutes away. It was interesting to see all the cathedrals on the ride and once in Valletta, and of courses all the long hilly streets from which you can see all the way down to the harbor. There wasn't a lot of time to see things on this trip, but I did manage the Church of St. Paul's Shipwreck, which dates from the 16th century and celebrates St. Paul's AD60 shipwreck in Malta, which lead to the introduction of Christianity to the Maltese. Inside the church are bones from the saint's wrist, and the column on which he was said to have been beheaded in Rome.
That evening I walked down to the Spinola Bay inlet and had my first taste of a traditional Maltese dish, rabbi in garlic. It wasn't too bad, but I didn't really appreciate having to eat it with my hands as the waitress instructed but when in Malta...
On my way to the airport the next day I got a glimpse of the very interesting Malta countryside and the 3000 year old city of Mdina. I didn't have the time to explore this trip, but I will definitely when I come back in January!

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