Monday, January 26, 2009

Malta, part 2

It was nice to visit Malta again, this trip I had much more time to site see, (mostly) better weather, I found the Maltese falcon, and had a very pleasent ride home in a police car! After dinner one night, I decided to call it an early evening while the rest of my work friends stayed out, but no taxis were arriving at the stop, which was conveniently located right next to a remote police station. When I asked the officers there if they had a number I could call they kindly offered me a ride instead. It was all very funny, I was jut sorry none of my work colleagues were at the hotel to see me arrive…ooh, the story I would have given!
In my free time from work, I visited the National Museum of Archaeology and was quite intrigued by the pre-historic art, which was mainly phallic shaped or portraying a very shapely female form. The most interesting piece on exhibit was the Sleeping Lady. It’s believed to represent death or eternal sleep. It is no bigger than the palm of your hand, but it dates back as far as 3000 B.C.!
On the other free day, my friend Charles and I took a site seeing bus tour around the island. I was surprised by just how many different, interesting areas there were to explore. Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to make many stops, but we did manage time for a cozy lunch in the medieval, walled city of Mdina, which comes from the Arabic word for fortified place. Today it is known as the silent city, but it was once the capital of the country due to it’s strategic position at the highest point of the island and the farthest from the sea. Eventually, as trading and thus the need to be closer to the sea grew in importance, the capital was officially moved to Valletta and everyone moved out of pretty Mdina...hence the silent city. Now it is a tourist destination, probably really incredible in the summer time when all the shops and restaurants are open, but not so much on a chilly, rainy, and generally nasty winter day! Although the weather wasn’t very cooperative, we did enjoy our very short time there. We shopped for Mdina glass and had some tasty pizza and chocolate cake at the lovely Fontanella Tea Garden cafĂ©, positioned inside the city walls with amazing views over the countryside.
The more I come back to Malta, the more I like it – I just hope next time I will have the good fortune to visit in the summertime!

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