Sunday, September 12, 2010

Vacation in Malta

Greetings from Gozo!
At the end of Ramadan comes a two-day celebration called Eid-al-Fitr. This year it backed onto a weekend so we had four days off. Muslims here celebrate with parties, music and feasts, and all children get new outfits and toys. We infidels go on vacation, and I chose Malta. A colleague whom I hardly knew surprised me by asking if I wanted to travel with her, and it turned out that we had the same place in mind. Malta is only a one-hour flight away, with a one-hour time change. As a result, the trip home only took five minutes!

I did a bit of reading before we left and learned that Malta is very old. Pre-historical artifacts have been found dating back over 5,000 years. There are standing stones on Malta similar to Stonehenge. The Greeks, Romans, the Phoenicians all occupied Malta at one time or another, and who could forget those Punic Wars?

I feel much better about my breasts now.
In more recent history, the British took Malta and it became of strategic importance during World War II. In fact, Malta was the most heavily bombed place on earth during the war, enduring twice as many days and nights of continuous bombing than did London during the Blitz. Unimaginable. The entire population was awarded the King George Cross for bravery after the war.

 The Maltese are Catholics in a big way, with 360 churches - one for every 1,000 people - on just 320 square kilometers of land. And they're not humble things, either. Here's the outside of one and the inside of another.
Please note the mosaic tiled floor.

The famous Blue Lagoon
We spent three of our four days on Gozo, the middle-sized island and on one of those days took a boat trip around Comino, the smallest island. The latter is where the famous Blue Lagoon film was shot. The day was very windy, so the full experience of the turquoise waters was slightly compromised, but I think you'll still appreciate how stunning it is. The water was in the mid-twenties and we had about an hour of snorkelling. There's not much to see to tell the truth, not the highly coloured fish and corals of Australia, but it was delightful to hang in the water and watch the seaweed wave.

Elephant Head Rock, Comino
Oh man. How to choose a few photos from such a wonderful vacation...
Pretty as a picture!
There are no forests or woodlands, and only about a third of the land is arable. We saw no grazing animals, although a café owner proudly told us that his father had 6 or possibly 7 sheep. This photo is of salt pans on Gozo.
A salt "farm".
A troglodyte home near the salt pans.

We did not eat here, although I did enjoy a wonderful rabbit stew at a different restaurant.

Wood working is woodworking after all.
Multi-tasking at its finest. Car rental, auto repair and funeral service. If they can't fix it after the crash, they rent your loved ones a car to get to the cemetary.

This is one of several Maltese bus designs. Each route has its own charming style.


  1. Hi Karen,
    We are enjoying your beautiful images and lively commentary very much. Best wishes from rainy Victoria,

  2. Just read your blog from top to bottom and loved hearing about your adventure. So amazing! I am finding out that retirement is the time when you wonder how you ever had the time to hold down a job. Not even able to read most days! Shocking, I know but I suspect that will change once the garden has been put to bed and the weather becomes to cold to kayak. I suspect we'll be having a cold winter. The critters: skunks, raccoons, jays and squirrels have been working overtime stripping the garden of late produce: green persimmons, fall-bearing raspberries and strawberries, blackberries and kiwis. Fun to watch as I don't have the heart to chase them away from what could be one of their last meals. Cheers, Lesley

  3. Love the blog......can't wait for the next entry. I skyped with Harry this morning.....so that was fun. Keep us posted on happenings :)

  4. Malta! So jealous :) Look forward to hearing about the next adventures!