You can see the elevator for pedestrians to get to the top of the fortified hill behind me.
Our 6th day was an "at sea" day...good for sleeping in, lounging around, meeting people, visiting the casino, watching the shows. Our 7th day would be Malta.
We had very limited knowledge of Malta before arriving. We knew that it is a very small island country situated west of Tunisia (Africa), north of Libya, and south of Sicily. I knew that it had been an important naval station during the world wars, and that it contained several world heritage sites.
Upon arriving, we noticed just how fortified the city was. There were steep, tall, deep walls all around the harbor. The city looked very well taken care of also.
This was one of the few stops we hadn't planned an organized excursion, so we walked around the port for a while, and bought tickets to one of the double decker hop on/off buses that circled the island. They had a north tour and a south tour. We decided to take both.
The north tour circled the capitol city of Valetta. Valetta, while being made up of mainly older buildings (that were beautiful), also seemed very cosmopolitan. There were advertisements for operas, museums, historical sites, orchestra concerts, and
part of human figure
is this male or female?
were proud to proclaim that they were chosen as the host of the European Capitol of Culture for 2018. We exited the city and stopped at the Mdina Glass Factory.
Mdina is one of the world's best preserved medieval walled cities. We had to choose between stopping in Mdina and visiting the blue grotto. We made a poor choice by skipping the city, I am afraid, after hearing the observations of our shipboard friends.
Two of the World Heritage Sites are next to each other in the town of Paola. We were excited to see the Hypogeum, but were sad to learn you have to buy tickets to see it months in advance. If you are interested, a link to information about it is linked here. http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/130
We did walk a few blocks through the town and toured Hal Tarxien. The site was small but amazing. Scientists have hypothesized that the Megalithic Temples on Malta are the oldest free standing man-made structures on Earth. I am going to post pictures of Hal Tarxien, Hagar Qim and Mnajdra. Being fascinated with history, I was just amazed at how well preserved and accessible these ruins were. We could walk
and actually sit in these ancient temples and homes.
During the southern loop of our Malta tour, we stopped at the Blue Grotto where you can ride a boat into the limestone caves along the shore. The reflection of the water on the limestone is supposed to make the cave and water very blue. Of course, it was closed also because of choppy water. We did catch the bus again and visit the site of Hagar Qim and Mnajdra that I mentioned above. They were just incredible. If we had remembered to use sunscreen before leaving, we would have enjoyed the day just a little more than we did.
I hope you enjoy the pictures below. We took so many, it is difficult to pick out a few to post. Tomorrow, Sicily!
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