Sunday, October 05, 2008

Knight Clubbing

I had a lovely, relaxing, enjoyable holiday in/on Malta. I'd heard a lot of the island and totally agree with the enthusiastic reports. Although Malta's just off Sicily and many things are very familiar (lots of British shops like M&S, for example) indeed, I felt very far away and in a different time-zone altogether. Some towns seemed utterly deserted and the pace of life seemed very laid-back. Admittedly, there was no shortage of tourists, but there was a pleasant off-season feel to our holiday despite the peak season sunshine.

You can tell Malta is a popular destination for (English) language holidays both for children and adults from the fact that they teach you vocabulary on the Air Malta plane already:
planeEnglish (onemorehandbag)The streets in Valetta are like a small-scale version of San Francisco:steep street in Valetta (onemorehandbag)In the gardens and courtyards of all those knights' and inquisitors' palaces we visited, pomegranate and lime trees grew.Maltese pomegranate (onemorehandbag)
The view from the rooftop of our Sliema hotel was pretty impressive. And this was taken on a cloudy day:Sliema Strand panoroama (onemorehandbag)Living in a land-locked country, I just love boats and the seize the opportunity to take a ferry rather than a bus whenever possible:ferry to Gozo (onemorehandbag)These are the typical Maltese luzzo boats, gracing the cover of every single guide book:Maltese fishing boat (onemorehandbag)
...and this is one of the trusty old British buses that take you to the remotest parts of the island for a ridiculously cheap amount of money. I loved them. Their interior is decorated either with pictures of saints, rosaries or psalms or, should the driver's gods be of a more secular variety, sports carsWhere the streets are San Franciscan, the buses (not the private cars, these are mainly new or at least modern) are decidedly Cuban. Note to the ladies - make sure to wear a well-fitting (i.e. shock-absorbing) bra as the buses' suspension is of the bumpy fairground-attraction variety:

Speaking of transport - the Maltese are a very religious people with statues of saints adorning almost  every house. This explains why some motorists are more equal than others:
only for the Bishop's limo (onemorehandbag)


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