Likes & Dislikes

Opinions

Malta - v.j. photo

Likes

1. Almost everything. I loved it.

2.Mdina (pron. Imdina) is a wonderful historic city

3. While we’re on the subject of pronunciation, the language: Words are never pronounced as they’re written, even by accident

4. Birgu, one of the ‘Three Cities’ is a living museum, with its maze of narrow alleyways in which every house has been given a particular name by the locals, everything is built of bare stone, flowers bloom on every windowsill and its all spotlessly clean.

5. Their culinary craft. An island where they don’t just eat weird seafood! The cooking here is almost Italian.

6. Colorful doors with imaginative, original knockers

7. The bright little boats bobbing in the bay at Marsaxlokk.

8. The waterfront in Valetta: the old merchant houses have been restored as restaurants and bars. Anyone arriving by boat and tying up here is in for a treat!

9. The cactus liqueur.

10. The oleander here grows up to two meters high, more like a small tree, and without any help from humans.

Dislikes

1. They don’t take enough care of their natural resources. The salt that accumulates in the rockpools around the Azure Window was full of cigarette butts.

2. The airport shops are horrendously expensive.

3. A lot of run-down buildings in Valetta. In fact, in the city center, there are only four or five streets that have been properly restored.


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,, For me, Malta was a little bit like a Mediterranean England. It was once a British colony, of course, and you can feel the influence everywhere. English signs, English schools, and lots of English tourists. The language schools are excellent – for people looking for that, they’re more popular even than schools in England, especially because you can combine learning with sunbathing at the seaside. It’s also safer than, for instance, somewhere like London. Nobody I’ve sent here ever came back disappointed. And the prices are set accordingly! Malta is not one of the world’s cheapest places, but you really do feel the extra service. Going for a meal or a drink in Malta is no cheap thrill, but anyone who’s done some traveling in Western Europe will find it’s no more expensive than there.
It’s worth shopping in supermarkets because the prices there are similar to Central Europe – and you can always picnic on the beach!"

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,, Gozo is unmissable, but probably only warrants a one-day excursion. We took a Jeep safari, and it was worth the cost. They took us to places which would be hard to reach on foot, even if we’d known they existed. Comino is just a sandy beach for bathers and is perfect for anyone who wants nothing around them all day except blue water (and crowds of tourists in high season). The best thing about Malta for me was Marsaxlokk. Those colorful little boats! So cute, and a perfect photo subject. Sit down on the shore, eat some tasty snacks and look out at the adorable little boats bobbing on the blue waters. The small capital of Valletta is easy to walk around. It has a nice atmosphere, but half a day is enough to see it. Valletta wasn’t my favorite place on Malta.

I wasn’t blown away by the food – nothing special. Kinnie, though, is delicious! Such a shame it’s so hard to find back home. It’s the kind of drink you either love or hate, and I count myself among the former. If it’s parties you’re looking for, Bugibba is the best – lots of pubs and clubs, and young people love it. Not many sandy beaches, though – mostly just rocky cliffs. Do pay attention when choosing your hotel, if that’s important to you. The Maltese aren’t the most cheerful, as a rule – they’re generally fairly impassive. There are ships that do a circuit of the island, and it’s well worth buying a ticket! For me, Malta is one of those ’go once, and have a great time’ sorts of destinations. I’d definitely recommend it, but I have no plans to go back." (Jetta, 2017)

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Malta is one of those places I didn’t really have a fixed idea of in my head. I vaguely knew about the knights of Saint John, the ancient remains, and the general beauty of the place. Apart from that and Tony Drago the snooker player, I knew nothing about the place. It was a bit of a surprise therefore that it was different from what I hadn’t imagined it to be in the first place. Malta is something of a fairytale or perhaps one of those Greek myths with gods and the like in them. It has a whole range of different experiences in a relatively small place. There are eerie underwater caves, stunning temples, and medieval architecture. The streets snake here and there around towns and villages squares with churches, markets ancient, and I mean really ancient remains museums and pretty stunning architecture. Don’t worry about getting lost, you will but it will be a good sort of loss.

The sea is blue. The sky is blue. The beaches are not blue they are yellow. No need for winter woollies or umbrellas or balaclavas. I stayed in Mdina which is the ancient capital of Malta and sits on a scenic hill in the center of the island. Moving later to Valletta the current capital. The truth is anywhere you go tends to be pretty good. Mdina is famous for being encircled by defensive walls that must have made the hearts of any invading Turks sink. If you like historical stuff you should see them. There is also plenty of stuff to do and activities to enjoy such as strolling around the picturesque streets as well as ducking into the many museums. Valletta and some of the other towns have good nightlife but as I’m beginning to get a bit sedate you’ll have to explore on your own.

Seeing the sights walking about I suggest walking is the best thing you might do if only to counteract the effects of all the Maltese bread. I like just wandering around and seeing the lesser-known parts. Having said that there are lots of popular places that are worth seeing. For instance, I particularly liked the Upper Barrakka Gardens. It's near Valletta and has stunning views across Malta. You can look out across the famous ‘Three Cities’ of Malta and can see as far as the Grand Harbour. Mdina is also very cool to walk around. In fact, almost everywhere you go the architecture is impressive and interesting. There are guide tours generally ranging from 12 to 20 Euros. Of course, if you are on a budget you can just tag along at the back of a group pretending to be Japanese. On three separate occasions, I used this ploy, (not the Japanese bit) to get into the Acropolis in Athens without paying. It was a long time ago and I was broke. There is too much to list all the things you can look at but I just wanted to mention the Mosta Dome. The church is dedicated to St. Mary. The dome is a big deal. It's bigger than St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. Apparently, it’s neoclassical which I think means it was trying to look old when it was new and now it is old it looks even older? It's fancy, a lot of the inside is decorated in gilt and the floors are paved with marble. It is meant to be modeled on the Pantheon in Rome but there is no hole in the roof that I could see. It's got a pipe organ here with an impressive 2,000 pipes. I’m someone who really likes ancient remains, no jokes please). Well, you don’t get much more ancient than the Ggantija Temples. Ggantija means gigantic. They are a megalithic temple complex from the Neolithic. They are situated on the island of Gozo. “The temples are the earliest of the Megalithic Temples of Malta. Their makers erected the two Ġgantija temples during the Neolithic (c. 3600–2500 BC), which makes these temples more than 5500 years old and the world's second-oldest existing man-made religious structures after Göbekli Tepe in present-day Turkey.” (WIKI) Or are they religious?Could they be early basketball courts? These structures actually pre-date the Pyramids of Egypt and there are two temples encircled by an outer fortification wall. Their huge size is the main draw here and it is even more difficult to imagine how they were built when you consider that they were constructed before the invention of the wheel. I have a possible solution to the question of how they were made. The answer is, slowly. “In ancient times the temples would have been used for sacrifices and as a place to make offerings.” (WIKI) Not sure how they know this? It might be imagination but there is definitely something special about something that old that people built. It would be fantastic to talk to one of them to find out what they thought it was that they were doing.

(by Alan Durant, 2022)

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Practicals

Transport

“Traffic is probably the only negative thing about the island. A disaster! It's total chaos... For us, the fact that they drive on the left is already weird, but then you’ve got to add to that the no-rules Mediterranean driving style. I thought the Greeks were reckless drivers, but Malta is five times worse! What’s more, most of the roads are very poor quality, narrow, and full of parked cars… Some bus drivers drive like maniacs, so you think the bus will fall apart.

The bus service itself is otherwise good: you can get anywhere on the island by bus (both to tourist attractions and also lesser-known places). You always seem to be within spitting distance of a bus stop. However, you have to flag a bus down if you want to board it and remember to press the ‘stop’ button if you want to get off. And don’t think it stops automatically in bigger cities: we learned that the hard way – twice! And of course, if you’re used to cars driving on the right, don’t forget that you have to wait on the other side then you’re used to!

 – Buses are new, modern and usually list and announce all bus stops. Somehow, though, it’s often hard to know what kind of town you’re in. They probably say that too, but it’s hard to understand, and it isn’t written anywhere. We didn’t see a single ‘welcome to…’ sign anywhere. In the end, I started looking at the bus stops as we passed because I realized that each stop has the name of the town written above and the stop below. What’s even worse about the buses is that the bus drivers always turn on the a/c, even when it’s cold – we almost froze a few times.

– The Buses aren’t too punctual – sometimes they’re late, but they can leave early, too! We never had any serious problems, though – something always came along before too long. There are frequent buses on several lines, and often more than one line goes to the same place. There are only a few lines that run very infrequently… The daytime buses run until about 10 or 10:30 pm, then there are night buses after midnight.” (2018)

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Car rental

"If you search Tripadvisor or a similar site for people’s experiences of renting a car in Malta, the picture you get is depressing. Comments almost invariably report bad experiences: bad or poorly equipped cars, confusing contract terms, unhelpful, uncooperative staff, and a torturous procedure in the event of an accident. I’m not saying it’s always a disaster, but we can confirm that the car rental procedure in Malta has some weak points. One of the things that struck me was that when they handed over the car, they didn’t really care about inspecting and recording any existing damage – I had to initiate this procedure both times. Of course, it’s no big deal unless they try to get the customer to pay for the pre-existing damage when they hand back the car, but it’s impossible to say in advance whether this is going to be an issue or not. To be on the safe side, I made sure to check it over with a member of staff both times, and wrote down everything.”

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Getting around Malta is only small and I did a lot of walking other than that I tended to use the buses. They are a good option to get around the island cheaply. I found them reasonably good though they can get crowded during the main tourist season. If a bus is completely full they will drive straight past, ignoring your gestures for them to stop. I suppose this is fair enough and you are unlikely to be permanently stranded. For British people, the etiquette for queuing at but=s stops can be a little disconcerting. When a bus arrives the ques can take on the appearance of a rugby scrum and sharpened elbows are definitely an advantage. Getting agitated won’t change any bus stop situation, it’s best to enjoy your surroundings and be safe in the knowledge that you will eventually get on a bus and get where you're going. As far as cars are concerned don’t take it for granted that Maltese roads are safe to drive on. All the rules of the road you may be used to seem to be completely disregarded I’ve driven in Tel Aviv Milan and Peshawar it's every bit as bad as these, though not as many cattle as in Peshawar. Cycling is an option. There are cycle lanes but don’t be tempted to cycle on the pavement (sidewalk) or you might get in trouble and be really really careful on roads. (by Alan Durant, 2022)

Malta - public bus - m.s. photo

Malta - biking

Food

“Malta’s national dish is a rabbit, which features on almost every menu, most often marinated in wine and flavored with garlic. It is a very tasty dish, of course, not everyone is impressed by, say, rabbit liver spaghetti, rabbit stew or, my favorite, rabbit pate. For those who would rather avoid eating cute little bunny-eared creatures, you can always enjoy squid and a variety of delicious seafood (perch, pilot fish, red mullet, swordfish) as well as a range of poultry or minced red-meat dishes. It would be a sin to miss the local fish soup (aljotta), beef soup with celery (brodu), and the local version of an Italian minestrone soup (minestra). You should also try the ravioli stuffed with ricotta, as well as the timpana, which is a layered pasta and meat pie. Gourmets should not miss stuffed eggplant, stuffed marrow, snails, or peppery sheep cheese either.

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,, The towns have loads of good cafes for a coffee or a cake. You can also have pastizzi a savory pastry filled with ricotta or mushy peas. The only problem is it's so easy to eat, one, then two, and maybe even three. If they ever bring in a bodyweight surcharge on airplanes then I could see myself having a problem. This problem is not helped by the Ħobż tal-Malti, the local bread which is unfairly good. Maltese bread is freshly baked daily and the smell from local bakeries is divine. With several varieties available, if popping out for a light snack it is wise to know that unless otherwise stated, most sandwiches are served on ftira, local bread with history and culture the Maltese hold dear.

A definite delicious bread to try while in Malta if not only because of its popularity. While soft on the inside, the crust of a ftira is extremely tough and you need a good set of teeth to tear into it. If you are a tourist with dentures it would be wise to give this a miss. I was also recommended to try the Cassata, sort of a little sweet iced cake but it was too sweet for my taste. You can feel your teeth telling you, ‘give us a break, don’t do this to us’. The restaurants are pretty good as well. I particularly liked the rabbit stew, (vegetarians look away). Yes I know wabbits are fluffy and cuddly but leave them to their own devices and they will eat your carrots and anything else they can get their hands, (paws) on. To make up for this, I was also into the vegetable soups, probably more of a stew in fact, presuming that the wotten wabbits hadn’t got there first. Another suggestion is Lampuki a common fish caught around the island that is cooked in a delicious fish pie, containing potatoes, spinach, capers mint, and olive oil. A meal for two will cost you about 40 to 70 Euros unless you want to go posh. If you want to save a bit try the street food is, as you might expect, a lot cheaper. A local beer will cost you about 2.5 Euros. If you are on a tight budget or taken with that disgusting British/American habit of eating on the run there are street kiosks selling pizza slices, pastizzis and other pastry goodies.

Located on main roads, these kiosks are inundated by locals grabbing something to eat if they are feeling a bit peckish. They were described to me as being infamous but I ate and lived to tell the tale. Don’t be annoyed if a car in front of you, or bus you are traveling on, randomly stops mid-journey, holding up the traffic while the driver or one of the passengers jumps out to grab a sausage roll. You may be tempted by some of the fruit in Malta, you’ll be sure to pass plenty of prickly pear cacti and olive trees. They are both used in various dishes but don’t be tempted to pick them and eat them on the spot. The Prickly Pears don’t look especially dangerous but those spikes have barbs on them and you’ll still be trying to get them out days later if you touch them.

During the day, the spikes on a prickly pear are at their fullest and you are guaranteed to get a few of them lodged deeply into your hand. These are cultivated early morning or at dusk by landowners and farmers who have years of experience in how best to handle them. Presumably, that’s when they are asleep. Those of you with claws like Baloo might get away with it but I wouldn’t risk it. As for olives, they are not so anti-social as the pears and won't attack you while you pick them but eating them fresh will cost you a fortune in toilet paper. Be warned! Just as important as the food try the Bajtra. It’s a liqueur made from prickly pear and has a yummy, sugary sweet after-taste. Another local liqueur worth trying is Anisette, made from aniseed. Truth is pretty much like Ouzo or Raki The local beer, preferably served cold is Cisk. (by Alan Durant, 2022)

Malta - Pastizz (traditional savoury pastry in Malta) for breakfast - l.r. photo

Malta - rabbit meat dish - l.r. photo

Malta - seafood plate - l.r. photo

Shopping

Be wary of purchasing items from smaller independent shops, in particular grocery shops. For items not displaying prices, it is best to check with a member of staff to confirm the price before taking it to the till. If it seems a little on the expensive side, walk away. Unfortunately, there are some unscrupulous shop owners and workers who add extra to items being bought by ‘foreigners’. Always check your receipt before leaving…if you get one! (by Alan Durant, 2022)

Malta - a convenience store - l.r. photo

Malta - Valetta - Gio Batta Delia, a gift shop and department store - l.r. photo

Fun

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Malta - Mdina - festivity - r.g. photo

Mdina - festivity - r.g. photo

Malta - Mellieha - wifi

Malta - Valetta - nightlife - Ata photo

Malta - Valetta - street musician - Ata photo

Public safety

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Malta - policemen

Others

“The good news is that Malta is multilingual – it’s enough to know English, since literally everyone speaks it, though admittedly in their own accent. So far we haven’t met a single person we couldn’t communicate with in English. There’s also a good chance of being able to use Italian. It’s worth knowing, however, that in many places (markets, shops, transport) the locals pay less – and you can enter this club if you speak the ‘unlearnable’ Maltese language: anyone who asks for something in Maltese is given a completely different price. This is worth paying attention to in places where there are many tourists (especially Qawra, Tas-Sliema, San Ġiljan, and Valletta) or where you’re buying something from a private individual, either at a small stall or a truck, so you don’t get ripped off. In any case, it’s always worth discussing the price before you agree to buy something. Of course, it is also worth noting that in some places the trader himself may decide to ask Maltese for less for the same service (this is typical, for example, of water taxis), and that those with a Maltese identity card pay less on the buses.”

Malta - Valetta - St John's Co-Cathedral (Roman Catholic) - Viktor Ohotin's photo

Background

Malta - national flag - The motto “for gallantry” is being encircled in the cross.

Destination in brief

Malta in brief

Malta is a small island country in Southern Europe, in the central part of the Mediterranean Sea, south of Sicily (166 km/103 mi), east of the Tunisian coast.

Size: 316 km² (122 mi²) - The size of Malta’s main island is just 27km by 14km. The country is an archipelago consisting of 3 islands: Malta, Gozo and Comino. There are no mountains, rivers, or forests on any of the islands.

Population: 441,000 (2020) – Maltese people mostly look like Sicilians and are typically loud, noisy, religious and short-tempered.
Malta is the 9th most densely populated country in the world (the first is Monaco).

Language: Maltese and English – Maltese is the native language and is written using the Latin alphabet. Modern Maltese vocabulary is rooted 52% in Italian/Sicilian, 32% in Siculo-Arabic, and 6% in English. Maltese is a kind of Semitic language, but it is neither Arabic, nor a dialect of Arabic, although it does sound somewhat similar. Although the vast majority of the population speaks perfect English, most Maltese prefer to speak Maltese with their fellow countrymen.

Religion: Most Maltese identify themselves as Catholic and participate in Catholic religious services. Malta is the second most religious country in Europe (Romania is the first).

Capital city: Valletta - pop. 5,540 (2020)

Malta is a republic, a British colony until 1964, a member of the European Union, and a Schengen area country.

Official currency: Euro

Average monthly net salary: around 1,200 Euro (2020)
Prices in Malta are at about the same level as those in Italy, although hotel prices are somewhat higher.

Most frequent surname: Borg

Malta is a left-driving country.

Malta is a safe country for tourists. Watch out for the usual pickpockets in busy, touristy areas.

Best time to visit Malta: May-October (this is also the tourist high season). May-August is mostly dry. July can be very hot.

Malta has one of the best climates in Europe.

It is important to know that Malta is not habitually a beach holiday destination and is not an ideal destination for families with small kids. If you want to spend your days on a beach, Malta should not be on your list. The country has very few sandy beaches and they are very crowded in the high season. Most of its beaches are small and tend to be dramatic, rocky, sea-sculpted, with difficult access to the water.

Malta is a good travel destination for those who want to combine some relaxing sunbathing with cultural tourism and discover Malta’s exceptional quality.

Most important tourist attractions:

Valetta (about half a day is enough), Gozo Island, Mdina, Blue Lagoon, Camino Island, The Blue Grotto, the small town of Rabat, Golden Bay Beach, Mellieha with the Popeye Village, prehistoric megalithic sites
 
Tourism is the biggest “bread winner” for Malta with over 1,800,000 tourists visiting each and every year. Tourism is also what keeps Malta ticking with many jobs and industries directly benefiting from this tourism boom and flow of visitors.


History

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Malta - a time traveler pretends to show up as a traditionalist - l.r. photo

Nowadays

Malta doesn’t have its own time scale it should. Things tend to go slow. Don’t be surprised if the waiter takes his or her time to get to you, likewise the food. Learn to relax. Shop keepers chat with acquaintances while you wait. People answer their phones in the queue to the check out holding it up. All parts of the experience. (by Alan Durant, 2022)

Malta - Valetta - right side the modern Parliament building - o.b. photo

Malta - procession - v.j. photo

People

“The Maltese are laid back – sometimes almost comatose. Their greatest pleasure is to do everything as slowly as possible (They may, in fact, be the laziest people in the world – 72% of them do no physical exercise whatsoever, not even a light jog. This is the conclusion of the British scientific journal The Lancet, which compiled an international “lazy list” taking into account the lifestyle data of residents of 122 countries.)

The Maltese are warm-hearted, kind, and friendly, but they do not always want to converse with tourists. At the same time, tourists visiting Malta can certainly count on the helpfulness of the locals if they get into a bit of trouble, and of course for help with directions. Everyone speaks excellent English, and Italian as well. They do use their own language, but, for example, money is always counted in English. Some residents feel more kinship with the Italians than with the British.

If, as a foreigner, you’re curious about Maltese culture, you might want to visit a local pub or café for a lemonade or two (possibly Kinnie, Malta’s national pride, if you have a taste for it) or a beer in one of the truly authentic pubs in the non-tourist areas. These are very numerous in Valletta and the “three cities”.  These kinds of pubs are always full of old men, conversing vehemently and playing cards. The stranger can be sure that politics will not be left out of their conversation. Interestingly, almost every town in Malta has a brass band, whose musicians and circle of friends form a very cohesive group. At local (mostly religious) festivals and events, the bands and their fans make a big commotion.

A very large proportion of Maltese are religious (98 percent Roman Catholic) and still regularly attend church services. Going to Mass on Sundays and holidays is a significant family and social event. The Catholic Church of Malta has a strong influence on the social life of the country. In Malta, abortion and divorce were banned until 2011. (Globally, only the Philippines and Malta are so severe when it comes to divorce.) At the same time, the influence of the church hierarchy over people’s everyday lives has been fading over the last decade or so. For example, in the case of moral scandals, only the older generations are still able to muster much indignation, while the younger generations tend to shrug at such things and to laugh among themselves at the conservatism of the elderly and the church. Even so, young people are less rebellious and enterprising than their peers in most European countries. No doubt a big factor in this is the fact that wherever locals go on this small island, they’re sure to meet someone they know, meaning they can’t break social conventions without it being noticed and remarked on.

In summer, many Maltese take a siesta in the early afternoon, during the worst of the heat. Many stores also close for 2-3-hour siestas. Then, on summer evenings, the locals cram the streets, promenades, and beaches. Families with young children are also out on the streets until late at night. Although in Malta women and men are frequently seen together, it is quite typical that there are hardly any local women in pubs and cafes. In general, after Sunday Mass, the people chatting in front of the church door are divided into two groups by gender.

Husbands (here too) are only involved in housework and parenting to a limited extent. The Maltese are family-centric, and not just within a narrow family setting. At the level of cousins, uncles, aunts and grandparents, the cohesion is quite high compared to what I’m used to at home. Still, the older generation of Maltese nowadays complains a lot that family ties are becoming steadily looser. The Maltese are, as a rule, proud people, and care a lot about their reputation, even within a wider circle of acquaintances, particularly when it comes to protecting their family’s decent reputation.

According to foreigners who have spent more time in Malta, it cannot be said that the outward morality of Maltese is completely sincere because there is a lot of hypocrisy. In terms of sexuality, it is a fact that not a single-sex shop can be found in Malta, and in the 1990s the launch of Playboy magazine, which these days would hardly even be classed as pornography, caused a great stir on the island. The sale of the monthly magazine was called the work of the devil. At the same time, in the private-public discourse, youth online discussion forums are dominated by “sultry erotica” and seriously lewd jokes.

Tourists often assume that the Maltese quarrel a lot, since they talk so loudly to one another. In fact, however, this loud speech is completely natural to them and does not mean they have lost their temper. Of course, they also use the wildly gesticulating hand gestures so common around the Mediterranean, while physical contact such as pats on the shoulder, ribbing, arm around the shoulder, etc. is also normal. The Maltese seem to live fairly prosperous, comfortable lives, and in the real money-making sector, tourism, many foreigners are employed to do the work. Here’s what I mean: if a well-to-do Maltese family has, say, five restaurants in different parts of the country, then, where appropriate, the majority of employees are foreign. They work for the benefit of the Maltese family.

Both in language and physical appearance, local Maltese resemble Arabs but don’t make the mistake, even by accident, of making a remark suggesting that they are Arabs, since they’re likely to take serious offense. Besides, many Maltese openly or covertly despise the Sub-Saharan Africans living legally or illegally on the island.

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,, The truth is that the Maltese can appear rather grumpy. It might just be a cultural thing or a language thing. You tend to get yes and no answers without any dressing but adapt and you will find their soft spot. For instance, you need never feel that you have to leave your table, for fear of upsetting others at a restaurant in Malta if your youngster is having a moment or your baby is crying. To say the Maltese are family orientated is an understatement. Old and young, male and female, they all seem to adore children. A child crying in a public place will not phase the Maltese whatsoever, in fact it’s not unusual for one of the locals to offer a hand. Don’t be alarmed if your child is scooped up and given a cuddle.

In the language, I went people seemed to speak English. This is the curse of English speakers, it makes us lazy. You can of course try and learn something. Maltese can be both difficult to speak and to understand. With English being the second language of the island it is very easy to get by without speaking a word. It can be quite refreshing to make a bit of an effort if you wish and even using an odd word such as bongu (hello) and grazzi ħafna (thank you very much) will be appreciated by the locals. One word you will hear umpteen times by the Maltese is mela. By ear, it appears to mean the equivalent of ‘whatever’ or ‘ok’ . In fact, mela has that many meanings to the Maltese it is impossible for someone who is not Maltese to use the word in the right context. To use it when you’re not Maltese is apparently not only cringe-worthy but can be considered offensive. There we have it. Armed with a good appetite, curiosity, and a pair of working legs you’ll have a good time.  (by Alan Durant, 2022)

Malta - Marsaxlok - v.j. photo

Malta - locals - Ata photo

Malta - men - l.r. photo

Malta - locals

Malta - locals

Tourist etiquette

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Malta - no topless - ata photo

Gastronomy

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Malta - rabbit stew in gravy - l.r. photo

Malta - Maltese stuffed marrows (Qarabali Mimli) - l.r. photo

Attractions

Gozo

It's not such a big deal to get there the island of Gozo is 20 minutes by ferry. I enjoyed the crossing. Gozo is also worth visiting for the cultural activities, the rugged coastlines, and secluded sandy beaches. While you’re there make sure not to miss the Citadella in Victoria which is made up of a fortified city that is designed in the Byzantine and Roman styles and is something of an architectural wonder. Apparently, there was a settlement there from the Bronze age. I sometimes wonder how these early people managed to cross big expanses of water in what would have been primitive boats especially as I suppose they didn’t even know where they were going. (by Alan Durant, 2022)

Gozo - p.p. photo

Malta - Gozo - Mgarr - Madonna Ta Lourdes Chapel - l.r. photo

Malta - Gozo - Victoria - St. George's Basilica - Elter photo

Gozo - t.l. photo

Gozo - Ir-Ramla beach - l.r. photo

Valetta

In Valletta, there is also loads to see and lots of history. Malta’s history is riddled with stories of the Knights of St. John who were a cross between monks and commandos. They were originally founded in Jerusalem and were hospitallers. I think this sort of means they would stab you with a sword and look after you afterward, but perhaps only if you were Christian. They fought against the Turkish Ottoman Empire notably in the “siege of Malta which happened in 1565 and was a bloody period in history when some 1,500 knights lost their lives.” (WIKI) “The Great Siege of Malta & the Knights of St. John is an interactive exhibition that features sound and light effects to tell the story of the Siege. “A number of dioramas are used to tell the story and visitors can look at the history of the siege through the eyes of Francesco Balbi who was a Spanish poet who witnessed this bloody battle.” (Visit Malta) Lots of people go to Malta for diving which I am reliably informed is excellent. Personally, I gave it a miss. I seem to lack buoyancy, perhaps Neanderthal genes? which would be fine for going down but I think could be tricky for coming up. I was tempted, but not enough. (by Alan Durant, 2022)

Malta - Valetta - v.j. photo

Malta - Valetta - Ata photo

Malta - Valetta - Ata photo

Malta - Valetta - the new parliament building - Ata photo

Malta - Valetta - Ata photo

Malta - Valetta - o.b. photo

Mdina

Mdina - Main Gate - r.g. photo

Malta - Mdina - v.j. photo

Malta - Mdina - St. Paul's Cathedral - r.g. photo

Malta - Mdina - v.j. photo

Mdina - i.p. photo

Bugibba

Malta - Bugibba (in May) - l.r. photo

Mellieha

Malta - Mellieha - t.z. photo

Malta - Mellieha - beach - t.z. photo

Qawra

Malta - Qawra - f.p. photo

Sliema

Malta - Sliema - r.g. photo

St Julians

Malta - St. Julian's - l.r. photo

Barakka Garden

Malta - Upper Barrakka Gardens - l.r. photo

Vittoriosa

Malta - Vittoriosa - l.w. photo

Malta - Vittoriosa - t.a. photo

Senglea

Malta - Senglea - s.p. photo

Megalithic Temples

Malta - megalithic temple - c.a. photo

Marsaxlokk

I especially liked Marsaxlokk a fishing village which is located in the south of Malta. The brochures describe it as quaint but I went anyway. Something about that word makes my toes curl. There are tons of boats similar to those you will find in Greece and an excellent busy market that takes place here every day. You can buy fish on the harbor though personally, I’d rather get mine prepared and served up in a restaurant. I never get tired of looking at boats, these are known as luzzus and come in a range of different hues and styles. They often have an eye painted on the prow, again similar to the Greeks, the eyes seem to be glaring and they are said to help to guard against evil spirits (by Alan Durant, 2022)

Marsaxlokk - statue of a fisherman - l.r. photo

Popey Village

Malta - Popeye village in the Anchor Bay - b.a. photo

Comino

Malta - Comino - c.m. photo

Malta - Comino - Blue Lagoon - s.l. photo

Rabat

Malta - Rabat - t.z. photo

Malta - Rabat - t.z. photo

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