Mdina and Rabat

Trip Start Aug 01, 2005
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Trip End Dec 15, 2005


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Where I stayed
Balco Harmony Hostel

Flag of Malta  , Island of Malta,
Tuesday, August 23, 2005

General
The people in Malta are very kind and relaxed for the most part. I suppose if you live on a small island long enough, you realize there's no big hurry for anything. Even our bus driver calmly waited for someone whose car was blocking the street while they onloading boxes from it. All of the bus drivers look really scary, but are really helpful if you just ask them a direct question. As I move around the country, the rudeness that I initially noticed seems a lot less bothersome. In fact, I don't even really notice anymore.

Mdina, Rabat

Today we took a trip out to the cities of Mdina and Rabat. Mdina is an old walled city built to defend against someone or another. It seems like most of the things here to see involve someone defending the island against the Turks. Mdina has been heavily restored and looks really nice inside. Since everything is made out of that one rock, its really dusty. Just sitting in a corner, the wind constantly blows dust in your eyes. The light color of the rock reflects the sun in your eyes as well making it seem like skiing goggles are appropriate. From the back wall of Mdina you can see almost to the ends of the island in a 180 degree spectacular view. I took a video to try and convey the awesomeness of it. The wall stands a good 20 meters above the ground.

Mdina Cathedral
There is a grand cathedral in Mdina that I would estimate as better than all of the churches I saw in Northern Europe. The inside was extremely colorful, textured, and graphic. I actually felt as though I was in the middle ages. It really amazes me that in a church that has no less than 10 signs that say "no photos", '''everyone''' was armed with a camera snapping away. Being as it was the best church I'd seen, I decided to take a video, since that was not disallowed (keeps my conscience clean). I guess I can't blame the Americans this time since the American tourists here comprise 1% of the total.

Catacombes
In Rabat, we visited the catacombes of St. Agatha (LM1.00) that were constructed around the 4th century. The crypt contains the oldest Christian artwork I've yet seen. The attractions in Malta are run much differently than in France. Nobody really keeps an eye on you here and they don't set up significant barriers to restrict access to closed parts. I wandered into an unlit part of the tombs where I could only navigate by using the LCD of my camera. I need to permanently move my maglite from my bag to my daypack.

Malta culture
I find it funny that the only thing in America that uses the metric system, the 2 liter drink bottles, is not used in Europe. They use a 1.5L bottle! It boggles the mind, but I guess its because they walk or bike to the store more often where in America we drive to the store once a week. I just have to say again how great the sea breeze is here. It literally never stops because of the small size of the island. In other words, the island is climactically insignificant. The breeze permeates everywhere you go. It seems that no matter which way the windows face in the places I stay, the breeze is blowing strongly through them at a temperature of about 68F. The only minor drawback (and I do stress this is minor) is that my hair gets really dirty really fast. By the end of the day I can hardly run my hand through it.

New Hostel
We moved to a new hostel today, the Balco Harmony Hostel. I must say, its the best hostel we've stayed at so far. Our room is on the first floor, a fridge, a bathroom/shower, free satellite TV, a desk, and even an air conditioner you can use at a rate of LM3.00 per 30hours. Our room has 4 beds and we are accompanied by a Canadian and an Australian.

What I ate today
With my being sick, many people have emailed me suggesting I eat better. Here's what I ate today:
*Bowl of cornflakes with milk
*A further 2 cups of milk
*A ham and cheese sandwich
*A croissant containing cheese
*An orange
*Leftover half of my companions vegetarian pizza from yesterday
*2L of water (so far)


Conclusion
Wednesday, we are headed to the island of Gozo. I'm not sure what infrastructure they have there, but I know it is less developed than here on Malta. I may not be able to easily post updates until I return.
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