We haven't seen any Maltese falcons yet.
Trip Start Jun 25, 2006
127Trip End Aug 01, 2007
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A short flight from Tunis brought us to the small Mediterranean island nation of Malta. Malta was not on our original itinerary, but our tickets allowed us a free stopover here, so we figured we would take advantage of it to see a nation that few Americans ever visit. Surprises were in store for us here.
Before this trip neither of us knew much of anything about Malta other than it was mentioned a few times in high school geography class, there is a popular dog breed called a Maltese, and a falcon statue from here was the subject of a classic Bogart film. So, since I'm assuming your knowledge is about the same, here are a few facts to get you up to speed: it is a small chain of three islands with a population of about 400,000 just south of Sicily in the Mediterranean
A big surprise Malta gave us was the incredible hotel room we ended up getting using frequent guest points. It is the nicest hotel room I have ever stayed in! I'm sure Katie will tell you extensively about it in her entry!!! Next, Malta represented one of the things I love so much about traveling - expanding my reality. Because of my lack of knowledge before coming here, Malta was a non-entity to me; I had hardly any ideas, information or vision of it as a land or its people. Now that we are here, I just find it mind boggling (and a bit shameful) that I never had any concept of what a wonderful place this is. Vibrant and approachable locals, cliff-side promenades, crowded villages, and tons of things to see and do are only the beginning of describing Malta. The nightclub/bar district of Paceville is THE place for nightlife in Malta and is only a few blocks from our hotel
Yesterday we visited the capital city of Valetta. It is dramatically situated on a peninsula with huge centuries old protective walls surrounding it. A very touristy promenade went though the middle of the city but there were plenty of atmospheric cobbled lanes with stunning architecture. It looks like a small version of an old-world European capital city.
We are leaving Malta late tonight on a flight to Istanbul. Our plans have changed a bit due to recent event in the Middle East so we are skipping our overland trip through Syria. I was a bit sad about this, having been to Syria before, I thought it was a wonderful place with some of the friendliest locals I have ever encountered. Anyway, we are going occupy our extra few weeks by spend a bit of time in Bulgaria and possibly Macedonia and a few Greek Isles. From Greece or Istanbul we will purchase a one-way ticket to Cairo to meet up with Katie's family for a Nile river cruise. Details will be forthcoming shortly!!!
So I'm not exactly sure what happened when we checked into our Westin Resort hotel in Malta, but we completely LUCKED out!!!!
For the entire first night that we were here, I kept thinking we were going to get kicked out of this room at any moment. Surely they would realize that they made a mistake and that we were not who they think we are, and move us to a regular room. But that never happened!! In fact, yesterday, someone from the hotel knocked on our door and gave us a free bottle of wine to "apologize" for the inconvenience caused by the early closing of the pool deck. Are you serious??? You can't make this stuff up!! Anyway, we have to leave here in a few hours and I am thinking of staging a sit in - I really don't want to leave!! I LOVE MALTA!!
Our closing comments and observations on Malta:
We used both cabs and busses. No big surprise; cabs were expensive and fast, busses cheap and slow. They drive on the left. The hotel we stayed in we used frequent guest points so we cannot comment on value, but there are tons of accommodations here in all price ranges.
Everyone speaks English so communicating is simple
Since Morocco and Tunisia were so cheap we experienced serious sticker shock upon arriving here, but actually the price level is about the same as home.
Maltese people were universally friendly and helpful. The country is spotless, wealthy, and pretty much crime-free so the hassle factor is very low.
Again like Morocco or Tunisia, we don't understand why so few Americans visit Malta. It is a wonderful place!