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In between conferences I decided I needed some sunshine and R&R. I ended up in Malta with my mom, which was not particularly sunshiny… or relaxing.
But it was definitely interesting. First, the greatest public transport experience of all time – there was an owl on the bus.
Other than that, Malta is in a strategic location at the edge of Europe and so has a pretty violent history; it’s essentially an island fortress. The stories of World War II were harrowing, covered in detail at the Malta at War Museum. We saw the overview at The Malta Experience which also – unexpectedly – turned into a tour of an old hospital and some descriptions of somewhat brutal medieval medical care.
My favourite was taking the boat, private tiny boats across the harbour are a couple of euro each, and there is also a longer tour around the harbour, which we did at sunset – beautiful. The views from the Upper Barrakka Gardens were fabulous – another great thing to do at sunset. Casa Rocca Piccola was another favourite, it’s a beautiful house with an interesting history and a pet parrot! We also went to the National Museum of Fine Arts, there were a few paintings I admired but a lot of violent religious ones which are really not to my taste.
We went to Mdina, which was a long bus ride (~90 minutes, no owl). The town wasn’t particularly exciting, we got a ticket that got us into four things, including a train ride, the Domus Romana (a Roman building), and some catacombs.
In general the attractions in Malta aren’t particularly expensive, but they are small and don’t take much time to go around so the touristing starts to add up.
We stayed at the Hotel Juliani, which was pretty nice. The room was a bit cramped, and the shower a bit erratic temperature-wise, although we had a lovely balcony that 10 degrees warmer I would have really appreciated. The hotel restaurant though, Zest, was fantastic. We went to Waterbiscuit for breakfast (fabulous food, tiny portions, slow service), had dinner at Zeri’s (lovely) and Assaggi which was amazing.