Photo albums fill my bookcases. One for every year since 1974 and one for nearly every trip I’ve taken. I have just been going through the photos taken over the winter. Hundreds and I will have to choose a few that are representative.

I’m not sure how we decided to go to Malta but it was a good choice. We were charmed by the island and its history. A rocky limestone cropping in the Mediterranean at the intersection between Europe and North Africa, it was first inhabited 7000 years ago. Although everyone speaks English (it was an English colony for 150 years) Maltese is the language we heard everywhere. It developed through years of invasions by neighboring countries. Most significant influences are Sicilian-Italian and Arabic.

Arial photo of Valletta.  By CatalinBindiu – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=51396861

I found this photo online, it gives a good perspective of the city and the country as a whole, although it doesn’t capture the steepness of the city.

We stayed at two different Airbnb apartments in Valletta, the capitol city and another in Burgu, just across the harbor. The first was close to the water which meant that we had to walk up a steep hill to get to any other part of town. All were in old buildings built of, what else, limestone.

The stairs leading down from our first apartment. The steps are worn from hundreds of years of footsteps.

The apartment in Burgu was charming with a kitchen in the cellar, a small balcony off the second floor living space and two steps up to the tiny bathroom. A treacherous climb for two senior travelers.

 

 

 

 

Public transportation was impressive. At the city gates, a fleet of buses go to every corner of the island, few taking more than an hour to get to any location. A forty-five minute bus ride took us to Marsaxlokk a town known for its colorful fishing boats. We had lunch overlooking the harbor.

A typical steep street leading up to the city center. The balconies on the buildings are found all over the island.

 

One day we visited the village of Siggiewi and the Heritage Limestone Park and Gardens. The displays showing how limestone has been cut throughout the ages were fascinating. No machinery was used until after World War II.  There are temples built of limestone that are 6000 years old. It was hard to imagine how those early people could carve stone to make those structures. As we walked back to the bus stop we heard a loud roar, I said it sounded like an elephant trumpeting, Max said it sounded like a lion. We looked back and, it was a lion.