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Friday, April 7th, 2006

Cathedral of St. Paul
Cathedral of St. Paul

Kathy has already covered some of the annoyances of Malta (mainly the traffic), but I must admit that I rather like this country. Everything’s quite close together, the whole country being only about the size of a large city, and the buildings are just amazing. The one downside to the buildings is that almost all make use of an identical colour of stone on the outside, but once you get inside them, they are something to behold.

The picture is of St. Paul’s Cathedral, which Kathy touched on. The interior is almost entirely done up in marble and very colourful paintings.

– Neil

Some Thoughts on Malta

Friday, April 7th, 2006

We’ve added a few photos. We’ve only been able to upload one camera so far, not that there are many more pics on the other.

A few random thoughts about Malta:

Traffic is crazy. Everyone here drives, and they don’t necessarily obey the traffic laws (or rather, suggestions). The good thing is that there are a lot of cross walks, at least in the busier pedestrian areas, many marked by stop lights. Also, many vehicles here don’t appear to have mufflers (at least not effective ones) – it is very loud here, and we are getting weary of not being able to hear each other and having to repeat.

There is a LOT of Catholic iconography (is that the right word?) – many homes and doorways are adorned with small colourful images of Mary, and there are churches on every block (all of whom seem to ring their bells at least every hour – the one just down the street from the guesthouse rings every 15 minutes, even through the night, though it’s not bothersome enough to keep us from sleeping). Although the exterior of the buildings are very plain stone, the inside of the one cathedral that we visited today (St. Paul’s, in Mdina) was very colourful, and very ornate. The artwork was quite stunning, in one dome it was done in 3d – there appeared to be some mobiles or something similar hanging from the top of the dome, that blended in with the painting, that made it appear 3 dimensional. Quite unique.

The whole country seems to be under renovations. There are cranes and large trucks everywhere, and again on almost every block, there are one or more buildings that have either been demolished, or appear bombed out, that are being rebuilt. It’s neat to see very old buildings, nearby rather new buildings, with a bombed out shell in between them. I didn’t get a picture of it, but right near the gates of Valetta, there is a building that appears to have been almost totally bombed to the ground, only partial exterior walls remaining, that has been converted to a parking lot. Why rebuild it when you can use it for parking? On that note, it appears there are no rules for parking, except that if you park in some of these lots, don’t expect to get out until the end the day – many vehicles are quite literally blocked in.