Malta 2004

Malta is a delightful place to visit. It has a mild, arid climate as a result of its central location in the Mediterranean Sea. It gained its independence from the British in 1964 after 160 years of English rule. As a result most people speak English -- and driving is still on the left. The people are friendly and interesting. They speak a language that is similar to Arabic, but has always been written in the Roman alphabet. Because of its small size -- its 3 islands have a land area the size of a large US city -- and population of about 350,000, all of its many attractions are a short distance from your hotel. Clicking on the Lonely Plant map accesses their site.

Malta has a history of 7,000 years. Its very name conjures up the Knights of Malta. They were pushed out of the island of Rhodes by the Muslim Turks and arrived in Malta in 1530. The Knights immediately fortified the island. Their tremendous construction efforts created many highlights to visit in Malta. In fact, these castles, fortresses, monuments, and buildings are frequently used by the movie industry. For example, Troy and Midnight Express were filmed in Malta. The Knights succeeded in their goal of protecting Malta against a Muslim invasion. Today Malta, the southern outpost of the Catholic Church in Europe, is 98% Roman Catholic. It has 365 churches.

Sharon Stone P&A Sullivan handled my private tour to Malta. They accommoded my last minute request for a tour to Gozo. Robert Pullicino, the Operations Manager, even accompanied me in order to squeeze this in. Gozo was worth the effort! I mentioned to Robert that the highlight of my visit was the Co-Cathedral of St. John, one of the most exquisite churches I have ever seen, and specifically the floor composed of intricate, marble-inlaid tombstones of 374 knights. Robert told me that Sharon Stone, who he had accompanied in Malta, made the same comment. Sir Walter Scott called this Cathedral the most magnificent place he had ever seen.

Malta is famous for its honey colored limestone. All of the homes on Malta are constructed of stone, not wood. Because Malta is small, arid and surround by the sea, the public water system is mainly highly processed sea water. Malta is great place for a vacation. Since I took mostly video, there aren't many photos to share:

Malta Harbor Malta has the largest harbor in the Mediterranean. Malta Harbor It was massively fortified by the Knights of Malta.
Malta Harbor Ship repair has declined, but is still a major industry. Welcome sign Here is a Welcome sign in Maltese, which is similar to Arabic.

View of Valletta A view of the city of Valletta and the extensive fortifications. View of Valletta Surrounding towns are in view and more of the fortifications too.
Fortress Walls Look down to see how high these fortress walls really are. HQ Building This is the handsome headquarters of one of the 8 language groups of the Knights of Malta.

Valletta Parade A mini parade of modern Knights of Malta. Modern Knights Yes, there is a McDonald's in the background.

FerryToGozo The only way to get to the island of Gozo is to take the ferry. Gozo Temple Robert Pullicino inspects a 6,000 year old megalithic temple.
Natural Arch Many rock formations on Gozo. Here is a natural arch. Rock Pattern Very unusual rock formations. I've never seen anything like this before.
Salt  Pans These salt pans evaporate sea water to produce salt. Three Islands A view of all 3 Maltese Islands with Gozo in the foreground and Malta in the distance.