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Sicily.jpg (17498 bytes)Tourizing the Natives

December 16, 1999

Sicily at last????

Alan decided he couldn't make it (he wanted to do some more training with our host, now that everything seems to be working), so I was going to try one last time to make the ferry for Sicily on my own.  I had a cab arranged for really early that morning, my camera ready with film, and was all set to go.

I get in the cab, we drive down to the dock, AND THE FERRY IS CANCELLED AGAIN!! "Bad Weather" again: argghh!!  It looks like it just was not to be.   So I got back to the cab and went back to the hotel to catch a few extra hours of sleep.

Mdina

OK, so no Sicily.  Time to tour Malta instead! 

I took the bus to Valetta and caught the next bus to Mdina, which Alan had recommended to me.  The "Town" of Mdina is really a very small fort, these days dominated largely by churches an a nunnery.  It's called "The Silent City" because of this...

Mdina sits on a high point of the surrounding land: you get a great view of the rest of Malta!  I could see the dome of Mosta (a large domed church) and the outcrops of several other small villages.

There is a large church in Mdina that I had a look at: like in Valetta, the outside was not much to look at (except for the two large cannon on display in front) but the inside was spectacular!

I also checked out their "Natural History" museum: for someone who's been to the natural history museums of London, Washington, and New York, this was very bad, verging on awful. It seemed like a high school exhibition, and many of the displays were incomplete, broken, or missing completely.  They did say it was being worked on, but you couldn't prove it by me.

Had a Funghi (mushroom) pizza for lunch: the waitress also suggested I try this round doughnut-like dessert they had.  It was interesting, with kind of a mincemeat-tasting filling inside. Later she said they last for months because of
the honey mixture inside acts as a preservative:  that was *way* more information than I needed...

MuseumTicket.jpg (5182 bytes)Catacombs

After Mdina, I wandered around Rabbat (the larger town outside of Mdina).  I found another museum exhibit of interest to me: St. Paul's Catacombs, an extensive collection of tombs carved in the rock underneath Rabbat.   They were pretty interesting to examine, and had roots growing in from above  (I wouldn't want to be caught in an earthquake there!)  They had removed the bodies, too: bummer!

Later I decided to see if there was a Hard Rock Cafe somewhere on the island (I like to collect a pin or two from each one )  I talked to a girl in one of souvenirs shops: she thought that there was one in Malta near St. Julian's (where we were staying).

I also asked her were the Popeye village was: she pointed it out at Anchor Bay at the far tip of Malta.  Time for another bus ride!

Popeye!

Remember the 1980's film "Popeye" starring Robin Williams and Shelly Duvall?  Well, that film was made on Malta, and the set for Sweethaven is still there as a tourist attraction.  As it was getting late, I wanted to see if I could have a look at the set before I left!

I took bus back to Valetta to catch the bus to Mellieha (which was the nearest town to Anchor Bay on my map) I got on the bus that would take me there (and like all of the bus trips I'd taken, the bus numbers didn't match the numbers on the maps I had!)  It took a while to get there, and it was nearly sunset. Would I make it?

Fortunately I was entertained on the bus by a woman in front of me: she had a tiny chihuahua dog stuffed in her shopping bag!!   Its owner canines looked like tusks, and it kept sticking it's tongue out like a snake!

I Got off the bus at Mellieha Bay (which had a nice view, so I took some pics).   However, at this point I was at a loss: the road across to Anchor Bay was not marked, and I had to guess which street would take me to the other side of the island (Anchor Bay & Mellieha Bay are at a thin point of Malta: so I should be able to walk over).  I crossed my fingers and set off.

Success! I had made it to the exhibit a half-hour before closing. I got lots of pictures of the bay & village. A lot of the houses had dummy figurines in them "doing" various tasks (barber, waiter, etc.)  They had a little kiddie area, but that was closed.  I managed to get a nice sunset picture!

It was getting dark now.  Fortunately, there was a bus service from the exhibit to the main bus stations. I took bus
back to Valetta (the bus driver was nice enough to flag down the right bus for me) and then back to St. Julian's. Man, I'm pooped!

I met up with Alan for dinner: it seems our client has a few more requests and I have to go back to work tomorrow in the morning: Drat!.

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2000 William Geoffrey Shotts. Last update: Saturday, November 02, 2002