This was our last day and the only real rainy day of the trip. We were so spoiled by nice weather that we actually wondered whether we would go sightseeing in the rain. Francine said that of course we were going. Take a look at the map and you will see that we actually crossed Malta twice that day. The first crossing took us to the archeological remains of Hagar Qim which are reportedly older than both the Pyramids of Egypt and Stonehenge. We first investigated the visitor center and saw a short film about the site. Enormous upright rectangular stones form a temple which has an altar perhaps used for animal sacrifice. There are figures of large corpulent female figures and then some smaller areas. We saw only a part of the complex. The boulders and upright slabs were enormous. How did they build it? Theories abound!
Then the rain stopped and off we went to Vittoriosa, a beautiful walled city. We passed all the important buildings: the Inquisitor’s Palace, Fort Angelo, the War Museum and the Maritime Museum. The town is tiny, 800 meters by 400 meters. The old houses along the narrow streets practically all had neatly tended flowers in front. We entered one large historical house where the owner was completely redoing the inside but keeping all the original elements. When it comes to refurbishing an ancient buildings all the reconstruction items need to be approved by the state. It had taken this gentlemen several years to get the appropriate permits. According to our guide, it would take several more years before completing this restoration.
Our guide had one last extra discovery planned for us. First we had lunch in a tiny restaurant by the seaside that served enormous sandwiches called Ftira. Good and filling! We then climbed into several small boats called Dghajsas for a harbor tour. Our boat’s motor would not start but after, floating around for several minutes, it sputtered to life. Off we went into familiar territory, the harbor at Valletta. There was the walled city with its elevator. Valletta looks even more impenetrable from a tiny boat. Then there was the Artemis with one of our crew waving at us through a porthole! What a nice way end to the day.
Back to our hotel for a final farewell dinner and good-bye to our fellow travelers and our wonderful guide, Francine. Thanks to Sara too! The next day we were off to the USA.