Wednesday, 28 October 2015


Today I was visiting Gozo, the second biggest island and one of the three main islands of Malta. It is about a quarter of the size of Malta, but while Malta has 400.000 inhabitants, only 30.000 people are actually living in Gozo, which makes it quite silent and relaxing - except for days when cruise ships arrive in Malta. Then there are way too many people on Gozo.

First, we visited the Ggantija Temples, which were built out of huge stones many many years ago in the stone age. They thought that giants must have built them because the stones were so huge nobody could imagine how they were carried. This remembered me - and probably some of you too - of the Stonehenge.

But the Temples are actually older and therefore way cooler - except the Stonehenge has a great song (watch Ylvis - Stonehenge). Yes, I am listening it right now. Maybe I should contact Ylvis whether they would like to do a song on the Ggantija Temples too.

Whoever built the temples must have had an idea about architecture because the ratio of the large stones versus the small stones is still a common ratio known by archtects. And they even found hints of a calendar and astronomic knowledge. I did not know they were so advanced back then.

After the temples, we went on hiking along the streets and coast of Gozo. There are lots of hiking trails all around the island and surprisingly the cliffs really do look different on different sides of the island.

Also, we found nice bays to swim, which were not too crowded and the water was warm enough to go swimming. Unfortunately there was no time for that but I guess someday I have to come back to Malta and then I will surely visit one of the bays of Gozo again.

And then there was the Azuro Window. It was simply stunning to stand on the cliff and watch a stone archway nature somehow created withstand the sea. There were even divers on the base, swimming and diving around. With such calm winds as today, I could have stayed there all day and swim around - you can even swim through the archway.

The last ferry was going quite early so we had to return, but at least we managed to watch a sunset on the ship.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Valetta and the Three Cities

I got the opportunity to visit Malta for the blog of a friend, Chronic Wanderlust, and I really love Malta.
When my plane approached the airport and I had a look out of the window, my first impression was that everything is pretty brown here. Even the buildings seem to be all built out of the same brownish-yellow stone - not only the old buildings but also the new ones.

That is why the skyline of Valetta, seen from the Three Cities, also looks pretty brown. Now you are probably wondering what the Three Cities are. Basically, they are just on the other side of the harbour of Valetta, consisting of Senglea, Vittoriosa and Cospicua, located on several seperate peninsulas with smaller harbours inbetween them.

When the Turks tried to take Malta in the great siege of Malta in 1565, Valetta did not exist yet, but the Three Cities were Forts to defend the Island. After the siege was won, Valetta was planned and built and became the capital city.

Therefore the Three Cities conserve a lot of culture, which can be seen when driving around there. There are Villages that used to be prisons, gates that used to keep people out just somewhere along the street, and really beautiful alleys in the old town. The harbours inbetween are quite cute and furthermore a perfect spot to watch the sunset, especially when the weather is fine.

Valetta, on the other side, would be pretty perfect for watching the sunrise. Unfortunately, sunrise just comes to soon every day so I will probably miss it. But still, there are other nice places to see in Valetta. Like the parliament, next to the open air theater that used to be a opera before it was destroyed in the second world war. Also, along the main pedestrian street, there are lots of museums, beautiful buildings, a palace and the cathedral.

The cathedral is quite stunning because it is so full of decoration you have a hard time actually looking at it. For some reason they thought it is really important to put gold almost everywhere.

But also there are some signs that show that Malta was a british colony, like the phone boxes. Also, they are driving on the left, using the same sockets as the british and grow up learning both english and maltese. I must confress, I did not know they even had their own language there until some months ago. The language sounds a lot like arabic, which is because the phoenicians were the first people in Malta long ago and the language mixed with arabic about 1000 years ago. Of course they also have french, italian and english influences, but still, the sound stayed mostly the same.

There are also different viewpoints all around the peninsula of Valetta. The best viewpoints I discovered were the Hastings Gardens on the northwest, the Fort St. Elmo on the top and the Barrakka Gardens.

I especially liked the Upper Barrakka Garden, because it gives you like the perfect view and the atmosphere is relaxing and you can sit there for hours and watch ships entering and leaving the harbour. Also, I especially like viewpoints and the further up they are the better. It is not only nice to watch on a sunny day but also at night, because of the warm nights and the beautiful lights.