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Day 30: Valletta, Mdina and the Mediterranean

sunny 80 °F

We began our day today much earlier, to take advantage of the remaining time on our 24-hour Malta pass. We were all checked out of the rooms with our bags stored at the concierge desk by about 8am. Go team! For breakfast, we went to the same cute cafe in Valletta under the arcade. We all adjusted our order slightly from yesterday , and food happiness was abundant. An array of orange juice, coffee, smoothies, savory pastries and an omelette arrived at the table. We had good fuel for the day!

We descended upon the archeology museum just as it opened, and discovered the museum had an amazing collection. The visit included a free audio guide, which added lots of great context to the prehistoric artifacts recovered for arqueological digs on Malta. The same impressive people who built the huge stone temples we saw yesterday also did stone carvings of plants, animals and siral designs as well as statues. While the temples are dated to approximately 3600 BC, some of the small statues were as old as 4500 BC.
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Among the representation of humans were the "fat people," hypothesized to either be symbols of female fertility or perhaps depictions of deities/priestesses. All the carving - even the huge stones - was done with no metal tools at all.
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These people also used jewelry, and the heads of statues found indicate they were well-coiffed. So, these prehistoric people even had time to worry about their appearance!
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One of the pieces that really brought the people to life was a tiny figure of two people embracing. It's maybe the size of a silver dollar, but when you look at it closely it's clearly a hug. The information on the audio guide called this piece out as the only figure from the Neolithic people that shows an emotion, and I think that it's pretty amazing that the emotion represented is one of love.
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When we finished there we used our passes to take the hop-on/hop-off bus to the old city of Mdina. This walled, fortified town in the center of the island houses rich palaces and tiny, narrow, twisty streets. We went to "The Mdina Experience," a 30-minute video summarizing the history of the city. It covered a lot of the same information we'd already heard yesterday in "The Malta Experience," so some of the crew took advantage of the cool air conditioning and dark theater to take a nap.
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We had lunch on a terrace with sweeping views of the ocean and the walls from the old town. We enjoyed very good Maltese specialties like rabbit stew, ricotta ravioli, and baked pasta with local wine and beer.
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We then cabbed back to Valetta. While the rest of the family ducked into the famous baroque Cathedral of St. John (which houses two beautiful Caravaggio pantings), Stephen and I went back to the hotel to cool off in the Mediterranean Sea. The family caught up with us down there, and we hung out until our 6:30 van ride to the airport.
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We were able to access the VIP lounge thanks to a fancy new credit card The Reecks and Cooks have, and we took full advantage of their food and beverage offering.
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We had a very short 30-minute flight to Catania (Sicily), got our rentals, and made the short drive to our hotel. We were sated from our snacking in the lounge before the flight, so we enjoyed a nightcap of Scotch from Duty Free and called it a night.
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Posted by GenovevaLewis 14:58 Archived in Malta Tagged sicily catania malta valletta mdina

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