November 13, 2006

I was in Malta on vacation for a week pretty much exactly one month ago. It put a nice finishing touch on my really great summer… I didn’t expect to have 25C in the middle of October :) (back in Tallinn, it was something like 10C).

Malta is a funny little country. It’s one of those places where you go from Estonia and you feel that you’re coming from a big place. All in all, some 300 sq km, or as much as one of Estonia’s larger islands.

It’s all British. They drive on the left and have 3-pin electrical sockets. I go to London often so no biggie there, but for people who have only seen the “continent”, it was overwhelming.

The last British troops left at the end of 1970s. We had great Estonian guides who told us a lot about not only the local customs, but how to relate to it. So the Brits leaving Malta was in a way like Soviets leaving Estonia, they got a lot of military junk and deserted buildings around and have no idea what to do with those.

Some random notes and recollections…


It felt a bit like California, with the palm trees and nice maritime climate. (It actually is on the same latitude as southern California, so no wonder.)



Culturally, the most interesting part by far were the prehistoric temples. I didn’t know that these were to be expected, but turns out that Malta has some of the earliest man-built structures in the whole wide world, dating much earlier than Stonehenge, the Egyptian pyramids and all those other really old things. Mystery remains as to who, why and how built them.




There were cats :) lots and lots of cats in various sizes and colors all over the place. So if you’re a cat person, Malta is definitely a destination.


The buses in Malta are legendary. They come from the 60s or something. They have no doors, just holes in sides where you step in. (You don’t see the holes here, obviously, because you drive on the left side so the “door” is on the other side.)



I expected to have more beaches in Malta, but turns out there are just a few tiny strips with sand. But then again, if you go to the sea in a boat, that’s really great and they say it’s a divers’ paradise.




And the Arabic-style architecture all over the place.