Malta introduction

Doorways in Mellieha

My mother and I have now passed an enjoyable day in Malta. We arrived yesterday evening and met with the group of mostly retirees with whom we will be walking over the course of the week. The first walk was today and, while it was not strenuous, it was nonetheless more challenging than I had expected. We got a couple of quite stunning hilltop views of this part of the island, as well as St. Paul’s Bay. Malta has the overall look of a Mediterranean country, with rough stone walls separating terraces and rows of somewhat parched hills extending down into bays. I expect that it will be a pleasant place to spend a week.

The group doing the harder hike seems to be largely composed of retired scientists and engineers. As such, I spent a good deal of the nine hours of the expedition talking about either engineering or photography. Everything from point and shoot consumer digital cameras to relatively ancient screw-mount Pentax SLRs were represented on the hike. Between the six or so avid photographers, these walks promise to be well documented. Personally, I used both my A510 for more documentary shots and my Elan 7N for the photos that I hope will prove artistic. Examples of both will doubtless find their way online. The vistas are quite nice and the architecture reminds me of Latin America: primarily because of the pastel colours and rectilinear forms.

The climate here is cooler than I expected, but certainly very sunny. After a few straight hours of walking in the sun, my brain felt positively cooked. I will probably need to regulate the temperature with some Maltese lager before I turn to my qualifying test notes. Surprisingly, the main local brew tastes a great deal like Sleeman’s Cream Ale, from back in Canada.

On one of today’s hilltops, we stopped to watch people arriving at a wedding reception. Between the appearance of the building – which declared itself to be a ducal villa – the stream of shiny black Mercedes automobiles, and the security men in suits around the perimeter, the whole affair had quite a godfather feel to it. Aside from some ludicrously dressed trumpeters, who looked as though they came from a bad imitation medieval restaurant in Tallinn, it certainly seemed a very classy affair. My pity goes out to all the foxes that died to adorn the necks of women standing in the hot sun.

With out buffet dinner starting in a few minutes, I should probably turn to academically related emails. Unfortunately, the computer in the hotel is too crippled in its functionality to be used to post images to the blog. That’s a bit surprising, since the place is far more upscale than the kind of accommodation I am accustomed to while travelling. My mother and I, for instance, have a better kitchen than the one in Library Court right in our room, as well as quite a nice view of the bay and the church on the next hill from our balcony.

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