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Africa, Europe, Travel Tips, Uncategorized

What to see and do in Malta?

December 20, 2017 • By

What to See and Do?

  • The Malta Experience – Overview of Malta’s history about a 20 minute video
  • Fort St. Elmo / Malta at War Museum – History of the Knights of St. John and the Ottoman Empire – Interesting WWII exhibits.  Malta was sandwiched between Italian and German forces by land and sea during WWII
  • St. John’s Co-Cathedral – Famous Caravaggio painting of St. John the Baptist.  Elaborate interior and decoration, served as main church for over 200 years to the order of the Knights of St. John (of Jerusalem). Knights were nobleman from the most important families from all over Europe.  Their mission was to protect the Catholic Faith and Europe from the Ottoman Turks
  • Grand Harbour –  Cruise ship docking point, great views, tourist shops and restaurants
  • Grand Master’s PalaceHouses the Parliament, the Armory and the offices of the President. Visit the Palace State Rooms and don’t miss the tapestries
Fantasy Aisle, Mosta Dome, Third Largest Unsupported Church Dome in Europe

Mosta Dome, Third Largest Unsupported Church Dome in Europe

  • Mosta Dome – Third largest unsupported church dome in Europe.  Site where a WWII bomb was dropped during a mass and miraculously did not explode
  • Three Cities – Vittoriosa (Birgu), Senglea (L-Isla) and Cospicua (Bormla) – Old villages mostly flattened during WWII.  Narrow streets.  St. Angelo Fort.  Fun bars and restaurants at night and great views of the Grand Harbour
  • Ħal-Saflieni Hypogeum – BOOK IN ADVANCE OF YOUR TRIP only 80 visitors allowed daily.  Columns like Roman structures, very advanced, calendar system for summer solstice, winter solstice, an elaborate system for burying dead.  Three levels of formations.  Used as shelters, playgrounds.  Construction very artistic
Fantasy Aisle, An artist at work in the crafts village of Ta' Qali

An artist at work in the crafts village of Ta’ Qali

  • Ta’Qali Crafts Village – (near Mdina) glass, silver, woodworking and plenty of local crafts to purchase
  • Mdina – Silent City, Arabic architecture, Medieval city served as capital until 1530 when Valletta was constructed.  At the far end of the main gate, take in the most beautiful views of Malta’s countryside
  • St. Paul’s Cathedral in the Mdina – 17th Century Baroque Church in heart of Old City
  • St. Paul’s Catacombs in Rabat
  • Rabat – Cute narrow roads, cafes, restaurants, wine bars, decorative colorful doors, plants outside homes
  • Dingli Cliffs – Enjoy views of the Mediterranean and crushing shoreline
Fantasy Aisle, Seabass, veggie, and wine!

Seabass, veggie, and wine!

What else?

Where to Eat and Stay?


To Eat

Italian influenced and Mediterranean diet.  Seafood, Pasta, Fried Calamari, Rabbit Stew, Fish Soup, Capers, Garlic

La Sfoglia Restaurant – Family run specializes in seafood.  Fun outdoor spot

Taproom Brasserie and Bar – Casual food and a variety of pasta dishes – nice side street location

Trabuxu Wine and Cheese Bar – A favorite spot – romantic, casual good wine

67 Kapitali Artisan Café and Craft Beer Bar – Hot spot, burgers, beer what could be wrong?

To Stay

Grand Hotel Excelsior  – Ideal location, beautiful pool and amenities.  Hotel a bit dated for 5 stars.

Hotel Phoenicia Malta – Recently renovated.  Located in front of old city walls.  Leading Hotels of the World


To Stay and Eat

A.D. 1530 Trattoria, Xara Palace Hotel – Old world class and charm, great location

St. Julians/Paceville/Sliema/St. George

To Eat

La Dolce Vita – Sinola Bay, St. Julians – High end: Oysters, bread, meat, seafood, great ambiance and views overlooking bay

BarracudaRestored 18th century villa, located just over the water edge and overlooking the spectacular view of Balluta and Spinola Bay.  Make sure to get a table on the outside porch or near the windows

To Stay


InterContinental A little bit off the crowded tourist stretch

Le Meridien– Sits on the bay steps from the tourist action

Westin Dragonara Resort

More moderate

Marina Hotel

Radisson Blue

Bay Street Hotel



Africa, Europe

Visiting the Coast of Spain – Málaga

December 12, 2017 • By

I am on the train from Madrid to Málaga. There isn’t a quiet car and I’m hearing ding dong, a steam engine blowing, a harp, da da da da dunt, birds chirping. It’s an orchestra. Oh wait! It’s a life filled with the beat of cell phones. Train travel is the same in every country. A car filled with passengers is like a theater stage lined with musicians and actors clinging to their big moment.

Fantasy Aisle, Art work along the promenade in Málaga, Spain

Art work along the promenade in Málaga, Spain

Alas, I arrive in Málaga, a region in Spain known as Andalusia or the Costa del Sol. Andalusia bridges the gap between Spanish culture and its North African Islamic neighbors to the south. The Christians conquered the Islamic Moors (of Arab and Berber descent) in the late 15th Century and built a church in every plaza to prove it.

Málaga has a population of about 600,000 people and relies heavily on tourism, commerce and technology. It’s an active port town situated on the Mediterranean Sea. Tourists from all over Europe flock to Málaga for sunshine and beaches and “la cultura” of Spain especially those from Germany and the United Kingdom who beg the sun gods to take pity on them.

Fantasy Aisle, View of the Port of Málaga, Spain on the Mediterranean Sea

View of the Port of Málaga, Spain on the Mediterranean Sea

The Málaga beaches are not Spain’s most beautiful as they are rocky and the water isn’t the clear aqua blue of Italy and Croatia but they are clean and worthy of a splash or swim. There are plenty of restaurants and accommodations to cater to tourists or you can take a morning or late afternoon stroll along the promenade. When you tire of the saltwater, hop on the City Sightseeing bus or explore the Picasso Museum. If you are feeling adventurous, hike up to the Gibralfaro fortress of Málaga for 360-degree views of the city. It’s the best way to get a sense of the city’s modern and historic architecture and vibrant coastline. Eat some Iberian ham, sip on vino blanco or tinto, feast on fried calamari and take your siesta on the beach until it’s time to get up and eat again.

Fantasy Aisle, The Cathedral of Málaga

The Cathedral of Málaga

Málaga is filled with fun shopping, splashy new buildings and narrow alleyways. The historic district provides an opportunity to get lost and find a restaurant or store off the beaten path. Outdoor cafes and ice cream vendors crowd every street. Skip the siesta for an afternoon and explore.

What to see & do in Malaga?

CitySightseeing Malaga

Castillo de Gibralfaro Enjoy incredible panoramic views

Plaza de Toros for a bullfight when in season

Museo Picasso Malaga

The Ferris Wheel at the port

Cathedral de Málaga

Walk or bike Paseo de Espana and then have a swim in the Mediterranean at Playa de la Malagueta

Watch the sunset at a bar or restaurant along the Paseo de la Farola

Tip: Bring sunscreen and a visor. It’s hot hot hot in Málaga

Where I stayed: Room Mate Valeria, Plaza Del Poeta Alfonso Canales, 5, Malaga Centro +34952060401

Favorite restaurant: Vino Mio near Theater Cervantes – Quiet outdoor seating