Sahha Malta, Yasu Greece
Valletta Travel Blog› entry 5 of 45 › view all entries
Apologies for the delay in blogginess, but I've been a busy lady. The last week has been a blast and a blur, up and down and round in circles. At 3:50am today I boarded my flight to Greece with a tear in my eye…
The last week, well, what can I say other than same, same but different. Yes, more Churches, more family, more sightseeing. But I had a few really amazing times in the past week. I'll start with the most memorable… St Paul's Church and Grotto. Ok, so long story short, St Paul was shipwrecked on Malta in 60AD on his way to Italy along with the ship full of prisoners. The locals tended to them, built a fire to keep em warm and all that, and St Paul was bitten by a venomous snake. Everyone expected him to drop dead, but he suffered no effects at all. He started healing people, and stayed on the Island for 3 months, converting the locals to Christianity, before continuing his voyage to Italy where he was beheaded. So, during his time in Malta he stayed in a grotto underground that was originally built during Roman times as a prison. The first baptism in Malta was performed in one of the underground rooms in the Grotto, the place where Christianity began in Malta, and I stood on the very spot. There was another cave where he used to pray, and where John Paul II visited and also prayed, and just walking in there was such an overwhelming experience that it had me in tears. I can't really explain why though. But it was magical and powerful just to be there. Yes, that's the short version.
The rest of the week, met the rest of the family, met some amazing cousins, Pia and Martina, and on our last night went to see Martina perform in the biggest show going on in Malta at the moment, the Knights Spectacular (she arranged tickets for us, and a car to come and pick us up and everything!) Got to know Pia, Edgar's daughter, she's ace (Nath, we luff luff luff her!) Edgar took us for a drive all over the island checking out the sights at night. Another night we went to his (awesome) place for a home cooked meal (woohoo!) with his family. Caught up with Martha, Mary-Rose, Aunty Doris and Martina as well.
Lots of dumb things have happened lately too… There was the time I got my thumb jammed in my backpack when I was fiddling with it, and actually had to get help to get it out... Then there was the day that I got my hair and sunglasses caught in an umbrella outside a café, nearly fell on my ass cos it jerked me backwards... Then there was the time when I was sitting drinking beer in a courtyard and a pigeon shat on my head… Oh yeah, one that wasn't me: walking out of the restaurant after dinner the other night Ma smashed her head real hard on the metal bars next to the door, nearly KO'd herself (yes, we'd consumed quite a lot of wine that day, a bottle with lunch and another with dinner!) it was hilarious, she had a massive bump but we couldn't stop laughing about it cos we were a little pissed. And I think that the last one for the week was last night when we were sitting in the audience at my cousins show, and Ma's chair fell back and jammed between the two rows. Stupid mole, what does she do? Grabs me and takes me down with her... The whole place was looking at us cos it looked like our chairs had collapsed. So embarrassing.
Anyway, the last week was a bit emotional, having come so far and discovered family and history that I never knew about, and then having to leave it all behind… it's only been 4 weeks, and yet these little islands have become a part of who I am. And we had been reading my Nannu's travel diary from his last trip back here in 1993. (He and my grandmother both migrated somewhere around 1950, after the war was over and the country was rebuilt.) It was really sad to read my grandfathers words about having to leave knowing that he would never make it back again, and that he would never see his beloved brother Reg ever again. Bless both their souls, It must have been heart wrenching for them. It had us absolutely bawling.
There are so many things that I can't explain in a dumb blog, but here's the last 4 weeks:
I've seen countless Churches (I imagine it's about 50 or so…)
I've seen the temple ruins at 3 different sites.
I've visited a dozen or so museums (and along with the rest of the Maltese population I am now a certified expert on the life and works of Caravaggio, my new favourite artist!)
I've eaten pastizzi, ravioli, olives, capers, and bigilla by the truckload.
I've sampled more local wines than I will ever remember, and have even taken a liking to Cisk, the local beer.
I've visited forts left over from centuries long ago (many of which have been taken over and tackified by chains like TGI's, Ugh!)
I've had tantrums with museums, bus drivers, waiters and shop assistants.
I've learned about 7000 years of Maltese history, the Knights of the Order of St John, St Paul's Shipwreck, the Turkish, Sicilian and German invasions, World War 2, and I even got to see the George Cross.
I can't wait to go back one day.
Edgar drove us to the airport at midnight, and I had a nap in the main area before check in, then I had a nap in the departures lounge before boarding, then I had a nap during the flight and missed breakfast. By the time we arrived in Athens at 6:30 everyone was suffering sleep deprivation and starvation. We found the bus we needed to catch, and rode on it for what seemed like eternity until we eventually found that we had gone way past our stop, so then had to find the train station and go back. Shut up, I was tired! Eventually, after asking millions of people for directions (they understood, but generally responded in Greek…) we found our hostel. It's on a beautiful street lined with trees, junkies and prostitutes, even at 8am. There are police EVERYWHERE, I have yet to figure out whether this is a good thing or a bad thing. One things for sure though, I'm gonna come home with some interesting stories.
So, until next time, Andios,