This is part of the fifth section of our around the
Complete Trip Overview & Map
Coming from Italy
29/1/99 With only 12 passengers on board, and travelling deck class, I rolled out my mattress and sleeping bag between chairs and slept soundly with the gentle roll of the boat. However by 9 am we had only reached the bottom of Sicily, the captain not wishing to venture out in gale force 9 winds at night, had been travelling in circles down the coast. For the next 8 hours we bobbed around in enormous seas, lying on the floor concentrating on not being sick. On arrival at Malta's stunning fortified harbour at 5 pm, some ten hours late we were advised that green card insurance for the motorcycle was unavailable as all the offices were closed, now Friday night, and wouldn't open till Monday so we couldn't ride the motorcycle in Malta outside the customs area. After a loop of the wharf, we parked covered and put to sleep the motorcycle for the three days we would be on Malta, and walked into Valetta ending an incredibly frustrating day.
30/1/99 It's only the sheer magnificence of the place that allows you to bounce back after a day like yesterday. He who controls Malta controls the Mediterranean has been true for over 3000 years and the fortifications, built of the local yellow stone, indicate it has been fought over often. The border between Christians and Muslims for centuries. We decided to hire a car for two days, luckily very cheap, (later the insurance office advised us that the price of the insurance for the motorcycle would have been twice the price we had paid for the car hire for two days), to see the island after wandering today around the magnificent stone buildings of Valetta.
31/1/99 A loop of the southern half of the island in our Opel car, the old capital of Mdina, with its dungeons museum. A must to show man's barbaric nature. Torture of Muslims by Christians, Christians by Christians during the Inquisition and man against man just for power. On to the prehistoric temples, dated as the oldest free-standing monuments of stone in the world, over 5000 years old. Then to the markets at the fishing village of Marsaxlokk where the infidel Muslims were held off by the infidel Christians in 1565 creating a religious divide existing today.
1/2/99 The northern loop, today, not so historical but where the tourists hang out in rocky caves and luxury resorts. Malta's occupation and control by Phoenicians, Romans, Arabs, Norsemen, French, Spanish and British has left an incredibly diverse people and architecture. With unusually cold weather, according to the locals, 4-10 degrees, rain and hail, we were almost thankful the motorcycle couldn't get insurance as we cruised around in the heated car. To the ferry at 6 pm, yes it had been delayed again and we should check in tomorrow at 5 am. Having spent our last Maltese lira, and not being bothered to head back to town we unrolled the mattresses and slept on the floor of the ferry terminal.
2/2/99 Awoken at 4 am with the arrival of other passengers we finally departed at 7.30 am for a long day slowly chugging back to Catania.
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Story and photos copyright ©
Peter and Kay Forwood,