Malta - September, 2016

I knew almost nothing about Malta when our incredibly generous and awesome friend Noelle invited us to join her and 28 other friends to spend a week there. We would stay at the Phoenicia Hotel, explore the island at our leisure, and celebrate her birthday with a gourmet meal at Xara Palace's de Mondion rooftop restaurant in Mdina. I may have known nothing about Malta, but I was sure of one thing - that we would have the best time ever.

Although we would have happily flown around the world twice if necessary to attend this event, I must say that traveling to Malta from Hawaii for 1 week is generally not a good idea. It is, after all, on the other side of the world. It takes at least 25 hours of traveling time and requires 3 or 4 flight changes. Any sensible person considering a trip that far would tack on another week or two to visit Paris or Venice or London which is what most of the other guests did. Unfortunately, I didn't have enough accrued vacation time to do that so we boarded our first flight to San Francisco on a late Sunday afternoon and flew on through two nights, a day, and very long morning.

This is the view from our hotel room taken shortly after our arrival on Tuesday afternoon. The original plan to stay at the Phoenicia had to be revised because a "wall of historic significance" was discovered during hotel renovations. The government immediately stepped in and halted work until the wall was fully examined. Such events occur with some regularity in Malta where the first human inhabitants made an appearance way back in 5200 BC. We stayed instead at the excellent Grand Hotel Excelsior.