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Valetta, Malta
August 21st, 2005

Pros: Valletta is a picturesque city
Cons: Bus stops with no labels

Today we got up at 5AM to get to the airport to catch our flight to Malta with a connection in Frankfurt. It was on Lufthansa and we got really good in flight service. They gave us sandwiches and drinks for our 50 min flight to FRA. The Frankfurt airport is crap. We were just transfering/connecting passengers but we somehow following the horrible signs got out of the secure area and had to go back through security and immigration. How stupid is that. I mean we were going from Lufthansa to another Lufthansa flight. At least the french have that figured out that they don't to do another set of security checks on such connections. If I can avoid it, I will not fly through FRA. It took us a good hour from getting out of the gate to getting to the new gate and we were hurrying. Think of all the other people who couldn't. Anyway, we again got a meal on the flight to Malta. Lufthansa has some good on-board service and I wasn't expecting any meals so I never called ahead and requested a vegetarian meal but they thought of that mostly. I had a cheese sandwich on the first flight and a nice omelette on the second. We got to Malta on time. Passed over Sicily and saw the volcano.

We took bus 8 to Valetta and from there took bus 68 to Sliema but missed the stop and had to take bus 62 back to Sliema (they don't label the bus stops or where they are so unless you are a local, you won't know either) and finally found our hostel. There was no one at reception and the sign said "Monday through Friday" for reception. But they made these packets with our names and put the keys in there. So we at least could get to the room and use the lockers and etc. The rooms were dirty and I had no linens. I wouldn't recommend staying at the Hibernia. So we finally got situated and went to Valletta on bus 62 after a snack (Pea cake aka Pastizzi) at the local stand. It was a good thing I read about the 7 day passes in the guide book otherwise all our missed stops could start adding up. Valletta is a picturesque city. Some amazing views of the surrounding area from the upper gardens and the lower gardens. Mostly everything was closed since it was Sunday and we didn't make it to Valletta until 6PM but we got to just walk around and see the buildings and the city wall. They had some sort of celebration and had some loud fireworks going off in the bay. Not particularly spectacular but loud. We made it back to the hostel around 8PM and I was hungry. I saw Michael, Florence, and Chloe who I meet earlier there. They were heading out to dinner so I tagged along. We had dinner at this place overlooking the bay with a nice breeze. I had a 2 Lira ($6) veggie burger. The two guys had some sort of chicken and Chloe had a fresh fish for 6 Lira ($18). We sat around and talked until they kicked us out around 11:30PM. Michael is from Czech Republic, and the other two are from France. It seem the French are everywhere. All of them were here studying English. I found that funny as I did not think the Maltese had very good English speaking ability. They are probably better then most other places in Europe (except maybe Amsterdam). We ended up going to a bar close to the hostel named Simon's pub. I was tired so I didn't do much except watch the others play some skiball, and snooker and then I was off to bed.