From Addis to Valletta

Trip Start Oct 11, 2012
Trip End Nov 19, 2012

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Where I stayed
Osborne Hotel Valletta
Read my review - 4/5 stars
What I did
St Publius Church
The Mall - Floriana
Argotti Botanic Gardens

Flag of Malta  , Island of Malta,
Monday, November 12, 2012

It is sometime in the morning and I am in Frankfurt airport waiting for my gate to be posted for the 9:45 am flight to Valletta.  I am debating whether to buy any pastries for an additional breakfast.  I ate over half of my airplane breakfast, but somehow the Lufthansa omelet wasn't so appealing and I left a lot of it.  The coffee wasn't that good either.  The cappuccinos are something like 2.75 euros - no worse than Starbuck's I guess.  I couldn't get onto the Boingo internet without using my mobile phone number so I don't get the pleasure of connecting with the world this am.  I hope I have internet at the hotel - now I can't remember.

The answer is yes, but it costs.  That is not fair.

The flight to Malta was only 2 1/2 hours so I didn't get much more sleep even though I tried.  When I took a shuttle to the A terminal at Frankfurt, I had got stuck on it for awhile until I figured out how to get to Terminal 1-A.  An older lady with lovely blonde hair wrapped in a twirl at the back of her head was in the same fix and we both successfully got to our joint destination.  I'll never quite figure this out - we went through immigration in Frankfurt - I guess that is our entry point into the EU and then there was no immigration in Malta.  It was relatively painless this time.

Once I arrived in Malta, I picked up my bag on the carousel, went to a shuttle booth and got a round-trip transfer to my hotel for 16 euros.  The driver had a bit of trouble finding the hotel, but I got there by 2 pm.  The hotel doesn't usually make rooms available for check-in until 3 pm, but they gave me a room after a little wait.  Actually the wait was a good thing since I had a chance to chat with a British couple waiting for their shuttle to the airport after their week in Malta.  They gave me a bunch of tips, the first of which was to get the weekly bus pass. 

There was a man from Houston, Texas whose reservation didn't show up and they were working on finding him a room.  I think they gave my room to him.  I was supposed to have 305 according to my reservation card, so I will have to check.  They told him they didn't have any rooms for extra days that he wanted.  I am in the same boat so I may have to look for another place after a few days.  I found this place on Trip Advisor - it is quite centrally located and the decor is modern and nice.  I am on the first floor (our second floor) and don't really have a great view, but then neither does the roof - and that view was supposed to be spectacular according to the reviews.  Maybe the chain across the stairs to the very top eliminated that view.  The toilet doesn't seem to flush - here we go again.  We will see whether I want to stay here - but the location is terrific.

After settling in, I asked about an optician because my lens fell out of my reading glasses.  I got directions to several opticians nearby but ended up turning toward the bus station first.  From there I walked to a "mall" garden, and from there to a real garden.  I was in an area called Floriana and there were signposts giving information on the sights in this area.  I found a large church and it was about to reopen in half an hour.  I walked around the block and saw some other interesting places, including an arcade with tile walkway and door signs in what looks like Arabic in the Latin alphabet.  I managed to stick around until the church opened and went in.  It was very dark until the sexton (or whoever he was) put on some lights.  I finally got back to the main street and went into a sunglasses shop.  At first one of the girls was going to send me away, but a second girl began to search for the right size screw and fixed my glasses - at no charge.  But, the frame might be broken now - not sure when that happened.   I was so grateful, I asked for even more:  a recommendation for a restaurant for calamari.  She wrote down the name of a restaurant near the market and known for its fresh seafood and off I went to La Sfoglia.  I found it and had a wonderful seafood platter with clams, mussels and shrimp (because they didn't have any calamari today).  Perhaps the question of freshness is relative.  I am beginning to suspect that there really isn't much local seafood in Malta despite its being in the midst of the Mediterranean Sea.  Fished out.

While I was at the restaurant, since it was early and not very crowded, I could overhear the conversation of several men at the other occupied table.  They spent a lot of time on their phones - wheeling and dealing maybe - because that was what the head one seemed to be doing.  But the first conversation I overheard must have been an angry girlfriend because the man kept asking her to meet with him and discuss things.  Then I heard a lot of "I see"s.  After he hung up, he told the other man that "they just like hearing themselves talk."   The reason I could understand so much was that he, in particular, would talk in Maltese I think but then use phrases in English.  It was fascinating, even though I shouldn't have eavesdropped. 

At the end of my meal, I took my opened bottle of Pellegrino sparkling water and put it in my bag.  When I picked up the bag later, I noticed it was wet - I hadn't noticed that the cap wasn't screwed tightly so the bottle leaked all over my bag - new guide book, cameras, kleenex, etc.

Now I am back in my room - blogging and uploading pics.  Not sure what time it is but I will hit the sack early tonight to make up for lost sleep on the plane.

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