After six months in Libya, JG decided that it was time for a vacation, and his choice for our first out of Libya experience was Malta. To be honest, I wasn’t too keen on the idea since it is the winter season. I was kind of holding off Malta, because I know that they famous for their beaches, so I was hoping we go in the summer and spend days along the shore; however, my dear husband was adamant.
Anyway he convinces me when he said that we can finally eat at McDonalds again. Although there are a lot of stores that serve good burgers here in Libya, I suppose one cannot help miss a certain taste you’ve gotten used to almost your whole life. Yes, simply put, I went to Malta to eat a Bigmac meal.
What I didn’t know was that there was so much more to Malta than their beaches. The small country in between Europe and Africa is an island of rich history and sites. JG booked us to go on a tour bus so we were able to get to know the place more and get around most of it.
I suppose the best part about the whole trip is how the Maltese community preserved as much as they can out of everything that has happened to them. A lot of the homes still have an old architectural feel as well as the many establishments around the city. I am always amazed when they do these things because I like the idea that a community finds a way to develop without losing touch of their heritage or their culture. How they work around the dilemma of moving forward without sacrificing tradition and culture.
During both world wars, (according to my history geek of a husband), Malta was one of the places that were heavily bombed, and many of the highlights of the tour for me where the stories that give you an idea what Malta and its people are all about. One of our first stops was Mosta Dome, (one of the 300+ churches there) what made it special though was that in WWII German forces dropped on the church, one of which fell directly inside it, but both miraculously did not detonate, saving the church goers. Our guide always says that locals are big on miracles, and the bombs of Mosta Church are one of the many they like to tell of. As a reminder of such a miracle, they kept one of the said bombs inside the church as a souvenir, which both JG and I thought was pretty cool.
During the tour, our guide also pointed out a sort of monument made up of old boulders stacked together in one of the parks there. She said that the big stones were parts of the many destroyed buildings during the war, parts of places that were too damaged to put back together. She said they stacked it together there even though they no longer found use for it, “to remind them of what they lost”. I thought that was just beautiful what she said, because believe in the importance of keeping something to help you remember the past, to help you treasure the present, and make good of the future.
And my last favorite story of Malta, was when I was looking up one of the many huge flags that was waving on top of a building. I asked JG what the insignia of the cross on the flag was, and absently answered myself, guessing it was probably because Malta is a very Christian country. But JG says that after the war, the British King wanted to show his appreciation to every citizen of the country for their bravery and endurance during the days that they were attacked; he couldn’t very well line up everyone to be recognized, so the cross was put on their flag, as a medal, making every single Maltese citizen a hero. Imagine – a country full of heroes.
Of course there were also many other parts of the trip that was worth braving the cold for: