2010-05-27 -- Malta

An early rise (for us anyway) to catch a 9am walking and boat tour around Vallatta, Malta. The van dropped us off at the Upper Barrakka Gardens, and we strolled to St. John's Cathederal. We then toured Casa Rocca Piccola, a "16th Century Palace of a Maltese Noble Family". The owner gave us an excellent tour, full of historical tidbits, none of which I remember in any significant detail. Another van ride to the harbor, for a boat ride around the harbor(s) and return to the hotel.

In the afternoon a few of us went to the Malta Aviation Museum. Be sure to ask the curator for a tour, there are a lot of things tucked away, a lot of things that look uninteresting but have a fascianting history, and a lot of bits and pieces.

Dinner was at de Mondion, in the Xara Palace in Mdina.


Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 105.0 mm; 1/400 sec, f/6.4, ISO 200
Jeffrey took this out the window at breakfast. I was busy eating breakfast and not looking.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 65.0 mm; 1/500 sec, f/8.0, ISO 320
Looking down Triq Saint' Ursula (St. Ursula Street) in Valletta, Malta. I have problems (still) holding the camera level. What my hands think is level is slightly tilted to the right.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 24.0 mm; 1/1250 sec, f/8.0, ISO 320
The Air Journey group (minus Renee) at Upper Barrakka Gardens in Malta. Placeholder for a panoramic stitch.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 105.0 mm; 1/1250 sec, f/8.0, ISO 320
The "Sea Bear" (KMAR 404) in Malta.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 105.0 mm; 1/1600 sec, f/8.0, ISO 320
The Captain Morgan Cruises "Underwater Safari" tour boat passes in front of a fort on the otherside of Vallatta, Malta.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 35.0 mm; 1/800 sec, f/8.0, ISO 320
Door and windows on the side of Auberge de Castille, the prime ministers residenc/office (I think). "Commenced in 1574. Completed in 1744. This building was occupied by the Castilian and Portuguese knights of St. John who were entrusted with the defence of Santa Barbara Bastion. Their chief was the grand chancellor of the order."



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 96.0 mm; 1/1000 sec, f/8.0, ISO 320
Pawlu Boffa, 1890-1962. Prim Ministru, 1947-1950.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 47.0 mm; 1/160 sec, f/6.4, ISO 320
Magazines and newspapers for sale beside Auberge d'Italie. "Built in 1574. Enlarged in 1683. This building was occupied by the Italian knights of St. John who were entrusted with the defence of St. Peter and Paul's Bastions. Their chief was the admiral of the order."



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 24.0 mm; 1/800 sec, f/6.4, ISO 320
Entrance to Auberge d'Italie. It now holds the Matla Tourism Authority, L-awtorita' tat-turizmu ta' Malta.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 50.0 mm; 1/500 sec, f/6.4, ISO 100
Bust of Enrico Mizzi, 1885-1950, looking down Triq Zakkarija (Zakkarija Street), beside Misrah San Gwann (San Gwann Square).



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 65.0 mm; 1/320 sec, f/6.4, ISO 100
Clock on St. John's Cathedral in Malta. Three dials, one for hours, minutes and day of the week. It was accurate.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II at 16.0 mm; 1/13 sec, f/2.8, ISO 800
St. John's Cathederal. The guide spend a lot of time talking about this, but I paid little attention. Instead, I was harrassed by the guardians to remove my cap (twice) and to not use a tripod (even though it was a monopod). Plenty of signs told us to not use flash; nowhere did I see anything about hats/tripods. Later, perusing the brochure, in tiny print, on the back page, are:
"Your dress should sufficiently cover your shoulders, chest and legs. Gentlemen are requested to remove their hats. Should your attire not meet our standards our Custodians will provide you with a shawl or a wrap. Please leave them behind in the basket at the exit."
"The inlaid marble floor is precious and delicate. Therefore 'stiletto heels' and narrow heeled shoes are not permitted. Slippers can be purchased at 0.58 Euro per pair at the cash point."
"Flash photography and tripods are not permitted. The publication of photographs of the Co-Cathedral and/or its collections must be authorised by the Foundation." I understand the no flash rule; they're annoying. Tripods too; they can trip people. The rest I don't get. Women can wear hats? "Sufficiently cover"? [rolls eyes]



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II at 16.0 mm; 1/15 sec, f/4.0, ISO 1600
St. John's Cathederal. It was here that I was harrassed about the monopod. Fine, whatever. I still got the shot.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II at 25.0 mm; 1/13 sec, f/4.0, ISO 1600
A wall near the Chapel of the Langue of Italy, in St. John's Cathederal.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II at 35.0 mm; 1/40 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1600



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II at 22.0 mm; 1/40 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1600



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 40.0 mm; 1/15 sec, f/4.0, ISO 1600



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 65.0 mm; 1/15 sec, f/4.0, ISO 1600
Just out of spite, the organ in St. John's Cathedral.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 24.0 mm; 1/640 sec, f/4.0, ISO 200
Corner balcony in Valletta, Malta.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 45.0 mm; 1/80 sec, f/4.0, ISO 200



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 105.0 mm; 1/2000 sec, f/4.0, ISO 200
A light outside Bibljoteka Nazzjonali (the National Library) in Valletta, Malta.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 24.0 mm; 1/1600 sec, f/4.0, ISO 200
Statue of Queen Victoria (?) outside Bibljoteka Nazzjonali in Valletta, Malta.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 65.0 mm; 1/500 sec, f/4.0, ISO 200
Window with reflection of an unidentified cathederal in Valletta, Malta. I think the window is on the Palace, but it could be on the Library.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 40.0 mm; 1/10 sec, f/4.0, ISO 200
Shot blind, a shelf full of period medicine in the Casa Rocca Piccola.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 40.0 mm; 1/40 sec, f/4.0, ISO 800
Shot blind, a shelf full of period medicine in the Casa Rocca Piccola.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 40.0 mm; 1/40 sec, f/4.0, ISO 800
Shot blind, a shelf full of period medicine in the Casa Rocca Piccola.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 60.0 mm; 1/125 sec, f/4.0, ISO 800
The story goes that when the owner of Casa Rocca Piccola finally got electricity in the building (in the early 1900's) he commissioned a painting of the Saint of Electricity. She is holding a pair of conductors, with wires trailing down to a light bulb held by angels.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 60.0 mm; 1/125 sec, f/4.0, ISO 800
Likewise, the Saint of....machinery? Wheat? I wasn't really listening.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 32.0 mm; 1/8 sec, f/4.0, ISO 800
The tour ended with a visit to the bomb shelter constructed (to much amusement of neighbors) in the 1930's (there's not going to be another war!), complete with a working air raid siren. The shelter was built using the cistern.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 24.0 mm; 0.4 sec, f/6.4, ISO 800
The shelter had an entrance from the house, and entrance from the garden inside the courtyard (shown here) and at least one other entrance from neighboring houses. The entrance from the garded was carved into rock, with the marks still readily visible.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 40.0 mm; 1/30 sec, f/6.4, ISO 800
Knights on display in the gift shop. 5 Euro each.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 40.0 mm; 1/30 sec, f/6.4, ISO 800
Knights on display in the gift shop. 5 Euro each.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 35.0 mm; 1/400 sec, f/6.4, ISO 200
Down the street from Casa Rocca Piccola, typical of the area.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 24.0 mm; 1/640 sec, f/4.6, ISO 100
Our morning tour ended with a boat ride around the harbor, back to the hotel. Thierry and I duel cameras.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 55.0 mm; 1/1250 sec, f/4.6, ISO 100
Doors in the old town were painted a specific color to describe what was behind them, like blue for food, red for gunpowder. Much easier than teaching people to read.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 73.0 mm; 1/1000 sec, f/4.6, ISO 100
A sea plane dock in Malta.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 24.0 mm; 1/1000 sec, f/4.6, ISO 100
A blue tanker in the harbor.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 47.0 mm; 1/400 sec, f/8.0, ISO 100
This contraption was used to raise the masts in sailing ships. The ship would park below the tower, the mast would be attached to ropes, and hoisted upright. Not sure exactly how it was used (levers? gears?) but the end state is pretty obvious.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 24.0 mm; 1/400 sec, f/8.0, ISO 100
Block of old and new buildings next to the harbor. Note the brown building with two rows of five windows on the right side.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 67.0 mm; 1/400 sec, f/8.0, ISO 100
A little later on, the same block of old and new buildings. The brown building is now in the center right, with a tunnel on the right side.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 24.0 mm; 1/400 sec, f/8.0, ISO 100
This is the front view of the brown building from the last two photos. The tunnel extends below all buildings. I'm not sure I'd want my downstairs neighbors smoking, coughing, screeching and honking all night.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 40.0 mm; 1/320 sec, f/8.0, ISO 100
An imposing sight for any invading army, no?



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 45.0 mm; 1/320 sec, f/8.0, ISO 100
Malta is built taking advantage of natural fortifications. The amount of stone on this island is ridiculous. Everything is made out of stone. There are piles and piles of cut stone in the countryside. Fences between pastures are made of stone (compare against the fences usually made from broken branches).



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 85.0 mm; 1/400 sec, f/8.0, ISO 100
Our boat tour was a little scary. Refueling outside the harbor gate, in the open ocean.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 28.0 mm; 1/400 sec, f/8.0, ISO 100
Making a mad dash for safety of the other harbor.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 24.0 mm; 1/30 sec, f/6.4, ISO 800
Henri Mignet's Le Pou du Ciel H.M.14, "The Flying Flea". This was built in 1996 from the original plans. It is powered by a four-stroke Citroen 2CV engine.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 24.0 mm; 1/13 sec, f/6.4, ISO 1600
A collection of old radios at the Malta Aviation Museum. They had an entire room filled with old electronics.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 58.0 mm; 1/15 sec, f/6.4, ISO 3200
The interior of N495F, a Beech 18S at the Malta Aviation Museum.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 24.0 mm; 1/40 sec, f/6.4, ISO 800
The Beech 18S in front of a Douglas C47 Dakota. A bit of the wing of a Fiat G91R is visible in the foreground.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II at 16.0 mm; 1/10 sec, f/6.4, ISO 800
The cockpit of the Fiat G91R.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II at 16.0 mm; 1/6 sec, f/6.4, ISO 1600
Left side of the Fiat G91R cockpit.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II at 16.0 mm; 1/6 sec, f/6.4, ISO 1600
Right side of the Fiat G91R cockpit.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 24.0 mm; 1/200 sec, f/4.0, ISO 1600
Getting the full tour from the director. Front to back, de Havilland Vampire, Fiat G91R, Beech 18S, Douglas C47 Dakota



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 24.0 mm; 1/500 sec, f/4.0, ISO 100
A bit of an odd ball, Ian Mc Innes' MGB in front of the second Douglas C47 Dakota.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 24.0 mm; 1/20 sec, f/4.0, ISO 1600
In the workshop, showing off panels.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 24.0 mm; 1/40 sec, f/4.0, ISO 1600
Rebuilt wing of the Hawker Hurricane MkIIA Z3055. .endpicture .picture="IMG_B0199.JPG" The amuse-bouche, tuna tartare and a drop of salmon and grouper.



Canon PowerShot A3100 IS at 6.2 mm; 1/20 sec, f/2.7, ISO 800
"Baked Sterling White Halibut Delice, Goat Cheese Royale and Fennel Tart, Dried Kalamata Olives, Tomato Fondue and Mixed Leaves" (except I never found the olives).



Canon PowerShot A3100 IS at 6.2 mm; 1/15 sec, f/2.7, ISO 800
"Fresh Angus Beef Tenderloin and Pan-Fried Veal Sweetbreads, Wedges Potato with Garlic Confit, Salsift and Pumpkin Ragout, Parsley and Truffle Butter, Maderia Sauce."



Canon PowerShot A3100 IS at 6.2 mm; 1/13 sec, f/2.7, ISO 800
"Roasted Local Pork Tenderloin, Slow-Cooked and Glazed Pork Belly, Pomme Puree and Rocket Emulsion, Wild Mushrooms, Baby Turnips and Carrots, Cafe de Paris Sauce."



Canon PowerShot A3100 IS at 6.2 mm; 1/20 sec, f/2.7, ISO 640
Valhrona Bitter Chocolate Coulant with Coffee Center, Cocoa Sorbet and Cardamon Caramel, Light Ginger Cream"



Canon PowerShot A3100 IS at 6.2 mm; 1/20 sec, f/2.7, ISO 640
Banana and Pistachio Crumble, Green Apple Compote and Arlette Crisp, White Chocolate and Coffee Jelly, Tahitian Vanilla Sorbet"



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 28.0 mm; 0.3 sec, f/6.4, ISO 800
The entrance to the village (Xara Palace?).



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