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Janie’s Travel Diary

Tuesday, 16 Aug 2005

Location: Malta

MapToday was good. woke up not feeling 100% so didn't get started til late morning. First thing, I organised my day tours for Thursday and Friday. Then headed back to Valetta. Although I was there yesterday it was a public holiday and everything was closed.

Today I saw the inside of the Grandmasters Palace and St John's Co-Cathedral. The former was interesting enough, although only one room really struck a chord with me. This one had some really intricate wonderful tapestries around all four walls. (funny that - I just looked it up - turns out this room is called the Tapestry Room).

St John's Co-Cathedral was incredible. You wouldn't know it was anything special from the outside tho - the exterior facade is bleak to say the least. The inside, however, is breathtaking. As you walk inside, the rigid plain lines of the exterior change into a dazzling blaze of color and decoration. Arabesque carvings cover every inch of the walls. Multicoloured marble memorial slabs cover the floor from end to end. Just amazing!

By the time I emmerged it was 3:30pm. I wanted to make it to Hagar Qim but was told at the tourist information office that it closed at 4:30pm. thought I would take my chances even tho it was all the way on the other side of the island. Figured it would be an interesting bus ride anyhow. Luckily I arrived at 4:25pm. Just made it!
As I was wandering around the man from the gate came and started giving me a personal commentary (apparently cos I had beautiful eyes). Next thing, he's lifted the rope barrier and is gesturing for me to follow him into the restricted / no tourist section. He had me touching various stones and making wishes while breathing deaply - I didn't quite know how to take this but I went along with it {cautiously}. Im glad too cos I got to see some cool stuff most tourists don't get to see (and have my photo taken whilst hugging a great big stone phallic symbol. It seems this whole place was all about fertility worship).

Hagar Qim is dated at around 2800AD
:) I have now hugged a 5000 year old stone phallus!