Wrapping up our vacation. 10/10, 10/11, 10/12/2021

The last three days of our vacation we were a day at sea that we spent mostly organizing getting packed and eating and drinking, a day visiting Malta’s island of Gozo, and a day getting home.

Malta actually consists of five main islands. Two of the islands are completely uninhabited, a third has a population of two, the main island is Malta, and the island of Gozo has thirty thousand inhabitants.

We traveled down many of the tidy streets of Xaghra where our guide pointed out that the Gozans are so tidy that they hang their garbage up in bags out of animals’ reach and it is collected every day. She made a very big deal out of the garbage.

Tidy street on the island of Gozo with stone balconies

Our main touring site is the Neolithic Ggantija Temple ruins. These are the earliest of the Megalithic Temples of Malta and are older than the pyramids or Stonehenge. They date from 3600 BC which makes them over 5500 years old and they are the second oldest man made religious structures on earth.

It seems to be a ceremonial site in a fertility rite. There are numerous figures and statutes that have been found on the site and are displayed the nearby museum.

The Ggantija Temples museum
Round stones used as ball-bearings to move the enormous slabs of stone.
Artifact from the site
A family of figurines
More artifacts

After viewing the museum we walk outside and over to the temple site. The stone structures are massive and are built with  apses and altars.

The Temple comples
Our guide explaining the use of the Temples
More of the stones for rolling at the base of the walls
Room of niches

After our trip to the Temples we go by bus to a scenic overlook spot.

We travel to a scenic spot
Picture of Mary at the scenic spot
John looking scenic

The island of Gozo is a big chunk of limestone sticking out of the Mediterranean Sea.  It is reminiscent of the white cliffs of Dover except gold in color. There are no natural harbors just sheer limestone walls so they built a breakwater and carved outa little harbor for the ferries and pleasure boats.

Harbor down below
Our ship at anchor off the coast of Gozo

Later that night we go to the goodbye party where we get lots of tasty treats and champagne.

John at last night party

On October 12 it is time to leave the ship for the airport in Malta. However since our flight is not until 1:30 PM and we have to be off the boat by 8 AM, we get another scenic tour of Malta. We have seen a lot of Malta and we really did not need two and a half hours on a bus before nine hours to Newark, a layover, and then six hours to SFO.

John doing his last beer pose at the lounge at Malta airport

Our first flight is great except for our landing spot. Newark Airport is horrible and the workers there are unpleasant and unhelpful. We will try to avoid Newark in the future. Our flight to SFO is the most turbulent that I have been on in a long time. Everyone including the flight attendants have to stay strapped in for about three hours. But the best flights are those that land safely and we do.

It was a great trip with lots of interesting things to see. It was well organized and very safe from a COVID point of view. We were tested daily, tracked, and masked when needed. The staff members on the ship were fabulous, always helpful, friendly, and charming. I would definitely take another cruise with Viking if I could figure out where to go!