Friday, May 25, 2018

More Old Stuff

There were a couple of things that we’d missed out on, so decided to use our final day in Malta to take a shorter day trip and try to fit them in. We again stopped late to make use of the swimming pool before leaving for the Ghar Dalam Cave. This is the site of some ice age fossils of dwarf elephants and hippopotami, and other creatures, which proved that during the Ice Age there was a land bridge between Malta and Sicily, due to falling sea levels as all the water was locked up as ice. It’s a fairly small museum with a load of bones in it. We did the museum part, learning about gigantism and nanism (which is not your nan saying “I don't like that forrin muck”) before touring the cave itself. The final area of the cave is blocked off as it is one of only two habitats for a rare woodlouse, Armadillidium ghardalamensis.

We call this "the bone room"

We drove back to the picturesque village of Marsaxlokk for a spot of lunch in one of the many waterfront cafes, before heading into the Three Cities to visit the Maritime Museum at Vittoriosa. This contains many artefacts and models from the maritime history of Malta, including some very impressive sailing ship models.

A little further along the way is the Fort of St Angelo, which was also an integral part of the defences of Malta from medieval times up to the end of the 19th century. There were some films which told the story, filling in the gaps from a naval perspective for the history of the island that we’ve so far seen.

After all that, we were pretty well done. The only final objective was to fill the car with petrol to take it back full to the rental place at the airport. As we have an early start in the morning, and I’m not confident that Maltese petrol stations will be open at 5:00am. We found a petrol station, pulled up, and started filling. At this point the owner comes out and says “you know we don’t accept credit cards? Cash only!” This was a bit of a bugger, as we’d been managing down our €€€ holdings in anticipation of our departure, and didn’t have enough to fill the car…or pay what we’d pumped so far! No problem, the friendly garage assistant got in the car and directed us to the nearest ATM, where we obtained sufficient cash to fill the car, then drove back and filled up the rest of the tank, paid, and made our way back to the apartment. Phew! What a palaver.

Our final night in Gzira will be spent at the same restaurant that we went to on our first night, as we liked that one pretty much and seem to have exhausted all the other decent establishments around here.

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