We arrived in Malta yesterday, a national holiday. It’s Workers Day, or Labour Day to us, and the country’s in a celebratory mood. Many people are wearing red, the colour of the country’s labour party. Others have fashioned skirts and shawls out of the labour flag.
In the evening, there was a big open-air concert at Valetta’s city gates. Earlier there was a pretty good rock band playing–kind of a Maltese Gin Blossoms. Then there was some truly awful Europop (I mistyped that as ‘Europoop’, which is closer to the truth), and now it’s a kind of a rave thing.
It’s a very rowdy introduction to a country that will, I think, turn out to seem quite sleepy.
On first impression, the capital city of Valetta feels like a combination of Barcelona, Havana and Athens. It’s got a remarkably consistent asthetic, with everything made from limestone and very few new buildings. There’s a wonderful mix of gothic and orthodox cathedrals, and plenty of palatial facades that occupy entire blocks.
The people are friendly, and speak excellent English with an accent somewhere between Greece and Italy. We appeared to be the youngest arrivals at the airport–Malta seems to be a bit of a tourist destination for the bluehair set. We’ll see what things look like tomorrow, when we check out some villas on the sleepier, smaller island of Gozo.
Postscript: Things should return to normal around here next Monday, when the Internet man comes by to connect our magic Internet pipe.