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FC: Malta, July 2011

1: THE FALCON HAS LANDED! July, 2011 marks Reg's first time back to Malta since leaving in 1950 at the young age of 9. A lot has changed in sixty years! "Grandpa, was that staircase here when you lived in Malta? Was it hard to walk up?" -Trey

2: Gnejna Beach A tradition of Daniel and Claudia's is to visit Gnejna Beach every Sunday evening for a swim and barbeque. We all met in the late afternoon for a refreshing swim in the rocky waters, then enjoyed some burgers and hot dogs on the beach. Marshmallows, too! Fun was had by all.

3: Knights of Montekristo Thanks to Claudia, we had front row dinner theatre seats to witness the history of Malta come alive. We relived the numerous battles and takeovers of Malta up until its independence in 1964. Malta's history is fascinating! Dan was selected from the audience to be knighted. We were all so proud!

4: We visited Anne Marie at her residence, St. Clare's Monastery. She is studying to become a nun. She had special permission to allow us to visit her, which we did twice. Here we are together, before Daniel and Claudia's vow renewal. It was a special time with family.

5: Daniel and Claudia renewing their vows after ten years of marriage.

6: Off to Gozo - the second largest of the four Maltese islands. We took the ferry over to participate in the feast of St. George. We stayed in a modern Maltese farmhouse, complete with its own pool. We didn't want to leave!

7: Photos, clockwise: at Il Vigneto, our farmhouse; enjoying time by our pool; a breathtaking doorway; at the Island Sea Window; at Fungus Rock: an interesting staircase in Cittadella.

8: The Feast of St. George centers around St. George's Basilica, in Rabat, Gozo. | The feast was not what we expected. Instead of lots of food there were lots and lots of people! Bands playing, people socializing. A real party! It was really hard to walk around - so we held on to each other's hands for dear life!

9: Xlendi Bay, Gozo

10: Ggantija Temples, Gozo | The Ggantija Temples are two prehistoric temples on Gozo. One of them is the oldest stone structure in the world, predating Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids by hundreds of years. Round in shape and containing statues of full-figured goddesses, the Ggantija temples were dedicated to the Great Earth Mother and probably included an oracle. The site was a place of pilgrimage for the ancient inhabitants of Malta.

11: Marsalforn, Gozo We definitely ate well while in Malta. Here we are in Marsalforn, a fishing village, having another late-night dinner. It was not uncommon to sit down for dinner at 10pm, away from the heat of the early evening sun.

12: Valetta | This bell, commissioned by Queen Victoria, is rung everyday at noon as a reminder of the British soldiers lost in battle in the history of Malta. | views from the Mediterranean

13: Malta's Capital City | Valetta is the main port in Malta. Many ruins from war attacks can still be seen around the water's edge. | inside St. John's Co-Cathedral

14: We enjoyed many relaxing moments around the beautiful rooftop pool at the Hotel Victoria. | Goofing around with Trey | Pretty ladies | Strike a pose

15: Melieha Bay - the largest, most beautiful and sandy beach in Malta. | Daniel and Claudia | Christina and Carla

16: Mdina is the old capital of Malta. It is a medieval walled town situated on a hill in the centre of the island. | Funky Old Mdina

17: Mdina was inhabited and possibly first fortified by the Phoenicians around 700 BC. The region benefited from its strategic location on one of the island's highest points and at maximum distance from the sea. This was especially important during all the battles for Malta. | Mdina is commonly called the "Silent City" by natives and visitors. The town is still confined within its walls, and has a population of less than three hundred,

18: Sliemma, our home away from home.

19: We stayed at the Hotel Victoria in the heart of Slilemma. Sliemma is right on the water. You can swim, shop, eat, and go for an evening stroll in Sliemma. We did it all!

20: On April 9, 1942, a bomb was dropped from the sky during a World War II German air raid. The bomb hit this church in Mosta. Three hundred people were attending mass at the time. Miraculously, no one was killed. This shell serves as a reminder of the event and is inside the massive church.

21: Sahha! (That's goodbye and good luck in Maltese!)

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