Look-see trip to Malta, November 2011

Arrived late on Saturday with the DutchmanSmiths to be greeted by Larry and Jaqui Porter and welcomed to their apartment.

Sunday we started on the itinerary set for me, to review all options for next May! Off to the Saluting Battery in Valetta and then to the "Malta Experience", an excellent introduction to Malta and its seven thousand year history. After lunch took the ferry across to Sliema and then a tour of the Grand Harbour.

Monday started in Mosta market followed by the "miracle" of Mosta Dome .. a bomb came straight through the dome in 1942 and failed to explode as two others landed outside and also failed to explode. Lunch in Rabat with a "Maltese Platter" and then round the "silent city" of Mdina, Malta's old capital city. In the evening we enjoyed a Perfection ceremony at Rose of Sharon Chapter RC, for a first taste of Masonry in Malta.

Tuesday booked into the Hypogeum for an underground tour of this ancient necropolis dating from 3600/3000 BC. Then drove around the north of the island Golden Bay, Melihia and the Red Tower .. one of the Knight's watch towers built in 1649 for Grand Master Lascaris.

Wednesday more relaxing with a walk from the Blue grotto past the ancient megalithic temples of Hagar Qim and Mnajdra, to Ghar Lapsi for lunch and check the restaurant. Dinner that evening at Ta' Marija in Mosta for the Folklore show.

Thursday tried the bus services .. now run by Aviva! - into Valetta to explore St John's Co Cathedral - built 1573 to 1578. and the War Museum, in Fort St Elmo- a fascinating insight into why Malta was awarded the George Cross in April 1942.

Friday started at San Anton Gardens around the Presidential Palace then to Sliema to visit our chosen hotels and to St Julians. Evening at Ars Discendi Lodge for a brilliant third degree ceremony and the Walking Charge by our very own Larry.

Saturday to Ta'Qali craft village and Valetta Glass then Rabat to find the Catacombs closed! In the evening we were invited to the Supreme Grand Lodge of Malta with the UGLE District Inspector and to the social board which included Ladies and no speeches. IL 9659 was represented by Porters, Dutchman Smiths, Whites, Brewards and me.

Sunday up early for a visit to Marsaxllok fish market to see the incredible array of fish on display and then to Ghar Dalam Cave , which contained the remains of over 7,000 animals. A farewell dinner in the evening at the Barracuda in St Julians where we were also joined by the Tibbetts , just back from Tunisia. Monday a final look around Rabat to St Paul's Grotto, where St Paul lived for three months after being shipwrecked on Malta and to St Agatha's Catacombs and museum. Then reluctantly back to Manchester , convinced that we will have a great week next May, aided by our "local guides" who are even learning Maltese!

Sahha (goodbye) till Il-Gimgha (Friday) Erbgha (fourth) of May 2012.

David Starbuck
Senior Warden and Master Elect November 2011