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This strange knightly island really exists

- And why to Malta?

Frankly speaking, this question which was heard from the employee of tourist bureau puzzled several me. If to the professional my choice is unclear...

I knew

But the answer well as I a question of where to go with children, considered long and comprehensively. Choosing a route, I was guided by such reasons: children never were abroad and did not see the sea, but there are no wish to spend all the time on the beach too - to wander on the museums much more interestingly and to look at different local wonders.

On Malta, a small island in the Mediterranean Sea, the set of ancient temples from huge boulders is. Six thousand years ago they were constructed by the first natives of Malta - Sicilians. They were replaced by Phoenicians who brought tradition brightly to paint fishing boats and to draw on them the eyes which are frightening off evil spirits.

These brightly painted boats in a huge number rock on waves in numerous bays and bays which cut up all northern, rendered most habitable coast of the island. Bright, it is red - Xing - is green - yellow boats, being reflected by multi-colored patches of light in absolutely transparent water, give to bays especially festive look. And on embankments carelessly and important the same colorful ducks and cats, not a couple ours walk about.

Anything it, of course, I did not know

yet. Malta meant one for me - knights. But what the strange combination is: a heat, almost Africa, knights in a heavy armor, the cactuses and locks growing from rocks, Catholic cathedrals and swarty parishioners with black Arab eyes. It is necessary it will be convinced that this strange knightly island really exists.

We with children arrived to Malta, of course, at all not as in due time knights. They saw it for the first time from the sea, and we from air.

Under us three islands - big, are less and absolutely small. The first - Malta. It all is made of one large piece of golden sandstone - both the stony coast, and the rocks topped with bastions and a set of rectangular lodges with flat Arab roofs, and over them - domes of cathedrals, red with white edges. They remind a symbol of the Order of Malta - a white cross on a red background.

Us was met by the Russian-speaking guide and on the minibus we went in San - Dzhulians.

Cactuses, cactuses, enormous cactuses, and here the trees entirely covered in the flowers - yes it is a rhododendron, at children in the room same on a window sill! Only it is less! And over there huge aloes - at us in kitchen the poor excuse for this magnificence grows.

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It is interesting what in that case grows on window sills at Maltese? Cornflowers and camomiles?

Here the golden lodges with flat roofs which are densely stuck to each other, baroque cathedrals, and suddenly - the sea - huge, blue, warm by began to rush! Great Mediterranean Sea, cradle of our civilization, ancient and eternal!

All coast is cut up by the bays and bays which are built up with the houses clambering up with brightly painted windows and densely closed by the glazed balconies. So Maltese escape from constantly blowing wind from Africa which bears with itself(himself) sand of the Sahara.

Sengley`s

, La - Valletta, Mzida, Dzhir, Sliyem, and, at last, San - Dzhulians. We flew along the seashore, on the embankment, on some of abrupt and narrow small streets of this big seaside city into which turned for a long time, having merged together, all these once certain towns. Their names turned into names of bus-stops.

About the Maltese buses! They, undoubtedly, deserve separate attention.

the Bus - a main type of transport on Malta. Once British, owners of the island since Napoleonic times, constructed the railroad here. It connected the ancient capital of Mdin to the new capital of La - Valletta (about 7 km). But times change. It is white - the yellow bus, as well as the multi-colored fishing boat, - a symbol of Malta, their various images - the most popular souvenir.

Buses go often and everywhere. They are interesting not only outside, but also inside. In them only one entrance, ahead, is also not present the closed doors. And still I had not to see buses of two identical models, and all of them were very stylish as are made somewhere between the beginning 50 - x and the end 70 - x years. If the passenger needs to leave, then he has to pull the lace stretched through all bus and over the head of the driver the small hand bell will ring out.

our three-stars hotel appeared

in ten steps from the sea, in it was the whole two pools and friendly personnel with which I quickly made friends as on Malta English is the second state language and it is easy to communicate with Maltese. We got number the best as we had a huge panoramic window overlooking the sea. A breakfast and a dinner - a buffet. It is possible to choose what kitchen is more preferable, Mediterranean or English.

It is essential

as most of lodgers in our hotel were British. Both newlyweds, and elderly married couples. I got acquainted with the old man who in a row staid many years in this hotel with the wife, and now when she died, one arrived here, to remember how to them it was good together here. Yes, old kind England … Its spirit is quite notable here. The English speech everywhere, in each hotel room - a set for tea preparation that lodgers, God forbid, did not pass “fayv an o`klok“. British, by the way, controlled Malta since 1802, and in March, 1979 the island was left by the last British soldier.

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In hotel to my children most of all liked the pool. Probably, to you it is unclear, why, living in ten steps from the sea, to book the hotel room with the pool. It is really mysterious history.

The matter is that in tourist bureau in Moscow, probably, without having lost yet hope to dissuade me from the decision so precipitate in their opinion to go to Malta, was told that on Malta there are no normal beaches at all, and only concrete platforms on piles with abrupt short flights of stairs in water. Therefore we surely need hotel with the pool … But everything appeared not so terribly - beaches on Malta are, sandy and stony, generally, for every taste. My children with pleasure collected multi-colored stones and sinks at the edge of water.

For children on the Maltese embankments the set of playgrounds is.

In the evenings embankments are filled with the people - idle tourists together with the Maltese girls and young men hurry on a disco, simple Maltese natives walk the dogs, parents - the children... We were very surprised when than hours at eleven in the evening, already in complete darkness, having gone down from the embankment filled with people is closer to the sea, appeared at a playground where there was a great number of mothers and fathers with carriages and the kids who hardly learned to go, and children are more senior cheerfully ran across from a swing to wooden short flights of stairs or tried to climb up a wooden horse in a false light of midnight lamps. Of course, in the afternoon on the embankment too hot.

La`s

- Valletta met by parade of the Maltese knights who with a drumbeat saw us from the most city gate to Sant`s` fort - Elmo, the main fortress of Malta constructed by the Maltese knights in 1530 right after arrival on the island.

For a long time this fortress at top of the rocky mountain Shiberras was the only shelter here; continuous skirmishes with Turks at the sea and on the land interfered with the implementation of plans about construction of the city. Only when in 1557 the Great Master it was elected La Valett, these plans began to be carried out as suddenly on May 18, 1565 48 thousand Turks and their allies attacked islands, intending to win them, and then to use Malta as the convenient base for invasion into Southern Europe through Sicily and Italy.

to Them was resisted by only 8 thousand people, from them 540 knights, 4000 Maltese and the Spanish and Italian mercenaries. Sant`s` fort - Elmo accepted the first and most powerful blow of Turks, but was not given and sustained 31 - a day siege. All strengthened cities were besieged, including also the ancient capital - Medina. Beating off continuous attacks, defenders of the cities against all expectations constrained an impact of the enemy until from Sicily the reinforcement did not come to 8 thousand people.

These events received the name of “A great siege“. The marching knights with drums beating conducted us on the main street through all La - Valletta in Sant`s` fort - Elmo on the representation devoted to the Great siege. I admit, to me it was awfully cheerful to walk with drums beating for knights and to try to get to a drumbeat rhythm. They brought us into the yard of fortress surrounded with galleries, and representation began. The great Master carried out review to the troops. The helmets and armors, multi-colored plumes sparkling on the sun from ostrich feathers, bright suits and the fluttering Award banners - red with a white cross in the middle.

A still we got to the museum of knights - gospitalyer. It was some unexpectedly mysterious., It seems, all usually - here the poster, here an entrance, here a huge lobby and the old man with tickets, but the wide ladder led us not up, and down, in a vault. The cool twilight - after the dazzling sun it pleasantly reigns. On walls torches burn. On the next turn of a ladder we nearly flew on the crusader who inclined as a sign of a greeting the head in a steel helmet. A helmet, however, incredibly reminds a zinc bucket, but all the same, it is pleasant - terribly. It is unclear - live it or not, and suddenly now will move? Moreover this gentle gloomy music … And darkness is more and more dense, only torches which - where all prevent it to take around.

We still go down, continuing to look back, and from - for we notice not at once the blood-stained body spread on the earth over which the knight - a gospitalyer with the medieval surgical tools in hands was inclined. And ahead the whole suite of underground halls in which all history of the Award Gospitalyerov from first day of foundation is presented already opened. In the lit show-windows wax little men battle on walls of fortresses, do operations and give enemas huge in hospitals, and in halls wax knights, very similar to live, fight for life of the wax patients.

As it is a lot of

around interesting!

U us three excursions: Medina, La - Valletta, cruise around the island. For three it turned out quite expensively - $200. And still it would be desirable to get to the Blue Grotto - say, there it is very beautiful, and water of extraordinary azure color. And still ancient temples from huge blocks in Hagar Kuim, in Mnaydre and in Tarksiyena...

A Gozo`s island, second-large in the Maltese archipelago. It is unusually beautiful... The picturesque relief, is a lot of greens. But we have only one week. And it already comes to an end.

Well, so should return sometime here.

We watch

at Malta from a window again. It less, is less... A golden spot in the middle of the azure sea. How such small island managed to contain in itself so much surprising?