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Temples

31 August 2005

Hagar QimIt appears that the wireless card on my laptop has failed so I’m now entirely reliant on internet cafes, which is not good.

Mnajdra slabBack to Malta – memories are fading already. Does this happen to everyone so quickly?

After the tour of Rabat and Mdina on the first day, Rose took me to meet some friends and we held a small ceremony in a beautiful wooded garden, then later sat on one of the flat’s many terraces and watched the moon – which has been a beautiful guiding presence throughout this trip. Tonight she was red on first rising, a lovely sight over a harbour dotted with little boats. Good food, kindred spirits to talk to, clear skies, sea all around me, fruit to die for … I can’t help but wonder how easy it would be to come and live in Malta?

I didn’t think I would ever sleep, it was so hot. I had already noticed that my bed was made up with only a bottom sheet and a pillow and had to ask Rose for a top sheet – I’ve never slept without any sort of cover in my life and don’t think I could! She told me I would be too hot and of course was right, but I still needed that sheet for some odd reason.

blast damageI was so much looking forward to the temples and certainly wasn’t disappointed. First we went to Hagar Quim, which dates from around 3,000 BCE, and where some of the so-called “fat lady” statues were unearthed (these are now in the museum at Valletta).

FilflaThere are some fabulous pictures of this temple, unlike anything I could manage, here:

We moved on to the nearby Temple of Mnajdra, which is in a beautiful setting, close to the sea. This was a walk of less than a kilometre, but it was so hot I was afraid of passing out. 

The ticket sellers at the temples all seemed to know Rose well – she is a frequent visitor. Because of this we were allowed carefully to step into areas normally not shown to tourists. The shot above left shows damage done to the Mnajdra temple by blasting at nearby quarries.

Mnajdra Maiden TempleRoseThe shot below the blast damage one shows what Rose said was the Maiden section of the temple – and sure enough, this part is sealed by rocks, as with a hymen.

There’s also a photograph (above right) of the island of Filfla, which you can just see – a tiny rock, this is the smallest island of the Maltese Archipelago and is unhabited, except by the birds for whom it is a sanctuary.

You can see excellent photographs of Mnajdra here.

Time to down the first of many cold drinks and have some lunch. Rose will kill me for this, but I decided she looked rather like an El Greco painting, and took the photo on the right.