A busy, busy day in Malta! I took a bus out to the Tarxien Temples, then hit the Ghar Dalam Cave. Went into Valletta to relax and have a bite to eat. Was thinking of going to a touristy film presentation called The Malta Experience, but as I was walking there, came across the Archaeological Museum, so I just HAD to stop!
When visiting the Tarxien site, I didn't feel as much of an historical and mystical vibe as I had expected. I found out later that many of the original carved stones and statues had been moved to protect them from the elements. Replicas were left in their place, some of them even “repairing” cracks and things that had appeared on the real thing. BOGUS! At the museum, however, many of the real figurines were kept on display. Much better. :) Considering how much there was to see on this one day, however, the pictures spill into the next day. I gave up trying to fit 3 sites into 30 photos, so you get the first temple and the cave on this page. Museum and stuff actually from Tuesday on the next day. ;) (For reference, here is a link to Motel of the Mysteries [amazon.com] on Amazon.com. Link wasn't working in the description field of the first picture.)
Main entrance to the Tarxien Temples. How do they know this was a temple, btw? Has anyone read
Motel of the Mysteries (see link at the bottom of the page)? Fabulous book! Really points out how much silliness is assumed by contemporary culture about cultures past. If we can't figure something out, it must be a temple/ritualistic/cultish. And why always denigrated to “cult,” anyway? Only our modern mythologies are worthy of being labeled religion? Bah! …But then maybe I'm just miffed because so much of the neat stuff at the “temple” site (*meaningful look*) is actually replicas. Which, by the way, they don't tell you! Only if you stumble into the archaeological museum by accident, as I did later in the day, do you see the REAL stuff. Sneaky bastards!
I think this is a replica. Sigh. (Still, it's super neat!)
Ditto the swirlies, at least the ones on the left.
Another sigh. Alas, the REAL colossal lady is in the museum. And half of her right leg is missing. DO NOT BE FOOLED!
Um… I dunno what's original here, although I suspect the gray bits in the background were made at Disneyland.
It was getting very hot out there. With sufficient water, it would have been a snap to make tea for the colossal lady.
Why is it always “an important ritual meaning”? I mean, couldn't this part just have been the dining room in a really, REALLY wealthy house belonging to the Bill Gates of 5,000 years ago or something?
“Tonight we will be having flank steak.”
“Tomorrow we may have ribs.”
“Perhaps you would like to take your cocktails on the terrace?”
Really big ashtray?
Back to the lady, trying to get good angles without ropes and such. Please remember that this is FAKE! Her whole right leg is all bondo, I'm telling you!
Ok, moving on to Ghar Dalam, a really neat limestone cave where lots of now-extinct critters left their bones, including this bear.
This is a wee elephant. It's a youngster, but probably of the dwarf elephant variety anyway.
This deer is quite confused about what happened. “I mean, I just turned around for a second and…” *shakes head sadly* Apparently Bambi is a universal story for deer everywhere.
Taking time to stop and shoot the flowers.
Ah, look at that cave! So deep and inviting! I'm sure I'll go in and see all kinds of neat stuff.
But first I'll look up and appreciate the neato ceiling!
Birdies! (I moved too slowly to catch the other one. It flew away just as I pulled the camera out. Drat!)
It uses the word “hippopotami”! AWESOME!
So nicely lit and labeled.
It was nice of those animals to die in an orderly fashion so that each layer could be clearly marked.
It's probably good that the hippos got their own layer separated on either side by non-animal layers. They do, after all, flick their dung around with their tails.
Mm hmm, nice. The first of many interesting cave formations. Undoubtedly as I get deeper into the cave they will be even more fantastical and less… stubby.
Doing the old caver trick of looking over my shoulder so I know what the way out looks like. Can't be getting lost in there, you know! …Wait, what? This is as far in as I can go? You're kidding, right? NOOOOOOOOooooooo……!
On the way back out of the cave, I took a closer look at the sign. I was pretty sure it had said, “A, B, C, and D are really cool things. Be sure to take lots of photos.” However, since it was in Maltese, I guess what it really said was, “We are going to put one over on those who only speak English. ‘A’ is where you are. ‘B’ is where the really, really cool stuff is and if you come speak to us in Maltese at the desk, we'll gladly show you. English speakers have to stop at ‘C,’ a gate that separates the mundane from the awesome. ‘D’ is a platform where they can pound their fists in frustration, weep, wail, and gnash their English-speaking teeth. HAHAHAHAHAH!”
Nanaism means things becoming wee. I'm sure there is a grandma joke in there somewhere.
Quick snapshot of a main street in Valletta. It's right off the crazy bus roundabout where all the buses in Malta come from or go to. I think they set up the street like a cattle gate. You get funneled down past Burger King, McDonalds, and many, many tchotchke stores. If you gird your loins and make it all the way to the water, I think you get a prize. …I don't know that for sure because, well, I didn't make it. Sigh.