Irregular Post; January Paris

Thursday Jan 12 2017 Bonjour “Paris in winter?’ Yes, as you know, Paris in winter doesn’t really do sunny skies. Although we did experience one welcome morning with partly cloudy for a couple of hours. Typically, damp or drizzle or mist or light rain or just damp. Layer for all possibilities and, if you can, look currently stylish. We have been on the go almost all day, every day. We got a Metro pass in December with our picture on it. It can be loaded for 7 days of unlimited rides on all trains and buses but it can only loaded for Monday to Monday. Meg is the Metro genius; I just follow and look for the signs. Based on recommendations, we had reservations for food at two upscale establishments and visited three museums and a couple of markets and MANY streets. Louis Vuitton Museum, European Museum for Photography, the Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation Museum. Lunch at Aux Lyonaise and dinner at L’Atelier. Louis Vuitton Foundation is a Frank Gehry architecture building and had a major exhibition of master painter works that were in a russian collector’s collection; Picasso, Matisse, and MANYMANY more. Being the only museum open on Monday it was CROWDED. They do not have the infrastructure to handle those crowds. We waited on line for 90 minutes to buy tickets. TIP: do not go on Monday without a per-purchased ticket. GO for the earliest time they open in AM. Be prepared to look through crowds at the paintings.  Enjoy the interior architecture; it reminded me of the Star Wars Death Star Tuesday’s lunch; hearty three course Lyonaise...

Irregular Post; Malta3

Sunday Jan 8, 2017 Hey! Free wifi at the Malta International Airport ;~} Sweet. BUT. This is a COLD January for Malta. Mid 40s with gale winds and occasional 5 minutes of hail or driven rain. In bed, the wind howls over the roof top and past open courtyards. Ghosts of old and ancient wars are awake and prowling. Friday was a museum day. The ferries between Sliema and Valletta were shut down Thursday AM as the seas even in the inner harbor were to rough. It is suspected they wont be running until Monday AM. All the boats in the harbor were anchored out in the middle, away from the docks and retaining walls. Local buses were packed and as a result warm. The Archeology Museum is closest to the bus terminal so that was the goal in the AM. Malta isn’t prepared for winter weather. “It only lasts a month. Maybe more this year.” In side the museum we only unzipped the jacket layers. It was still cold but at least no wind. Interestingly Malta was first settled from “Sicily” 7000 years ago by agricultural megalithic peoples. Stone burial structures older than Stonehenge and Pyramids are found here. These people disappeared after 2500 years; drought? 4500 years ago permanent people (Bronze Age) arrived and the islands have been inhabited since. Because of location it has been fought over often. Famously the christians and muslims sieged in the 1500s. WWII saw massive bombings by axis forces. There is a War Museum that we spent cold time in in the afternoon echoed this history from a military viewpoint. Winds...

Irregular Post; Malta2

Friday, Jan 6 2017 Hi, they speak English here. Malta IS a hidden jewel in the Mediterranean. English is the official and common language but Maltese is the one locals use with each other.  The country is made of 7 small island with Malta being the largest at about 900 square kilometers, the second largest is Gozo at 25 sq km.  It is not very expensive.  Food and architecture is a fusion of Maltese, Italian and other Mediterranean influences.  It looks and feels very different from any place we’ve been before and yet it is very comfortable and inviting and visually stimulating.  Few Americans are here because it requires at least one plane change for a long travel day.  For us, it is a can-go-back-to place.  Gran Canaria was a nice been-there-did-that place. We spent Thursday on Gozo.  An hour by local bus #212 from Sliema to the ferry. HopOnHopOff bus for the little island; not our usual choice of transport but it was a good compromise for Gozo.  The time between HopOff and HopOn stops is about 45 minutes.  I could have used an hour but then the next bus would have been another half hour later.  It WAS 50F AND Gale windy on Thursday; hanging about extra-time waiting for bus was NOT in the cards. We wore ALL our layers of clothes that we had planned for returning to January Boston.  We did NOT sit on the top of the double decker bus very much. Most exciting was at the Azur Window at the northwest corner of Gozo.  This is an arch somewhat like Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.  But it is exposed to...

Irregular Post; Malta

Wednesday, January 4, 2017 Hi,           “Say WHAT! Malta? 2017?”           “Well, Yeah, Malta. Sliema, Malta; across the harbor from Valleta, the capital.” Christmas weekend in Nice we had some cool weather and clouds. But in the afternoon, the clouds gapped at the horizon and partly broke overhead. Some amazing sunset colors appeared along the Cote d’Azur. I think I sent them last week. Bagnols was nice after Nice. We had a fine time with David, Alice and the two grandsons, Tristan and Gabriel. Gabriel was in the depths of bronchitis and unhappy when we arrived at lunch time. He had seen the doctor in the morning but Tristan was in good spirits. We had time to tour some small hill towns and wineries, drove some narrow curvy roads, ate some yummy home made food and drank some excellent local beverages. We were in bed by 10P every night including New Year’s eve. Weather was fine with frost in the AM and mid 50s by late afternoon. “Malta?” “Oh yeah.” Last summer while waiting for a plane from Newcastle to Nice, we had talked to an English couple who were heading to Malta for their 15th time. Having never been to Malta, it seemed like a good idea to fit it in when we planned this trip. So here we are, in a Sliema guest house at 30 euro a night, across the harbor by water taxi from Valleta. Malta is a mix of many Mediterranean influences; Sicilian (90 minutes away by ferry), English, Continental, North African and Turkish. Approaching Valleta by ferry it visually reminded both of us...