Malta & Gozo for the Ladies
Adventure in the Middle of the Mediterranean! Not so much about wars and battles, swords and guns, this VIP program aims to take a gentler look at 7000 years of history, particularly when it comes to Malta's prehistoric Temple Culture heritage and the legendary fertility cult. Escorted by America's expert ...Read Full Description
- Gozo, Malta; Malta
- Trip Length:
- 10 days
- Price Range:
- From $3495 to $4095 (Use Source Code "TRIPOLOGY" at time of booking for a $150.00 per person discount off final payment.) per person See what this includes and what this excludes
- Best Time to Go:
Oct 14, 2011 to Oct 23, 2011
- Recommended for:
Adults (40 - 64)
Group Retreat, Spiritual Journey
Detailed Trip Description
Adventure in the Middle of the Mediterranean! Not so much about wars and battles, swords and guns, this VIP program aims to take a gentler look at 7000 years of history, particularly when it comes to Malta's prehistoric Temple Culture heritage and the legendary fertility cult. Escorted by America's expert on the subject, Linda C. Eneix
Day 1 - Malta
13 October - last day to depart North America, overnight flight and connection in Europe. Options include: London, Frankfurt, Milan, Rome. Air Malta flies to/from most European cities.
You will be met at the airport on arrival and transferred to your hotel for check-in.
The Corinthia Palace is a lovely old-world style spa hotel located near several embassies and across the road from the residence of the President. You will have time to refresh and settle in before we collect at 6:00 PM for an official “Welcome”, followed by dinner at the hotel. In the evening you may enjoy a stroll in the quiet residential neighborhood.
Day 2 - Malta
Breakfast at the hotel is served from 7:AM. At 9:00 AM we will depart from the lobby with transport to the capital city of Valletta. Built by the Hospitaller Knights of St. John in the 16th century, massive fortifications are part of a defense system that rings this gem of baroque architecture. We’ll stop at the Sacred Hospital of the knights, still one of the longest unsupported halls in Europe, and attend a multi-media presentation “The Malta Experience”, to put the many layers of Malta’s history in perspective. Continuing around the outer ring of Valletta, we will then ride through the countryside to The Limestone Heritage Museum for a light lunch and a hands-on encounter with the stone that has been so much a part of Malta’s legacy. We’ll return to the hotel in time for a rest or a swim in one of the hotel's pools before the day’s activities continue with an expert lecture on the three great religions of the Mediterranean by Prof. Charles Dalli, author of “Malta The Medieval Millennium”. Dinner out will be in a local restaurant, favorite of the locals, where we will have a chance to sample the national dish: rabbit cooked in wine and garlic. (Alternate dishes will be available.)
Day 3 - Malta
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
The day’s activities begin with an introduction to the ancient “Temple Culture”. Predating the pyramids by more than a thousand years, Malta’s megalithic monuments embody the birth of architecture; the advanced culture that used them illustrates the Mediterranean migration of the earliest agricultural societies. Leaving the hotel, travel to the southern coast and the temples of Hagar Qim and Mnajdra where we will have the first encounter with these magnificent megalithic structures. After Lunch, there is time at Malta’s Blue Grotto for a scenic ride into small caves (weather permitting) and an opportunity to look at the stratigraphy of the island’s limestone composition. We return to our hotel in the afternoon with balance of the day at leisure. Dinner on your own.
Day 4 - Malta
Personal interaction with local women in their markets and kitchens
We return to Valletta this morning; our destination is the National Museum of Archaeology. Housed in the 16th century lodgings of the Knights of Provence, the museum protects carved stones removed from the temples, exquisite pottery and sculptures, and mysterious artifacts of the prehistoric culture. Lunch and the balance of the day are on your own for exploring this rich city. A time & place to meet for return to the hotel will be fixed. A guide will be on hand for the morning to assist those who desire to remain escorted. Those who wish to remain longer will be instructed on the use of the local public bus system or taxi service. Valletta is a small and very easily managed “city”, pleasantly experienced (and in some places only navigable) on foot. Participants will be given maps marked with locations for attractions such as the Grand Master’s Palace, the Palace Amoury, the Cathedral of St. John and St. Paul Shipwreck Church, the Museum of Fine Art, World War II Museum and War Rooms (entry on your own.) After a rest back at the hotel, we depart for an intimate evening in a private home. A sampling of local wines will be followed by an enlightening presentation on the Phoenicians, ancient Canaanites and people of the purple dye. Dinner with our host and hostess will be a special highlight.
Day 5 - Malta
An easy day to join us or skip off on your own. The morning is free to sleep in, bask in the sun a bit, walk in the nearby St. Anton Gardens attached to the President’s Palace. Noonish complimentary transport will be provided to Marsaxlokk fishing village and open air market (hand-made tablecloths, foods, souvenir items). Since lunch is on your own, you might want to try one of the lovely little café’s in this area. Then we’ll continue to the Craft’s Village of glass blowers, filigree jewelry makers and other handicrafts. Dinner will be pasta tonight, enjoyed with invited local guests.
Day 6 - Gozo
Walk into the oldest buildings still standing on Earth
Leisurely morning check-out, bags will be loaded onto the coach and we will drive up along the northern coast, stopping near St. Paul’s Bay. Continuing via Mellieha, we visit a very ancient shrine built around a natural spring believed to have healing powers. A packed lunch will be provided en-route. At the tip of the island, we arrive at Cirkewwa and the car Ferry to Gozo. We will board on foot, bags loaded into a trolly for pick-up on the other side. The crossing of about 25 minutes can be enjoyed on deck or in one of the comfortable passenger lounges. On arrival in Gozo, we will be met by a new coach and make an unrushed (expected to be uncrowded) late afternoon visit to the Ggantija Temples. Listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest buildings on earth, these impressive twin temples were long held by the locals to have been built by giants. We then continue for check-in at The Calypso Hotel, named for the nymph who is reputed to have enchanted and kept Ulysses captive for seven years on this very island: Homer’s Ogygea. Dinner at the hotel.
Day 7 - Gozo
Mythical landscapes and legendary hospitality
A full day of excursion on the island of Gozo will include Calypso’s Cave and the Citadel, a walled medieval town with its own small archaeology museum and folklore museum. In the olden days, the local folks worked the fields by day and retreated behind the walls of the city to sleep, hopefully protected from slave raids that decimated little Gozo. We also visit the TaPinu Sanctuary and the wild landscape and natural formations of Dwejra: the Azure Window stone bridge, the tiny lagoon of the Inland Sea, and Fungus Rock where a native medicinal plant was so highly valued by the Knights, that to be caught stealing it meant certain death. After return to the hotel, dinner and the evening are free for you to enjoy this idyllic and romantic corner of the world. The area of our hotel is called Marsalforn and comes with a story of a girl in a bakery and a cutthroat pirate. Perhaps you’ll learn it in one of the charming local seaside restaurants just outside the hotel.
Day 8 - Malta
A leisurely departure from Gozo this morning and we return to Malta the way we came. After dropping bags at the Corinthia Palace, we’ll continue to the ancient capital of Malta: Mdina. Lunch included. Once again, maps and meeting instructions will be provided for those who would like to explore on their own, rejoining for lunch in this fascinating medieval city of curving streets and ancestral palaces. Roman ruins lie beneath its pavements and there are Punic remains below that. Was there once a megalithic temple on this site? A Roman Domus museum lies just outside the walls of the city, and our guide will be available to take those who wish on a walking tour into surrounding Rabat to visit the grotto where St. Paul lived for three months, as well as 4th century Christian catacombs. Returning to the hotel for check-in after a long day, the evening and dinner are on your own.
Day 9 - Malta
As a climax to an amazing week, our visits this morning include the Tarxien Temple site and the incomparable Hal Saflieni Hypogeum. Only ten visitors per hour are permitted inside this underground mortuary temple complex. More than 5,000 years old and carved from solid stone to replicate features of the temples, this “architecture in the negative” provides a lasting impression and moving experience for many people. We then proceed to the area of the island first settled by the Knights before the time of The Great Siege. A simple lunch will be provided, followed by time on your own to visit as you wish the Maritime Museum, the Inquisitor’s Palace, (or perhaps the casino.) Return to the hotel and time to refresh before we gather for evening transport back to Mdina for a gala “Farewell” dinner. If Mdina is charming by day, it is magical at night. This will be one to remember.
Day 10 - Malta
Our program concludes with a transfer to the airport for departure, unless you have arranged to extend your stay on your own.
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