On Wednesday afternoon, we headed to Vienna by train to catch our flight to Malta. All of us were very excited, especially for the nice weather and the experiences. Our flight took off around 8pm and due to a one hour stop on Sicily we finally arrived in the middle of the night, at 11.30. Everybody was exhausted, very hungry and looking forward to getting some sleep right after meeting our host parents.
But we weren’t expecting a taxi ride of that kind! It took some of us about two hours to arrive at our host family’s place because of incompetent taxi drivers. It seemed to be common to drive backwards in one-way-streets, to ignore speed-limits and speedbumps successfully and not to find addresses.
Nonetheless, every group arrived and was welcomed by their tired host family and finally got to bed. In the morning breakfast was prepared for us and school started at 9am. After a short lunch break the students and teachers were guided through Valetta, the capital of Malta, where we saw important buildings and enjoyed a great view of the sea and the Grand Harbour. At 4pm one canon shot was fired. An attraction for tourists. Afterwards, we returned by ferry and headed home for dinner.
Our first evening was free and we discovered the surrounding area and the local culinary culture. Everybody enjoyed themselves and went to bed early to recover for the following adventurous days and nights.
Since our afternoon was free for each of us, we decided to once again visit Valetta and indulge in Maltese specialities. Our next stop was the cinema in Saint Julians near the infamous Paceville. After hearing that we were going there, our host-mother told us that the devil lives there because of the alcohol and the drugs. Nevertheless we made it to the cinema early and visited the beach, had a virgin cocktail, and decided on watching “Aladdin”, all of that under the setting sun and next to a stag party of some Italians. Only in Malta. If you decide to visit the cinema in Malta don’t forget to bring your own 3D glasses and prepare yourself for a break during the movie, we weren’t. The people that didn’t want to go to the cinema decided to go bowling and from what I have seen, it was a blast.
After the movie was over, we went to look for a taxi stand. Conveniently it was right in the next street, the so called Paceville quarter. Since the march to the taxis was exhausting we decided to rest in one of the many bars around. After some time we felt rested enough to make our way to the taxis – after strong encouragement from the teachers – and drove home. Our guest mother told us that she had prayed for us and that was our Friday.
On Saturday morning we drove up to the Tarxien Temples. There, we were able to visit the site for about an hour before we drove back home. The Temples were very impressive, because they were built by the Neolithic people around 5000 years ago. Somehow they could manage to build these mysterious places with stones weighing over 3 tons. It’s still not clear, why the people back then built those Temples or what they did inside of them, but from excavations, archaeologists believed, that the site was mainly used for animal sacrifices. The Temples are very important for the identity of the Maltese, because it verified that there was an ancient culture on the island.
After a few days staying with our host families, we shared our experiences: some of us had very generous families, but the other ones weren’t so lucky and had to live through inhuman conditions. So now we want to compare these two kinds.
First of all the positive side:
Our host family spoke really good English and we noticed that they enjoy having students around. We talked a lot with the family consisting of two Maltese caring and loving grand-parents. They had a really big house and the students had a whole apartment for themselves. We enjoyed the food as well. Our host-mother was Italian and therefore the meals were extraordinarily delicious. Although the streets of our neighbourhood were dirty, our host-family’s garden was absolutely perfect. Furthermore, they looked after our every need throughout our stay. They treated us as if we were their own grandchildren. At our jointly dinner, we talked and laughed a lot. They asked about our day, what we had experienced and what we were going to do afterwards. To put it in a nutshell, the host family was amazing! I will definitely miss them so much.
However, there was also a negative side:
When we arrived, a middle-aged women who was quite strict looking, opened the door. Acting rather grumpy, she instructed us how to close the doors quietly, to use the stairs up to the bunk beds properly and to not use the bath tub in the bathroom because it was broken. This seemed strange but we accepted it and tried to make (and understand) the best out of the weird sentences in poor English she threw at us.
We got familiar with our surroundings and the small four-bedded room and noticed looking out of the window that there was a big garbage-field beneath the jaded, 9-story-high building. Somewhat scared of this first glance we thought that the food would be disgusting. However, apart from the extremely small portions, our host mother only prepared nice international dishes. Because of their poor English, we could not talk a lot with the host family members, but we tried our best and managed to make her complain about the recent politics in Malta and the criminally fast driving taxi drivers.
On Monday we made a bus tour. Our first stop was the Mdina glass factory where all products are handmade. We got the chance to see the workers blowing the glass and making beautiful sculptures, for example penguins, flowers, horses and dolphins. After that we headed off to the highest point of Malta, Dingi Cliffs, which was 253 metres high. A massive photo shooting started, when we realised how perfect the view was. Next stop were the old cities Mdina and Rabat. It was great fun because our tour guide Eric always had a joke in stock. In Mdina we visited the most popular cake factory in Malta, called “Fontanella”. We all skipped lunch for that reason. That´s why we all ate so much chocolate cake and Pastizzi (traditional pastry with cheese, peas or chicken). But for real: It was the best chocolate cake ever!
While most of us were visiting Golden Bay (a very nice sandy beach) on Tuesday, some other students went to Valletta by ferry, so we could see the famous St. John’s Cathedral. As we walked in, we were instantly flashed by the hugeness of this building and its amazing ornaments. In there, you think the whole cathedral was made out of pure gold. Then we went to see the highlight of the church: The only signed painting of Caravaggio. Inside the cathedral there was a small museum, where one could admire the beautiful paintings of Caravaggio.
All in all, there was a huge variety of exciting activities planned for us. On the one hand, we visited some of the most important historical sights of the Maltese Island, on the other hand we absolutely enjoyed the beautiful landscape and the nearly perfect weather. Despite some minor difficulties, the overall impression was positive and we will all remember our stay on Malta with greatest pleasure.
Bericht von SchülerInnen der 7G