Day 381: Hal Saflieni HypogeumMarch 2 in Malta
Another day, another neolithic monument! Today we were heading to the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum, an ancient underground burial complex. But our tickets were for the 2pm session, so we basically chilled out for the morning.
Headed out around 12:45pm, needing to catch two buses to reach our destination. But the bus service here is pretty terrible and our first bus never showed up - probably stuck in traffic somewhere! It's insane how people just block entire streets to unload their van or whatever; a lot of the time they don't have a choice but dealing with it every day would just drive me insane.
Nervously watching the clock tick closer to our viewing time, conscious that we'd paid 70 euros for tickets and that we wouldn't be able to reschedule since it books out months in advance, we ended up running down to the waterfront and finding a taxi to take us there for a steep 20 euros. No meter of course, it's not that kind of country!
But we made it in plenty of time, and it was definitely worth it. The underground monument is three levels deep, and dates variously between 6000 and 2500 BC. It's a funeral and burial complex, dug completely into the rock. Hard to believe as well that they didn't have any metal tools to work with, just flint and stone! It had been really well preserved, since it was actually only discovered in 1903, when some workers digging a water cistern for houses above accidentally broke through the ceiling! It's actually in the middle of a residential neighbourhood and quite unusual.
All finished, we wrapped our filming and caught a bus into Valletta city proper. Decided to take advantage of not having Schnitzel with us, and head inside the cathedral to do some filming since obviously dogs aren't allowed! The city centre is a separate world heritage site which we'll cover in a couple of days but here we spent about 90 minutes inside the cathedral - very impressive. It's got a fantastic baroque interior and a few original Caravaggio paintings from when he lived on Malta.
Got booted out of the church when it closed at 4:30pm, so we had a brief look around the town and then caught the ferry back across to Sliema and our apartment. Collected Schnitzel who seemed no worse for wear from his stay in the apartment for the afternoon, then went out for a couple of happy hour drinks on the waterfront. One place had 2-for-1 cocktails, so we ordered two pina coladas (I wanted an aperol spritz but they both had to be the same cocktail), then the waitress came back with four!! We sent the two spare ones back, but later regretted it since the cocktails evaporated quickly and I had to have a beer as a follow-up!Read more