I woke up early on our first full (non-working) day in Malta to call my parents, but I had to hang up suddenly when I realized we were going to be late for our tour to the Hypogeum! I rushed to finish getting ready, we rushed out the door, and drove through a foreign country to a place we didn’t know, somehow found parking and made it with just minutes to spare. I couldn’t believe it…
I don’t have any pictures of the Hypogeum, but it stands out in my memory as one of the most amazing things I have ever done. The tour of the Neolithic necropolis was fantastic – I have never seen anything like it in my life. We went deep underground to see the carvings of a mysterious people.
Back above ground, we visited our first of several other Neolithic sites, including the Għar Dalam cave and Borg In-Nadur temple site. The latter is pictured below. After a walk around the marina of Birzebbuga and grabbing a drink at a beach bar, we spent the second half of our day closer to where we were staying inland, around Mdina.
We headed back underground for St. Paul’s Catacombs; I felt kind of like a kid in a candy store here. I ducked up and down and up and down so many catacombs, practically running between each one. It was so exciting – you never knew what the next one was going to look like or how big it was going to be! There were carvings of menorahs (pictured) or other daily tools and instruments; some had vaulted ceilings or multiple tombs; one you could spend 10-15 minutes walking around it was so big!
Finally, our afternoon drew to a close with a quiet walk around Mdina, the old capital of Malta. We walked there from where our car was parked. As the sun was just starting to set, we slowly strolled through the narrow streets. Just like so many other ancient cities, around every corner was another beautiful vista or quaint square. It was a bit magical, and a great end to a day spent both underground and above ground learning about Malta’s ancient and medieval history.