for a little traveling bad luck. In all of my years of travel, I've never lost or had anything stolen. On our last day in Zurich as our tram pulled into the train station, I looked down to realize my camera wasn't in my small bag/purse-like thing. I panicked, glanced through my backpack, and told Sam I was going back across the city to our hotel. I was hoping that I'd left it beside the computer in the lobby. The last thing I did before we hoped on the tram was look in my gmail for my grandmother's address. I had pulled the postcard out of my bag, so I thought perhaps I had also put the camera on the counter. No such luck. Since I still had about three hours before our flight to Malta I decided to retrace our steps (with all of my luggage) but no luck. The upside of rapidly walking a few miles with my luggage is that the exercise sort of helped me calm down and come to terms with it. So in short I lost all of my photos of Switzerland and my brand new pretty camera.
Thankfully it's just a camera and not my passport and something else that would be a nightmare to replace. And thankfully at least Sam took some photos of the last two places I visited. I hate not having the photos of beautiful Luzern or any photos of myself but what can you do?
I have yet to find an Olympus camera here in Malta (since I already have extra batteries, etc. for Olympus I would rather replace it with one), and even the cheapest bottom-of-the-line no-name digital cameras are $300. So I may wait until Greece to replace it and just rely on Sam's photos for now.
On to more happy news: Despite my running around looking for my camera, I made it to my flight o.k. thanks to the efficient Swiss transportation system (which waits for no one which must be why it is so darn timely). We arrived at our hotel in Malta around 8:30. The front desk guy noted the contrast in what Sam and I chose to do upon arrival; Sam went to Hard Rock Cafe to have a beer, and I went to the "Synergie Gym" that is connected to our hotel. Then I wondered around and found a nice cafe. It was nice to work out; I always love checking out the unfamiliar machines, and this gym certainly has some. I did a stairmaster in which your legs stick out in the air in front of you. There's a rock climbing wall, and a cage that helps you stretch. Half of the cardio equipment uses the metric system, which I still totally do not know.
The next morning I woke up early enough to check out the free breakfast buffet and am now hooked on Nutella (chocolate hazelnut spread...you can get it in the US, but I had never tried it). Otherwise the buffet was a lot of things that were not too yummy (to me at least) except for the watermelon and yogurt. I do not think Malta has many American tourists, so I think they are catering to other tastes.
I spent a few hours at our rooftop swimming pool, which has a pretty view of the bay. The weather is perfect--warm and sunny with a nice breeze. You know the type of hot that makes getting in the pool optional?
Later in the day Sam and I took a bus to Valletta, the capital of Malta. The lack of pedestrian crossings (you basically just run for your life), the old buses with wooden seats and no suspension systems and croaking clutches, and the cheap price of a ride stands in sharp contrast to the public transport in each of the Swiss cities I visited. Regardless we got to Valletta and enjoyed wondering around. The cathedral there is beautiful as well as all of the quaint side streets and a fountain with male mermaids...or is it mermen?
As we headed down the main thoroughfare of Valletta, a female voice boomed all around us. We quickly noticed a PA type system at the corner of each building. Atlhough we could not understand what was being said, it was evident (somehow) that it was religious. It was sort of creepy (not to mention incredibly loud and annoying), and it went on for at least an hour. Thankfully it did not brainwash me, although it sort of had that vibe. Yeah for living in a country where religion is not allowed to be broadcast over a PA system throughout our cities for hours at a time. After about half an hour we came upon a processional in which some men in robes were walking around. Later they came through carrying some female figure with about 200 people following them and holding roses. I asked a cop about it, and he didn't seem to know much but indicated it only happened once a year.
The evening ended at a cafe; I had some chocolate pritiforoles (balls with cream in them and covered in a chocolate sauce) and Sam had a half bottle of wine. Now I am off to explore and be lazy by the pool, and Sam is scuba diving. We have one more full day here before our 5:55 a.m. flight on Friday to Athens. We have a short layover there before we catch a flight to Rhodes. I may get to check out a turkish bath there.
p.s. I'm grateful for the chance to check out a country I knew nothing about before March:) And in case you know nothing about Malta either, it is comprised of several islands. They aren't all that far from Sicily, Italy (which makes me think of Sofia from the Golden Girls). The currency is the Maltese Lira, and the official languages are English and Maltese.