Susan's sketchbook log: Sicily & Malta


Maltese Cross

Cathedral, Mdina  

Crossing the Mediterranean from Sicily, due south, one arrives in Malta. It's the smallest country of the EU, but rich in scenes to paint.

The first day trip was to Mdina, the medieval hilltop capital and known as the "Silent City." Someone forgot to tell that to the tour guides, who wear wireless mic's as they herd cruise ship passengers through the city's narrow streets.

The upper terraces of the Fontanella Tea Gardens (Malta slipped free of the British Empire in 1964, but it's still a pretty good place to get a 'cuppa') provided a nice overlook across Rabat (the "suburbs") and the valley. Views (and names) like that made North Africa seem the nearer neighbor, although in fact Tunisia lays 100 miles away, about twice the distance back to Sicily.

San Pawl, MdinaSpeaking of which, Maltese is descended from Maghrebi Arabic. It is the only Semitic language written in the Latin alphabet. I love stuff like that! Though I must say its Latin alphabet is a little non-standard: the words for 'bird' and 'pig' are għasfur and ħanżir. When's the last time you dotted your 'z' and crossed your 'h'?

While my tea cooled, I found these views of Saint Paul's Cathedral. And used up most of my raw sienna -- which, come to find out, is today largely produced in Sicily! No wonder this whole trip has seemed been bathed in the color, necessitating a run on the local art store. | sklog home | previous | next

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