Monday, October 6, 2014
Ancient underground burial site is a 'must see'
The Hypogeum was first opened to visitors in 1908 and since then has been visited by many thousands of people. Unfortunately, this has taken a toll on the delicate microclimate of the site affecting preservation, especially of the unique red ochre paintings. Consequently, the site was closed for conservation between 1990 and 2000 and visitors are now limited to 80 per day in groups of ten. So you need to order your tickets in advance, which luckily I had done.
Our bus took us through densely populated areas of largely unattractive shops and housing until we got to Paola. We had arrived early, so as not to miss our time slot, and so we had time to wander around. Being Sunday, most shops and bars were closed. Some men's clubs, that is small bars for men only, were open and quite busy.
It was fascinating seeing the Hypogeum but now it was back on the bus to Valletta. The bus service was quite frequent and for just over €6 we got a pass to ride on any bus for a week. What excellent value for money.
Once again it was extremely hot with temperatures approaching 38 degrees. We walked through one of the big main pedestrian streets stopping at a grocery store to stock up on food for our apartment. We saw very few grocery stores in Valletta. I'm not sure where the locals shopped.
By now it was lunchtime and we found a lovely little bistro down a narrow side street. Like many of the restaurants in Malta it had rabbit on the menu but this time it was rabbit stew cooked in white wine, rosemary and some other herbs. It was so tender and just fell off the bone. The local Maltese beer made a lovely accompaniment.