Exploring Malta’s Victoria Lines


The Victoria Lines is a 12km long series of fortifications that cuts across the island of Malta from coast to coast, along a steep escarpment called The Great Fault. […the Great Fault was actually no one’s fault… just geology…] They were built by the British between 1870 and 1899, to defend the main part of the island from a landing and invasion in the north. The Grand Harbour became the Royal...

Searching for the Past — How I Spent Christmas


Christmas is just another day for me. I’m not religious, and if forced to choose I would pick the old Greek and Roman pagan gods over any current creed or belief system. We don’t have any family in Malta either. And so, rather than sit around at home working, we decided to take advantage of the silence of the countryside to do a little exploring. It was a nice sunny December day, and the guns of...

I Spent Halloween in Jail


I decided to do something different this year. Rather than knock on doors to get candy, or run around town throwing eggs and evading capture, I thought I’d spend the night in jail. But not just any jail would do. It had to have a reputation for dark deeds, and at least a few hauntings. What better place than the Inquisitor’s Palace in Birgu? In a string of innovative tours — which recently...

How to Find Your Place in the Sun


You’ll recall that in my last blog I was scouting out the Costa de la Luz in Spain as a potential candidate for my “life after Malta” base. And I promised to reveal more about how I choose my next location. I’ve heard so many horror stories about folks who sold their homes and cashed in all their chips to move to their dream “place in the sun,” only to realize they absolutely hated it and wanted...

The Mystery of Tarxien Temple


I had an opportunity to go behind the scenes last week at one of Malta’s most important megalithic sites: Tarxien Temple. It was an after hours members-only visit to examine the most recent archaeological excavations, and to learn a few things that aren’t on the normal tourist itinerary. The megalithic temples of Malta were built during three distinct phases between around 5,000 BC and 2,500 BC...

The 360 Degree Penthouse Years


A few weeks ago I sent you an email about the end of the Palazzo Years. And I shared some photos of the amazing 400 year old house I was renting in a village called Zejtun in the south of Malta. As it was prophesied, so it has come to pass. The Palazzo Years have ended, and I’m now looking out over the rugged valley of Wied ta’ Isperanza from the terrace of my new place. But we were able to toast...

Exploring Malta’s Cottonera Lines


Last week I had an opportunity to visit a historical site here in Malta that isn’t open to the public, and I’d like to share a few photos with you. It’s right around the corner from where I live. I drove through it many times on my way to and from Birgu, but I had no idea what it was apart from its name: the Notre Dame Gate. This massive baroque gate, decorated with a bust of Grand Master...

Come to the Secret Corners of my Island


The theme of “finding hidden places in my own backyard” continued. But this time I was traveling the local scene with an actual explorer… I met Mark Borda in Khartoum, Sudan. We were both on the same expedition to Jebel Uweinat, deep in the Sahara desert. But it was only after we returned to Malta that we realized he lives in the same building as my landlord’s father, and that he’s known...

Take a Walk Through Zejtun with Me


I’ve gone to a great deal of trouble to visit some of the world’s forgotten corners. But sometimes you discover secret places right there in your own neighbourhood… That’s what happened to me — again — when I took a walk through the streets around my house on a Sunday excursion with the local historical society: Wirt iz-Zejtun. The town of Zejtun takes its name from the Sicilian Arabic word...

Olive Pressing in Malta


I promised to update you on this year’s olive harvest. If you read my earlier blog — Time to Harvest the Olives — you’ll know that I have 12 olive trees on the roof of my house. Each tree is a different variety; some are table olives and some are used for oil. The sun dissolved the paper tags long ago, so we can no longer identify which is which. We carefully fertilized each tree last spring. And...

Ryan Murdock

Author of Vagabond Dreams: Road Wisdom from Central America. Host of Personal Landscapes podcast. Editor-at-Large (Europe) for Canada's Outpost magazine. Columnist at The Shift. Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.


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