Impressions of Malta ... and some tips if you're visitng there ...
The island has a particular odour that lingers in many parts that you can small in the water and the air. My feeling was that it's related to pollution issues and it's just one of those things about living on an island.
When I look back at the time spent there one energy/feeling comes clearly to mind and that is of either being in a state of seige or of repelling intruders. I guess when you've fulfilled a particular role for so long, it's hard to change that energy.
Politically, Malta's inclusion into the EU was a necessary one for issues of security, detection of drug movements and stopping the odd terrorist or three from moving on to their target destinations from the island, having used the island as a drop off point. Malta's population is roughly 40,000 but they allow up to 1000 immigrants into the country per annum. The reasons are the usual mix that we have here ranging from people seeking their fortune to those seeking political asylum for various issues.
In terms of a location for photography it's fairly repetetive. It's mainly a collection of forts and churches. However, if you want to photograph some mediterranean blue in the water, it's a good location. I didn't try any underwater photography there but have heard many reports from other visitors of the diversity and beauty of the underwater life surrounding the islands. Most of the museums etc don't allow tripods and flash photography.
The easiest way to get around is by bus. A week's pass will cost you just over 13 euros and you can get from one end of the island to the other in about an hour. Be cautious when travelling in groups though - check the bus - if it looks full, wait for the next one as some drivers won't wait for you to try to get off if some of your friends can't get on.
Use bottled mineral water for drinking and brushing your teeth. It's also worth taking sachets of minerals to replace the stuff you'll probably sweat out of your system. If you start getting cramps in limbs it's a sign that you need those minerals and electrolytes topping up urgently.
There's a wide range of food available, everything from McDonalds to indian, as well as some traditional maltese restaurants. The local fish is affordable and tasty too. Check around for the competition price wise, they all have menu boards on the street.
If you run out of euros, it's easy enough to get more as there are plenty of cash machines on the island.
It's worth seeing the islands of Comino and Gozo. Gozo is accessible by a regular ferry that'll cost you 4.50 euros for a return journey and you can use buses there too. Comino is a very small place that has one fort but is a good place to take a break and enjoy a swim in the lagoon.
If you're going to any fireworks displays, be cautious and keep your distance as there are more fatalities related to fireworks than road accidents on the islands.
The local language sounds like a mixture of italian and arabic. Most people speak english though and you should be able to get about ok.
Make sure you pick up a free bus routes map in Valletta from the bus terminus. Valletta is the country's capital and administrative centre.
Other places worth a visit are: Mdina, Rabat, Marsaxlokk, Mosta and Birgu. St Pauls Bay is a nice quiet area to stay in. If you're into nightlife etc, head for Paceville. Buses stop earlier after the main season finishes though and taxis can be expensive.
I'm still editing the shots but it shouldn't take that long before they're posted.