Of all the cruises I have taken, three ports stand out as the most stunning (especially if you sail into them at sunrise or sunset): Istanbul, with its mosques and soaring minarets; Kotor, Montenegro, a medieval village on a pristine bay — and my favorite of all, Malta.
Malta’s port, Valetta, is a city of forts, turrets, palaces, cathedrals, and ancient walls dating from the 1500s, when the Knights of St. John (of Crusader fame) moved here from the island of Rhodes.
As our guest contributor Harley Burke points out, Malta has myriad attractions meriting a stay well beyond the standard cruise ship stopover. And don’t miss the smaller, more rural island of Gozo, reachable by ferry and home to some fascinating prehistoric sites (along with beaches and hiking trails).
By Harley… Continue reading
With Season 6 of HBO’s hit series Game of Thrones almost here, it’s time to reacquaint yourself with Westeros, Winterfell, Essos, King’s Landing, The Seven Kingdoms, the Iron Throne, Tyrion, Cersei, the rest of the Lannisters, Daenerys and the Targaryens, the Baratheons, the Starks, Lord Baelish, the Greyjoys, the Wildlings, the White Walkers…and dozens of other characters, places, families, armies, kings and would-be kings, sadists, liars, spies, schemers, charlatans, lovers, knights, dragons and dungeons we don’t have room to mention.
You can be forgiven if occasionally you get confused about who’s who and what’s what. But GoT is just about the most popular TV show in the world right now, seen in 193 countries (we’re guessing North Korea is the outlier), and we’re big fans, too.
What better way to get ready for Season 6 than visiting some or… Continue reading
Baby boomer travelers looking to relocate in the European Union during retirement (or before) without going through pesky residency and visa requirements can now achieve instant EU citizenship: for a price.
According to a story by Thomas Steinmetz in Global Travel Industry News, the Mediterranean island nation of Malta has just approved a plan to sell Maltese EU passports — and citizenship — for a mere 650,000 euros (about U.S. $875,000), which would allow you to live anywhere within the European Union.
France? Mais oui!
Spain? No problema!
Germany? Machen Sie sich’s bequem!
The Netherlands? Een glas bier, alstublieft! (Well, I don’t know much Dutch)
Personally, I love Malta (see my earlier post on it) as well, so if I had that kind of cash it would be a tough choice. There are 28 EU countries altogether, and citizenship in one permits residency in any other.… Continue reading
Valletta, Malta – I’m in the capital of Malta before embarking on the Europa 2, Hapag-Lloyd’s new luxury cruise ship, for a cruise through the Western Mediterranean.
Valletta is a beautiful walled city, once home to the Knights of St. John — originally formed during the Crusades to bring Christianity back to the Holy Land — who fled here from the island of Rhodes in the 1500s.
When the knights arrived here, they paid a fief to the Spanish king of one falcon per year in order to occupy the island; eventually, the payment evolved into a golden falcon. No one knows what happened to the golden falcons, but the mystery formed the basis of the Dashiell Hammett novel The Maltese Falcon, later made into a… Continue reading