Saturday, December 1st 2007

In the afternoon I headed out into the island. I went to Valletta's main bus station, where I found a bus heading for Mdina, Malta's former capital. It sits right in the middle of the island, surrounded by vast walls built by the Normans 900 years ago. I wandered through its narrow streets, past St. Paul's Cathedral, to a viewpoint over the island to Valletta, Sliema and the Grand Harbour.

I knew that Malta was one of the most densely populated countries in the world (having previously not known it when I needed to), and here I could really appreciate it. The island wasn't entirely covered in buildings but it didn't seem far off. I also could see here just how small Malta is. I'd spent several pounds on a taxi from the airport to Sliema when I arrived, but I could have walked it in about half an hour.

I watched night fall over the island. One of the most surprising sights was the vast dome of the church in Mosta. It is the third largest dome in the world, and it looked ridiculously out of place on this tiny island.

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