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Thursday, 25 February 2010

Maltese Drinking Clubs (And other cultural discoveries)

Had a go at this "winter sun" malarkey and went to Malta. It was sunny and unlike Birmingham Airport, it didn't have the "wrong sort of snow". It was a partly escorted tour and while the other half of the group were having their turn down an archaeological hole in the ground, the local guide casually pointed out what he called a "Band Club". The official story is that the Band Club provides a band to accompany a saint's statue in procession on the saint's day. So they erect a large building with glass case to store the statue in. And while they're at it, they build a bar. So, for the other 364 days of the year when there's no procession, they smoke, drink and don't let women in. It's a bit like a Morris side in the UK. Top picture is taken in Nadur, Gozo while one with some of the many small dogs is from Paola in the mainland. The inside of this one is quite ornate

Actually, there's a lot of small dogs in Malta which is perhaps appropriate for one of the smaller European countries - but I digress - another institution is the Malta Labour Party. They seem to have an "office" in every village and - yes, you guessed it - it's also a bar. The picture with the huge flag is on the waterfront in Marsaxlokk

 There's scenery too. The picture of open countryside is near Nadur. The yellow flowers (Paleocyanus crasifoleus) were introduced during the "British Period" from South Africa and just spread. Went to the orange sand Ramla Bay. It's got a rocky end too. Went for a paddle. No one else did. Clearly I was the only English on the beach...