Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 25 miles, approximately 1.5 hours. Walking up to 3 miles and standing approximately 3 hours; varied terrain. Extent and duration of free time activities according to personal choice.
We will set out via motorcoach for field trips to two more of the seven megalithic temple complexes found on Malta and Gozo. Hagar Qim is on a hilltop just outside the village of Qrendi. It is believed that this temple was constructed between 3600-3200 B.C.E., the Ggantija phase in Maltese prehistory. It seems never to have been completely buried due to its appearance in paintings from the 18th and 19th centuries. The site was first excavated in 1839. It consists of a central building made up of a series of C-shaped rooms called apses and the remains of two other structures. Some of the items excavated from this building have been replaced with replicas, while the originals can be found in the National Museum of Archaeology. Mnajdra is located about 500 meters downhill from Hagar Qim. The best preserved structures in this complex are three buildings surrounding a common oval forecourt. The first is the oldest, built sometime during the Ggantija phase. The South Temple was built during the Tarxien phase (3150-2500 B.C.E.). The Central Temple that lies between the other two was the last to be built. Tentlike conopies have been placed over them to assist in preservation. Next, we will ride to the Blue Grotto. This popular natural wonder is comprised of a main archway nearly 100 feet (30 meters) high and six different caves that have been formed over time by the waves of the surrounding sea. The water in this area has a different chemical composition making it an amazing bright blue and with a clarity that allows one to see the shells and rocks on the bottom of the sea. Weather permitting, we will take a boat trip into this striking cave complex.
At a local restaurant, we’ll have a plated meal with beverage choices of a glass of wine and water; other beverages available for purchase.
We will ride on to Misrah Ghar il-Kbir, also known as Clapham Junction, to see the ancient and mysterious “cart ruts.” These long parallel lines, resembling cart tracks, have puzzled experts for centuries. While the tracks look to be clearly man-made, their purpose remains unknown. The measurements of the tracks vary from 3-6 inches deep, with some as deep as more than 20 inches. Even more mysterious is that some of the tracks travel up and down steep ledges, lead off the edges of cliffs, and even continue underwater out into the sea. Reboarding our motorcoach, we will take a short drive for a Road Scholar exclusive exploration of Verdala Palace, currently used as the summer home for the President of Malta. It was built in 1586 by Grandmaster de Verdalle. The Verdala Palace had different uses over the course of its history, including serving as a military prison to hold French soldiers captured during the French Blockade, and as a silk factory by the British before being abandoned. Under the governorship of Fredrick Cavendish Ponsonby, refurbishment began on the palace and was completed in the 1850s by Governor Sir William Reird. Returning to the hotel, we will have some time to freshen up and relax before dinner.
At a local restaurant, we’ll have a plated meal with beverage choices of a glass of wine and water; other beverages available for purchase. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.
At leisure. Prepare for check-out and departure tomorrow.