Friday, October 16, 2015

Friday: back in mein Heimat

This morning was goodbye to Malta.  It was an interesting stay and a nice experience.  Flight went well.  My seat was between Dutch couple that I didn't know were Dutch or a couple when I sat down but after I found out the wife didn't take my offer to sit by her husband.  I think to show me they still like each other they held hands briefly over my lap on the take off.  It was quite cute as they are 60's.  Anyway we shared a few sentences and I impressed with a couple of be best Dutch lines (I speak a little Dutch).  They talked a little, but I could tell they were guarded not sure if I understood everything they were saying. The noteworthy part was when we were de-planing their traveling companions in front of us were much more gregarious.  They cracked a joke about Lufthansa our airline, drawing a very dutch-like whitty/silly play on the name Lufthansa.  Luft = air (and in Dutch this word also doubles as breaking wind), hansa = Hans is not so common in Dutch, but a common German name.  I laughed and they appreciated the audience.
This is the Lion's tower that Sally noticed behind me when were Facetiming this morning.  I probably would never had seen it if Sally hadn't pointed out their was a tower sticking out of my head on her screen.
 This is the church building on Rueckerstrasse where Opa was bishop.  Nice neat building, just as would expect.  Sorry I cut off the top floor in the picture.

This is a statue of Kaiser Ludwig, he died in 1860's I think.  The church is down the first street on the right there you can see the building the second on the right.  I bet you money Opa and Oma saw this very statue a few times.

This is the other end of Rueckerstrasse building street that opens up to the fair grounds where there are semi-perminant Oktoberfest building/tents.  Roll out the barrel!

 One more picture of the church building.
 This is hard to see by this is a hoge schule (high school) gymnasium at the end of the Rueckerstrasse church street.  I wonder if Papa knew anyone that went here.
I had dinner in a high class mall in Muenchen.  It was good, chicken curry and rice with the right amount of spice.  Sorry the picture is washed out.
 The mall had these nice big 30-40 foot vines growing down from the ceiling.  Different kinds.
 Hey honey, guess who spent too many years in college in our apartment building?

This is the Palace from 1650 in Muenchen.

This is part of the associated 1650 Palace gardens:

This is the 1895 Palace in Muenchen.  Evidently there just weren't enough rooms in the earlier one, or maybe it didn't have indoor plumbing.

These are the twin steeples of the Frauen Kirche in Muenchen.  One is being restored.
 Maximilian made the cut because if his cool pirate like stance.  I'm not sure he chose this one or his mother.  Either way I like it.  There are quite a few statues around the city of royalty and their best friends.
 This is the Theatre house, the friendly statue greating everyone is the Kaiser from 1850.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Thursday beach video

Thursday: Presentation day! only 6 guys were there (I was one of the six)

I spent some time on the beach today, not really a beach without sand but still cool.
 Lunch today was a nice 'Corny' granola bar.

 And a gelato of course.

The big peak of the week was my conference presentation today.  It turned out a large majority of the conference attenders had already left today as it was the last day, probably in hopes of getting home before the weekend.  Anyway, there were 6 people in my presentation session.  One was the moderator and 2 other presenters.  One of others left just before my presentation, so there were really 2 voluntary attendies.  All good.  I would have liked to impress a few more people but oh well. :)
After the conference I went to this Maltese restaurant and had pasta with Maltese meatballs. It was good.  

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Wednesday: Fort St. Elmo and Valleto

I took a bus to Fort St. Elmo today and walked back ~8km through the solid row houses. 

It turns out Malta has been in the middle of a couple big world conflicts being a key locale for trade routes between Europe over to the middle east and later india/china.  The first big conflict was when the Ottomans were trying to push to Europe in 1565.  The Ottomans had a huge 200 ship navy and 40,000 soldiers and were turned away by a 6000, of which 900 english knights and the rest mostly native Maltese.
These are quotes from the Ottoman leader and the Malta leader right before the battle.  It turned out Fort St. Elma fell to the Turks, but at a large cost and they ran out of energy to take the island.  Soon later the Turks imploded.

 Knights armor:
turks Amor, much less substantial.  They used 100-175 pound rocks for cannon balls to break up the walls.
Then in WWII Italy claimed Malta and sent some navy and later germany sent +3000 bombing raids, they said the most bombed area of WWII per square territory (I'm not sure how they are counting this).  Malta never fell.
These are the same guards that have been guarding the palace since 1940.

US president Roosevelt sent this nice letter to the Maltese people after the tide of WWII turned for the Allies.

 Since WWII Malta was a never combative part of NATO and then turned neutral like Switzerland and then joined the EU.  I've noticed more than a dozen of these signs on different major rennovation projects around the island.  Apparently Germany is paying for rebuilding/renovations.

 About a third of the Fort St. Elmo grounds are covered with old barracks that are now home to local squatters.  The guard said I could go look through there, but expect to get yeld at by the squatters.

Looking over the battlements of one of the walls.  The ocean breaker on the left was partially blown up by Italian submarine during WWII.
I have a hard time remembering the cars drive on the wrong side of the road here.  I've got some honks but I'm getting better at looking the right way.

I was really tempted to purchase one these earring sets for Sally.  They looks quite cool close up, the store owner told me they are handmade right there in the store.  When I aske how fast the silver tarnishes he said dont' worry just rub it off with some clothe.  I never buy the first time I see something so I told him I would return.  I saw no fewer than 3 other shops selling what I can tell the exact same earrings.  It reminds me of Jerusalem where the shop owners swear the olive wood nativity scenes are hand carved by them but mysteriously most of the shops nativity figures look exactly the same.  They must all be trained by the same carving master.  :)

I found this splendid little store!
And this is Friar Tuck's place:

Lots of shops next to the tourist places.
 Here is an example of a really run down place. I'm guessing this was built during or just before WWII time.  Soon after WWII England gave the Maltese their independence from English rule and the navy left.  I guess half of the row houses I saw were this same age/shape.  Totally run down and vacated.  Close to the bay and tourist places the houses have been renovated kept up.
 On my walk home I found a botanical garden:

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Tuesday: 2 hours of conference and the rest walking around St. Julians and part of Valletta

My hotel Argento has a delightful breakfast.  This is the breakfast room.
I had German yoghurt, a some breads.
Me infront of the conference center.  Conference is on the 2nd floor.

 This is across from the conference center.  There are a number of historic buildings from the 1800's.
 There is an exotic cactus holding a camera and a few plants too (a real cactus among others)

 A block from the conference center is this view of the bay.  the water is beautiful clear blue.  Too bad I didn't bring my swimsuit or these Maltesians would get a first hand view of what pasty white means.
 A cool older house.  I'm not sure if anyone lives here still.  It looks like over half of the 6-10 story row housing structures have been resurfaced or rebuild along the bay.  A lot fewer as you walk in a block or two from the bay front view.
 Lunch: donor kabab and a piece of baclava.  Both were delightful.  Baclava was really nice.
 Here is the corner shop where I bought lunch "Millenium".
 This knights watch tower was built in 1658 by the English and Maltese knights that were sent here to battle the Ottoman empire.  The held out and the Ottomans retreated even though the knights were outnumbered 10:1.  It turned out Ottoman command ordered a retreat because the empire was falling. Good timing for the knights.
 The Maltese beaches I've seen are sandstone.  Not sand. The people lie on the rocks and gingerly go to the water.  The brightside is you don't have to wipe sand out of your babies diaper.
 this part of Malta has 4 larger water inlets.  One is where I'm staying in St. Julians and the others are around Valletta.  This is the Valletta inlet bay.  A bit bigger and some larger older church buildings.
 This is what the crazy youngsters like to do in Malta.  This sign is on the bay walk way.
 I saw a few cruise ships in the not far distance.  I'd guess this is a popular cruise stop.