Written by Stanley Greenberg Friday, 30 November 2012 00:00
When our cruise ship arrived in Malta, there were no signs of Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre, Sydney Greenstreet or the Maltese Falcon. Malta is a limestone-walled city, sitting proudly in the southern Mediterranean. It is Malta’s location, not its size that dictates its importance. You might have trouble locating Malta on a map, but its history is written in large letters.
Valletta, the capital of Malta, was built by the Order of the Knights of St. John. It has two deep channels that accommodate large vessels. The history of Malta dates back 7,000 years. Malta was conquered by the Arabs, Normans, Germans, French and Spaniards. It was also an important Crusader outpost.
In 1565, the Turks, under Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, attacked Malta with 35,000 troops. The 540 Knights of St. John repelled the Turks. During World War II, Malta was bombed daily by the Nazis. King George VI, Elizabeth II’s father, awarded the George Cross for Bravery to the entire island. An interesting note, the Duke of Wales and his bride, Wallis Simpson, honeymooned on Malta. The current population is 401,880.
We arrived in Venice, which is at the head of the Adriatic Sea. The heart of Venice centers around St. Mark’s Square, which has been called “a great marble salon,” open to the sky. The piazza is huge with covered galleries, luxury shops and cafes. St. Mark’s Square has always been a vibrant, dignified and exciting meeting place. Unfortunately, we arrived during the rainy season and the piazza was flooded. We rolled up our jeans, took off our shoes and socks and squished through St. Mark’s Square. The gondolas kept rowing and we felt that there is no more exciting place than Venice.
The graceful Bridge of Sighs links the Doge’s Palace with the dark old prison building. The name comes from the small windows on the bridge providing the last sunlight the prisoners would see for many years. The tall Rialto Bridge in the heart of the business district is arched to allow commerce and gondolas to pass beneath it. The island of Murano, known for its intricate blown glass, is a must stop for tourists. It certainly is easy to spend all your Euros in the bewitching city of Venice.
Back onboard the The Grand Princess, we waved goodbye to Venice and sailed on to Croatia.
Thursday, 27 November 2014 00:00
It’s hard to imagine that it’s Thanksgiving already. Is it me, or did we just celebrate? Halloween wasn’t even upon us and the stores were stocked with Thanksgiving and Christmas items. We say to ourselves, “each year, it comes earlier and earlier.” While some prepare to cook and figure out where to seat relatives to avoid arguments, others plan to dine out. To many of us, Thanksgiving means shopping on Black Friday. But for the few and far between who look forward to catching the latest film from the array released exclusively for the holiday weekend, the time has come to relish relaxation. Sit back and enjoy the weekend at the movies, while the deliciousness of turkey and stuffing is probably still digesting in your tummy.
The following movies opened on Nov. 26:
The Penguins of Madagascar (PG–92 mins)
The Penguins of Madagascar finally have their own movie. If you’re familiar with the previous Madagascar films, featuring the zoo animals and their adventures, then you already know the funny and lovable spy penguins. Packed with animated fun for the whole family, Skipper, Kowalksi, Rico and Private begin a journey as undercover agents to help stop the notorious villain, Dr. Octavious. New and returning voices include Benedict Cumberbatch, John Malkovich, Tom McGrath, Christopher Knight, Ben Stiller, Chris Rock and many more.
Monday, 24 November 2014 00:00
If you have a sweet tooth and want a taste of confectionary perfection, take a drive down Manetto Hill Road. Set far back in a shopping center you will find Sweet Karma Bakery. No matter where you park in the lot, your nose will be greeted by the scent of freshly baked cakes and cookies.
Owner and pastry chef Brian Fishman graduated from the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in 1991. He was a savory chef for eight years before he chose pastries over pâtés.