Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Our Friend Fraser Visits Malta

My old flat-mate and friend Fraser came to visit us for the last week of June and the first week of July.  It’s always great to have friends come visit because unlike family, they actually choose to come visit and do not feel obliged to do so.

Fraser had a bit of flight trouble getting here and arrived 13 hours later than he expected and $450 lighter due to Lufthansa being great again (and lack of travel insurance).  A word from the not-so-wise expats that have had to deal with multiple airline issues this year - buy one ticket from one airline, and if that is not possible, buy travel insurance.

While Fraser was here we showed him around the island and spent an afternoon in Gozo and Comino. Fraser's visit also overlapped with the Isle of MTV concert (see Jess' previous post). We also may have drank a bit too much and slept too little during his stay.

Fraser’s birthday was on July 1st (Canada Day) but we didn’t over consume beer as we normally do on his birthday because we took an early ferry to Sicily the next day. We showed Fraser the Greek temples at Agrigento and Jess and I finally got to go up Mount Etna. It was a great day to see the volcano because it was clear and the volcano was spewing steam and ash constantly. As cool as that was apparently we weren't there on the best day to see Mount Etna - our volcanic neighbour to the north is currently erupting this month.

When we visited Mount Etna with Fraser in July we went to the site of the large 2002-2003 eruption. You have to take a cable car followed by 4x4 vehicles that look like armoured personnel carriers to arrive at the recently active area. About 15 cm of ash had fallen on this section of the mountain in late May, so we were walking on volcanic rock that was on top of snow. It was 30 degrees Celsius at the bottom of the mountain and maybe 15 degrees Celsius at altitude and none of us were dressed appropriately for those temperatures in July. But it was a really incredible experience anyway.

Fraser is a typical meat 'n' potatoes, hockey playing, 140 pounds of pure steel, Canadian guy. He definitely deserves some credit for opening his mind up to the European surroundings that he found himself in. And despite having serious flight connection issues, Fraser has told us that he might even visit us again next year. Hopefully he doesn't catch another parasite the next time he's in Malta!

- Mike

recovering from jet lag on golden bay beach

at the azure window, gozo
salt deposits at the azure window, gozo

we got lost driving in gozo and we stumbled into a festa.

caught up on sleep on comino


mount etna, sicily

driving up mount etna

Fraser "resting" before his flight home. Thanks for visiting Fras!

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