Art students and faculty take trip to Malta

Washburn’s art department and friends pose for a group photo. They documented art and history in the small island country of Malta.

Washburn Art students and faculty took a trip to Malta May 14- 24. There were 19 students who took the trip, with a total of 27 people. There will be a Washburn Transformational Experience photo gallery of the Malta trip from Sept. 3-20 in the Art Building. Marydorsey Wanless, assistant art professor, along with students who went on the trip, will give a gallery talk at noon Sept, 11.

These are some of highlights of the blog entries that Wanless wrote during the Malta trip. Malta is located in the Mediterranean Sea, just south of Sicily, Italy.

Thursday, May 16, Old Town Valletta

We were picked up by our wonderful bus driver Kevin and our fabulous guide Victoria at 9 a.m.. We took the Bus to Valletta, and started with the Upper Barrakka Gardens, overlooking the Grand Harbor and Ft. St. Angelo. We walked through the old town of Valletta stopped at the Archeology Museum to view the artifacts from the prehistoric ruins we will visit later this week. We heard a beautiful voice outside, and found a singing knight! We visited the St. John’s Co-Cathedral, the Museum, and saw the 2 Carravaggio paintings. Then we visited the Church of St. Paul’s Shipwreck, and saw the relic of the forearm of St. Paul.

Then we went to the “Malta Experience” Video show at 2:00. It was dark and quiet and most of us dozed a little!!! We walked up the hill to the Grand Master’s Palace, where Parliament was in session, and watched the guards changing positions every few minutes. We saw an interesting exhibition of paintings by Mattia Preti (St. John’s artist). Victoria is beginning to understand what we want to see, as several of these stops were added in our conference this morning!

Friday, May 17, Three Cities and the Harbor Ride

We are exploring the Three-City areas of Vittoriosa and Senglea and Cospicua. These three towns form part of the area surrounding the Grand Harbor and are found on the eastern side of the capital city of Valletta.

We then took a water tour of the Grand Harbor in a local gondola at noon. The little boats held 6-8 people and had a small motor. We toured the harbor for 30 minutes with wonderful fishermen driving us around.

Saturday, May 18, Hypogeum and Marsaxlokk Harbor

Today we left at 8:30 in order to make our 9:00 Hypogeum tour. Only 10 people are allowed at a time in this underground tomb. We divided into 3 groups, one at the Hypogeum, the other two at the Tarxien temple ruins. The Hypogeum was AMAZING… underground burial chambers, musty and humid, water dripping from the limestone ceiling, lit as it might have been in the day. The “Sleeping Lady” was found in this structure (saw it in the Archeology Museum).

We bussed on to Marsaxlokk, a town with a beautiful harbor. All the fishing boats are painted blue, green, yellow and red. Each harbor has its own color around the top rim of the boat; this harbor’s color is yellow.

Sunday, May 19, Temples and Mdina

We toured the Temple ruins of Hagar Qim and Mnajdra with museum. There were several other bus groups there which made the viewing quite slow. Victoria was very worried about getting everything in because of our tight time schedule and important sites I had added. But it worked out.

We stopped at the Dinghli Cliffs for another photo op, then on to Rabat. We visited the Catacombs of St. Paul, which were used in Roman times to bury the dead. We looked into the Church of St. Paul, where Mass was being held.

We took a walking tour of the medieval walled town of Mdina. We saw the cathedral, several chapels, and had several hours to explore by ourselves, and have a beer at one of the tiny cafes.

Monday, May 20, Gozo and Ferry

We went to Calypso’s Cave. Legend has it that Gozo is Homer’s Island of Ogygia and this cave is where the beautiful nymph Calypso kept Odysseus as a prisoner. You can’t go into the cave anymore, so now it is a photo op over looking Ramla Bay, a beautiful red sand beach.

Tuesday, May 21, Boat Ride to Comino

We arrived at Comino and had a cold cut pasta salad lunch on the boat, with local wines. Students tried snorkeling and swimming, but it was very cold and windy. Some of us took a boat ride through the caves of the Blue Lagoon, quite beautiful. We hiked around the big rock island, and Gary and I had coffee at the only hotel.

Wednesday, May 22, Free Day

We have a terrible dust storm. There is a light layer of brown silt on everything. It has blown over from Tunisia! Visibility is less than 1000 meters at times.

Gary and I took the bus into old town, had a small lunch and beer in the main square, walked all around, and went home to pack. It was so dusty you could not see much of anything.

Thursday, May 23, Heading Home; Frankfurt, Germany

We left Malta feeling sad, but enjoyed an evening in Frankfurt. It was cold, rainy, and very GREEN! Some went to town, but we walked a block to a fabulous German restaurant. We had typical German meal with fabulous black beer. Off to Kansas tomorrow.

Friday, May 24, Home

We left Frankfurt on time and got through customs in Dulles in record time. It was a smooth flight back to Kansas City, arriving 20 minutes early. There were many happy reunions in the airport! What a great group for a fabulous trip!

To read the entire blog and view photos, visit Wanless’s blog.