Where in the World Are You, Lynne Friedmann?

Travel Blog  •  World Hum  •  06.10.10 | 5:46 PM ET

The subject of our latest up-to-the-minute interview with a traveler somewhere in the world: World Hum contributor Lynne Friedmann. Among other things, she wrote the essay All the Flowers in Amsterdam and contributed to our Top 40 Travel Songs of All Time.

Where in the world are you?

St. Paul’s Bay, Malta. 

What are you doing there?

Following a whim that became an obsession with this rocky Mediterranean outcropping. Smaller in area than Catalina Island, it has been coveted, conquered, and defended over the last 7,000 years by the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Sicilians, The Knights of St. John, Napoleon, and the British Empire before Malta achieved independent status. Ancient and modern history is found in every corner and under every stone. 

What do you see around you?

Buildings of honey-colored limestone; virtually the only building material on the island. Softening the muscled masonry are the personal and sometimes puzzling names owners give to private residences. The Maltese favor the names of saints; ex-pats reveal their identity through monikers such as Shamrock House, Sydney Garage, Trafalgar, Shalom, and Oklahoma. 

Got a pic?

Photo by Heini Samuelsen via Flickr, (Creative Commons)

What did you have for dinner last night and where?

Seafood so fresh it retained the memory of swimming. My husband and I started with an appetizer of calamari sauteed in olive oil, garlic, and herbs. Unlike the vulcanized-rubber squid served back home, the meat of this cephalopod melted in our mouths. We slurped the extra long tentacles like spaghetti. Marc’s entree was grilled rock fish; mine was amberjack. Thick French fries, hot enough to demand juggling, were a nice accompaniment. Lemon sorbet cleared our palates. The restaurant owner unexpectedly presented us with a carob-bean liqueur.

What are you reading?

There are eight books loaded on my Kindle reader. Yet, I’m spending my time memorizing the poem “The Cremation of Sam McGee.” This is being done on a dare. I will recite it in public. 

What did you experience in the last 24 hours that you would recommend?

The Mosta Dome: Third largest church dome in Europe. Impressive architecture aside, our visit was prompted by a WWII incident during which Nazi aircraft dropped a pay load on the church. Two bombs bounced like marbles off the dome and landed undetonated in the street. A third shell pierced the dome but it, too, was a dud and rolled harmlessly down the center aisle. None of the 300 faithful present for Mass were harmed. A replica of this bomb is on display near the altar. Also, the Hypogeum: a multilevel, subterranean temple that extends 30 feel below ground. Older than the pyramids, it was used as a necropolis that held more than 7,000 human remains.

What are you listening to these days?

Ethereal music recorded in the Hypogeum. The artist used stones, reeds, whistles, and the resonance quality of chambers to achieve the sound desired. It’s played as background music to the recorded tour. CDs are not sold. You can only hear this music in this underground temple. Otherwise, everywhere on the island American soft rock is heard. 

Where in the world are you headed next?

Calabria, Italy, to visit cousins I’ve never met and who speak little or no English (my second language is Spanish). I will walk the streets of Santa Cristina d’Aspromonte, a remote mountain village that my grandfather left in 1905 for America. I am the first of his descendants to return. 

12 Comments for Where in the World Are You, Lynne Friedmann?

Carol Lewis 06.11.10 | 11:34 AM ET

Great write-up! Makes me want to schedule a trip! Thanks for the vicarious thrill….

Nancy 06.12.10 | 1:09 AM ET

What an exciting experience, how wonderful.  Arrivederci! Buon viaggio…

Carol 06.15.10 | 10:16 PM ET

Feel like I was there! Great descriptives. The author has such a grasp of history I do not have to do any more research—sign her up to be a docent, er tour guide. This will be a stop on my next trip to Europe! Thanks.

Gloria 06.16.10 | 3:39 PM ET

I might get there some day. Great picture of you !

Alta 06.17.10 | 2:57 PM ET

WOW, what a delightful way to share your travel experience!  Seemed like the next best thing to being there.  Your smile tells the whole story!  See you ‘fore long.

Jane Soher 06.17.10 | 10:38 PM ET

HI Lynn
So delighted you are enjoying the lovely island of Malta with all its many facets
Would return in a New York minute…Enjoy the wonderful food and the charming cities with so much history.. Do go to the underground city as well !

Alain 06.21.10 | 6:09 AM ET


A different world indeed, with so much history!

The face expressions says it all ...


Clara 06.21.10 | 7:50 PM ET

What a great trip!  The food sounds wonderful too.

Tom Sprague 07.01.10 | 5:36 PM ET

Never even knew where Malta is located, until hearing and reading about this trip. What makes it most enjoyable are the literary skills Lynne uses to share with us her many travel experiences. Truly fortunate to have this Malta adventure at our fingertips.

Tom Sprague 07.01.10 | 5:37 PM ET

Hope to find a Maltese Falcon around here somewhere to see if any connection.

Maria 07.05.10 | 9:39 PM ET

Hello there
I read with interest that your grandfather left Santa Cristina d’aspromonte in 1905 to go to the US.
I was born in Santa Cristina in 1962 and our family left in 1964 to go to Australia. If you don’t mind what was your Nonno’s name…What did you think of the little village and are there still relatives there. I’m sorry for all the questions but anything to do with my birthplace is of great interest to me…Are you on facebook…Maybe we could be friends. I actually started a group called Santa Cristina D’aspromonte. Maybe you could join it…Many kind regards. PS I hope to hear from you….

Michael Balter 08.04.10 | 4:37 AM ET

Nice job, Lynne, I’ve been there (although long ago) and you captured it well.

Look forward to a blog about Calabria!

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