My favorite Context Conversation so far. Dr. Munro did an excellent job. He is extremely knowledgeable, obviously loves Malta, and chose lots of great photos to give an overview of various areas of Malta and the little neighboring island of Gozo. It was very interesting to learn more about the Order of St. John, an integral part of Maltese history, and who helped the Maltese people. repel invaders and have built hospitals. I appreciated the personal touch he added with a photo of himself being inducted into the Order of St. John. I learned so much, and I am now very excited to plan a trip to Malta. Thank you for this clearly understandable, varied, and enthusiastic presentation.
The slides and stories were great and interesting to know about the Knights of St. John and see the sights on the 2 main islands. However, I think this speaker needed to give a short history of Malta itself: for example, which countries colonized it and when, so that the attendees would have some context to put all the other detailed info he was presenting.
Dr. Munro gave an overview of many sites in Malta, particularly focussing on those related to his speciality, the Order of Malta. I was disappointed to see no mention of the gardens, protected from the wind, which have been made inside the old limestone quarries. Also very fleetingly mentioned were the megalithic temple complexes such as Hagar Qim, one of the most ancient religious sites on earth.
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This was my first experience with Context; I had been referred to it by a friend who has travelled with context and speaks highly of both her travel and virtual experiences with you. Based on that, I had invited friends over to watch who are Interested in visiting Malta and hoped this would entice them. Wrong. Disappointed on several points:
1). Not the lecturer featured, and no explanation of the substitute.
2) While knowledgeable about Malta, he spent more time discussing the Knights of Malta and his association with them (commendable to be sure) than giving an actual tour of the islands. He also discussed his trip to Lourdes with the Knights, which had little relevance to Malta.
3) As a Maltese-American, I have led tours to Malta myself. He never truly discussed Mdina, other than to show the outside of a private home and NOT the co-cathedral. He never mentioned or showed photos of Victoria, Gozo, and its citadel, nor did he give background info on the Mosta Dome (3rd largest dome in Europe) or the Manoel Theatre in Valletta (2nd oldest, continuously operated in Europe) while discussing them, nor any tour or photos of the Hypogeum. More like watching someone’s home photos than an actual tour of Malta.
4) Discussing traditional foods and sweets, he chose Baked Alaska and a chocolate cake, neither of which are traditional. I could pick 10 others that are true Maltese desserts. (Almonds are basic to Maltese desserts; the others, while now popular, are imports.)
5) Never mentioned a major tourist go-to in Valletta that my groups have always enjoyed: the Casa Rocca Piccolla.
6). In a question about the traditional wooden balconies and their origin, he attributed it to the Sicilians rather than the Arabs. I’ve traveled extensively throughout the Middle East, and wooden balconies are traditional Arab architecture.
6). Overall, while clearly knowledgeable, the speaker didn’t make Malta come to life in a compelling manner. Not sure how many people would be convinced this would be a place of interest. In fact, my Irish-American husband left the talk early, rather bored by it.