After the dismal failure of Tunis, it was on to happier locales. And this was the happiest of them all. Malta!
Malta is a tiny collection of islands south of Sicily and north of Tunisia. We had no idea it was even there, until our cruise itinerary said we were stopping for a visit. My knowledge of Malta up to that point was that presumably Maltese dogs were from there. Ironically, they're really not, but that's another post for another time.
HISTORY OF MALTA (feel free to skip if you care not): Malta has a wild, complicated past of invasions and enslavements and all sorts of drama. One important bit: in the 1500's, the Grand Masters—a group of knights charged with protecting Jerusalem to make a safe passage for Christian pilgrims—were attacked by the Ottoman Empire (Turkey) and expelled from the Holy Land. I'm not sure what else the Grand Masters were about, but they were a big deal. Anyway—so the King of Spain came to the rescue, and gave them the islands of Malta, in exchange for a yearly rent of one Maltese falcon. The Knights moved in and, because they were Catholic leaders, they built cathedrals all around the island. And they loved their new home, which was very safe due to the fact that the islands are mostly cliffs—which made it hard to invade.
Why am I saying all this? To explain the fact that Malta is very pretty.