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September 19, 2017

Malta: Popeye Village

Popeye Village

Malta has tons of highbrow attractions. Valletta is a must see city. The island has pretty beaches and centuries of history. We could have spent all of our time in Malta walking through ancient ruins or learning about the country’s extensive war history. But we didn’t.

Lowbrow attractions have an appeal too. So we decided to risk our lives driving our French rental car on the wrong side of the road out to see Popeye Village, the former set for the Robin Williams’ movie “Popeye.” I’m not much of a fan of the movie; I’ve never managed to watch it to the end. But the pictures of Popeye Village I had seen in a promotional pamphlet looked cool. As Sheryl Crow says, “the brochure looks nice.” That was sufficient motivation to visit.

The “facilities” at Popeye Village

Parking signs in Malta

On the ferry to Malta a German woman warned us that the drivers in Malta were, in her opinion, “crazy”. On the road it didn’t seem to us that the Maltese drivers were that bad. But then we just arrived in Malta from Sicily. In Sicily some of the rules of the road are treated as if they are advisory. There were places in Sicily where every vehicle, including a school bus that we saw, regularly ran stop signs. Sicily tends to reset your view of driving standards. A good driver in Sicily is one that doesn’t put the lives of other drivers at risk; it has little to do with whether those pesky rules of the road are followed.

Driving in Malta might have been smoother if we had realized one important thing before we arrived: The Maltese, like the British, drive on the left side of the road. We probably knew this at some point but it was forgotten until we arrived on the island by ferry. Usually it seems over the top when we arrive in a new country and our GPS points out the side of the road we need to drive on. In this case, it was a good thing.

We happened on a car race on the way back from Popeye Village. Some of the drivers were good…

…and some not so good. Just like on the roads.

We survived our foray onto the Maltese roads and made it to our destination, Popeye Village. In truth, Popeye Village is somewhat underwhelming. It’s quirky but small. Nevertheless our impression seems to have been more favorable than Robin Williams who, during the filming of the movie, dubbed the set “Stalag Altman” in reference to the film’s director Robert Altman.

After we escaped from Stalag Altman were able to see a few more sights on the way back to our room in Silema. Malta is a small island packed with history; it has three UNESCO World Heritage sites in 122 square miles. At the end of the day driving on the wrong side of the road started to feel natural. God help us when we return to Sicily.

The Red Fort, an historic monument near Popeye Village.

Ħaġar Qim, part of UNESCO’s Megalithic Temples of Malta World Heritage site


  1. Omg I’ve been dying to go to Malta!

    Comment by brencation — September 19, 2017 @ 1:38 pm

  2. I’m also planning a trip to Malta, great tips. Of course I’ll go to Popeye Village:) It might be just touristy, but from your picture and all other pictures I saw it looks lovely.

    Comment by — September 29, 2017 @ 1:25 pm

  3. Makes me want to leave today. Excellent photography.

    Comment by Greg Speck — November 9, 2017 @ 1:51 pm

  4. […] Megalithic Temples of Malta            http […]

    Pingback by The List | Another Header — October 26, 2018 @ 8:55 am

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