Memories of Malta

Remember the good old days? Those were the days when you could purchase a plane ticket a month in advance, knowing you would be able to travel on the days of your choosing. Well, folks, that was February. John and I were aware of the Coronavirus on our trip to Malta during Carnival weekend (we didn’t realize our timing when we booked the vacation) but it was pre closures. Italy had just a few confirmed cases. Now, we have been in lockdown for a month, and we have a month to go.

Let’s remember the more carefree times; the time we spent a long February weekend in Malta to escape the cold and darkness.

Our first time on Ryanair, an economy airline, and we had a great experience. The fare was about $75 round trip. The bells and whistles are not included on this airline. If you have a carryon that you would like to put in the overhead bin, you pay extra. Since it was a weekend, we just had a backpack for under our seat. The seats are thin and had very little padding, so I figure it allows more seats per plane. No pockets in front of you with magazines or safety manuals. It is all very efficient and gets the job done.
We arrived late Friday night, so Saturday morning we were up and exploring Valletta, the capital city. The Saluting Battery is used for ceremonial gun salutes and signals. However, it was used militarily in World War II and it was an active military installation until the British removed the guns in 1954.
Streets of Valletta going toward the Mediterranean Sea.
Fishing huts along the Valletta seaside.
For the Bible aficionados, Malta is mentioned in Acts 28 as the spot where Paul and other prisoners shipwrecked as they were being transported to Rome. What wasn’t recorded in the New Testament account of Paul bringing Christianity to the island nation was his passion for Bocci and the establishment of his very own bocci club.
A corner market where people could go inside, but all the fresh vegetables were on the street.
It was wash day on many of the streets. It smelled like detergent and you had to dodge a few drips.
St. John’s Co-Cathederal has a simple exterior, but the inside is remarkable. It was built in the late 1500s
by the Order of St. John.
Walking down the street, you would hear an organ play or someone chanting in an unassuming doorway. These doorways looked like it could be the entrance to an apartment building. You step inside the unassuming door to this.
When I go to a new city, I like to take a walking tour to learn the history and see the major highlights. We took a free walking tour to learn about the Maltese culture and peek inside daily life. Here the cafes have their tables outside on the steps that lead to the sea wall.
We were able to check out the floats and the children’s parade while in Valletta. There were hoards of people on the parade route, John and I did not want to discover what it was like during the adult version a few hours later.
After our tour, John and I found the steps from our tour and had a great Italian meal in close proximity to our neighbors. Malta is strongly influenced by the Italian culture since it is mere minutes from Sicily. The Maltese language is influenced heavily by the cultures that conquered the island nation. It is a mix of Italian, Arabic, French and English.
John posing like he is Rico Suave.
I just like the picture … The color in the background is great!
Most things are closed on Sunday so we decided to take the double decker tour bus around the island. We stopped at the Marsaxlokk Open-Air Market where the fish is incredibly fresh.
They also had the most beautiful fruit. We ate at Matthew’s restaurant, which was no more than a narrow room with tables on one side. It was so crowded inside where we sat and tons of tables outside, I failed to get a good picture, but Google has it.
You wouldn’t believe the crowds behind us going through the market, but this captures the quaintness of the fishing village.
The southern cliffs of Malta near the Blue Grotto.

It is worth noting so we remember, the trip home on our tour bus was quite the ride. The Sunday schedule is abbreviated, but the bus should take us back to the stop near our hotel. Because our driver was behind schedule, he was moving incredibly fast. It made everyone a bit nervous that they would miss their stop. We were staying in the St. Julian area, and I knew from the map it was another three stops or so from where he dropped us. He told us he would make only one stop in the area and said, “Your hotel is just down there.” John and I got to explore St. Julian by foot. Our hotel was not “down there.” I always find customer service in other countries intriguing.

A beautiful trip we won’t soon forget. Until next time, hej hej.

2 comments

  1. Loved the pictures of your trip. I feel like I was right there. Where did they get their fruits in February? Northern coast of Africa? Mom
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