Weekend in Malta: Part I
The last 7th of December, on the day of the 75th Anniversary of the Chicago Convention, I travelled to Malta, on an impulse trip to escape the cold breeze of London. I could not resist the temptation of a £70 round trip ticket from London at the best times possible for a quick escapade, and just over 3 hr flight time. It sounded pretty good to me. Transport from the airport is easy and very cheap, Valletta is only under 10 km from the airport and the cost of the bus ticket is only €2 .
I arrived the Valletta city centre for a perfect sunny afternoon, right at the Triton Fountain, where a nice warm temperature of 20 degrees and plenty of delightful views were waiting for me, for a start the beautiful Valletta City Gate.
I started my stroll straight away, captivated by the view of this city, which holds a wealth of cultural and remarkable history, you see? being in such a strategic location, the city was a godsend-tactical location for anyone avid conqueror to settle in. The first remarkable sight was St. John Bastion, this massive gate was built in the 1560s to protect the main entrance of the city. It overlooks the adjacent town of Floriana.
This photo reveals the enormous size of these limestone walls, truly stunning views. I then walked along Republic Street, Valletta’s central road, which runs from Fountain to Fort St. Elmo. I found quite a lot of cosy cafes and little-good looking restaurants along on this street. I sat in one of them while I waited for Jonathan, who kindly shared his afternoon with me and provided me with a nice local insight, very nice travel stories to tell. Bless him.
We promenaded along the beautiful Upper Barrakka Gardens which is built on the top of a bastion and also offers a spectacular view of the harbour.
We also managed to see The Saluting Battery in actions, as we arrived just in time see, and hear! the canon shot, it was exceptionally loud, something you don’t get to eyewitness every day. A historical tradition that keeps going.
We also visited Spazju Kreattiv, a 16th-century fort with an arthouse cinema & cultural program of music. In there we checked and interesting yet controversial exhibitions call “The State of Limbo” – All that glitters is not gold. A comprehensive exhibition with paintings by artist James Micallef Grimaud which provides a crude visual narrative of the socio-political context of the unparalleled crisis in Europe.
The display includes creative elements of street art, super-rich and colourful artworks, however gloomy meaning and disheartening representation of the Mediterranean Sea as a contradictory place, where entire populations flee in search of their freedom. I let you judge with your own eyes:
By the end of the day, I learned that Valetta has over 300 monuments illustrating its several periods including the Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Byzantines and Arabs. The city has so much rich history that the UNESCO awarded it with an Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation status. It was truly a pleasure to walk around and discover its wonders.
Time for dinner to get ready for Part 2 next… Gozo & Comino! 😊
“Oh you who are situated at the entry of the sea, Malta comes to my heart when I do think of you, And I am by the wayside waiting for you”. poem by Edward Kofi Louis