Friday, June 19, 2009


First a little info about Malta. I have to admit that the only references I had to Malta were the Cross and the Falcon and quite honestly I don't think I have ever seen or even read The Maltese Falcon. I was not sure what to expect and would we need to take ship sponsored excursion or could we explore on our own?? Just a word here about ship sponsored excursions...they will try and sell you an excursion anywhere they think you might want to go, with the possible exception of the bathroom ( and in some places that would be helpful). So I sent an e-mail to the Valletta Malta Mayor's office and he sent me an e-mail back within an cool is that? He told me that we could easily explore on our own and that we could take a bus for one Euro as it is a bit of a climb to town. But I digress or get things out of order. Back to Malta background. Malta is an island republic and is virtually in the middle of the Mediterranean region about 288 KM from Africa and 90KM from Sicily. There are three occupied islands and Valletta is the capital. There is 7000 years of history and the islands have been occupied by most everyone in that time. The nationalities that have occupied the island have left a rich tapestry of styles and traditions.
So here is what you see as you approach the largest natural harbor in Europe

Really, the buildings look like something you would see in a French Foreign Legion movie. All the sandstone is like nothing I have ever imagined. And check out the color of the sky. It is really just the most magnificent blue you have ever seen.

Walk along here to get the bus to town. Everything is very organized and there are people to tell you the bus will be there in 8 minutes, 7 minutes...etc. Stop at the ATM at the National Bank of Valletta to get some Euros for the day. Really, they work just like at home with one exception that I will mumble about later in the trip.
This was not the bus, but they have a fleet of these funky buses with names that take you from the island of Malta to the two other inhabited islands. We opted to just hang in Valletta as we had a short timetable here.
Main Street of Valletta
I think this is the Palace of the Knights of St John. Edited: Silversewer tells me this is the Co-Cathedral. Sorry, and thank you silversewer! They played a huge role in the history of Malta, but honestly I didn't pay attention to that part of my research

Crowded streets. We are on our way to a WWII Museum...Bob's favorite thing in the whole world and he didn't even know about it until I mentioned it. Am I the best wife or what?

A view of the fort
Public gardens. Once again check out the sky
Goofy, I know
Waterfront shops and restaurants including the Hard Rock. Large bookshop with a good selection of mysteries. I was fearful that I had not brought enough reading material and the library on the ship had only one hour a day to check out books!!

Something to note about Europe; they sell what we would call Ice Cream Novelties everywhere despite the fact that there are Gelaterias everywhere with wonderful gelato. You never really see a lot of people eating ice cream, it just seems to be available everywhere. Just before we got to the Public Gardens I was getting hungry so we paid 2 Euros each for a Cornetta, you know the packaged ice cream cones with the chopped nuts on top. Not my favorite ice cream splurge, but usually adequate. These were soggy! How can a frozen ice cream cone be soggy while the ice cream is still frozen?? I'm just saying! So ultimately we were done with our jaunt around Valletta by about 1:30 and opted to go back on the ship to eat lunch. Nothing in the town had really appealed to me ( foodwise) in a big way and I am basically frugal. We had already paid for food on the ship and we were right there, so why not. We ate lunch and then relaxed while we cruised away from this very scenic locale. Tomorrow we will awake in Naples and get ready for the Isle of Capri.

Note to Life in Red Shoes: I haven't bought anything yet ( well, except a novel). Apparently I have a legacy from my late MIL and I am scared to buy anything unless I really, really want it lol. The time will come in Pisa and in France where I will part with a bit ( but not much) money! What a frugal Yankee I am.



  1. Janet, the building you refer to as the Palace of the Knights of St John is actually the Co-Catherdral, it is magnificent inside being adorned with gold everywhere!!!There is also a very valuable paintiing hanging on the walls I think it was by Caravaggio, ?spelling, it was stolen at one point, but recovered and rehung much higer up on the wall and protected so it could not be removed again. We had a wonderful guide who took us round, a charming man who refused the tip we offered him for a very interesting and informative talk.

    The Gardens are the Upper Barraca gardens which over look the sea, there was a picture taken of our prsent queen when she was Princess Elizabeth walking with Prince Phillip when he was stationed in Malta shortly after they were married. We used to sit in the gardens and eat our lunch.

    We spent a wonderful late summer holiday on Malta osome years ago. You can get anywhere on the bus, so we went to various seaside places and also to Mdenia the 'Silent City' no cars are allowed inside the walls, so everyone has to park outside, only residents are allowed cars inside and between I think it was 12 and 2pm even they were not allowed to drive their cars. There was a small town to the south of the island, I can remember what it was called but cannot for the life of me spell it, each Saturday there was a market there where the ladies sold their lace tablecoths, to see all the cloths fluttering in the breeze was delightful; the boats pulled up against the Quay with the eyes painted on the prow to ward off evil spirits.

    Malta is such an historic island awarded the George Cross for Valor by Kink Geroge VI for their bravery during the second world war.

    We have never been back, somehow to do so would sully the marvellous memories we have of that wonderful island.

  2. Thanks for the memories SilverSewer. It is a magical place, so very different from anything I have ever seen. I wish that we had had time to explore more, but the Military Museum was calling to Bob!


  3. Janet,

    I have some photographs somewhere of the inside of the Cathedral, if I can find them I'll post the for you to see, I am sure I have one of the picture I was talking about. I have to go scrabble in one of the cupboards and find the album. We went in the days before digiatl cameras!!!


  4. This was a great tour of Malta - thanks. I had Brit friends who lived there many years - I envied them the lovely weather they always enjoyed!

    Your pic is cute - can't wait to see you soon!

  5. Congratulations for your blog.

    Should you want to immerse yourself into the historical details of the island of Malta, then get yourself an interactive dvd of Valletta and Vittoriosa. Before your visit view a virtual tour of the city (1hr) then upload voice content on your mobile and when visiting use the attached booklet whilst you roam around like a local explains it all


Thanks for stopping by. Please leave me a comment if you have enjoyed my blog. I look forward to "chatting" with you.