Thursday, August 25, 2016

MALTA: Valletta, the Capital City

We're now at the part of our Malta trip (from April!) that is the most important to most tourists:  Valletta, the capital city of the Maltese Islands.  Do you notice how I have saved it for the end!?!  Well...almost the end, that is.  I still have two more posts, but...that's then and this is now.

Here we are, again, getting our bearings.
Remember how we did the Grand Harbour tour around Valletta last post?
Today we will be inside Valletta, as well as looking out beyond.

In fact, if you lay that Valletta peninsula on the top map on its side, this is what you get.
It has two natural harbors, Marsamxett Harbour and the Grand Harbour (which we saw last post).
The city itself is only 0.8 sq. km., the smallest national capital in the European Union.

Because it's the start and finish of every trip we took to Valletta,
we'll start with the bus terminal next to the big Triton Fountain, installed in 1959.

From the bus terminal, you walk a few meters through the gate of the city,
and immediately see the stairs to the Upper Barrakka Gardens.
But more on that next week.

For now, the gardens are a high vantage point to The Three Cities
across the Grand Harbour, as well as to inland vistas of Malta far away.

But if you don't climb up the garden steps, you walk straight through the city center.

Remember St. John's Co-Cathedral (top-left)?  
That's right off the main drag.

In fact, that's also where we found a delightful Wi-Fi spot, twice,
for lunch and liquid refreshment (English hard ciders).
We had very poor internet reception at our hotel,
so this was a perfect solution.

You may recall me saying that Valletta was ruled by the Brits for 150 years.
You feel and see and taste their influence everywhere.

It's one of those cities where you just...walk around!
Doesn't that fountain (middle left) remind you of Rome?

Speaking of which, so did the cats, which the Maltese clearly love.

Because the peninsula is so narrow, you can see the harbors on either side,
as you look up and down the side streets.

Does this city remind you of anywhere else???
Well, at least the hilly part, yes:  San Francisco!
And, yes, we climbed up and down.

There are 25 churches in Valletta within the space of its 900 x 630 meters.
(Malta and Gozo combined have 359 churches!)
Besides St. John's Co-Cathedral, we entered two other churches.
I have no clue which one this is...

But this is the Basilica of Our Lady of St. Carmel, from 1570,
one of Valletta's most famous churches.

In fact, that's a good segue to another vantage point from somewhere UP in the city.
That's the St. Carmel Basilica (top-right)...within Valletta.
But The Three Cities are off in the distance across the harbor,
much of which we saw on our Grand Harbour cruise.

Is this all starting to run together for you?
Well, it still does for me, too, not knowing where one leaves off and the other begins.

But that's the next Malta post...The Three Cities...followed by Gozo, the other island.
And then, yes, we'll be (drum roll) finally d o n e.


  1. It amazes me how much you learned and how many photos you took. Do you use a notebook during the day or write your notes in the evening?

    Gorgeous photos!

    1. There are always too many photos, Marie. HA! But how I keep them organized is by day/date and place in sub files. It seems to work for me. Then once I work on a particular post, I do a lot of Googling, plus scouring all the leaflets/travel guides we have. :)

    2. It is so interesting to learn of your process, Ginnie. I especially love how you do the photo collages of topics or areas. You must take thousands of photos. Were you a professional photographer?

    3. I must have totally missed this comment, Marie, but, NO, I have never been a professional photographer...just a "professional amateur," as I like to call myself. HA! You're very kind. Once I realized I could make collages to show more images, I immediately went that route, dispensing with the earlier albums I'd create. I take way too many pics, I know, but it's the only way I know how to do it to give Astrid and me the feel of a place so we don't forget it. I find that just one photo of a place or thing isn't enough for me. But then I'm a Gemini, so it makes sense, right? :)

  2. Charm and beauty everywhere! Your photos are splendid, and I can't get enough of stone and blue sky. Yummmmmy.

    1. After seeing the earthquake in Italy this week, Ruth, I've had nightmares about all this stone here in well as France and elsewhere. Stone structures are so beautiful and quaint...but so devastating in calamity. (Sigh)

  3. I love that you're giving us pieces of this amazing trip because one post would have never done it justice! It takes me back to some small little villages in Italy...thank you!

    1. With every post, Robin, I am renewed in my utter amazement of this best-kept secret. I can't believe I don't hear about it, Malta, all the time. Seriously! Thank you for being part of the journey!

  4. Impressive pictures and I still pinch myself that we walked there and saw all the beauty of the Capital. I am so glad you took all those pictures to keep the memory alive. Thank you MLS. It is a labour of love and I never take that for granted.
    I especially like the collage with the bridge in three parts!!!

    1. Can you believe that I'm finally coming to the end? HAHA! It's been a longer "ordeal" than most of our trips, for some reason, but I think that's because there really WAS so much to see. Amazingly so.

      Thanks for noticing the collage with the bridge. HA! I had no idea they would fit together (not planned), so I was quite pleased. :)

  5. i would NOT be fine with all those STEPS lol OR all those churches :P very interesting what they fit in that small of a space tho, and that they were ruled by brits for so long, it seems that britain ruled the whole world for a while there! lovely shots, my friend, thanks for the tour!

    1. I didn't walk ALL the steps, Elaine, of course. It would have been way too much for me, too! And, yes, the British influence has been felt all over the world...and they, too, are such a small island country, when you think about it. Interesting.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  6. Replies
    1. I do hope you do the trip again, Maria, because you won't regret it. But please don't go during the HOT season...unless you really tolerate heat well (which I don't).