Category Archives: Malta

Mistra Bay nature walk

One thing I struggle with in Malta is to choose where to go to enjoy a lovely nature walk. Finding a place which is not crowded proves to be difficult at the very least.

At this time of the year, Malta is at its greenest. It encourages me to go exercise, snap some photos and enjoy a picnic with loved ones or friends.

Recently my boyfriend and I have visited Mistra Bay. Previously, I have only frequented this area in my childhood for swimming and BBQ-ing. This time round, our plan was different, and I was pleasantly surprised by the nice views once you get walking along the cliffs. The shallow water is lovely to look at, the breeze is fresh and clean.

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My excitement was hardly contained when we came across what looked like an abandoned room, with a very panoramic view. Walking into it, and absorbing the scenery… Reading through the graffitti, I found a mark which said that this was a fire-station. We tried to come up with reasons why this was suitable, but seeing that there were no villages or towns close by, it hardly made any sense to have one at this location, on the very edge of the cliffs.

We stopped for tea and snacks further up, facing the breathtaking St.Paul’s islands. I have never looked at them from this angle; gorgeous none the less!

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Photos used are owned by myself. Please ask for permission if you’d like to use them.

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Mosta Dome

The Parish Church of Saint Mary, is popularly known as the Rotunda or the Mosta dome due to its large dome; which can be seen from most parts of Malta.

The church was designed by a Maltese architect called Giorgio Grognet de Vassé. The church’s design was closely based on the Pantheon in Rome; 6 columned portico with a circular 39.6m diameter dome. It was built between the 1833 and 1860 with funds raised by the local people.

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During World War 2 in 1942, a bomb fell through the church and it didn’t detonate. This was considered as a miracle especially since around 300 people were in the church waiting for the mass to commence. A replica of the said bomb is available to see in the sacristy, left of the altar.

 

The many sunsets of Fawwara

Some of the most beautiful areas for walks or hikes in Malta are situated in the limits of Siggiewi. One of the spots goes by the name of ‘Fawwara’. The word fawwara translates to spring in English, and this name was chosen for this stretch of land due to the fact that in the past it supplied a large amount of water.

The history of this area goes as far as when the Arabs took over Malta, it has seen the death of many christian women, and proof of this is two chapels within Fawwara which are still standing to this day. These were built in 1616 and 1575.  The latter even had a small village surrounding it (Hal Kbir) during the Medieval area. Needless to say, Siggiewi has existed on our little island for a very, very long time.

Below are some photos I have taken of the area, showing sunsets as well as some picturesque captures. Can’t wait to return back here in the next couple of days 🙂

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The Valletta Waterfront

The Valletta Waterfront is a promenade which you can get steffisays-upperbarrakkagardens-liftto easily either from the Upper Barrakka Gardens by using the elevator facilities at a price of around 2 Euro (you would get a return ticket when you purchase one), or  by walking through Valletta city center towards the sea, and keep walking to the direction of the Cruise and Ferry terminal. Funnily enough, although the area is known as Valletta Waterfront, it is located in Floriana.

One of the reasons I go to this area is the obvious fact that it is lovely, especially in the evenings for a pleasant walk by the sea. It is also frequented because of the fact that there are a variety of restaurants to go to for lunch, dinner, coffee or for a couple of drinks. Different cuisines such as Mediterranean, Italian and Chinese are available.

Plus how can you resist this view?

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The WaterFront View at night

Going there is a must, I tell you!

 

St. Paul’s Catacombs, Rabat Malta

The underground roman cemeteries are dated to be
used up until the 4th century AD. Since the roman law at the time, prohibited burials within the city, these are catacombs2found on the outskirt of the capital of Malta at the time; Mdina.

The name of the these catacombs derives from the widely known story which relates to St Paul’s Grotto. As such, these catacombs are a great example of Maltese underground architecture as well as it represents the earliest evidence of Christianity in Malta.

The site itself consists of two large areas, with a good number of burial chambers. During a talk with one of the curators, I was told that there were more than 30 underground burial chambers.

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Should you be interested to visit, the opening hours are 9:00 to 17:00, Monday to Friday.
Tickets cost €5.00 for adults, and €3.50 for youths

How to get there
– By Public Transport: From Valletta Routes 51, 52. From Bugibba Route X3 (Airport Route). The catacombs are situated in St. Agatha Street which is a narrow street running through much of the town’s core. Follow the signs to St. Paul’s Catacombs.
– By self-driven car: Drive towards Rabat and park close to the Domus Romana. The St. Paul’s Catacombs are around 5 minutes away by walk.

Qormi Air-Raid War Shelters

Casal Fornaro is an event that happens in my home town Qormi, on a yearly basis. This is a festival which celebrates bread, and how it represented the town through the years, even during wars. During the time when the island was under attack, bread was made out of rice and tasted horrible, but at least it ensured that the citizens had something to eat. Nowadays the city of Qormi is still renowned for bread and together, we celebrate an event full of bread, pastries and culture.

On this day, the two local war shelters are open for the public, and to me, these deserve a visit every year.

In one of the shelters there is a re-enactment from World War 2, explaining the situation of the poor and the politicians. Then you are allowed to roam around the shelter and imagine for yourself what life was like during that time. The re-enactment happens in Maltese which is a disadvantage for any tourists visiting, however one can still visually appreciate the surroundings.

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In the second war shelter, there is a bread exhibition sponsored by the leading bakery ‘MayPole’ – One can find fancy bread available in the shelter just for viewing as can be seen in the images below.

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One is able to buy similar bread through the many stalls in the festival as well as from their bakery any other day of the year.

The Malta Story

Keeping in mind that I have lived overseas, and that I know a number of foreigners, I have been asked countless times about Malta. What makes it so unique? Why are we so attached to the British? Why is our language so weird, and where did it come from?

Today, I came across the below picture. I would imagine this explains a lot:

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Briefly:

    • The Order of the Knights of St. John made it to malta in 1530. In 1561 the inquisition was established and 4 years later we had the Great Siege by the Ottoman Turks. The Ottoman troops eventually retreated, but they did lose around 9,000 men in this battle. The siege ended as a victory in favour of the Maltese on the 8th of September, which is to this day a bank holiday in Malta. A year later, Valletta was designed and founded and named Valletta of course after our star; the Grand Master Jean de La Vallette. He was buried within the capital city roughly three years later, and it was unfortunate that he didn’t see his vision of Valletta finalised.
    • In 1798, the Napolean Bonaparte took Malta from the hands of the Knights.
    • Just a year later, Britian takes Malta and the french surrendered. It was only in 1814 that Malta becomes a Britian Crown Colony. Within the British Period, Malta has participated in the First World war, and later at fought during the second world war. In 1964, we were given independence within the British Commonwealth and 10 years later Malta became a Republic. The last British services left the Maltese islands in 1979.
    • Recently, in 2004 Malta joined the European Union and 4 years later the Eurozone.

Source: http://www.visitmalta.com

Bikers in Traffic

I love bikes; I think they are gorgeous and I admire each and every one of the bikers who pluck up the courage to drive in Malta and Gozo.

In case you have never visited Malta, or never driven in Malta… Maltese roads are hell to drive in… Not even the devil himself dares to set his foot here and drive in this pit of danger and death. Angry, irrational drivers, chaos of traffic and to top it all shitty bumpy roads throughout the islands. (Sometimes I wonder why we pay the driving license to be honest!!)

Considering all the above, would it make more sense, to have some kind of rule/law enforced with regards to which side of the motor-lane a bike should drive in? Should bikes overtake or undertake? I’m thinking that this would help everyone on the road, as all car-drivers can pay some special added attention to that side of the road via the mirrors, and hopefully the bikers will also feel slightly safer on our roads… Especially during the peak hours of traffic, namely 7 to 9 am and 5 to 6 pm, when everyone wants to get to work/home and all the main roads are packed and crammed with cars. Zigzagging around cars is not the way to go in these circumstances.