Monday, 8 August 2016

To Malta

On Monday up packed and cleared our room (home for the past 14 days) and then said our final goodbyes to the staff – presenting an Australian War Memorial apron to the Belgium lass who came in do the breakfasts for those guests staying in Talbot House. She had been wearing it all week, so it had found a good home and she was delighted. After lunch we were driven to Poperinge Rail Station and very soon we were at Brussels Airport. After the horrific bombing several months ago increased security was to be expected and we were glad we arrived extra early. However, with no problems we were able to board the flight for Malta arriving quite late about 11.30pm.

Valletta looked quite magical at night, and it still seemed so next morning in the sunshine. 

The old buildings are massive built of stone quite a few hundred years ago and adapted through the years for modern living. 

Huge buildings – most with an enclosed balcony – built ‘cheek by jowl’ and divided by steep and narrow streets. Where our hotel was overlooking the harbour were 163 steps up (and down!) to the nearby centre of town where we walked to join the day tour of Malta. 

One interesting and very beautiful Valletta church we visited had a bomb dropped on it during the war. It dropped down through its dome and rolled across the marble floor – and didn’t explode. It is, of course, regarded as a miracle. Out in the surrounding countryside, the island is very dry. Very little rain falls and we wonder where all its fresh water comes from to support the massive population.

The tour included a quite good lunch before we continued on to Mdina – a fortress town where we visited an area which was formerly an airforce base but is now occupied by various different small craft factories – glass, lace, silver filigree, etc. 

The church of Mary Magdalene overlooking the sea was beautifully sited on the clifftop but the surrounding countryside was just so dry and rocky.

Back in Valletta and after an afternoon siesta, we headed out for dinner and up another long flight of steps we found a great restaurant with an outdoor area complete with a fantastic jazz combo to accompany our quite delicious meal. A  lovely way to end our brief visit to Malta.

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