Punchdrunk from the Italian trifecta of Rome, Florence and Venice, I blew into Malta after a couple of delayed flights and a double dose of airport security shuffle. I met a nice guy from Finland waiting in line to check in on my last flight and we shared a cab into the city where we both were staying. On the flight the in-flight magazine had an article about Maltese restaurants, and I headed for Ta’ Kris that had rabbit which received a lot of praise from TripAdvisor. The rabbit was as good as any I’d had in France, and the authentic desserts were delicious. Tomorrow will be get my bearings day.
Malta is a country that has been perpetually under siege throughout its history. It is now finally at peace, and has also since achieved independence.
TA’ KRIS – This phenomenal Maltese restaurant made up for my questionable choice for a home base in Sliema. It turns out that the best place to base yourself is in Valletta because buses to all destinations head out of Valletta. However, I would have missed this amazing restaurant which I dined in for three nights in a row! Amazing authentic Maltese specialties, pleasant waitstaff, and a charming environment at a reasonable price make this a winner any way you slice it. It is located close to the ferry in Sliema so I would just stop in on my return from Valletta at the end of the day.
Such a cheerfully colored cat until you get to his milky scarred eye.
SEASIDE WALK TO THE FERRY FROM MY HOSTEL
Ah yes, Valletta beckons in the distance as I make the crossing in the ferry.
VALLETTA’S WATERFRONT FACES THE THREE CITIES
SALUTING BATTERY THAT FIRES AT NOON
VITTORIOSA – Home of fortresses, charming alleyways and megayachts.
UPPER BARRAKKA GARDENS
THE NOBLE MONICA DE PIRO D’AMICO – 1909-2004
BOMB SHELTERS – Stairs leading to the bomb shelter. These were not just for the one percent. People in the neighborhood were welcome to take refuge here. Malta was more thoroughly bombed than London during the Blitz. I found this to be a rather shocking piece of data which probably explains the Maltese fondness for fireworks.
THE FIRST AND SMALLER SHELTER
STAIRWAY TO THE LOWER AND LARGER SHELTER
Steel reinforcements to prevent cave ins. These shelters were originally cisterns for water storage, and they were drained and retrofitted in WWII.
Sixty people could take shelter here with plenty of elbow room to spare. The house manage to avoid damage during the war, but many buildings weren’t so lucky.
Heading back to Sliema for a tasty meal at Ta’ Kris.
MDINA – This was a handy tip from Katharina my soon to be host in Gozo. I walked through the gated to find the Medieval Festival in full swing replete with historical re-enactments, authentic foods and pageantry. Thanks for the great suggestion Katharina.
JUST IN TIME FOR MEDIEVAL RE-ENACTMENTS
DRUMMERS GO AT IT AS THE TRUMPETERS WAIT THEIR TURN
A cordial, well-informed and authentically dressed guide complete with dagger.
An elegant Lady with daughter, her lady in waiting, and her servant.
FELIX AQUILINA – Purveyor of Jewelry – Neolithic and Bronze Age Pebble Pendants
His pieces utilize patterns and images from historic pieces found at archaeological sites and housed in local museums. They are nicely made, unique and quite reasonable. You can find Felix’s pieces at templeartsmalta.com
Time for the bus back to Valletta and the subsequent ferry to Sliema.
Valletta recedes as my lamb shank dinner at Ta’ Kris awaits on the other side.
VINTAGE CITROEN I ENCOUNTERED ON THE WAY BACK TO MY HOSTEL
A parking lot full of compelling vehicles for my friend Pierre in Guadeloupe. Pierre is a fellow world traveler who want to up the ante and spend more of his time in this endeavor.
Neolithic Fertility Statue
HÅGAR QIM TEMPLE – The cover is there to prevent further deterioration from the elements.
This one of the largest single blocks found in any temple on the Maltese Islands. It is 6.4 meters long and close to 20 tons.
Hågar Qim Altar – 3600-2500BC
THE MALTESE STONE TEMPLES PREDATE THE GREAT PYRAMID IN EGYPT
THE VENUS OF MALTA – This priceless artifact from Hågar Qim is a remarkable representation which reflects a high level of artistic achievements in modeling. In particular, the back of this figurine reflects a very realistic rendering of anatomical features.
TEMPLE MODEL – Temple Period 3600-2500BC
STONE BLOCK DEPICTING FOUR FISH FROM BUGIBBA TEMPLE
SAMAR – A mega-yacht that I saw parked in Monaco in 2015.
A FLOATING OBSCENITY
Marine Le Pen was defeated by Emanuel Macron in France on May 7th. ensuring the EU’s survival.
LOCATION OF A POLITICAL RALLY EARLIER IN THE DAY
ISLA- I wandered about the streets and failed to encounter any of the excellence referred to in this sign.
For example, the place was pretty shabby for the most part.
I ran into this poor fellow going in the opposite direction a good twenty minutes before. He probably covered about 100 meters in that time. Here he is arriving at his favorite store only to find it shut on the holiday. Crestfallen, he must now begin the trek home which thankfully is downhill.
Another choice and final meal at Ta’ Kris. After such a long day visiting the temples, the Museum of Archaeology and the Three Cities, I was so hungry I could eat a horse, so I did. Tenderloin of horse on a bed of mashed potatoes. Karen’s going to kill me.