Highlights of Malta

MALTA

A view from the top of Valletta, Malta

 

Renee, Stan, Skip and I arrived in Malta several hours before the ferry from Libya.To date many thousands of people have come through Malta fleeing Libya.   It is amazing that we are in the hub of the world right now. All the world’s attention is on Malta and we are here. I will not dwell on the problem, because the people entering Malta for relocation are being cared for and treated with great expertise and compassion. My congratulations to Malta!  The Maltese speak English as their second language. It is compulsory during their school years. They speak French, German and Italian as well. There is a gentility here that is from the British influence.  The food  has been the best!  The other day for lunch a chicken breast was served and I made a big deal about ordering an extra dish of rabbit. The people in the restaurant were so happy we wanted to try it, they added it to our lunch on the house.  You know the tip at the end was rather large. Rabbit is good, really good, just like a skinny no fat chicken.  Does it taste like chicken? I think so, but the sauce was so outstanding I forgot to rate the rabbit. Everyone liked it. I wanted to try the horse meat dish, but time road away. Anyone know where I can get horse meat in Los Angeles?

Our delicious rabbit dish!

 

We spent the day walking lovely Valletta, a gorgeous city surrounded by beautiful harbors and side streets that slope down to the water.

Street sloping to the water in Valletta, Malta

We experienced St. John’s Co-Cathedral, a dazzling, dizzying explosion of carved stone walls and arches gilded with gold. This magnificent beauty was not expected because the outside of the cathedral does not give any indication to the breathtaking experience on the inside. A special gift of our visit to St. John’s Cathedral was the Caravaggio Painting of the beheading of St. John, the Baptist.

Inside view of St. John's Co-Cathedral

We walked to the top of Valletta and saw this view.

Next we drove to the town of Mosta and another church called Santa Marija and yet another miracle. During World War II a bomb went through the dome of this beautiful domed church. The miracle is that while three hundred parishioners were giving thanks to God when the bomb came through the dome and rolled around on the floor resting on the side of the wall, it did not explode. The miracle is that not one person was injured that day, miraculous.

I have to tell you that on this trip, Skip and I have seen the insides and heard the miracles performed inside the walls of seventeen churches and we may be off by a few more. Usually you hear, oh no not another church; is that all they have to show us is the church?  No, but each church holds a special mystery a special miracle, a special message, and no two are alike.  They have some architectural similarities, but that is where it ends. A number of churches have inlaid marble inscribed tombstones of famous Grand Master’s, knights, priests and well established families. The floors are so beautiful and in some cases they have carpeted a walk way for the churches most visited by tourists to insure everlasting enjoyment by all who want to come and see these works of art ages and ages from now.

17th church in the beautiful honey colored town of Mdina

At the 17th church in the beautiful honey colored town of Mdina, I said, “No, I just can’t go in.”  I asked our guide if this church had any special miracles attached to it and she said, “ No, but it is raining and I thought you would like to get in out of the rain.” The church did not look special in any way, except that it is beautiful as churches are to me and it is true, we were out of the rain. So I said to God, “How about stopping the rain until we get out of Mdina.”  It stopped raining until we left Mdina and another special story to tell.  By the way, Mdina is an awesome looking hill top city called “The Silent City.”  Very few people are still living there, so it is inhabited by tourists during the day and is nearly empty at night.  I tried to get a T-shirt there for daughter Dina, but sorry, honey, they do not make T-shirts with their city name Mdina on them.

We enjoyed a walk up to Dingli cliffs. The view is lovely and you can see another little uninhabited island in the distance. I know the movie and the myth of the Maltese Falcon, and while I did not see a falconer, we did see a hawk trainer.

Hawk and trainer

Lovely pose

Oops, I think St. Paul’s Church and Grotto in Rabat was very interesting and number 18 as far as churches go. The church is modest in comparison with some of the others, red and gold, but as far as miracles, being the 18th church visitation is the miracle for me. The grotto is very much what I would consider a cave. St. Paul is said to have lived there for three months while he lived in Malta.  It was very cold that day, but in the grotto it was a moderate, nearly warm in temperature. We offered a few coins to help with the upkeep of this site.

 

A lovely little surprise and gem is the Palace of the Grand Master’s in the middle of Valletta. It was once the home of the Grand Master, who was/is the supreme head of the knights. Originally it was St. John. The gems here never quit, but the room that held my attention for a long time and really I did not want to leave was the tapestry chamber. If I say the name Gobelin Tapestries, you may know this famous French company still in existence. Gobelin was commissioned, measurements taken and tapestries made especially for this room. They were donated by Grand Master Perellos in the early 1700’s.

http://www.eveandersson.com/photo-display/large/malta/valletta-palace-of-the-grand-master-state-rooms-gobelin-tapestries.html

No photos were allowed of the tapestry so I have included a web site.

Corridor of the knights

 

The Maltese Cross is an eight sided cross and is the symbol of the Knights of Malta.

The Maltese Cross

Each of the eight sides represent one of the nations that were part of the original  chapters of the order. The four arms of the cross are supposed to represent the four cardinal virtues: Fortitude, Justice, Temperance and Perseverance.

We LOVE Malta!

 

 

 

 

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. terri d.
    Mar 03, 2011 @ 16:37:56

    glad you are home safe and sound!

    Wow, the places you’ll go, quoting Dr. Seuss…

    Hope to see you soon…xo Terri

    Reply

  2. Judy Falzone
    Apr 09, 2011 @ 10:28:34

    Hi Sheila,

    Your travels and pictures are beautiful! They remind me of something that I read once in a Somerset Maugham novel… I wonder if it matters that what they have aimed at is an illusion. Their lives are in themselves beautiful. I have an idea that the only thing which makes it possible to regard this world we live in without disgust is the beauty which now and then men create out of the chaos. The pictures they paint, the music they compose, the books the write, and the lives they lead. Of all these the richest in beauty is the beautiful life. That is the perfect work of art.

    Reply

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