Index of Pictures / ..

  Our first glimpse of Valletta's Merchant Street.  It had just stopped raining and the sun was coming out. It was even warm enough for an ice cream! Valletta is a very hilly city... the streets looked like a roller coaster. I loved these window boxes which were everywhere.  They look like a lovely place to hang out in the winter reading a book. Another narrow Valletta street, glowing in the sunlight.  

  The day we arrived was a feast day in honor of St. Paul of the Fishes, the Saint who brought Christianity to Malta.  This is his church the day after.  I liked the little statues in their protective plastic.  The interior did not permit pictures but was rich and ornate.  Very lovely.  It reminded us of an opera house. Emily with the statues. Amusing sign.  Very explicit.  Also: you can tell how widespread English is, as this sign is clearly not intended for tourists but rather the locals. The view across the harbor. Where we ate lunch.  

  A cafe where we enjoyed some delicious sunshine. Asti was our no frills hotel, run by a lovely old woman.  It was situated on another of these roller-coaster hills. The exterior of Valletta's fortress, now re-used as a parking lot.  Check out the massive walls! One of the island's busses.  The bus network was excellent; busses were very cheap (they had the rather awkward price of 43 eurocents per trip) and ubiquitous.  I believe they were owned by their individual drivers.  In the background you see the church of some saint or other.  

  One of the city's many The Upper Baraka gardens, where knights used to play.  They offer a lovely view of the harbor.  Of course we always called them the Obama gardens. Hi Emily!  

  I liked the way the light cut diagonally. Kids at play. A grouchy Winston Churchhill.  

  O Papas! A cool clock tower.  The mechanical figures on top are in Moorish costume and carry hammers which with they strike the bell periodically. The castle armory.  Apparently, a knight's armor went to the order after his death, and they now have quite the collection.  You could watch the evolution of armor fashion through the ages.  This is a troop of infantry (left) and cavalry (right) armor. Pretty garden.  

  Mr. American Meals! Featuring Chinese Food! Pretty blue Madonella. We just loved how As the drivers own busses, they can customize them to their liking.  I'll let you judge whether the driver is indeed driven by a hot boy &emdash; you can see him in the mirror.  

  The city gates of Mdina.  Mdina was the capital of Malta before an extended Turkish siege laid waste to the nearby land, and the knights decided to relocate rather than rebuild.  The city is beautiful but (at least in the winter) rather dead; in fact, it's known for its quiet, residential quality.  It was also rainy and bitter cold when we visited: the streets were apparently angled specifically to channel the wind, which I guess is helpful in the summer. Pretty red window boxes. Narrow streets of Mdina. Interior of Mdina's cathedral. Emily admiring the Madonella above the door.  

  View from Mdina.  You could see all the way to Valletta.  The fact that Valletta and Mdina are on different sides of the island should give you some idea how small it is! Pretty door decoration. Pretty red flowers.  

  Mdina cathedral from the outside. Narrow streets of Rabat, which is the city that neighbors Mdina.  Like many Maltese towns, they are so close that if you didn't know they were separate cities you'd think they were the same.  Think Cambridge and Somerville. I just loved these old school English signs.  As is often the case, my first instinct is to think that such signs are poorly translated (well, these particular signs just seem quaint), but in fact in most cases it's just wacky British English-isms. View of Valletta from across the harbor, after we took the ferry. Your narrator looking cool and casual.  

  Sound advice! The ruins of Ħaġar Qim, among the oldest freestanding structures in Europe!  Older than Stonehenge by a fair margin. The alter and so-called Path from Ħaġar Qim to Mnajdra. Path from Ħaġar Qim to Mnajdra.  

  Me demonstrating the East-West axis: on the solstices, the path of the light passes precisely through the temple doors. Saturday was Carnival day, and the people were out enjoying the sunshine. Us too. The view of the harbor at night was gorgeous. Funky carnival floats light up the old town.  

  The floats were paraded through the old town, followed by crowds of people.  Each float had a massive sound system built in, and was based on a paper mache covering around a steel skeleton. Hello turtle! Between floats men and women (but mostly women) dressed in a variety of flashy costumes danced to the music. Pinnochio!  

created with igal2 2.0