Monday, 17 April 2017

Malta - Day One - Trip to Valletta

We stayed in a place called Żabbar (Ħaż-Żabbar in Maltese) - it's one of the bigger cities in Malta, with a population of fifteen thousand!

We walked through Zabbar to Birgu to catch the ferry to Valletta. On the way I saw this gem of a truck, it was actually a small crane. It was in beautiful condition.

Small park - it really was a pretty walk.

The trees are pruned somewhat strangely, they reminded me of lollipops, or maybe a cartoon I've seen sometime but I can't remember which one.

The pavements are mostly concrete, or concrete blocks or stone, I guess it gets too hot for tarmac in the summer. What you do see is footsteps or in this case also footprints occasionally when someone or something has accidentally wandered through the wet concrete!

At Birgu overlooking the yacht marina - there were some very expensive boats parked up here.

We walked to the end of Birgu - and there were some great views across Valletta harbour. Birgu is a strange place, on Google Maps it is known as Victorioso - the name it was given by the Order of St John in the 16th Century I think, but the inhabitants still call it by the old name of Birgu.

The plaque was on the side of this building - it looked like a private residence and not a church?

There are however plenty of small churches in Malta, and lots of religious icons and statuary.

Public spaces were full of cacti.

Closer look at some of the nice boats, right on the Marina.

Finally found our way on to the ferry to Valletta - it is only about Euro 10 for a week and for me it was Euro 0,90 return as I had a blue badge (although the crew had to have this pointed out to them as they didn't know their own prices!)

I wonder what's the collective noun for a group of super yachts? 

This one was huge and all on it's own.

But not quite as big as this one :)

You can take a tour of the harbour on a gondola for a few Euros. We thought about this but in the end didn't fit it in to our hectic schedule.

When you arrive in Valletta there is a huge climb up to the main town. The old route up is the zig-zag paths at the back of this square.

Luckily for tourists and locals alike there is a much easier way - The Upper Barraka Lift which was opened in 2012 and replaced a lift that operated from 1905-1973 (this previous incarnation was finally dismantled in 1983). The lift costs Euro 1 or is included in the cost of your ferry ticket.

Or you could take the stairs up!

The view from the top is fabulous!

In the Upper Barraka Gardens, waiting for the noonday cannon salute.

Cat timed this photo beautifully!

Cooling fountains in the gardens - the spray from this felt soooo nice.

I swear this truck was held together with sellotape - not duct tape like you usually see

Beautiful ornate ironwork on this window.

This is the main tourist street in Malta - we avoided it for the most part.

British Home Stores is not dead!

Lunch in an alleyway at a place called Tico Tico - Maltese starters - i'm not sure what they all were but they were quite tasty and interesting.

Pasta for the main course

And beef and chips for the second main course!

The water is so blue and clear. It's beautiful.

Malta - where Asda's clothing label is a boutique!

Guys on a little raft painting a big anchor.

Another cruise ship - it was huge! I'm not sure i'd like to go on a cruise, I prefer peace and quiet and freedom of wandering around exploring.

On the ferry ride back, the captain sat in his Captain Kirk-esque seat looking very chilled.

Cactus that's grown through a fence

The local football team in Zabbar.

Those Kardashians get everywhere!

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