What a busy day I’ve had! Today started early with a tour of of Valletta stopping in all sorts of interesting spots with the main event most certainly being St. John’s Co-Cathedral. Afterwards it was off to Buskett Forest for a segway tour which included a brief stop at Dingli Cliffs aka the highest point in Malta at 250M above sea-level. Following that it was one of the cooler things I’ve done in quite some time; sailing in the Mediterranean off Malta and even making a stop in the famous Grand Harbour like so many other vessels have gone before…
For the sake of simplicity; we’re going to break this day down into digestible bites.
We met outside the Palazzo Prince d’Orange at 9am, met our guide and hit the streets running. We stopped at many sights and I enjoyed a real slice of life in Valletta. Of the many places we saw, some highlights for this gent included the Prince of Wales Courtyard in the Grand Masters Palace, the National Bibliotheca and St. John’s Co-Cathedral. I’ve seen many spectacular cathedrals in my travels but I’m hard pressed to think of one that can top this place; to say it’s opulent and other worldly would be an understatement.
A gent named Mattia Preti painted these frescos which will blow your mind on the roof of the cathedral. He did this to join the Order of St. John and this feat took no less than 7 solid years. He even had windows installed to make the 3D characters he painted near them and their shadows look more realistic; seriously the attention to detail and scope of the painting is something to see. Following that, the Co-Cathedral also houses Caravaggio’s largest painting which depicts and is entitled “The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist” places a new meaning on the phrase “a work of art”.
If you’re in Valletta; this co-cathedral is not to be missed.
Apart from that, seriously enjoyed watching people go about their daily lives. We were on a mission but if I was here on a more leisurely day, I’d stop in at one of the countless cafes along the streets and sample what’s on offer. Apart from that, I kept noticing the arches and incredible architecture. You can tell that the buildings were built with security in mind and that no expense was spared whatsoever; they don’t build them like they used to!
Following that we went on a mission to the Buskett Forest which is basically near the Dingli Cliffs and the highest point in Malta. It took us no more than 25 minutes as this island is quite narrow at about 14km wide. Malta is one big slope that starts at the cliffs which tower 250m above the sea. The clouds were low so these photos aren’t as good as they could be but will give you an idea.
Have you ever been on a segway? This was my second time and I found the experience quite fun; anything you could take a bike to visit you could probably do on a segway. Following the Dingli Cliffs we cruised through Buskett Forest making a few stops along the way to sample some local strawberries, take photos of the landscape and smell the flowers; so to speak. The tour lasted about an hour or so and the operator was Segway Malta; recommended.
Sailing is huge in Malta and why wouldn’t it be? It’s a beautiful island in the Mediterranean. Every year countless yachts come from all corners to enjoy some summer sun. Most of us, myself included probably won’t be doing that anytime soon but it doesn’t mean we can’t get a glimpse of what it’s like for a day. The solution is chartering a sailing yacht and I highly recommend the experience as it’s a LOT of fun. You also don’t have to worry about important stuff like, you know, sailing the yacht…
We left the harbour and cruised the coast for a while before turning around and pulling into a quiet bay. There we had a delicious spread of classic Maltese food made by our chef. Everything was fresh from the farm and made this morning which added to the time. The appetizer spread consisted of eggplant, zucchini, sun-dried tomatoes, goats cheese, hummus and more. Suffice to say I over did it on this like everyone else and would have been happy calling it a meal. After we had some fresh steamed fish followed by fresh fruit for dessert and healthy quantities of wine throughout; another benefit of not having to sail the boat!
Afterwards we worked our way back to Valletta and did a quick tour of Grand Harbour before mooring. Seeing Grand Harbour is quite the sight but actually being in it was a surreal feeling. If you have a good imagination which I’m sure you all do; it’s not hard to imagine how many ships have sailed through the very same waters and in a weird way; you’re joining the countless who have gone before you and the infinite number who will follow. It also gives you a wonderful view of the three cities across from Valletta which all seem very interesting in their own right. So much to see and do, so little time!
Now I’m hanging out in my room still stuffed from today’s meal. Considering I’m leaving on Sunday, the only appropriate thing to do is relax a little longer before taking a shower and strolling the streets with my new friends in search of something light to eat which also have as a good wine list. Anything else would be uncivilized, yes? Today was great and seriously, if you’re in Malta do go into St. John’s Co-Cathedral and do get out there in the Mediterranean Sea for some sailing.
Didn’t take many photos but do stay tuned for a video; below is sunrise this morning.
This post was made possible as a result of the Blog Island Malta campaign which was created and managed by iambassador in partnership with the Malta Tourism Authority and the support of Air Malta. As always, I’d like to thank them for putting this initiative together and including Stop Having a Boring Life in the action; obviously all opinions are my own.
Greetings, I'm writing this from a penthouse in the fortified city of Valletta, Malta. This city is also the capital...