Friday, November 23, 2018

Valletta and Hagar Qim, Malta

November 19-20, 2018

Valletta is the capital of Malta. It is a walled city built on a small peninsula between two harbors. Everywhere you look is a great view. The city was built in the mid 16th century, so most of it is very old stone buildings. It was packed with tourists. This is off season, I don't know how you walk around during the popular vacation times.

Triton Fountain in front of the city gate of Valletta.

Valletta City Gate and the New Parliament Building

The New Parliament Building is a very beautiful modern structure.

There are 13 white sculptures depicting Maltese proverbs around the city. 

Victory Church was the first building built in Velletta in 1566.

Ceiling of Victory Church.

Another of the 13 Maltese proverbs sculptures.

Part of the wall surrounding Valletta.

Looking across Grand Harbour area to Senglea

The Saluting Battery. They fire a cannon everyday at noon. The crowds were so thick I couldn't see it, but you could certainly hear it.

Lower Barracca Gardens - A small beautiful garden overlooking the entrance to the harbor.

Typical street in Valletta, very narrow and lots of traffic.

Interesting building decorations. This one is on the Grandmaster's Palace.

Nice looking building with the painted red timber windows.

I like the different colored timber windows on this building.

More building decorations.

Looking across Marsamxetto Harbour to Ta'Xbiex from Valletta.

Hagar Qim dates back to 3600 - 3200 BC. It is among the oldest religious sites on earth. The temple is built of limestone and is subject to weathering, so large tents have been built over the temple sites.

Looking through one of the Hagar Qim temples.

Passage way inside the temple.

Chamber inside the temple.

Exterior walls of the temple.

Island of Gozo, Malta

November 18, 2018

Gozo is an island across an 8 km channel from the north end of Malta. It is very scenic with a more relaxed feeling. Only spent one day, but could easily spent several more. So much to see, to little time.

Basilica of Ta'Pinu.

There are four of these large mosaic panels in the front plaza of the church.

Basilica of Ta'Pinu is a pilgrimage church devoted to the Virgin Mary.

View from the pilgrimage trail across from the church.

One of the 14 marble statues representing the Way of the Cross on the pilgrimage walk to the top of the hill of Ta'Ghammar.

Another of the Way of the Cross stature.

At the top of the hill of Ta'Ghammar is a large stone amphitheater.

View of the former Azure Window - The arch collapsed on March 8, 2017. Now a popular scuba diving spot. 

Entrance to the citadel, the enclosed historic center of the capital city Victoria.

Cathedral of the Assumption inside the citadel.

Another view inside the citadel.

Selfie - why not we see people talking them everywhere. We just try to do it a little different.

Pathway through the citadel.

Cannons are spread along the walls.

Another view inside the citadel.

View from the citadel of the surrounding countryside.

View of Victoria.

Mgarr from the ferry, heading back to Malta. 

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Mellieha and Mdina, Malta

November 14 - 16, 2018

We spent a week in Malta. It is located in the Mediterranean just south of Sicily. There are lots of ancient ruins, forts and walled cities. We stayed in a VRBO on the north end of the island in Mellieha. We had a rental car to get around the islands. Rental cars are inexpensive but it is challenging to drive. Luckily we had our GPS. We would have been so lost without it. Most of the roads are narrow and lanes appear and disappear. You feel lucky to exit a round-a-bout in one piece. The drivers are crazy and they don't seem to realize where their side of the road is. Plus, like England, they drive on the left side.

View of Ghadire Bay from the terrace of our VRBO in Mellieha

Pretty planter in Mellieha

Stone arches - this stone is used to build everything in Malta.

Beautiful gate opening to a city square in Mellieha.

City square in Mellieha

Doors and shutters add color to all the stone buildings.

Wall art - this time up the stairs. Cat on the stairs was really good.

Parish Church in Mellieha

National Museum of Natural History in Mdina

Fish skeleton in Natural History Museum

Courtyard inside the museum.

I thought these were pedestrian streets in the walled city of  Mdina.

But they were regular streets. Good thing the cars are small. 

Lots of glass items for sale in the tourist shops. It was really hard not to buy, but no room in the van when we meet up with it in South Africa.

St Paul's Cathedral in Mdina

Love the red door and shutters of this house.

Another pretty house in Mdina

Really nice red iron gate .

Window in the side of a house. Seems like there must not be much natural light in the house.

Nice door knocker.

Door knockers are very popular in Mdina. They even sale them as souvenirs.

Outside the walls of Mdina.

View from the north end of Malta.

Looking toward the island of Gozo.