Sunday-my last day in Malta- was designed to be a day exploring Valletta, Malta’s capital city. Churches, shops and the famous Malta Experience.
Buses depart every 20 minutes from St Julians Bay and I enjoyed a morning walk along the coast in the sunshine to the bus stop. Malta is a traditionally Catholic city and church plays an important part in the Sundays of the local people there, so many people were heading to mass at the Our Lady of Carmel church in St Julians Bay, and also in Valetta.
Valetta is a world heritage listed site, featuring baroque architecture, statutes, old churches, stalls selling everything from organic honey and jams to handmade jewellery, quaint outdoor cafes, piazzas, gelato bars and narrow streets with glimpses of the glistening blue Mediterranean sea. Being a Sunday, and a traditionally Catholic city, people were either coming from or heading to Sunday mass. It was named after Jean Parisot De La Valette.
St John’s Cathedral is a must see. It was constructed by the Knights of Malta between 1573 and 1578 and was designed by the prominent Maltese Military architect Glormu Cassar and features ornate interior decoration by Mattia Preti. When I got there, Sunday mass had just ended and people were spilling out of the church.
After marveling at the church, I explored the various narrow streets and piazzas within Valetta, browsing the souvenir shops and stalls and buying souvenirs for family and friends back home.
For lunch, I decided to try the traditional Maltese pizza in one of the outdoor cafes in the main piazza. The toppings consist of tomato sauce, Maltese sausage, bacon, peas and onion. I was starving and wood fired Maltese pizza really hit the spot. The cafe featured other traditional Maltese dishes such as rabbit stew and lampuki; the local fish.
Afterwards, whilst admiring the artistic, almost too good to eat dolci in the cafes, I was tempted by coffee and tiramisu. After savouring the coffee and tiramisu and enjoying the glimpses of water views from various points of the city, I headed towards the pier, where there was a fortress and at the Grand Harbour there is the Malta Experience in the Meditterranean Conference centre which is a fabulous audio visual show encompassing the 7000 years of Malta’s history. The Conference Centre was formerly La Sacra Infirmeria-The Sacred Hospital of the Mediterranean. It was built in 1574 and was a revolutionary hospital in Europe, where many chemists invented ground breaking treatments.
Tickets are available for a tour of the former hospital and/or the show, with combined tickets being offered at a discount. Unfortunately, I hadn’t purchased tickets and had missed the session, but I enjoyed the picturesque scenery of Grand Harbour and made a mental note to come here next time.
Sadly, it was time for good things to come to an end and I made my way back to the hotel, to collect my luggage and head to Luqa International Airport. I will miss this beautiful place, with its unspoiled rugged cliffs, crystal clear waters, such friendly and hospitable people, timeless Baroque architecture and delicious food served in quaint outdoor cafes. This little gem of an island is too wonderful not to visit!