Getting there and a first walk about........Welcome to Valletta, capitol of the Maltese Archipeligo!

Valletta Travel Blog

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From traveling along the northern coast, we turn inland. I am surprised  as we approach a large dome. It' s the Mosta dome. It's one of my "to be visited" sites for this trip. From this point the different towns seem to all meld together. Soon we are on a wide boulevard that leads to a massive roundabout with a large fountain in the center. Busses are lining up here. I think this if the bus terminus at Floriana. We are here!

I'm sure that in the not too distant past this square was a grand one at the gate to the fortified city. I must say, though, it is effiicient and central for travel throughout the island. It is a shame none the less.

I cross a waterless moat and walk through this massively wide and tall and thick gate. It's a monster but it is very plain.

The bastions are the largest that I've ever seen. They are even larger than the fortress in Belgrade, and those are large. This was for use not for show.  Welcome to Valletta.

I quickly try to orient myself and start looking for my guesthouse. It's hard not to stop and look at things but, I am carring a suitcase so, I stick to task. I walk figure which street I am on and my cross street and I am set. I am amazed at how hilly this city is. It' s like San Francisco hilly. I find my street, Ursula St., I start walking down what looks like a billion steps and immediately see my place, the Asti. Very simple on the outside, but great location and great price. The elderly lady, Annie, greets me and even recognizes my name.

I did call and confirm my reservation 2 days before arrival. She shows me arround, explains the many locks, it's a process but ensures safely. She calls for the maid to show me my room. I climb many sets of stairs and reach the top floor. It has a balcony and while very plain is great. I am happy. I unload my stuff, load my camera in the backpack, and off I go.

I took a Lonely Planet reccomendation and eat at Cafe Sicilia, which is one block from my guesthouse and has a great view of Grand Harbor. Lunch was nice but a bit breezy for my short sleeved shirt even in the sun. I go back and quickly get my jacket to be more comfortable. I decide to explore a bit of Valletta.

I start up near the main gate. There are Roman looking ruins/excavation in from of St.

James Cathedral. This is Freedom Square. It is a place of meeting and gathering. There are many grand churches and museums here. I walk the main pedestrian thoroghfare, Republic Street. It is lined with centuries old buildings filled with shops and trendy cafes below and apartments above. I take a left off the main steet to St. John's Square. This is a tree-lined square filled with the many chairs of outdoor restaurants and cafes with people there to see and be seen. The centerpiece of this square it the St. John's Co-Cathedral. The square has a nice feel to it, very comfortable. It reminds me of a small Plaza Mayor, without the 113 degree heat.

I walk and walk and walk, down and up to reach the end of the Valleta Penninsula. It's amazing just how big this tiniest of European capitols is.

The view at the end of the penninsula is.....well....a mess. Fort St. Elmo has fencing around it that is falling down in places and has been cut in places. It's obviously not being maintained, let alone renovated. It looks abandoned. That whole end of Valletta is "Maltese hood".

I walk the wall along the Grand Harbor. The view are amazing. I can see the penninsulas of Senglea, Vittoriosa, and Ricasoli Point.

(See Marsaxlokk entry, now)

Valletta after dark is a bit strange. It is dead, seriously, dead! It empties of the daily shop workers and office people. It empties of tourists that may be staying in one of the many holiday villages. There are just a few ??? people that hang around. However, there is a police station in Freedom Square and quite a presence on the street, after dark. I was concerned at first, but, after seen several officers in different parts of the city walking their beat, I felt safe.

Anyway, I head to another Lonely Planet reccomendation, Cafe Ambrosia. (Review) The cafe was quaint and the food interesting! I will definitely return before leaving Malta.

It's time to have a rest for the day. I head to the guesthouse, stopping briefly to take in the Grand Harbor views at night. It's stunning.

I'm back and climb the many stairs to my "penthouse" room. I open the doors to my balcony and appreciate the silence and the ambience of Valletta at night.

jenn79 says:
congratulations!! And what perfect timing, as I was searching for some info on Malta for next month when I visit =)
Posted on: Apr 01, 2009
Lord_Mike says:
Congratulations on your feature....great job!!!
Posted on: Mar 31, 2009
RobMeetsWorld says:
YEAH! I am so proud of you. This is great and well deserved that you got featured.
Posted on: Mar 31, 2009
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Annie's quaint refuge in Valletta
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photo by: Vikram