Aimed for Malta as soon as I managed to get a few days off from my work. I was really in need of a little ‘sea and sun’ after several months of work in order to breathe’ air even slightly different from that of my hometown. I was told that if I decided to visit this archipelago mignon I would get to rest and admire the nature, rich history, enjoy tasty cuisine and enjoy affordable accommodation of good quality. I spent two days in Malta and two days in Gozo.
The first place I saw, Valletta, is probably the smallest capital in Europe. One of the most densely thick geographic locations that I’ve visited, both in terms of human population and culture. While in the Valletta streets, the sea was always visible in the distance, and this would be enough in itself to justify a trip to Malta. But there’s more. The baroque churches, and phone booths, red, typically British, reminding those who have forgotten that the British were there until 1964. It seems that Valletta has a desire for renovation, and so, without too much basking in their past, the Maltese, put aside their nationalistic spirit, and hired Renzo Piano to redo the trick to the capital. The areas are subject to restructuring, therefore I was surrounded by construction sites like at the City Gate, the new House of Parliament and what remained of the Royal Opera House, destroyed from the time of the Second World War.
Then I started to explore the outskirts of Valletta, walking beside sixteenth-century walls and then going into one of its buildings. Afterwards I left to visit its most famous gardens, the Lower and Upper Barakka Gardens.
Could not miss visiting St. John’s Co-Cathedral, whose facade does not bode simple splendor inside: the tangle of its polychrome marble floors, sumptuous side chapels, and finally its paintings, first of which, “The Beheading of St. John.” The painting is signed in blood to reflect the angry and violent genius of Caravaggio, who took refuge in Malta, joining the Order of the Knights, because he was wanted for a murder committed in Rome. When he left the Knights, he was forced to flee to Sicily because he seriously wounded a rival in a duel. My visit to the National Museum of Archaeology was quite appealing as I’m a fan of the genre. In fact, the museum pieces found on display at Hagar Qim, Tarxien as well as the Hypogeum, were original.
Afterwards, I walked through Valleta enjoying the cosmopolitan atmosphere. Finally we made a stop at the cafe Cordina which was very pleasant and relaxing. The return to my daily routine was NOT pleasant.
By Elsi Hasanaj