Monday, 26 April 2010


The Grand Harbour

Malta was one of the ports that we were most looking forward to and it certainly didn’t disappoint.

The port of Valetta

We had another early start so we could see the ship pull into the Grand Harbour which was magnificent. The ship ran to time like clockwork. As announced, we reached Malta at 730am, docked by 815am and we were allowed on shore at 830am. We were greeted by a brass band which made us feel rather important!
Our tour guide, Flora, from Touring Malta, was waiting for us. We had initially planned to DIY Malta but we’re certainly glad that we went for the private tour instead. We probably otherwise would not have seen as much, learnt as much, nor beat the big Disney tour buses at the various locations. Flora and Charles, our driver, spoke English well (as do all the Maltese) and were warm, friendly and knowledgeable.

Malta really is a beautiful island with a long and rich history. The English signs and driving on the left hand side of the road also brought us feelings of comfort! We started off with a drive, then a wander around Valetta, including a short trip to the Barakka gardens where we had a glorious view of the Grand Harbour with the Magic docked down below. The highlight of the city would have to St John’s Co-Cathedral.

Malcolm’s uncle had traced his ancestry back to Malta and discovered living descendents. One particular one we know work at the Office of Tourism and Culture. When we walked past the building, Flora kindly walked in and made enquiries. Lo and behold we found Frances Albani! He came down to say hello. The resemblance to Malcolm's family was uncanny. We walked away with a photo for Malcolm’s dad.

Frances Albani

Lunch was at the Fishing village of Marsaxlokk. It was a simple fare of grilled fish with chips and salad, but the fish was fresh and cooked to perfection. After a quick wander, we moved on to the Blue Grotto where we took the boat ride out to the grotto itself. The colour of the water and the rocks in the caves were spectacular and surprisingly vivid!

Typical Maltese boat with 2 "eyes" at the front.

There was even one with my name on it...oops sorry can't spell.
Arial view of the Blue Grotto

On the boat to the Blue Grotto

Very blue indeed...

We stopped for a quick ice-cream and playground break outside the Mdina medieval city. With the children now satisfied we were able to wander the narrow streets and admire the beautiful old buildings in peace. 4pm came around too quickly and it was time to head back to the ship. In commemoration of Disney Cruise Line’s first visit to Valetta, the city farewelled the ship with a canon salute. It was a truly magnificent way to end our day at Valetta.
It was, however, not the end to our day on the ship. We had a dinner reservation at Palo. Lara and Elliot were only to happy to be told that they had to go the kids clubs. Jonah despite screaming when he was dropped off, thankfully settled in less than a minute and went to sleep with no problems.

Entrance to the Mdina
The Maltese cross evident everywhere

Ancient streets

The day was so full of beautiful sites and images. It really is a pity that I am not able to post photos at the time of writing because of the internet speeds. The purchase of the internet package would have to be one of my only regrets. For the premium price that we are paying, the service is poor. I understand speed limitations, but to have to take up to 10 minutes every single time to log on and off is not acceptable. Use the internet 10 times and it would be 100 minutes which is already 20% of the internet time that I purchased!

To end on a happy note, it is off to Africa tomorrow. Can't wait!

No comments:

Post a Comment