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This blog is dedicated to Malta - my island home. My aim is not to bore you with history but to share my thoughts and a few facts together with a photo or two. For a more in -depth background of the island please go here. The purpose of this blog is not to point out the short-comings of the island. There are plenty that do that already. My wish is to show you the beauty of an island at the cross roads of the Mediterranean, a melting pot of history; a place where fact and fiction are sometimes fused to create unique myths and legends; a country that has been conquered so many times that our culture is a mish mesh of the lands that surround us and of lands far away. I confess that my greatest desire is to make you fall in love with this tiny enchanting island.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Eating at the Priory

On a breezy day last June, our wanderings took us, as they so often do, to Mdina. It was almost lunchtime when we got there so we headed towards a little cafeteria which we had never tried before. Although Mdina is dotted with enticing little restaurants, what makes this little gem extra special is its location. As perhaps its name implies, The Old Priory cafeteria is situated on the ground floor of the Carmelite Priory adjoining the Carmelite Church in Mdina.

Rabat & Mdina (37)

As we lounged on our chairs I was struck by the austere beauty of this old place. The thick white-washed walls seemed to draw my eyes right up to the vaulted, painted ceilings.

Rabat & Mdina (30)

 

Rabat & Mdina (29)

There is an element of peace here, surrounded by so much simplicity. I wondered how many feet had trod on the worn tiles; how many prayers had been muttered in the hushed corridors and in the lonely, bare rooms the monks slept  in - appropriately called cells. Perhaps there were some who entered the priory in the hope of escaping the outside world. Or perhaps they came seeking an inner peace. Was this their refuge or their prison?

In truth, this is a different world to the one we know so well. Sounds from the outside are muffled by the thick walls and the windows are set high up from the ground.

Rabat & Mdina (39)

The sign over the door prohibits the entry of all those outside the priest-hood beyond that point.

Rabat & Mdina (27)

Rabat & Mdina (28)

Maybe we think of these men as leading lonely lives but I also believe that many of them had fulfilling lives, steadfast in their faith until the end.

And for those that did not find what they sought in those silent corridors beyond the door? Ah, I am afraid I do not know what fate was theirs.

Rabat & Mdina (40)

 Rabat & Mdina (43)

 

Perhaps they too found a measure of peace and serenity or perhaps they just slowly faded away, their former lives forgotten, their sandaled feet shuffling softly in those lofty rooms until their last breath was spent.

Rabat & Mdina (36)

Rabat & Mdina (32)

 

As always, old places like this make me wonder what sort of life the monks used to lead. Fortunately the Carmelite Priory is now open to the public and tickets may be purchased to tour this interesting place. I am sure that, one day soon, we will make an effort to, not only eat at the priory but to also visit the rest of the monastery. On this day though, we were content to just enjoy a meal in peaceful surroundings.

Rabat & Mdina (35)

Rabat & Mdina (45)

          Rabat & Mdina (38)

9 comments:

  1. Gorgeous gorgeous post!! Awesome..and sooo beautiful..and wow! Yay..thanks for the adventure!
    Kiki~

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  2. Loree, you presented the Priory to us with the same peace and serenity you felt there. You drew me in quietly, making me want to see those silent corridors. You did it justice, along with your lovely photos.

    Wanda

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  3. Great post and well-presented pictures too. I couldn't live in such a clinical place. There's no soul and no sign of love or life there. I like beauty in my life, but I suppose the monks made their own decisions based on the kind of life they wanted to lead.
    The structure and architecture itself is astounding.

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  4. Thank you for sharing this lovely and interesting tour. The painted ceilings and architecture are magnificent!

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  5. It looks like a wonderful place. I especially like the painted ceilings.

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  6. Thank you for such an interesting tour!
    I do admire the gorgeous painted ceiling - such artistry.

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  7. What a beautiful and fascinating place! It is interesting to think about what life would have been like for those monks, pretty much isolated from the outside.

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  8. Nice remembering about place where I had been too - drinking my coffee, but there are also the very nice museum and the church, I liked them.

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