WELCOME

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, August 20, 2010

The Fountain of the Washerwomen

On a steep hill leading to Mdina is an old, derelict building. Weeds and small bushes grow out of the cracks and crevices that time and the elements have carved in the stone. The red sign warns people to keep away because of the possibility of collapse; the crumbling stones give an indication of its age. At least four centuries have passed since this building was erected.

Medieval Mdina 008

This is one of a number of wash-houses built by the Knights of St John in areas where natural springs were abundant even  in the hot summer months. It was to these  places that the village women would bring their dirty laundry. Some were servants at the big houses in Mdina, washing the clothes of the nobility for a few pennies. Others would just bring the washing of their whole family.

Medieval Mdina 010

I can only imagine all the tales and gossip that these walls have must have heard as the clothes of the nobleman and the peasant were cleansed in the same spring water. I can almost hear the gay chatter and laughs of the women as they went about their arduous chore. Centuries later the only sound that can be heard is the gentle trickle of the water as it falls into the rough-hewn basins.

 Medieval Mdina 011

Note

Although this building is in imminent danger of collapse, some of these old fountains in other areas have been restored. The foundations of this particular wash-house, however, are built on clay which is why it is in such a bad shape. Hopefully a way of keeping this building intact will be found so that future generations will be able to appreciate our heritage.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Ruby Tuesday: Shop Front

Up to now I have mostly shown you Valletta in sepia. But our capital city boasts its own bursts of colour. Like this bright red shop front in lower Merchants’ Street.

Valletta (4)

True, it is decaying and it has been locked and barred for years. But I dream that, one day soon, the wood will be restored and it will be re-painted in a gleaming new coat of ruby red paint. Sometimes I dare to dream that this shop will be mine and I will fill it with eclectic treasurse created by true artisans and in one corner I will have a section for vintage items, lovingly restored, waiting to find new families that will cherish them once more … I am such a dreamer.

RubyTuesdaybadgebydriller[1]

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse of a little corner of Valletta. For more Ruby Tuesday posts from around the world, please visit Mary at Work of the Poet.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Valletta in Sepia (5) - Details

Valletta is a masterpiece of Baroque craftsmanship. Intricate carvings abound all over the city. It is an architecture lover’s paradise and it also attracts people like me who love to point their camera at the little details that make this city so unique.

Valletta (8)

Valletta (10)

Valletta (11)

Valletta (13)

Valletta (14)

     Valletta (15)

Thousands walk past this beauty everyday and I think that most of us fail to see the work that has gone into these centuries-old buildings. I love to visit Valletta when the shops and offices are closed, and it is all but empty of people, so that I can walk slowly and savour the beauty of another era.

P.S. Excuse the rather lop-sided look of this blog at present. I am trying to change the layout and am having some difficulty with certain things. Hope to solve all the little issues soon.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Reflections in a Convent Door

Mdina (28)

Reflections of buildings in this convent door in Mdina. The convent was right next to our school and through the inner door you can see a part of the garden and a statue of  Mary looking down benignly at the goldfish pond. I remember the goldfish were really fat  but perhaps it’s not surprising since we were always feeding them some of our lunch.  So many happy memories lie behind that door. So many secrets whispered in the drafty corners. So many friendships forged. So much laughter and, sometimes, some tears.

The school has now moved to more modern premises with larger grounds, tennis courts and even a swimming pool. So the corridors of this old building are now empty and only a handful of nuns are  left to hear the echoes of hundreds of voices and to keep guard over our secrets. And Mary still watches over the pond remembering, perhaps, the girls that fed the goldfish.

A bit of nostalgia today for my Weekend Reflections. Visit James at Newton Area Photo for more Weekend Reflections from around the world.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Ruby Tuesday: Summer Fruit

Gnejna Bay (12)

Plums and nectarines from my uncle’s trees – one of the blessings of our summer. Our fruit may not look perfect and it is often not very big, but each bite is a delight to the senses as the sweetness oozes out  and washes over the taste buds leaving you wanting more. Too soon the local season for plums and nectarines will be over and we will be left with the bland supermarket offerings – perhaps nicer to look at but definitely nowhere near as delicious.

RubyTuesdaybadgebydriller[1]

For more Ruby Tuesdays go to Mary at Work of the Poet.

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