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.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Count Roger of Normandy and the Legend of Migra Ferha

Migra l-Ferha (5)

According to a local legend, Count Roger the Norman landed here in 1091 with an army of men and freed the island from the hated Moors.

Is-Sancir & Migra Ferha (24)

This is supposedly the exact spot where the hoof of the Count’s horse touched the ground as soon as he disembarked from his ship. Legends – you just have to love them.

Is-Sancir & Migra Ferha (28)

Of course, no commander worth his salt would anchor his ships beneath such inhospitable cliffs and then lead an army of men and horses up the steep slopes. So although we know that Count Roger did come to Malta in 1091 he must have landed in a much safer place. The story goes that the locals greeted him with the shouts of Kyrie Eleison, that he freed all the Christian slaves from the clutches of the Moors and sent them (the Moors) packing and that everyone was so grateful to him that they adopted the colours of his coat-of-arms as our national flag.

Migra l-Ferha (19)

The truth is that the Moors stayed here until 1123 and paid Count Roger a yearly tribute and our national flag came into being much later (although no one knows precisely when).

You will find a brief history of this period here.

Migra l-Ferha (23)

This should give you a better perspective of how far down the ‘hoof mark’ is and - yes, those men are fishing.

Is-Sancir & Migra Ferha (23)

(These photos were taken on two different days in March – one that was rather stormy and the other on a sunny day).

Location: Migra Ferha, March 2014

Monday, March 24, 2014

Ta’ Qali Farmer’s Market

By the looks of it, I have neglected this blog for quite some time. The thing is, what I write here is usually factual and I seem to prefer a more narrative, personal approach. Maybe one day I will find the right balance.

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For today, I just wanted to share some photos of local produce at the  main Farmer’s Market that is held in Ta’ Qali. It is the best place to buy fruit and vegetables – which is what the majority of stalls sell. Interspersed amongst them are a few flower and meat sellers.

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I would love to see some more variety – maybe a few stalls selling home-baked goods or jams and there is definitely a need for a couple of booths selling bread. But all in all, it is a pleasant shopping experience and it is nice to be able to walk around and then go back to purchase the freshest and best-looking wares.

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Nature’s palette is so vibrant, isn’t it?

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Ta’ Qali Farmer’s Market

Opening hours: Tuesdays 16.00 – 19.00 and Saturdays 09.00 – 17.00

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Yellow House, Birgu

The Inquisitor's Palace (12)

I still remember the time when the exterior of most town-houses would be painted in all sorts of different colours. Nowadays, the trend is to peel off the paint and expose the limestone blocks out of which our houses are built. Since I am not a student of architecture, I won’t go into the merits, or otherwise, of this practice. But let’s just say that in the blazing heat  of the mid-day summer sun, the pastel and rainbow hues were easier on the eyes than stark-white. I am glad to see that the practice of painting the facades of houses has not completely died out. This lemony, hue reminiscent of sorbet, brightens up the whole street.

Location: Birgu, June 2013

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Churchill’s Cigar and Eisenhower’s Walking Stick

These are just two of the many artifacts that may be seen at the National War Museum in Valletta. Through its collection of personal memorabilia, original footage, digital displays and numerous photographic panels, the museum aims at highlighting the role that Malta played during the two World Wars with special focus on the second world war. Perhaps the most poignant items on display are the fuselage of the Gloster Gladiator “Faith” and remnants from the ships that formed part of Operation Pedestal – the convoy that saved Malta in 1942. The museum honours the fallen, salutes the heroes and provides a glimpse at what daily life in Malta was like during World War 2.

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The National War Museum, Old Drill Hall, Lower Fort St Elmo, Spur Street, Valletta VLT 1741
Tel: +356 21 222 430

Opening hours: 

Monday to Sunday: 09.00 - 17.00hrs
Last admission at 16.30hrs
Closed on 24, 25 & 31 December, 1 January & Good Friday

 

Notwithstanding the high level of the exhibits, it is difficult to understand the complexity of this particular period in the island’s history just be visiting the museum. For those interested in learning more, here are a few recommendations:

More Places To Visit

- Lascaris War Rooms: an underground complex of tunnels and chambers that housed the War Headquarters and from where the defence of Malta was conducted during WW2.

- Malta at War  Museum: apart from the exhibits and the screening of an original wartime documentary ‘Malta G.C’, a visit to a war-time air-raid shelter is included.

Documentaries

On Discovery Channel: Heroes of Hell Island – The Men Who Saved Malta

A  National Geographic Production: World War 2: Battle for Malta

 

 

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Fiction

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