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.


Tuesday 26 July 2011

Spreading The Word – Malta’s First Frock Swap

This is just a short post to help Abby (aka The Fish In Malta) spread the word about a Frock Swap she is organising this coming Saturday (July 30th). Proceeds from the Frock Swap will go towards Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary. You may find more information about the swap on the blog Fish Frock Swap.


Unfortunately, there is a problem with abandoned animals on the island and Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary picks up stray dogs and cats and tries to find good homes for them. In the meantime, the animals are fed and given the necessary veterinary care and this, of course, requires funds.

San Anton (41)

So if you live in Malta, love animals and would like to participate in the  Frock Swap please visit this link.


Photographed at

San Anton Palace Gardens

September 2009

Friday 22 July 2011

Wayside Chapels: Our Lady of Carmel at Fawwara

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I have, of course, already talked about Fawwara, the little hamlet beneath the cliffs that seems to be suspended in time. Today I want to share with you the tiny gem of a chapel dedicated to Our Lady Of Carmel that commands one of the most breath-taking views on the island. Surrounded by fields, plunging cliffs and cornflower-blue sea, the silence is almost deafening, the peace and tranquility a balm to the soul. The vista from the parapet stretches out for miles and seems to draw the eyes to the islet of Filfla, rising majestically out of the water.

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The chapel was built in 1616 with funds provided by Girolama  Ciantar. It is said that at the time a severe drought hit the island  and a spring of fresh water, that fed the fields in the vicinity and which were owned by Girolama’s family, dried up with the consequence that the family was about to lose its crops. Girolama vowed that if the water started to flow again she would build a church on the spot. The lady prayed and the water did flow. Girolama Ciantar kept her promise and bequeathed her fields to the Brotherhood of Our Lady of Charity of St Paul’s Church Valletta. In 1669 the church was rebuilt by the brotherhood and subsequently restored in 1756. The feast of Our Lady of Carmel will be celebrated at the small chapel in Fawwara this coming Sunday.

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Sometimes I feel as if I could go on and on writing about the magic of this place. It has captured my imagination to such an extent that I feel that, like the fabled Avalon, it does not belong to this world and that once we leave, the mists drift down and hide it away until it is time for another visit; that in the meantime everything will remain as it has for centuries until we venture again on the secret road that will lead us through the mists and to the reality that is on the other side.

Of course, the road is not really secret and no mists exist unless rain has fallen but I do believe that what we find when we get there depends on what we are looking for.

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Silence. Solitude. Legends. Prayers. Miracles. Fantasy. In this place, so far from the crowds and from modern-day civilization, I believe that the impossible can, and does, happen.

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This place is so unique that my photos alone cannot do it justice. Please visit this link at Malta In 360 . I promise you the few extra minutes you spend there will be worth it.

Photographed at Fawwara, April 2011

Historical information adapted from: A Hundred Wayside Chapels of Malta & Gozo by Kilin.

Monday 18 July 2011

Ruby Tuesday: Of Flowers And Rubble Walls

Sometimes it happens that I come across a scene that looks perfect to my eyes – the colours and the textures working together to create an imprint in my mind; and since I want to record that imprint forever, out comes my camera and I snap a shot. It’s a moment in late spring and all three plants in the photo are in bloom: to the left - a cactus plant that will give us prickly pear fruits in September (you can read more about prickly pears here); to the right -  a red oleander and, at the bottom of the photo, a caper bush (which I talked about in my post When The Capers Bloom), all growing alongside a rubble wall. I like to call rubble walls ‘the stone hedges of Malta’. Rubble walls serve as retaining and boundary walls and are built without the use of cement or mortar. It takes skillful builders to ensure that the walls remain erect just by placing stones in such a way that they lock and stay in place.

Delimara (29)

Photographed at Delimara

The pop of red from the oleander provides the perfect hue for this week’s Ruby Tuesday. Other Ruby Tuesday posts may be viewed at Work Of The Poet.


Wednesday 13 July 2011

The Old Naval Bakery

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The Naval Bakery in Birgu (Vittoriosa) was built by the British in 1845 by British architect and engineer William Scamp on the site of an old covered slipway previously used by the Knights of St John for their fleet. The bakery was an important victualling centre for the Royal Navy’s Mediterranean fleet. After WW2 the building was converted into offices and stores and also housed the Admiralty Constabulary.

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In 1992 the Old Naval Bakery was converted into the Malta Maritime Museum. The exhibits at the Maritime Museum chart the sea-faring history of this island and its close relationship with the sea that surrounds us. Relics on exhibit date from ancient times with a vast collection of anchors from the Roam period on display. Other items in the museum include books, cannons, models of ships, navigation instruments, weapons and uniforms with large sections dedicated to the Navy of the Order of St John and the Royal Navy. Perhaps the most famous item on display is the figurehead of HMS Hibernia a ship of the line, launched at Plymouth dockyard in 1804.

August 2004 012

She was the flagship of the British Mediterranean fleet from 1816 to 1855 when she became the flagship for the Royal  Navy base in Malta and stationed in Grand Harbour. The ship was sold in 1902 and eventually dismantled. The figurehead was in Portsmouth for several years and then restored and returned to Malta in 1994.

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Malta Maritime Museum

Ex-Naval Bakery


Monday 4 July 2011

Ruby Tuesday: Of Saints And Doorways

St Agatha & Hal-Bajjada (20)

An old house in the ancient town of Rabat. Above the red doorway, an artist’s rendition of the apostle Paul, the paint flaking, the stonework crumbling.

St Agatha & Hal-Bajjada (21)

I have talked about this area in Rabat, known as Hal-Bajjada here. The apostle Paul was shipwrecked in Malta on his way to Rome. This episode is recorded in Acts 27 and 28. A strong local tradition suggests that Paul lived in a cave underneath what is now the  parish church of Rabat. The town has a strong Pauline tradition and statues like the one above are quite a common adornment on the facades of older houses.  I thought that the saint’s red mantle would make a good contribution for this week’s Ruby  Tuesday.

More Ruby Tuesday entries here


The Azure Window: the end of an icon

The Azure Window was a natural limestone arch that rose majestically out of the blue Mediterranean sea to a height of 28 metres (92 fee...