Day 4 - Marsaxlokk and Mdina
Several of our breakfast companions were making plans to spend the day on the neighboring island
of Gozo. Joining them was a tempting thought, but our brains were in a bit of a post-party fog
and we couldn't quite manage to pull ourselves out of it in time to join them. In the long run,
this turned out to be sad because several months later Gozo's main attraction, an arch that
stretched out into the sea known as "The Azure Window" collapsed during a storm.
On the other hand, who could complain about spending a lovely day with good friends exploring
the traditional fishing village of Marsaxlokk and once again wandering the streets of Mdina.
Restaurants on the streets closest to the harbor set up tents and tables by the water, and waiters hustle back
and forth through traffic serving food. There were also people selling Maltese crafts, honey, jelly, nuts, and
candies. I bought some cut work.
These are some of the buildings around town. The church is Our Lady of Pompei.
After exhausting the entertainment possibilities in Marsaxlokk, we decided to return to the
fascinating city of Mdina for further explorations. The best way to get there seemed to be by taxi, and
we were soon off on another death-defying dash down narrow twisty roads to our destination.
The hilltop city of Mdina in the center of Malta was first founded in the 700's by the Phoenicians.
It served as the capital through the Middle Ages until the Knights of St. John arrived and moved the
administrative center to Birgu near present day Valletta. Today about 250 people, mostly descendents of Maltese
nobility, still live within the city walls. The city is on the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
This building, just inside the gate, is Vilhena Palace. It houses the National Museum of Natural
History. We didn't go inside because it was getting late, and we were in the mood to shop. We opted instead
for a quick dash through the little shops that would soon be closing for the night.
The number of cars permitted in the city is strictly limited.
You see horses and carts like the one in the picture on the left all over the island. Their presence in
Mdina is also limited.
The picture on the left shows a Maltese garden.
You know that if we see a cat, we're gonna take a picture.
Another picture of that vast expanse of grass that was once a moat.
We stopped in a gelato shop by the city ramparts for refreshment. Walt hates to end up with
a lot of small change in foreign currency, so he sorted through his coins to pay the bill. He
thought he was paying the correct amount, but apparently he had counted incorrectly, and the
sweet young woman at the counter told him that it was OK if he didn't have enough money, she
would let him have his cone anyway.
The clouds in the sky were darkening, and, amazingly, there was more rain in the forecast. Time
to head back to Valletta.