The Malta Experience: Get Lost in Magic of Mdina!

Standard

Have you ever wished you could jump into a time machine and relive a different point of time? Good news Malta has got it for you. While there are various places to get this feeling one of the best places is the city of Mdina (no typo that’s how it is spelled). Once you walk across the bridge and enter the gates you legitimately feel like you’ve been whisked away into another world.

Walled City of Mdina Malta Kings Landing Date

You thought I was joking didn’t you? There really is a bridge and gates to enter when going into Mdina. In case you were wondering if this gate looks familiar, if you watch Game of Thrones, you may know this as Kings Landing Gate from the show. As I previously mentioned in my last post I do not watch Game of Thrones so I have no idea what that means but I believe it is a cool thing. One of the most impressive things is that most of the architecture is from the medieval times of the 1400s to 1500s and is still standing. The walled city (a.k.a fortified) of Mdina, was once the capital of Malta before Valletta, which later became the capital city.

Mdina Malta Kings Landing Gate

As you might be able to guess, the reason for the high bridges and walls is because Mdina and Malta as a whole was considered to be a military type of country that defended itself and Europe from outside enemies.

Mdina Malta Street Corridor

 

The streets of Mdina are cobblestone I believe, and you can only walk, cycle or horse carriage through the streets of Mdina if you are a non-resident. Only residents of Mdina are able to drive its streets. Their driver’s licenses and plates are slightly different to identify them as Mdina residents.

Mdina Malta Horse and Carriage

When you spend some time in Mdina you can literally get lost in its streets. The long stretching corridors just beg you to wander around them and explore a different world.

Walled City of Mdina Malta City Streets Corridors

The lamps are gas lit; the restaurants and cafes are cozy and friendly, the homes all have stories to them whether it’s the colours of their doors or the creative looking mailboxes and door-knockers (I don’t know if there is an actual name for them).

Mdina Malta 1

Just the sheer beauty of its simplicity is stellar. Can’t forget it wouldn’t be Malta without an amazing looking church in the city square.

St. Paul's Cathedral Mdina Malta European Churches

I present to you St. Paul’s Cathedral, a Roman Catholic cathedral which is an awesome site to witness. It has a patriarchal cross atop it. The clock on the right is for the time and the clock on the left is for the date. This was built sometime in the late 1600’s and it is just immaculate. People’s selfie games were strong with this site, selfie sticks popped out almost on command.

Mdina Malta Statue Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus

This is a statue of the Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus along a main road of Mdina which is believed to have been sculpted back in the 1600’s that is a great piece for the art buffs out there.

Mdina Malta Elevated Countryside View 1

This is the vantage point from the highest area in Mdina giving you a marvelous view of the countryside. From a strategic military point of view I could see why this viewpoint would be advantageous when defending Malta in those times.

My View of the Malta Countryside atop of Mdina..AMAZING!! (Video)

All in all, this place was amazing especially if you enjoy history and different ways of life. Personally, being from a busy city like Toronto the laid back easy pace of Mdina was a welcomed escape to what felt like a whole different world.

And yes, there is still more to come!

Waynie!

 

 

 

Advertisements

The Malta Experience: Exploring the Westside of Malta (San Anton and Dingli)

Standard

My first day in Malta I survived but, full disclosure I was terrified! Not because I felt like I was in danger but because this was the first time in my life that I was in a foreign continent with absolutely nobody I knew so it does take a bit of time to adjust to that idea. So let’s just say sleeping wasn’t easy for me. I was actually awake for about 30 hours straight from the time I left Toronto to when I finally fell asleep in Malta. It was a glorious 5 hours because you can’t go to Europe without booking some excursions!

So keep in mind I booked this trip and left one week later so time was not on my side when it came to choosing what I wanted to do on my days in Malta. I could just relax, or sit by the bay and reflect on life. That sounded nice but, nope I have to explore this country. My first excursion was to the western part of Malta which was a guided tour showing me San Anton Gardens, Dingli Cliffs, Mdina, Rabat and Mosta. It was going to be a long day but, hey I’m on vacation! Stood downstairs waited for the tour operator’s coach to pick me up and off we went.

First impressions…Well I was one of the youngest people on this tour…The only person of colour on this tour…The only solo traveller on this tour…And the only person not from Europe on this tour. Yes, I like breaking barriers. Our guide was conducting the tour in English and Russian so hearing extended Russian in between English for about 6-7 hours was an experience in itself.

First stop…San Anton Gardens.

San Anton Garden Malta

San Anton Gardens is exactly what it sounds like, a garden. It is considered a sanctuary of sorts for plants and some wildlife we must have spent most of our time following the peacocks around.

San Anton Gardens

What is interesting about this place is that most of the structures are about 500-600 years old. Also, this place doubles as the President of Malta’s palace.

San Anton Palace Malta 1

Also, for Game of Thrones fans this palace is also used as a location in the show. On the show it is known as ‘The Red Keep’. Winter wasn’t here though it was like 22C.

San Anton Palace Malta 2

I apologize I am one of the 58 people who doesn’t watch the show so I got no idea what that is but, most you all do!

San Anton Palace Malta

Most of the structures in Malta are made using it is own natural limestone. After being here for a week I kinda want a limestone house because who needs bricks!

San Anton Garden Malta Statue.jpg

Next stop… Dingli Cliffs!!

Dingli is a small village on the west coast of Malta. The village was established waaaaay back in 1436! The cliffs measure up to roughly 250M above sea level. These cliffs are considered one of the highest points in Malta. This picturesque view beams down onto the Mediterranean Sea and if you look in the distance you can see an island. (My bad, my camera isn’t top of line)

Dingli Cliffs Malta Coast

While I was briefly on top of here I couldn’t help but think of back home in Toronto for a minute. One of my favourite places to go and see are the Scarborough Bluffs which is what this kinda reminded me of. The view is just wonderful to take in, especially since it was a clear and warm day in February!

Dingli Cliffs Malta Coast 1

The serenity of it all was a nice change of pace compared to the usual hustle and bustle of big city life. I was helping people on our tour get those winner photos for their friends and family back home.

 

Coming up on my next post….MDINA and Rabat!

 

Stay tuned…More to come!

 

Waynie!

The Malta Experience! Goodbye Toronto and Hello Europe!

Standard

It was Toronto NBA All-Star Weekend also referred to as the coldest damn weekend of 2016. I had left over vacation time from 2015 that I didn’t use as yet. For whatever reason, maybe banking it for a trip, I was afraid of being let go so maybe I wanted that extra 2 weeks of pay just in case who knows. I was randomly going on Google Flights for the week prior trying to figure out somewhere cool to go to.  

Yes, I could’ve gone the easy route and just booked an all-inclusive trip to Cuba or Dominican Republic basically anywhere with sun and beach would do just fine. However, I wanted to explore somewhere completely different. So then while looking at routes to Italy or Greece I stumbled upon the island of Malta. What did I know about Malta? Game of Thrones is filmed there….There is a Little Malta in Roncy here in Toronto…Canada’s PM Justin Trudeau was in Malta for a meeting back in November…There is a street in the Scarborough Bluffs area called Malta Avenue…It was an island south of Italy where they spoke English. Once I saw they spoke English I needed to investigate further.

All the investigation I needed was the climate. Basically, for every day I would be in Malta it would be 17C to 22C which was better than the -17C to -22C we were facing here. So, I’m watching the NBA All Star Game at home, Russell Westbrook won the MVP. Kobe said farewell to Toronto and the All Star Game as he was set to retire. Then I said…’Screw it, lets go to Malta!’ Booked it on Valentine’s Day and I went one week later Feb 21st. I should also note, I decided to role solo. This would mark for me the longest distance I have ever traveled alone. Before this I think the farthest I traveled alone was from Scarborough to Hamilton, ON hahaha!

 

Malta Aerial

After connecting from Frankfurt this was my view as we set to land in Malta! I was like, ‘Wait…This is where I’m going to be for a week?! HELLS YEAAAA!’ One thing I knew going in was in Malta, the people are really helpful and overall nice. I booked a shuttle service from the Malta International Airport (MLA) and it would pick me up on my return back home for like 15 EUR which would be unheard of at Pearson! After scouring hotels for like 3 days prior to my trip I opted to stay near the eastern coast of Malta in a town called Sliema (pronounced Sly-E-Ma) and it was like 40 CAD per night. Was it the fanciest hotel ever? NOPE! But it had the essentials, a decent bathroom, double bed, cabinet and most importantly some really good Wi-Fi! Basically, everywhere from hotels to restaurants had really decent Wi-Fi and that was an added bonus for me and my roaming data plan.

Sliema Malta Coastline View

If this was your view on a daily basis, you would be a pretty happy camper. First things first, let’s walk around this bad boy and see what it is all about. I was surprised to learn that a good portion of Malta is very walkable there is a promenade walk that goes along Malta’s coastline and it is really beautiful. There are parks, relaxing areas, beach areas, bars and pubs along this promenade walk. First thing I learned was in Malta most residents either jog/walk or smoke like all the time. Second thing I learned was a bottle of water literally costs maybe 0.20 EUR less than a beer so guess what I was drinking most of the time? BEER!

Cisk Local Malta Beer Lager

Cisk (pronounced Chess-k) is a local Malta beer that is a lager which is pretty smooth. I probably downed a bottle in less than 4 minutes since it didn’t really have any kickback or anything. I walked to the southeast coast of Malta via the promenade and then passed by and went up the northeast coast to St. Julian’s Bay, Spinola Bay and Paceville (pronounced Pa-chey-vill) and again it was all along promenade so just straight up walking no oncoming traffic to worry about. I will admit drivers of Toronto would go nuts in Malta unless it’s a highway it is mostly one lane or two lane traffic and pedestrians are boss people will stop and allow people to cross the street without massive honking or road rage…OUTSTANDING!

St Julians Bay Malta Coast

This above is St. Julian’s Bay if I’m not mistaken.

Love Locks Sliema Malta Coastline

This is a bridge along the Sliema coast where people get their LOVE LOCK on. It overlooks the capital of Malta called Valletta which is reachable by car, transit or walking but it is 3 times faster to take the ferry boat.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church Sliema Malta

This above is Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel which is a spectacular piece of architecture. All the churches I saw in Malta were masterfully produced they highly respect and worship their faith in Malta.

This is just a sneak peek there is more to come I just figured I would post a little bit here and there about this magnificent place I grew to enjoy and love over my visit. Its official Waynie Walks the TDot is international again!

HELLOOOOOOOO MALTA! (I have no idea why the font changed on me)

 

 

Stay tuned more to come soon,

Waynie