May 13, 2017 - Valletta Grand Harbour - last port of call.
The early morning arrival - cabin window rinsed by sea spray, but oh what
a perfect shade of sea blue with the golden city beyond.
The Grand Harbour of Valletta, the 16th century 'Fortress City' built
by the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem.
Go HERE for more of the very interesting history.
Arrow marking our ship, Noble Caledonia's MS Island Sky, being refueled
on arrival in Malta.
Australian traveling friends, Michelle and son George enjoying
views of the city from the famous Barrakka Gardens, highest point of the
city's 16th century bastion walls built by the Knights to protect the city.
Statue of Sir. Winston Churchill in the Barrakka Gardens.
Maltese cats enjoying the gardens.
Always ancient faces peering down - what historic tales they could tell.
The richly decorated St. John's Cathedral was constructed 1572-1577 with
elaborate inlaid marble tombstones and artworks, including in the oratory
the famous Caravaggio painting 'The Beheading of St. John the Baptist'.
The interior was re-decorated in the 17th century and is considered to be one
of the finest examples of high Baroque architecture in Europe.
The barrel vaulted ceiling of the cathedral is painted with scenes from the
life of St. John the Baptist. . . . . . .
. . . . . . . and the beautiful floor is inlaid with the glittering tombs of 400 Knights.
Queen Victoria (Malta was part of the British Empire for over 150 years)
contemplating ordering a tasty Maltese pizza perhaps. . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . whereas we opted for delicious coffee and pastries at the historic Caffe Cordina.
Our day ashore in Valletta became very hot and there was little green shade.
I was continuing to fight 'the bug from hell' and was definitely challenged trying
to do a lot of sightseeing. . . . . . . or celebrating at the farewell dinner that night.
It was an amazing trip through Sicily and Malta, covering such a lot of ground
and sailing on the beautiful Mediterranean sea.
These last four photos at Marsaxlokk Harbour taken with
my iPhone - other photos with Sony DSC-HX400V camera)
The following day we disembarked the MS Island Sky early morning and were transported
by coach to the airport for the return flight to the UK. A fun quick stop along the way was
here at pretty Marsaxlokk Harbour where the fishermen were tending their boats and nets.
Restaurants around the harbour were opening for business - all looked inviting
but we had to be on our way.
A return trip to Malta with more time to explore the history would be
wonderful - who knows, perhaps it will be possible.