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Travelogue: Valletta

Hello there friends! An end to my maternity leave and getting back into the swing of things at work and juggling daycare have left this mama little time to blog. Never fear, I’m back and ready to show you some more awesome images  :)

Valletta, the capital of Malta, was the destination of our second to last day of our trip. It is located in the central-eastern portion of the island with access to both the Marsamxett Harbour to the east and the Grand Harbor to its west.

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St. Paul Shipwreck Church- In AD 60, Saint Paul was being taken to face trial for political rebellion when the vessel he was on shipwrecked into Malta. Paul is responsible for bringing Christianity to the island. You’re not actually allowed to take pictures inside the church, as it is viewed as sacred (as all churches should be!) and contains some bone fragments of Saint Paul’s wrist bone and part of the column he was believed to be beheaded on.

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We were lucky enough to get a good view for the saluting battery in the city. For almost 500 years these guns protected the Grand Harbour from naval assault. Beginning in the 1820s, the guns are fired at midday to signal the exact hour of the day by which Ship Masters would calibrate their chronographs on their vessels. For those that don’t know, chronographs are used to find longitude while at sea!6.19.13-376.19.13-406.19.13-426.19.13-466.19.13-496.19.13-546.19.13-556.19.13-676.19.13-68

The National War Museum in Valletta displays artifacts that focus on the two World Wars. Photographic panels are mixed in with artillery pieces, aircraft wreckage, uniforms and other memorabilia to help recount the stories and events during those times. 6.19.13-1076.19.13-1086.19.13-726.19.13-766.19.13-866.19.13-916.19.13-1016.19.13-104

In the evening we did some leisurely Jeep riding to check out some of the local bays near our hotel. This beauty is the Paradise Bay. 6.19.13-111

The Red Tower in Mellieha Bay
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Up next: Our last day in Malta!!

Travelogue: Cruise Ship Day

The third day of our Malta adventure was spent on an all-day cruise around the islands. It was a nice, relaxing day with gorgeous views everywhere the eye could see! We started in the Grand Harbor, once a huge port of military significance, now a significant port for Malta’s commercial shipping.

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Saint Elmo Bridge6.18.13-176.18.13-25

The fish cages used by the fishermen of Marsaxlokk. If you look close, you can see one of the dolphins who stopped by to visit as we cruised by!6.18.13-436.18.13-506.18.13-566.18.13-666.18.13-696.18.13-746.18.13-806.18.13-91

Strangely, there are ladders along the cliffside. Strangely, I REALLY wanted to climb one…6.18.13-976.18.13-1056.18.13-1146.18.13-1226.18.13-133

One of the tiny caves dotting the island. Our boat captain was quite the pro and sailed us nice and snug into the cave. 6.18.13-1536.18.13-1596.18.13-1606.18.13-1686.18.13-1706.18.13-1726.18.13-178

The gap between the islands Gozo (right) and Comino (left).6.18.13-1816.18.13-195

We docked in Comino for a nice break to stretch our legs and have some fun. We were supplied gear for snorkeling and you could even take a speedboat ride around Comino. We did both activities, I just don’t have any of the speedboat ride as it was too dangerous to my camera to try and take any shots!6.18.13-196

See those people lined along the cliff on the right? Yeah, they’re JUMPING. Crazy people!!6.18.13-1976.18.13-2016.18.13-206

I was asked this a lot when we came home and showed some iPhone shots, but yes, the water really is all those beautiful colors. No enhancement on my end!6.18.13-214Can you spot the elephant?6.18.13-2166.18.13-2176.18.13-2246.18.13-227

Ahh, posting all these images makes me long for the sea…..Where do we visit next, you ask? Valletta, of course!!

Travelogue: Mosta and Mdina

Day two of our travels in Malta found us toward the center of the island. Our first stop of the day was Mosta and its famous Rotunda of St. Marija Assunta. The Rotunda boasts the fourth largest unsupported dome in the world and is most famously known for nearly being destroyed during WWII, when an Axis bomb struck the dome of the church but failed to detonate. A replica of the bomb is now displayed in the church as a memorial.

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If you look closely along the top of the image on the left, you can see the discolored tiles where the bomb came through the dome. The image on the right is an even closer look.

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Our next stop was Mdina, the old capital of Malta. Mdina is a walled, medieval town in the center of the island. The confined town has a population of just under 300 and is commonly called “The Silent City,” as no cars (others than a limited number of residents or emergency vehicles) are allowed within the city walls. The city is known to draw tourists for its narrow alleyways and blown glass.

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The city boast a number of palaces, with most serving as private homes today. I loved all the colorful front doors and windowsills!

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Jon and his cousin Loren showing just how narrow the alleyways are. I am told there is a snapshot of Jon doing the same pose on his first trip here in the 90s  :)

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Look, it’s us!! And another beautiful doorway, this time framed by flowers. LOVE.

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Our final stop for the day was a visit to the Catacombs and WWI shelters in Rabat (Mdina is adjacent to the city). The catacombs were used as hiding places during WWI. Grandma Iris shared with us how her family traveled down to the catacombs each night to sleep for a period of three years. Yeah, they were dark and creepy, just like you’d expect….

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A standard “room” in the shelters. They were numbered so families knew which room was theirs.

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Saint Paul’s Grotto in Rabat.

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Saint Paul’s burial place. It was visited and blessed by Pope John Paul II in 1990.6.17.13-2386.17.13-240

That’s a wrap for day two of our Malta trip! Next up: our all-day cruise around the island!!

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Stephanie - August 16, 2014 - 7:03 pm

Honestly love seeing how u captured different things in these photos! Even though we were there too, you definitely have the “eye” for these gorgeous photos! Thx for sharing!

Courtney - August 16, 2014 - 7:07 pm

Thanks Stephanie!

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