The view that emerged from the horizon really lulled me to trance, well, at least for few seconds. Obviously, I was not prepared to be met with the stunning view dead ahead. What a view!
Entering the narrow entrance, massive stone wall fortifications as well as limestone buildings can be seen in full panoramic view. Moving further and into Grand Harbour, the city’s sheltered harbor in the Old Town, more of the city’s ancient structures of shabby-like buildings unfold into view. Many of these buildings were destroyed during World War II but still pretty much standing unscathed and in good shape – though looks decaying but it added character to the landscape. With all these well-preserved century-old buildings dominating the Old Town section, Valletta is in the list of UNESCO World Heritage site.
By the time the ship safely secured to the berth, I was also finished with my watch. It was slightly raining when the ship arrived at the port of Valletta and later downgraded to intermittent rain showers that lasted until noon – obviously not the best time to go ashore. But I did go ashore anyway. My mind was telling me not to blow away (for the second time) the chance of walking around the old beautiful city.
With a camera inside my backpack, an airproof jacket, a shirt with a hood and in my rubber shoes– I cautiously walked the slippery and wet road from the pier up to the old city’s commercial center. What I have with me and what I wore that day served its purpose. Of course there were buses passing by the harbor and to downtown but I wanted to experience walking alongside the roads and narrow streets where the knights once walked. I simply would just want to feel being a knight without that shining armor walking down the road and that’s it. 🙂 🙂 🙂
In less than 15 minutes, I was already in the Old Town’s commercial area. Old buildings housing small shops, café and restaurants, banks and other commercial establishments kept the Old Town looked beautifully old-looking as it is. And there was this Levi’s boutique shop housed in one of Malta’s oldest buildings where I bought a pair of Levi’s 501 jeans. 🙂
The most prominent ancient structure standing in the middle of the Old Town is the military fort-like looking St. John’s Co-Cathedral. The cathedral was built by the Knights of Malta between 1573 and 1578 by a Maltese military architect. Getting inside the cathedral comes with a fee – I had to pay a small amount for the entrance. Inside the cathedral are walls with murals and paintings and floors which are the very tombs of the most famous knights of the Order of St John.
I thought I was exploring just a small Old Town but I realized, hours of exploring would not be enough. I only had an hour left from my free time, so that means I had to start walking back to the ship at the harbor.
With a unique character that sets apart from many other places, I find Valletta one of the most beautiful places I’ve visited. The place meets every arriving visitor with a spectacular panoramic view both from afar (as viewed from the ship on approach to the Grand Harbour) and from within the city center and around.