| Home | June 10th, 2004
Valetta & Carnival

panoramic view of Valetta
February 20th, 2004
Since it was very cloudy this morning, we decided at short notice to explore the capital Valetta and the surrounding area. the second largest dry dock in Europe By bus No. 40 (0,40 Lm) we went to Sliema. All harbour cruises around Valetta start from here. For the tour we did not choose the largest boat of Captain Morgan Cruiseson board of Luzzu Cruises on purpose. We decided on a smaller tour operator (Luzzu Cruises) instead. The boat was quite small, but nevertheless trustworthy. The advantage of that small boat was that we could go deep into all the harbour creeks. view of the Casino at the Harbour In contrast to Captain Morgan Cruises this tour did not cost 6,25 Lm but only 5,50 Lm per person instead and with 1 hour 50 minutes it lasted about half an hour longer. In addition the drinks on board were included.St. Pauls Cathedral The boat tour took us first through the Marsamxett Harbour and then through the Grand Harbour, the largest European natural harbour with a depth of 4 km. The tour was really interesting and entertaining as well. We were told a lot of information about Valetta and the history of Malta in English with hardly any break. After the harbour cruise we strolled through Sliema for a while before we took the ferry to Valetta (0,35 Lm per person).

It was already past noon. Thus we looked for something to eat after we had arrived in Valetta. in the Lower Barracca Garden We wanted to try the highly praised Pastizzi. In the Theater Street we finally found them. We chose to walk to the Lower Barracca Garden to have our lunch break there. From the garden you have a wonderful view of the Three Cities (Vittoriosa, Senglea, Cospicua) and the Grand Harbour. The Pastizzi were not overwhelming because they were pretty greasy. The Qassatat (small cakes filled with ricotta cheese or tuna and spinach) tasted much better. Filled from our lunch we walked to the Malta Experience up and down in the streets of Valettaand got tickets for the last performance of the day at 4 p.m. (3 Lm per person). Further on we walked to the Market Hall where in the afternoon nothing exciting was happening any more. In the morning there´s definitely a lot more action and market feeling. Opposite the Market Hall there is the Grandmaster Palace which looks quite plain outside. Today the president of Malta and the House of Representatives reside in there. The ArmorySt. John´s Co-Cathedral on the ground floor is open for visitors. Whether the state rooms can also be visited, we don´t know. We rather preferred to stroll along the Republic Street, the main street of the city which is only open for pedestrians, and to walk along the extremely ascending and descending side streets.the cathedral  inside The Upper Barracca Garden we could unfortunately not visit, because it was closed due to construction works. Next we headed for the St. John´s Co-Cathedral. Also if you are actually not interested in churches, you should have a look inside of at least this one on Malta. Standing outside you might wonder why, but once you have had a look inside you know why. The floor is covered over and over with colourful graveslabs and the walls and ceilings are richly decorated. It´s definitely worth the admission fee of 1 Lm. Taking pictures with flash and wearing high-heeled shoes is not permitted. street carnival  in Valetta Luckily Anke did not wear such shoes, because we had to hurry up then in order get to the Malta Experience on time. The multivision show informs vivid about the history of Malta. Next to the seats there are headsets where you can set your language, as long as you choose the right one (Anke had Japanese at first). On the way back to the bus terminal everywhere we saw colourful dressed up children for the carnival. From the 19th to the 23rd of February there was carnival, so at that time when we stayed on Malta. Every day there were processions and events. So it should not be the last day that we could witness the carnival.

Our Tips

For the harbour cruise we chose the smaller tour operator Luzzu Cruises. The advantage of that one compared to the more well-known Captain Morgan Cruises (mostly you get a voucher for that one from your tour operator where you had booked your holiday), that the smaller boats can go deeper into the creeks. Therefore the tour lasts half an hour longer (1:50 hours) and with 5,50 Lm it´s also cheaper. The tour starts at 10.30 a.m., 1.00 p.m. and 3.30 p.m.

If you want to save time for the way from Sliema to Valetta, you can take the ferry between the two cities. With 0,35 Lm per person it costs only slightly more than the bus, but it´s a lot faster that way. The passage additionally offers a wonderful view of Valetta from the water front.

The multivision show "The Malta Experience" (3 Lm) in Valetta is perfect for getting a first insight into the 7000 year old history of Malta within 45 minutes. You can choose among 13 languages and you sit in an air-conditioned auditorium, probably very pleasant in the high season.

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