Wandering around Valletta

Trip Start Oct 11, 2012
Trip End Nov 19, 2012

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Where I stayed
Osborne Hotel Valletta
Read my review - 4/5 stars
What I did
Victoria Gate
Upper Barraka Gardens
The Battery

Flag of Malta  , Island of Malta,
Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I spent the whole day walking around the walled part of Valletta and I can't really cross off many sights that I have seen, but I had a great time looking at the architecture and wandering around.  First I had a very nice breakfast here at the Osborne - a custardy-looking egg dish, some tarts, fruit with yogurt - coffee with milk but it tasted like canned milk of some sort.  Maybe I can find the cereal milk for tomorrow.  I asked to have the toilet fixed and to extend my stay:  Successful on the first, but unsuccessful on the second request.  I only booked for a few days because sometimes it is nice to move and get a different location and experience, especially if you are not happy with your hotel.  I am happy with the Osborne - except for the lack of view from my window.

Now I can't remember where I walked to first - maybe the harbor in back of the hotel where I found the Malta Experience theater and some nice souvenirs - they will take a Malta pass so I need to get one at the Museum of Archeology first thing tomorrow - I still don't know if a one-day pass or three-day pass will do me along with the week bus pass for 12 euros.  Then I walked along above the harbor and found a street with a row of olive trees.  Many of the olive trees planted in the city have all shed their olives onto the ground - splats of black with pits about.  I was so excited to see them - I have yet to eat any although I picked one up and it was soft.  It really wasn't appealing enough to try...and it had been on the ground for a while.  Even I have my limits.

I found the Victoria Gate and was able to walk down some stairs to get to the pier next to some boats from Valletta including the Vanna.  I saw the Grand Harbor Hotel and almost inquired for a room but then I saw the Hotel British and remembered it from Trip Advisor.  I can't remember what I remembered, but I hope it was good because I ended up with a reservation for my remaining days in Malta there.  It was a pretty quick walk up the stairs from there to get to the corner of Merchant street - the Nine West store - a familiar landmark now.  I had dropped into a few more churches before reaching Merchant street.

Then I think I went to the Upper Barraka Gardens - which were pretty small.  They surround the Battery with its cannons which used to defend Malta as well as mark time and help celebrate major events or visits of foreign dignitaries.  I ran into the Castille Hotel - the one the Osborne recommended.  It looked a little more upscale than what I am accustomed to so maybe it is just as well that I am booked elsewhere.  There was a bookshop/souvenir shop that I stopped in next door.  I looked at the hotel restaurant menu and planned to stop back for a Maltese platter but it will have to wait until I can wait to have dinner at 7 pm or have enough time to have lunch.

I then started for the hotel, but got sidetracked by trying to find my way there from the side of the bus station.  I ended up down the hill outside the walls.  I found the Phoenicia Hotel and the Excelsior - both much more upscale than the Osborne I assume.  I saw the Excelsior pool from above and watched a boat in the harbor.  I was looking for a way back up the hill and went up the first road I found.  It led to the wall reconstruction work site.  I despaired of retracing my steps but some nice workmen pointed out a pedestrian stairway up to the top.  I was quite grateful when I was back at the bus station.

From there I went back to the hotel to unload my brochures from tourist info and purchases and plan my next few days touristing.  I spent an hour or so in my room - the toilet now seems to flush properly.  No, all my time wasn't spent flushing the toilet.  Unfortunately, by the time I left - around 4:30, the good afternoon light was pretty much gone.  I went to the church down a few streets with the dome visible from the hotel rooftop.  This church had a rotunda rather than a nave.  Most of these churches don't seem to have the medieval cross design but have a central nave with a row of side chapels facing toward the nave on both sides. 

I think this was my last church for the day.  I walked parallel to my usual street from hotel to Nine West - it was rather dark and deserted but I survived.  I started looking for a restaurant with calamari.  I walked all the way back to the Castille and then retraced my steps to Merchant Street but not as far as La Sfoglia.  Tonight I ate at Cadena's, est. in 1824.  A young man in a black & white print shirt convinced me that he had good fresh seafood.  I ordered calamari and a white Maltese wine.  I got my batter-fried calamari with chips and a bit of green salad.  The calamari was good but too much batter.  I got a lemon twist that had such a wonderful fresh lemon smell!  I wished I had more lemon.  While I was eating, the young man was talking with the waitress in English.  I wondered if he were teaching her English, but I think that he was speaking to her in English because she was actually Spanish.  He asked her how many brothers and sisters she had and then made her guess how many he had:  5 brothers and 4 sisters - 12 in his family all together.  He said his sister was an excellent cook - she worked in the restaurant.  I guess a lot of his family did.  The waitress said she didn't have time to cook while she was in Spain.  He said she should have time to learn to cook here.  Then more people came and interrupted their discussion and I asked for my check and left.

Now a little time on the computer and maybe an early bedtime!

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