Once upon a time in malta
BY ANU ANBU
A memoir of my visit to magical Malta…
I stepped out of the cosy airport and caught the first glimpse of Malta – a tiny island nestled in the southern-most part of Europe. Who would have imagined that this slice of Europe carelessly floating on the Mediterranean Sea would have so much to offer? So many stories, discoveries, learnings…
Malta is like a book with a twist in every chapter. And only when you keep reading, do you know and live the ever so beautiful story of one of the oldest countries in Europe.
Chapter 1 – The Silent City
Pronounced as M-Dina, this quaint little city, the once capital of Malta is a must-visit. Dim lit with narrow, curved streets, without any traffic or interruption from the modern world, Mdina allows you to walk back in time and experience bliss through stone buildings, hidden houses, vibrant coloured doors and quaint cafes. An eerie but powerful feeling sets in when you explore the city after dark as you can sense the Maltese Knights of yesteryears parading the streets and protecting its people. Keep your eyes open for their gift to Malta –an 8 pointed cross that held the country together and gave it hope and meaning. The very sign of this cross, either engraved on buildings or found in every little souvenir shop reinstates what Malta stands for – strength and honour.
"Dim lit with narrow, curved streets, without any traffic or interruption from the modern world, Mdina allows you to walk back in time and experience bliss through stone buildings, hidden houses, vibrant coloured doors and quaint cafes"
Chapter 2 – Beyond Land
While history wraps itself around the yellow limestone buildings, the many shades of blue that surrounds the island is love at first sight. White sand on the ocean bed appears light blue through the crystal clear water, a hint of purple caresses the rocks just where the sea begins and the land ends and like a hidden treasure trove, sparkling green shines from below and draws you closer to the underworld, tempting you to simply dive into its magical wonder.
And where else than the Blue Grotto to witness the wow of its waters along with the caves that shelter its story.
Chapter 3 – What’s left behind
A drive down the country and you will see the remnants of World War 2 that landed on Malta along with thousands of bombs, cannons and invasions. The buildings, the walls, the cannons were all designed and built for a reason and none better than an old timer to shine light on Malta’s tales of survival. And, 70 years later, the Island’s pride is reflected in the red and white flags that parade all roads and buildings with no exception. Fluttering in the wind, the flag is a reminder to locals and tourists alike of their battle against the giants and their place in the sands of time.
Chapter 4 – the Maltese Flavour
What’s a destination without its unique flavour? Just as diverse as its terrains are, so are its cuisines. From indulging in juicy strawberries at the country side, to sipping the local Cisk beer at St. Julians, to tasting Pastizzi, a hot and flaky street food, or savouring fresh seafood as you watch colourful boats dance to the tunes of the fishing village - Marsaxlokk, it’s a culinary journey that shouldn’t be missed. The multiple cafes and diners also serve local sweets and savouries, packed with tasty nuts in brightly coloured forms. Don’t miss out on tasting the street food
"From indulging in juicy strawberries at the country side, to sipping the local Cisk beer at St. Julians, to tasting Pastizzi, a hot and flaky street food, or savouring fresh seafood as you watch colourful boats dance to the tunes of the fishing village - Marsaxlokk, it’s a culinary journey alright and one that shouldn’t be missed"
Chapter 5 – All you can ask for
Like discovering a really good book in an old library, Malta stumbled into my life and gave me a story like nothing I’ve ever read. The soft golden sand, the mesmerising water, the ancient rocks, the hidden caves, the powerful churches and the dancing boats, all characters in a beautiful script. And if you ever want to escape reality and go back in time, or dive into magical wonder, Malta is the book to read, the movie to see and the play to be a part of!