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5:01pm on Tuesday, 11th September, 2012:



How do you make a Swiss Roll? Poke him in the eye.
How do you make a Venetian Blind? Stamp on his foot.
How do you make a Maltese Cross? Push him down a hill.

Something like that, anyway.

So, day eight of our cruise saw us arrive in Valletta, capital city of Malta GC. We came in at around 6:15am when the sun hadn't yet risen, so I'm quite impressed my pictures came out:

That's not even Valletta itself, it's the other side of the Grand Harbour. However, it's the direction our cabin, er, stateroom was facing so it's what got photographed.

The climb uphill from the dock to Valletta takes about 15 or 20 minutes, but hey, don't worry, you can always take a pony and trap:

That's "trap" as in "tourist trap"...

I wonder if anyone makes articulated ships?

At last! A break in the traffic! We can cross the street!

Here's what Valletta itself looks like:

It's not a city you could easily confuse with any other from the way it looks (except perhaps a Maltese one). It's very individual and hard to pin down. I really liked it; I can see myself coming back here a few years from now for a longer stay.

Here's a column at the Upper Barraka Gardens:

It looks fine, except, hold on:

I think they may have aligned it to the right edge instead of the perpendicular.

Here's a statue:

Man opening glass door.

Not quite a TARDIS:

Looks like this little fellow needs help:

That's an awkward Scrabble hand he has there.

Malta has phone boxes just like those in Britain:

They're vandalised just like those in Britain, too.

This is the staggeringly Baroque interior of the Roman Catholic cathedral:

The Anglican cathedral is a little more restrained:

I like this floor tomb inlay:

Whatever brand of toothpaste that guy used should sign him up immediately.

If you're ever in Valletta, treat yourself to an ice cream from this shop on Merchant Street:

It's the best I've had for a long, long time. I thought the stuff in Koper was first rate, but this place's was even better. I simply couldn't fault it.

Here's one of the guards outside the presidential palace:

Nothing unusual there, except:

He's wearing glasses? It makes him look as if he's an office worker, not a man trained to kill with his bare hands in fifteen different ways.

Here are some helmets from suits of armour:

I think they're supposed to be scary, but if so they're about the same level as 1970s Dr Who monsters.

Did you ever see that movie, Inception?

Seems they filmed it in Valletta.

This style of building is everywhere in Valletta, it's like a signature for the city:

If they'd made relief models of these to hang on the wall I would so have got one, but I didn't see any.

Although Valletta is olde worlde, across the other harbour to Sliema it's a different story:

The whole area is built up for miles around, combining lots of smaller towns into one metropolis. Er, miles around on the land, that is; they haven't built up the sea (yet).

Mmm, these leaves smell gorgeous!

This is a nice, narrow little shop:

It sells mobile phones, too.

Here's a statue of a pope:

I wonder how much that pigeon had to pay in order to acquire such a prestigious perch?

The Maltese really don't want their flagpoles to fall over:

Apparently, bunny is a local delicacy:

Even so, €12.75 seems a little steep to me.

Here's another statue:

Someone has stolen his ice cream.

This cat has built a few extensions to its home:

I guess you don't need planning permission if you're a cat.

This is made out of pottery:

It must have cost quite a bit to manufacture, which makes its odd proportions and clunky stance somewhat unfathomable.

Finally, for my birthday back in January I got a new pair of chinos. I kept them, unworn, waiting for the right occasion. Today, I decided, was the right occasion, so I put them on. Here's a picture of the back pocket after half a day in Valletta:

Augh! Damn! Damn whoever put red berry or whatever the hell that is on a chair I sat on. Damn them! Damn damn damn!

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Copyright © 2012 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).