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    • Day 3

      Ir-Rabat : a typical Maltese village

      October 20, 2022 in Malta ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

      We arrived by bus to Ir-Rabat, as we planned to visit several points of interest there, which will be described in later printouts, L-Imdina, St Paul's cathedral as well as some impressive catacombs.
      Still we have first been charmed by the village itself, as is it very typical from the Mediterranean area, but with that Maltese touch, consisting of the heritage of the Knights of St John, but also of the British Empire, along with the typical yellow stone of Malta.
      We have then wandered in the streets, until we reached our first stop, the catacombs.
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    • Day 3

      St Paul's catacombs

      October 20, 2022 in Malta ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

      At the end of the village of Ir-Rabat is a major funeral site, all of it under the form of catacombs. The total site, with both St Paul's and St Agatha's catacombs, allows for 1,500 tombs, out of which more or less 1,050 have been occupied (used).
      The site itself includes not only tombs, but also some places for the rites themselves, as well as some more practical places, stairs, places for tools or offerings...
      The first and biggest of these catacombs is St John's catacomb, quite large and including lots of turns and dead ends... a true labyrinth 😰 I even nearly list myself once, but could find my way back.
      Be reassured, there are red "panic buttons" placed in every corner, so that if you feel not good, you can call for help... just think of the people then, they did not have electricity, hence little light, and no panic button...
      This catacomb is mostly a Christian one, I shall elaborate about other catacombs in my next post.
      Oh, and just in case you had any doubt, Béatrice did not join me in these underworld adventures... 😊
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    • Day 3

      St Agatha's catacombs

      October 20, 2022 in Malta ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

      Once visited St Paul's catacombs, I moved to the other side of the street to the much larger site of St Agatha's. Actually, where the St Paul's catacombs consists of one very large catacomb, and two smaller ones (currently being in repair), the site of St Agatha's includes more than 20 much smaller catacombs, from very various origins, usually older ones. There are pagan tombs, usually from pre-roman times, some of them linked to Carthago, Roman ones, but also a whole lot of Jewish ones, with interesting carvings and also rite places.
      One thing that stroke me is the humidity in those catacombs, I came out of them very wet, even though the temperature there was rather cool (17/18 degrees vs. 24 outside), but also, blatantly, not sunny at all 😉
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    • Day 3

      L-Imdina & the other St Paul's Cathedral

      October 20, 2022 in Malta ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

      After rising out of the earth and finding Béatrice again, patiently waiting on a bench, we moved to the other side of the Ir-Rabat city, to the small fortified city of L-Imdina. We could wander in the streets, not very crowded... Actually, the city itself is very quiet, and is called the "silent city" as only 300 people actually live there!
      We not only visited the cathedral, nearly as buoyant as its sister from Valetta, but also had the chance to visit a few shops, where we could find quite a few souvenirs, but also numerous postcards... you may have the chance to receive one of them, who knows?
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    • Day 47


      October 23, 2022 in Malta ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

      Der Sonntag ist ein guter Tag um Medina zu besichtigen - da ist fast niemand in der ehemaligen Hauptstadt von Malta(hier leben auch nur mehr 240 Menschen).Umgeben von eine Festungsmauer, kann durch die engen Gassen der kleinen Stadt schlendern und kommt immer wieder an einer sehenswürdigkeit vorbei.
      Mdina liegt auf einem Hochplateau, von dem aus man perfekt über die Insel sehen kann, der Grund dafür, dass sie lange die Hauptstadt war. Das erste Mal ließen sich hier Menschen in der Bronzezeit nieder, die Phönizier bauten dann eine Festung aus, die Römer errichteten eine Stadtmauer - miteingeschlossen die Zwillingsstadt Rabat. Die Araber gaben der Stadt erst ihren heutigen Namen und verkleinerten die Mauern wieder auf das Gebiet von Mdina. Die Normannen haben die Stadtmauern nochmal befestigt, die nachfolgenden Johanniter (1530) erkoren jedoch Birgu nach kurzer Zeit als Hauptstadt aus, weshalb Mdina einen erheblichen Einwohnerschwund erlitt. Der Adel jedoch blieb in der Stadt und euch heute leben noch Nachfahren derer dort.
      In der Mitte der kleinen Stadt aus Sandstein befindet sich die St. Paul Kathedrale, erbaut 1697 bis 1702 auf den Resten der 1693 durch ein Erdbeben zerstörten normannischen Kathedrale.
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    • Day 47


      October 23, 2022 in Malta ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

      Die gleich an Mdina anschließende Stadt Rabat (bedeutet Vorort) entstand vor ca 2000 Jahren als Teil der Stadt Mdina.
      Am ersten Bild sieht man die St. Paul Kirche. Sie wurde in Gedenken an den Apostel Paulus und den Stadthalter Publius 1664 - 1683 erbaut. Paulus soll 3 Monate in der unter der Kirche sich befindenden Grotte gelebt haben, bis er den römischen Stadthalter Publius zum Christentum bekehren konnte.
      Danach sind wir ein bisschen unter der Erde in schmalen Gängen herumgekrabbelt. Die St. Paul Katakomben dienten seit dem 3./4. Jhd. vChr. als Bestattungsanlagen. Zur Zeit der Römer wurden die Gräber genutzt, da das begraben der Toten innerhalb der Stadtmauern verboten war. Auf 1,5 Quadratkilometern gibt es hier viele verschiedene Grabhöhlen, die damals in Familien-, Clan-, politische Gemeinschafts- oder Zunftgräber aufgeteilt waren. Wenn man da bei einer Gemeinschaft war, hatte man schon für danach vorgesorgt. Wenn man keine Grabstätte hatte, konnte man zu einer Art Organisation gehen, die einem dann gegen Geld eine Grabstätte bereitstellte.
      Auf jeden Fall beeindruckend, was für ein Netz von Gängen und kleinen Höhlen hier unter der Erde nur mit Hammer und Meißel geschaffen wurden.
      Die Kirche St. Dominic & the blessed Virgin befindet sich in der Mitte von Rabat und hat einen wunderschönen Innhof mit Garten, umgeben von einem breiten Gewölbegang. Sie wurde im 14. Jhd. erbaut und war ebenso wir Medina Drehort für The Game of Thrones.
      Die Kirche selber war schon geschlossen, nur in die kleine Kapelle konnten wir hinein.
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    • Day 4

      Day 4 • Dingli Cliffs, Mdina and more

      March 25 in Malta ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

      Today didn’t turn out quite as expected. But we didn’t mind at all. The French and I are nothing if not adaptable. That’s one of the advantages of independent travel - you can be agile and change course easily.

      Our plan today was to go to the Dingli cliffs on the south west coast of Malta. It’s less than 20 kms from The Three Cities and easily accessible by a local bus, a few steps from our boutique hotel, and changing at the Valletta bus interchange to another bus to to the town of Had-Dingli. From there, a short walk to the coast and along the cliffs. We would have a few hours there, maybe a late lunch and then make our way back.

      It was cloudy when we left The Three Cities but the forecast was otherwise fine with no wind. Maybe the cloud would lift. You have to take your chances. Unfortunately by the time we arrived at Dingli cliffs the clouds were not only in the sky but had descended to sea level. Not exactly the ‘belle vue’ we’d hoped for, but it was quite atmospheric, even though you could barely see the cliffs. The French and I reflected that, as fabulous as the Dingli cliffs may be on a fine day, we do have spectacular cliffs in our own backyard, back home on the Bouddi Peninsula, so we can’t be too disappointed. Our time at Dingli cut short, what to do next?

      The bus we’d taken from Valletta had stopped at Rabat / Mdina, where we will be staying for the final two nights of our holiday. But, we thought, why not stop there on the way back and have a short reconnaissance tour of the Mdina. So that’s what we did, and thoroughly enjoyed our stroll and a delicious late lunch as well. Our time there made us even more enthusiastic for our longer stay late next week.

      So, next, the bus back to Valletta. But instead of taking another bus at the Valletta interchange we crossed the town and made our way down to the ferry stop. While waiting for the ‘big ferry’ - the one with extra things like safe gangplanks and life jackets - we noticed a man spruiking a ride on a traditional boat. Why not? So, on we hopped and had a quick and fun ride back to The Three Cities. Careful not to drop my phone overboard, I managed to take a couple of videos that I’ve included.

      One final treat, a family of mother duck and gorgeous fuzzy ducklings we had seen yesterday among the outdoor tables of a Greek restaurant on the waterfront were there again this afternoon. All in all a great day.

      Tomorrow, our last full day on Malta for a while, we will spend in the big smoke, Valletta, just across the harbour by big or small boat. 😎
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    • Day 10

      Day 10 • Nadur, Gozo - Easter Sunday

      March 31 in Malta ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

      Nadur is a small town sitting above the Mgarr Harbour. I read that it was ‘one of the first hamlets of Gozo island to be raised to the status of a village. It took place in 1688, when Nadur with its outlying area was dismembered (!) from the Matrice parish in the Citadel and established a parish on its own.’

      Easter Sunday morning and soon after we finished breakfast the procession began from the Church around the corner. I was able to take a couple of videos from our balcony. I’m not much of a videographer - I kept cutting at all the wrong moments. And while faffing around with the video, didn’t take any photos until right at the end. The French was down in the street, just at the corner with a close up view. You can see him top right.

      Nadur offers picturesque coastal walks to nearby beaches, which we would have enjoyed in other circumstances. Instead, I had a quiet and relaxing day in our B&B - grateful for Netflix, though I could/should have been doing some French homework - while The French took the bus to see the Fungus Rock.

      It was a lovely evening and The French and I took a short, slow stroll to the town square for dinner. We were surprised and delighted to find a small restaurant offering a Japanese / Thai menu. ☺️
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    • Day 11

      Day 11 • An evening in Rabat

      April 1 in Malta ⋅ 🌙 18 °C

      This morning we took the Gozo fast ferry to Valletta and then a BOLT * to Rabat - Mdina for our last two nights on Malta. We visited the Mdina on the way back from Dingli Cliffs last week (see Day 4), but hadn’t wandered around Rabat. Accounts of Rabat - Mdina seem to vary - but there’s no doubting a rich history going back many thousands of years. More info below.

      We arrived at our new digs, grateful for an early check in and delighted to find we had a light and airy studio with kitchen facilities and a sunny terrace. The French went for a stroll to a nearby shop and came back with provisions to make a ham cheese and tomato baguette for lunch on the terrace. 😎.

      In the afternoon The French went back to the Mdina and also did a reconnaissance for likely dinner spots not far from our apartment. He discovered quite a few restaurants in the heart of Rabat, and just 800 metres away. It was a fine evening, and we enjoyed a slow stroll, through some charming narrow streets, and dinner in the courtyard at Castelletti. We had a small (very small) martini blanco as an aperitif (or I should say aperitivo) to begin.

      Lovely evening. Last day tomorrow. 😎

      More here on Rabat and Mdina…

      * Travel tip: Up until my knee started playing up we’d mostly taken local buses (frequent, efficient, on time, inexpensive, clean) to move around - when ferries were not an option. In the past few days we’ve opted for a BOLT car door to door. On Malta they have taxis, Uber and BOLT (new to me) with the last being the most popular. We’ve never waited more than a few minutes. Given the size of Malta, and Gozo much smaller still, it’s rare to need a long/expensive journey. Most of our journeys have been between 5 and 10 kms. Recommend downloading the BOLT app if visiting Malta / Gozo.
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    • Day 6

      St. Paul’s Catacombs

      October 29, 2019 in Malta ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

      Die St. Paul’s Catacombs befinden sich in Rabat. Sie wurden um das Jahr 350 angelegt und erstrecken sich über bisher bekannte 1,5 Quadratkilometer. Im Laufe der Jahre wurden hier etwa 1.400 Tote beerdigt. Inzwischen sind alle ausgelagert worden. Die St. Paul’s Catacombs sind öffentlich zugänglich und können nach Kauf eines Tickets besichtigt werden. In den Katakomben findet man unter anderem so genannte Agapetische.

      Nachdem püppy noch eben die Messe für den nächsten Tag vorbereitet hat geht es in die Katakomben.
      Für Menschen mit klaustrophobie ist das absolut nichts. "unter Tage" herrscht eine sehr hohe Luftfeuchtigkeit und es ist warm. Auf jeden Fall sehr interessant das mal gesehen zu haben. Auch hier waren wir wieder fast alleine, was die ganze Sache nur gruseliger macht 😅

      Auf dem Rückweg zur Wohnung verpassen wir erstmal unsere Haltestelle und fahren durch nach Valletta 😅. Macht nichts, der nächste Bus zurück steht schon bereit. Vor uns sitzt ein schätzungsweise 70 Jähriger, der einen auf Ken von Barbie macht und die schlimmste Perücke trägt die ich je gesehen habe. Wir können beide nur schwer aufhören zu lachen 😂
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