A golden Altar

photo by Anne Pflug
One of the many altars in Maltese churches that is embellished with gold

Historically, Malta is a very Catholic country. This is a result of St. Paul’s shipwreck in Malta on his way to martyrdom in Rome. Every village in  Malta has at least one church; some have more.  All these churches, as in most of Europe, have been embellished with gold, some on the altars, others more so, on the walls and even ceilings.

The idea had been that churches are houses of God and God deserves the best, that is, gold. I remember, as a child, hearing about a new church being built and the congregation being asked to donate gold, for melting, to be used in church.

Actually, I even remember that happening in Brooklyn when a church was being built in the last century.

This blog annevisitsmalta.com enhances my book Return to Malta by visiting most of the places mentioned in the book with color photos. The book is available through Amazon and other book stores.

Be sure to visit my other blog: annepflugcom.wordpress.com

 

The Maltese Cross

photo by Anne Pflug
The Maltese Cross as jewelry

In the last blog, I photographed the Maltese Cross on the flag used on ships registered in Malta. In other uses, the Maltese Cross is a major subject of jewelry featured in tourist shops as well as high end jewelry stores. As a tourist enters a jewelry store in Malta, she is surrounded by many versions of this cross, in gold, silver or enamel.  The most common version is the filigree as the illustration above shows.  Filigree jewelry is a Maltese specialty and that style really shows the cross at its best.  I’m sure that most Maltese ladies have at least one version of this cross as a pendant, earrings or bracelet.  It is a beautiful addition to anyone’s jewelry box.

This blog annevisitsmalta.com enhances my book Return to Malta by visiting most of the places mentioned in the book with color photos. The book is available through Amazon and other book stores.

Be sure to visit my other blog: annepflugcom.wordpress.com

An American cruise ship entering Valletta

photo by Anne Pflug
The Maltese flag on an American cruise ship

It’s always so exciting to see the nautical Maltese flag on a cruise I’m taking, even ones not  to Malta.  Although the official Maltese flag is white and red with the George Cross insignia, seafaring vessels sport a different version.  This flag, red with a white border and the Maltese cross in the center, is one you’d find on any seafaring vessel registered in Malta.

Not sure about others but I do know that Celebrity Cruises registers its cruise ships in Malta and I always look for that beautiful flag.  It’s usually flying on the same deck where we breakfast.  To me, it’s a beautiful sight!!

This blog annevisitsmalta.com enhances my book Return to Malta by visiting most of the places mentioned in the book with color photos. The book is available through Amazon and other book stores.

Be sure to visit my other blog: annepflugcom.wordpress.com

A tragedy in Gozo

 

photo by Anne Pflug
The Azure Window, Gozo

It was indeed sad news.  The famous and beautiful Azure Window, in Gozo, Malta, has succumbed to a wild storm that tore it and plunged it into the sea on March 8, 2017. This very famous tourist attraction had been eroding for some time and met its end when Malta was hit by rough seas and stormy weather. The Prime Minister of Malta said that it was indeed a sad day when this happened. The Azure Window  had  been featured in the “Game of Thrones” premiere. It must have been an awesome sight when this 92 foot high limestone arch simply dropped into the sea.

I am so glad I was able to see it before tragedy struck.

 

A man stands atop the cliffs where the natural structure known as the Azure Window collapsed,  at Dwejra on the island of Gozo, Malta, March 8, 2017. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi

This blog annevisitsmalta.com enhances my book Return to Malta by visiting most of the places mentioned in the book with color photos. The book is available through Amazon and other book stores.

Be sure to visit my other blog: annepflugcom.wordpress.com

On to Gozo

photo by Anne Pflug
The Citadel being updated

Gozo is a smaller island than Malta.  It is considered a more relaxing place to go if you want to simply get away from it all. It is greener and more rural. One of the high points in a visit to Gozo, and my main interest, was The Citadel.  Also known as the Castello, in Victoria, it has been  inhabited since the Bronze Age.

The area on which the Citadel rests was originally believed to have been the acropolis of the Punic-Roman city of Gaulos. I’ve also read somewhere that it also was once a pagan temple to one of the Greek gods.  A lot of history in this place. And, as happens with most of these ancient structures, it is now being refurbished, possibly to make it more tourist friendly.

We met a lot of tourists who could not make the climb in the hot weather we had that summer.

This blog annevisitsmalta.com enhances the book Return to Malta by visiting most of the places mentioned in the book with color photos. The book is available through Amazon.

The West Coast of Malta

photo by Anne Pflug
A beautiful swimming spot on the west coast

You can see that the west coast of Malta is less populous and less built up that the east coast, where important cities and towns with marinas and beaches dot the area.  Here, on the other side, you see a view of Malta that is not so crowded.  Because of this, tourists who are looking to get away from it all tend to head in this direction.  This swimming hole can be reached after long driving and many ups and downs in the hilly terrain.  If I had taken the photo further back, you would see the many steps one has to take to reach this sweet spot. Beautiful, cool Mediterranean Sea especially enjoyable on a hot day. Put yourself here and relax!!

This blog annevisitsmalta.com enhances the book Return to Malta by visiting most of the places mentioned in the book with color photos. The book is available through Amazon.

The Maltese Language

photo by Anne Pflug
Psalm 23 in Maltese

Whenever I say that I am Maltese, one of the next questions is usually: Is that Italian?  Do you speak Italian in Malta? or something similar.

Although Malta is very close to Italy, in the middle of the Mediterranean, it has a unique language of its own.  In fact, Maltese is an Arabic dialect which uses the Roman alphabet. It is also the only Semitic language to be officially recognized in the European Union.

Above are the first two stanzas of Psalm 23 in Maltese (The Lord is my shepherd).

Actually, Malta has two official  languages.  One is, of course, Maltese but the other is English.  It is the only island in the Mediterranean that has English an an official language.

Now you know.

 

This blog annevisitsmalta.com enhances the book Return to Malta by visiting most of the places mentioned in the book with color photos. The book is available through Amazon.

 

 

 

Scuba Divers at the Blue Grotto

photo by Anne Pflug
Scuba divers getting ready to dive

 

Still on the rocky west coast of Malta, divers congregate to explore the underwater beauty of The Blue Grotto.  As I am not a diver, I am unable to describe the underwater scenery but I did speak to some divers, just returning from their dive, and they were very impressed with the beauty of the surroundings.

This blog annevisitsmalta.com enhances the book Return to Malta by visiting most of the places mentioned in the book with color photos. The book is available through Amazon.

A Rocky Coast

photo by Anne Pflug
Malta’s western coast is very rocky

Traveling on the west coast of Malta is a complete change of vistas.  First of all, it is not well populated. Second, it is extremely rocky; possibly  why it is not too crowded.

Driving on the few roads on this side of the island takes one to exotic views of ancient rock formations.  This side of the island is also where the Blue Grotto is located. The few roads here are also very hilly and one needs a good map to find specific places as there are not too many signs.

However, it is definitely worth visiting here.  It is truly beautiful!

This blog annevisitsmalta.com enhances the book Return to Malta by visiting most of the places mentioned in the book with color photos.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Seven Story Street

photo by Anne Pflug
Amazing, this street goes down seven stories.

Malta, the country where I was born, tends to be very hilly in some places. Case in point.  The last time I was there, I spent time in a hotel  in Mellieha. The Preluna Hotel and Spa occupied seven stories and all of them went out to the street. The street itself is made up of steps, seven stories worth and all the  floors had an exit to the street. It had swimming pools on three levels, all street-side. At first it was very confusing and hard to imagine. Once we got used to it, it had advantages.  No matter what floor you were on, you can walk out to the street on that level.  This is not the only hilly street in Malta; the capital city, Valletta, a;so has its share.  Walking around town becomes an exhausting experience.

This blog annevisitsmalta.com enhances the book Return to Malta by visiting most of the places mentioned in the book with color photos.