Yes, yes, yes I know that Malta isn’t part of Italy but it would just have been way too complicated to include all the countries we are visiting in the title. Anyway, today was our first port of call and it was indeed Valletta in Malta.
When we left Naples there were a number of other cruise ships there and despite leaving before them they were already in port when we docked at Valletta. I am assuming that the more you pay the better the position in the dock as we were moored on the “wrong” side of the port and needed a tender to get us to there the action was.
Having researched in advance we knew that what we wanted to do was to go to the walled city of Mdina about 30 minutes away from Valletta. This could be done by getting a local bus which we did relatively easily. There is something about navigating the local transport options that makes me feel like some kind of modern day Magellan! This bus ride also saved us €42 over what it would have cost to do it in a taxi.
The cruise newsletter describes Mdina as the ‘silent city’ due to the fact that cars aren’t allowed in. This turns out to be rubbish and the pretty, narrow and winding streets are, of course, lined with cars. The other mode of transport that you have to be mindful of are horse and carts – those expensive tourist traps – that gallop through the tight streets. There were a number of times when we had to dive into a doorway to avoid being trampled under foot.
Mdina is a beautiful little place with its honey coloured buildings containing within thick fortified walls. However, it is not very big being home to less than 300 people and so we had fairly quickly exhausted options there and so headed back to Valletta.
Valletta was busier than Mdina with those that had simply stepped off the boat for a wander or taken an organised tour. This meant that as we reached the places we wanted to visit there were groups of tourists (and yes I know that we are tourists too). Tour groups hunt in packs following their leader blindly with no thought for any others. Clearly by this point I was getting a bit weary so it was time to return to the boat. To do this we took the very funky looking lift shown below.