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Much t-ado in Malta: Part Four (the Malta finale)

Before visiting Malta, I had not (consciously) known that Malta existed. Once in Malta though, I began to remember... from way back in my childhood memories, references to Malta...

Chapter One: Malta References, Childhood Memories

I grew up hearing of the valor and heroism of Knights. Many evenings, after supper, my mom would read the classics aloud. I was entranced by the stories of King Arthur and Guinevere, Lancelot... the Knights of the Round Table.

I imagine the Maltese Cross showed up in these stories. I would need to reread King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table to know for sure. I imagine the "Maltese Cross" lying sleepily dormant in the recesses of my mind, waking up in Malta.

Other references to Malta woke up, too.

There was The Maltese Falcon. I do not remember details about that movie. I would not have remembered the plot had I not looked it up just now. The name of the film, though, is as iconic as Humphrey Bogart and his (film) character, Sam Spade. Whether I watched it or not, the movie title must have been living inside me. It is a part of my culture and all things of my culture live somewhere in me. If you click on "Humphrey Bogart" (above) you can read about the movie. If you click on "Maltese Falcon" (above) you will be able to read about the story of why the peregrine in Malta has been bestowed upon it this special title.

As I was researching "Maltese" references, I came across the Maltese dog. Maybe I had heard about this breed of dog in my youth. I am not sure about that. Now, though, I am thinking about dogs in my youth.

Growing up, we always had cats and dogs for pets. We had one cat at-a-time. When the cat died, another cat appeared. Each cat was named Scampy. We also had two collies (that I know of), one-at-a-time, both named India. My dad named the collie India because (he told me) "I love the sound... India." India (at least, the second India) was definitely my brother's dog. India slept on my brother's bed and sometimes under the covers.

Later, we had a beagle. I named our beagle Silky, because of her long beagle ears. They were magnificently soft to touch and stroke. Silky was definitely my dog.

Through my teens, Silky was my best friend. She listened when I needed to process through confusion, guilt, shame, pain and suffering.

During the summer between 9th grade and 10th grade, three major events happened to kids I was friends with.

Corinne was interested in a boy, who had brought his father's gun to show off, when they all snuck out to meet in the cinema plaza parking lot. The gun went off, shooting Corinne in the base of the spine, causing her to become paraplegic.

Thomas was working at the North Shore Shopping Mall, walking backwards while sweeping outside and fell into an open man-hole. I did not see him again until the end of our senior year. He was standing outside the front door of our high school building at the end of the school day when I walked out. I saw him and froze. He walked toward me, stiffly and slowly, one-movement-at-a-time. He stopped and said "He-llo A-mi," in four robotic syllables. I believe I started crying as we hugged.

David and his best friend Frank were horsing around in the back of a pick up truck they had hitched a ride with when David fell backwards out of the truck onto the street. He was in a coma for days, maybe weeks before he died.

Silky was there when I sobbed and talked, trying to make sense of it all. She listened, looked at me with her sad eyes, and let me hold her for very long bouts of time.

Silky sometimes protected me with her Epilepsy. I would be about to step into a Friday night of unconscious adolescent debauchery, look over at her to say: see you later, and she would spontaneously go into a grand mal seizure. I often stayed home hugging my best dog friend, Silky.

The Goldstein's across the street had a yippy little poodle. I do not remember his name, though I can hear the yip-yip-yipping in my head right now. Our neighbor Mrs. Nunes had a German Shepard who I often saw in their fenced-in backyard, when I was hanging up laundry on the line. My mom's friend up the hill (whose name I am forgetting, though her kindness to me when I ran away from home I remember well) had a fluffy white dog. Maybe is was a "Maltese dog."

"Maltese" references were in me, though I did not realize that until I was in Malta. When I realized I had these references in me all along, it was like I had been in the dark and a lightbulb turned on, like I had been asleep and just woke up. I felt enlightened and ignorant at the same time. It was awesome and humbling.

I am remembering something else from my childhood...

I grew up in Peabody, Massachusetts, a town in the upper northeast corner of the United States (USA). There was (and still is) a neighboring town called Marblehead, Massachusetts, situated on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean (where the sun rises). There was a phrase we would say, when we (finally) understood something we had not previously realized. We would lightly smack our forehead with the palm of our hand and say: Dawn breaks on Marblehead.

As dawn broke on my marble head, I wondered why I had not been curious about the word Maltese. I had heard those references and not once asked: Where does that word come from: Maltese?

I am more curious now. I am asking more questions. I am more interested in history - in the history of words and the history of nations. I am interested in how past thoughts, feelings and actions have created the world as we know it. I am interested in how thoughts, feelings and actions in this present moment are creating the future.

I feel like I am forgetting some other association with Malta that I realized I had grown up with. Forgetting is a thing I have been doing since I was nineteen. Ima talk about forgetting for a moment because, forgetting seems to be happening more now.

Chapter Two: TBI and Forgetting

I do not think I have told you that, in this body, I have had two brain injuries. One happened before the age of six and one happened at the age of nineteen. Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is something I live with. On a good day, you would not know this.

I find that the results of brain injury show up most often when I am tired or stressed.

The effects of TBI may look like the inability to find a word. Sometimes I can find a synonym for the word I am searching for, or a phrase within the context of the word's meaning. Sometimes nothing shows up, my sentence is left dangling, and I am speechless. It can be awkward.

The effects of TBI may look like the inability to find a name. The worst case scenario that I can remember experiencing was when I was looking into the eyes of my (first) husband (while we were married, for almost 15 years) and could not find his name (in my brain).

The effects of TBI may look like forgetting. Between the forgetting that seems to be happening with normal aging, the exacerbated forgetting that comes with lack of sleep, and the other exacerbated forgetting that seems to be due to the stress embedded in traveling... my brain is slow and forgetful.

Chapter Three: Hosting a Sister

Bianca (from the Black Forest and Stuttgart, Germany), my dear friend-I-haven't-met-yet (in person) from our online Meditation Family, told me about a Facebook group called "Host a Sister - 50 Plus." I met Liza through this Facebook group.

Liza is an American, born in Portugal, living in Sophia, Bulgaria. She is a seasoned world traveler and had not been to Malta. Liza arrived in Malta on the Wednesday after Christmas and stayed with me (and fluffy furry purring Pina) until Sunday (New Year's Eve day).

Malta is a relatively small island. I know that I have said this before. It is worth repeating. Although Malta is "small" there is a lot to learn, a lot to see, a lot to do.

On Wednesday, I took the bus to meet Liza at the airport. The bus ride to the airport took at least an hour. On the bus I met Abdirahman ("Abdi"). We connected, though, at this point, I can not tell you how. I have no idea what we talked about. The only reason I remember this man's name is because it is in my WhatsApp account.

The reason I am forgetting our conversation is my brain was tired. Tired or not, Liza and I had four days to travel and explore Malta. And so, exploring Malta is what we did. At one point, I told Liza about how I live with TBI and that it was showing up... now. I told her because she seemed frustrated with my TBI ways. When I disclosed this information, her frustration seemed to disappear. She was so very understanding and supportive. I wish I had told her when I first met her at the airport. I wish I had realized more immediately that I was not thinking clearly. I wish I had admitted out loud, to everyone (including myself), that my brain was scrambling.

That day, at the airport, I believe Liza and I decided to head straight back to St. Paul's Bay. It was Wednesday.

I believe it was dark by the time we got "home." I believe we did not begin our adventures until Thursday. That gave us three days. We divvied our time into three day trips: Valetta, Gozo, and Mdina.

I will tell you of some of our exploits.

Chapter Four: The Presence of Michelle

Before I begin (and end) this post by sharing the exploits I had in Malta with Liza, I want to share with you about a couple of tender connections I had with Michelle. These connections did not start out feeling tender. I find that tenderness is often preceded by stress. Before Michelle and I connected, I was feeling stressed.

It was Wednesday. I was walking toward the bus station. Liza would be arriving at the Malta airport and I had told her I would meet her there upon her arrival. I had been relaxed with my plan. As I walked though, I began to feel more and more nervous about finding the correct bus, getting to it on time, and reaching the airport before Liza arrived. At one point, I began running. I ran uphill and across a long street. I ran until I found the correct bus station. I ran around the bus station looking for the correct terminal.

When I found the correct terminal, I learned that there were three different numbered "X" buses that went to the airport. I learned that it would be 30-minutes before the next, correct "X" bus (going to the airport) was due to arrive. I say "due to arrive" with a caveat.

When a bus was full, the driver would not allow more passengers to get on. One might wait for a scheduled bus, not knowing that the bus was full and that no one on the bus wanted to get off at that stop. And so voila, you would be standing there with no bus to take at that (scheduled) time. Also, when you were able to get on a bus, the trip might be longer than was posted on the schedule, for all sorts of reasons.

Hopefully, I had thought, the bus will arrive on time... and not be too full to get on. Regardless, I thought, I have 30-minutes to find out.

I had thought: 30-minutes... I have time to get a cappuccino... and use a toilet. Once I had that toileting option idea, the need to toilet became more pressing. Frequent-toileting R us... is me... I am... I was... needing.

I walked to the corner of the bus terminal and looked left. There was an Irish bar-type restaurant. I could go there, thought I. I looked right. I saw a cafe on the corner across the street that looked sweet and felt light. It was called Michele. Michelle, I thought. My daughter's name wafted through me. I walked right.

When I walked in, a British-accented middle-aged motherly-type woman said "Hello Dear. Welcome. What can we do for you?" I said, "I'd like to use your toilet if I can. And then I'd like to order a cappuccino to go." "The bathroom is there," she said, pointing to my bio-relief-destination-spot, "go right ahead, Dear." Then she added, "We'll be right here for you when you're ready."

The matronly waitress was so welcoming, so warm, so kind... it broke me open a bit. I came out of the loo, ordered a cappuccino from the young barista, and said to the matronly waitress, "My daughter's name is Michelle. That's why I wanted to come in here."

"Oh, you're missing your daughter," she said with a smile. Then, in a cheerful tone she asked, "Where is your daughter?" I felt a grief wave coming up from behind me. I said, "Um. She died." "Oh," said she, looked me in my watery eyes, and pulled me in for a tender bear hug.

The barista handed me my cappuccino. I sipped it and sighed. It was warm and foamy and delicious. "We have the best cappuccino," the matronly waitress said, "And your daughter called you in here." She was right. I walked back across the street to continue to wait for the X bus.

Cappuccino in hand, standing at my bus terminal, having been washed over by a little grief wave, I felt relieved, calm, peaceful... tender, compassionate. I was no longer worried about the bus or the timing. Everything seemed in its right place.

The next day, I thought again about getting a cappuccino. Mostly, I thought about having a cappuccino at Michele's. Michelle had drawn me in there. It was "the best cappuccino." It was across from the bus station where we were heading. Still, for some reason I did not immediately understand, I decided to get a warm drink at the Malta Chocolate Factory instead.

It was Thursday. Liza and I were in Buġibba Square. We had just finished eating Turkish Breakfast (more about this later). Although I was thinking about going to Michele's, the Malta Chocolate Factory, which was right around the corner, called me.

"I want to get a cappuccino over there," I said to Liza, and walked toward the chocolate shop. On the way we saw a shop with marked down glittery Christmas hats. They were the kind that, when you rub the sequins in one direction it is one color (let's say, red), and when you rub the sequins the other way the color changes (to let's say, silver, green, or gold). I was drawn to purchase three. I thought, "One for Ash (the red and silver one); one for Beto (the red and green one), and this one (the red with gold) for me." I tucked the gift hats in my bag and put my new hat on my head.

We walked the 15-20 feet from the hat store to the chocolate shop and walked in. I ordered a dark chocolate cappuccino. Maybe it was a mocha latte. Liza ordered English-style tea.

While waiting for our orders, I noticed a customer's earrings. They were (flat) beaded cubes. I asked if I could look more closely at them. "Sure," she said, in a British accent, "I made them." I walked closer and placed a finger behind one of her dangling earrings, holding it so I could see it better. "You made these," I asked, impressed. "They remind me of 3-D cube earrings my daughter designed and made," I said.

As soon as I had seen her earrings, even from afar, something began to roll up from inside my heart and soul. Maybe it was another grief wave rolling in. I think it was another grief wave. As I looked at her earrings more closely, as we spoke, and as I walked away (warm drink in hand), I realized that Michelle was with me.

"Michelle is with me," I told Liza.

As I was trying to make sense of it, I thought (out loud), Michelle wants me to know she is with me. At the time, I wondered (out loud) if it was she who wanted to be with me. I wonder now if it was me who needed her. Maybe she knew I needed her. I had been worried and stressed out. I needed someone to lead me out of worrying and being stressed out. I needed to get back to compassion. Michelle has a way of doing that.

I need to remember that Michelle is always with me. I needed to feel her presence, to come back to feeling tenderness. I needed it then, in Malta. I need it now. I need it wherever I go.

Chapter Five: Valetta

Liza and I headed to Valetta.

I had already been to Valetta (the capitol city of Malta) three times: once with Serra, once on my own, and once with Catherine. On all three occasions I had not seen the "Malta Experience" nor gone the La Sacra Infermeria tour. I very much wanted to do those things. I am grateful that Liza was game.

It was Thursday. The last showing of the Malta Experience was at 16:00 (4 pm). We left Giulia's and Eugene's (and Pina's) apartment before 11:30 (am). Our goal was to arrive in Buġibba Square by 11:30 to catch a Turkish Breakfast.

Liza and I walked along the waterfront to Buġibba Square. This checked off two boxes. Liza wanted to walk by the water. Check. I wanted to eat Turkish Breakfast at ozSofra Kebab. Maybe check.

I had thus far missed Turkish Breakfast at ozSofra Kebab because I had thus far been unable to arrive at ozSofra Kebab before they stopped taking orders for breakfast. A sign posted that breakfast was served until 12:00 (noon). Twice I showed up at some amount of minutes before noon. "No breakfast" I had been told. After the second reject, I asked "what time do I need to show up and order, to have Turkish Breakfast?" I was told: "11:30."

At 11:30, we were close to Buġibba Square. Close, and yet, still walking. Liza thought it was now a lost cause. I believed. I asked if we could fast walk the two more blocks to the restaurant. We arrived at ozSofra Kebab at 11:35. We were granted permission to order Turkish Breakfast.

Although I ordered "a Turkish Breakfast," the waitress brought us two complete orders of Turkish Breakfast. I realize that this may sound perfectly normal. There were, after all, two of us. From my perspective, though, being served two full orders of Turkish Breakfast was just plain weird.

My understanding is that a Turkish Breakfast is meant to be shared. As I understand it, a Turkish Breakfast is one order, shared with all at the table. A Turkish Breakfast is a lot of food. We were served a freaking-lot of food.

Aside from doubling the order, and (me) feeling a bit too proper (and wasteful) about eating separate meals (and not finishing either), it was a solidly good Turkish Breakfast.

Ami's Turkish Breakfast

Liza's Turkish Breakfast

After breakfast, Liza and I walked the distance to the bus station, waited for an available bus to show up, and took the almost hour-long ride to Valetta. We walked back and forth before figuring out which way we needed to walk to get to the Malta Experience.

Liza felt concerned we would not arrive on time for the last show. I realize she was concerned for me, though I did not feel concerned. My disconcert seemed to make her more concerned. For me, this was stressful. When we arrived at our destination, we had almost an hour's wait before the next show. All is well that ends well? I think that is mostly so.

While waiting for the next show, we agreed to walk to the Siege Bell Memorial.

I added the embedded link to the memorial (above) again, just in case you missed me talking about the Siege Bell Memorial (in the previous post).

Though I had been there twice already, this (third) visit further deepened my compassion around the effects from this event in history. How was it, I wondered, to be a survivor at that time, when over the course of three years, 7,000 of your community members died, because of a battle, on your soil? What did the community experience? How did that effect the next generation? How have the effects of that massive loss rippled into the present day? How does historical grief show up now?

After hanging out at the Siege Bell Memorial, Liza and I walked back up the hill toward the Malta Experience. On the way, we stopped to look more closely at a spot we had noticed along the way down the hill. It looked like an abandoned area with shacks. They looked to me like summer tourist shops. This was all by the water and there were boats housed there.

We still had time before the Malta Experience, so we walked down winding steep stairs to explore. In one of the "abandoned" shacks were two men. One of them owned the shack. It had been his father's. He seemed busy repairing, organizing, whatever-ing. The other man seemed happy to have someone to share a story with.

He told us that this was a summer tourist spot and that it was abandoned at this time of year. The reason no one was here now, he said, was that the water became too fierce and too dangerous in this (winter) season.

He showed us pictures on his phone camera of waves crashing over the point by Fort Ricasoli, across the water from where we were. He showed us pictures of waves crashing up over the banks of the area where we were standing. He pointed to where the stone wall of a Jamaican-decorated shop (just in front of us) had been destroyed, last year, by waves. He told us how a tourist, who must have wanted to capture the drama of the crashing waves close-up on his camera, drowned when a wave crashed up over the bank and took him.

This man's stories were huge, rich, intriguing. And then it was time to go. Our next adventure, the Malta Experience, was about to begin.

The Malta Experience was a 45-minute audio visual show that "tells the dramatic story of (the)... 7000 year... turbulent history of a small island nation that has overcome almost unimaginable odds to survive and prosper." As Liza had reflected to me, this little Mediterranean land mass is centrally located between multiple nations who have wanted to control it. It is no wonder that all around the Maltese Islands, you will see many walled cities and other fortifications.

After the audio visual show, we toured  the building's historical hospital, La Sacra Infermeria (aka: the Holy Infirmary of the Knights of St John). We heard of the "selfless care and unspeakable suffering" that happened there. We learned that, way before the Covid 19 Pandemic, all people arriving at the island of Malta quarantined at this hospital. They quarantined not for 14 days, but for 40 days and 40 nights, before they were allowed to step foot on Malta.

A very long tunnel in La Sacra Infermeria
"The Order of St John had its origins in 11th century Jerusalem, some time before the first crusade, establishing a hospital to provide care for sick and wounded pilgrims visiting the Holy Land"
"The Holy Infirmary of the Knights of St John"
"By 1787, the various wards of the Infirmary accommodated 563 beds – a number which could be increased in times of emergency to 914. This vast 155-metre long room with its magnificent timber ceiling is known as the Great Ward and was once the longest hospital ward in Europe"

Signs of the Maltese Cross

Our tour ended in a very large room that was originally the hospital's (outdoor) courtyard and garden. The old courtyard had been enclosed to create "Republic Hall... an internationally acclaimed venue... (and) impressive theatre designed to stage a wide range of conference and congress events, as well as theatre, concerts and opera." While we were there, musicians were on stage practicing for an upcoming concert. The concert would be held after my leaving Malta. (a sad little boo).

After the tour finished, Liza and I walked back to the Valetta Christmas Market and amusement park. We perused the market huts. I led Liza to the beaded earring hut. You may recall that I had coveted the vendor's earrings and yet had not purchased a pair of her extraordinary earrings. You may have sensed that I felt badly about that. I was thrilled when Liza purchased a pair of earrings. They were stunning on her.

I told Liza how Catherine and I had ordered Mr. Vindaloo's take-out for dinner and ate our meals on the Ferris Wheel. Liza and I decided to repeat this plan. Repeating a good plan is bringing up a memory...

My friend Bill Shontz and I traveled and worked together. Back in the day, when they were a children's-music duo, Bill Shontz and Gary Rosen (Rosenshontz) were well known for their Teddy Bear's Picnic concerts. After the duo split up, Bill continued to perform Teddy Bear's Picnic concerts on his own. Bill employed "bears" to dance on stage (in full costume) while he performed, playing his clarinet and saxophone and singing about... teddy bears. I was one of Bill's bears.

Bill had told me, "If the kids like something, we will do it again." He had a kind of motto: "If it's good once, do it twice. If it's good twice, do it three times." He would say this and then laugh. Bill had (and still has) a very jolly laugh.

Eating Mr. Vindaloo's Indian food for dinner on the Ferris Wheel again was like following Bill's joyful motto. It was good once. It was good twice. And Mr. Vindaloo and I were feeling like old pals.

Our food and Liza's spiced wine. Waiting in line for the Big Wheel
The Valetta Christmas Market Big Wheel
Eating Mr. Vindaloo's on the Ferris Wheel

The Market was SO festive looking. Liza captured the essence and mood well on her phone camera...

Ami and Liza at the Valetta Christmas Market

Rewatching these videos, and listening to the live music in the background, I am remembering another tender Michelle moment.

You may notice, as I did, that the music is not your typical Christmas cheer. It is (and was) absolutely not cheerful. When Liza and I got off the Ferris Wheel and headed toward the fountain to sit, I was stunned that the song playing was She's Not There.

"This is my song for Michelle," I said to Liza. "It is so weird that it is playing now." It was weird because... (1) it is an old song, not often performed live, and was playing (2) in Malta, (3) at a festive Christmas market and fair. I mean, have you listened to the words? The song just about always make me miss Michelle. She's not here. The song almost always make me cry.

As all this was landing, I was hoisting myself up onto the fountain ledge, sitting, preparing to finish my meal. I picked up my box of Mr. Vindaloo's dinner. I felt a lump emerging in my throat and put Mr. Vindaloo's back down. Liza looked at me and said, "Michelle's here." I looked back at her, reached over, curled up in her waiting arms, and cried.

I am not saying I got sad and it ruined my fun time. No. What happened was, I fell into Michelle's presence and felt the lack of her at the same time. I felt the intensity of love and loss. And I let the grief wave wash over me, cleanse and purify me, and reorganize my priorities once again. I was brought back to my heart and soul.

And then, I was even more present, more in the life around me.

Liza wanted to check out the ice skating rink. I had not noticed this part of the Valetta Christmas Market. I was game.

We sat for quite some time watching adults, teens on a date, and children skating... or at least trying to skate. There were no skaters spinning in a circle or skating backwards. No one looked like they were a hockey player. Mostly, we witnessed people wobbling, holding onto each other, and falling on their butts. It was sweet home-town kind of entertainment.

When it was time to go, we found our bus, walked from the bus station to Buġibba Square...

... and walked home (to Pina).

I am now hoping to tell you about a lot in a short amount of time. This post is mighty long already. I will try to share about the the next two days in the style of a picture-book. Enjoy.

Chapter Six: Gozo

Liza and I took a bus to a ferry to the island of Gozo, Malta. There, we took a tour bus to two destinations: the Citadel of Victoria (Gozo's capitol, also known to the locals as Rabat), and Ramla Beach.

Taking the ferry from Malta to Gozo...

Arriving on Gozo and then in Victoria...

Ami, sporting her new sparkly x-mas hat, cappuccino in hand, with a Ben & Jerry's sign in the background
The front entrance to the Citadel in Victoria, Gozo, Malta

The Citadel was used as a place of defense and refuge. For a period of time, until April 15, 1637, "Gozo's population stayed within the walls of the Cittadella between dusk and dawn..."

Inside the Citadel's walls one can walk among historic buildings and churches, some still standing, some in disrepair, some in ruins...

...and see and hear church bells...

... and lookout at the surrounding land and sea...

From this vantage point, one can see a variety of magnificent churches - one in every surrounding town...

There were many outdoor areas with magnificent views.

There were many indoor areas as well. Museums, restaurants, a torture chamber... and stairways and tunnels to get to them...

There were also shops selling glass, ceramics, and touristy magnets and keychains. I entered one little shop selling handmade lace products. The shop-keeper shared how the lace was made...

I kind of fell in love with the shop keeper. She was shy and self-defacing, and I wanted to do therapy with her. It felt like a serendipitous meeting.

Between the shop keeper and the intricate work that went into the lace creations, there was a great deal of tenderness in that shop.

I purchased a little lacey handkerchief for Kira. Maybe, I thought, I will give this to Kira for her wedding, should Michael and Kira have another wedding ceremony in the states.

When Liza and I felt ready to leave the Citadel, we walked back into the hubbub of Victoria and ordered breakfast while waiting for the next tour bus to Ramla Beach.

I had ordered Turkish Breakfast the day before. It only seemed right to now try an English Breakfast...

Because our food and the tour bus arrived at the same time, we packed up our meals and brought them to Ramla Beach.

I think I was laughing because the water was so cold... I do not remember what tickled me so

Leaving Ramla Beach...

Walking back to catch the next tour bus...

Driving back to the ferry...

...watching the cars drive on the left side of the road...

Back at the ferry (to Malta)...

Chapter Seven: Mdina and Rabat

The next day we traveled (by bus) to the last of our three day-trip excursions.

Mdina is the ancient capitol city, and adjoins Rabat (Arabic for "suburb"). They are located in the center of the island of Malta. I wanted to go to Mdina because I was told it is the highest point of Malta (and so, a good spot to view the island), and because it allows limited cars into the city ("partly why it has earned the nickname 'the Silent City'").

Liza was interested in talking pictures of the Mdina Gate to send to her daughter because, "in the first season of Game of Thrones, Mdina was the filming location for the series' fictional capital city of King's Landing." Liza said, "My daughter and her husband are really into Game of Thrones." Liza also wanted to see the famous Mdina glass.

Mdina Gate

Inside the Mdina Gate was a whole village, with streets, churches, museums, shops and restaurants.

Liza and I found a terrace cafe and each had hot chocolate with Baileys.

We entered a glass shop. Though the huge vases were amazing, I felt I had seen that style of glass making in Brattleboro, so did not take pictures. Sorry about that, my friend. I did take lots of pictures of their regular drinking glasses...

Mdina glass is famous and I guess Rabat Marble is too...

And then, as the sun set and the lights came on, everything became magical...

Chapter Eight: Doors, Buildings, Balconies, Streets and More

I have many pictures stored that Liza or I took over the course of our three days worth of adventures through Malta and Gozo. I do not know where many of them were taken. I can certainly guess. Some look like they are within walls, some out in the open, some close to home some far away. I have organized them into some loose semblance of groupings. I hope you enjoy the following picture show, depicting some of the charm and splendor that is Malta...

Liza and I also viewed a few displays of local renditions of manger scenes...

...and my favorite...

Chapter Nine: A Final Farewell to Malta

I left Malta on January 1, 2024.

I woke up early that morning to take in my last Malta sunrise from Giulia, Eugene, and Pina's 5th floor porch...

I went for a final walk along the boardwalk in St. Paul's Bay, along the Mediterranean Sea and saw fishermen...

And I brought Michelle and Jessica with me so I could set them free in this enchanting area of the world...

Bye, bye, Malta.

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