Holiday in Malta…from the harbours’ point of view…

Oh dear, I had been bitten by a bug… that’s why I have not been sharing anything for the past several days. What kind of bug? Well… it’s the one that most people will usually get… regardless of the time of the year. It’s the … LAZY bug! hehehee…  I have been feeling very very lazy with respect to writing further entries and uploading our Malta holiday photos recently… and the wrist still hurts….in fact, feel like its hurting even more now. So.. the silence. But since I will be going back home for a visit at the end of the week, I thought I better try and finish sharing on our Malta holidays …. or this Malta holiday series will not have an ending it deserves!

Going on a harbour cruise was not in our Malta holiday itinerary. But… since it was thrown in as a bonus when we signed up for the trip to Gozo  with one of the local travel agent…for an extra €2 per person (which included the bus ride from our hotel to the jetty in Sliema)….we thought, well why not?

And so we did a harbour cruise on the second last day of our stay in Malta.  Just us…without the daddy-man who chose to stay at the hotel to do some soaking up of the sun near the pool as it was the sunniest day we had during our 1 week holiday in Malta. The cruise only lasted 90 mins. The rest of the time after the cruise…we decided to visit two of the prehistoric temples that are found on the mainland.

Even if the cruise itself had not turned out nice (but it did)…I think the view that we got to see by taking the open-top hop on, hop off bus from the hotel to the jetty made up for the €2 that we had paid. Since it was a sightseeing bus…it took us along a route with some scenic views which we might not have seen if we had taken the public bus to go to the jetty.

These are some of the views as we made our way from the hotel to the jetty in Sliema…

Our Maltese holiday.

The greenery…

Our Maltese holiday.

And the blue sea…  as the bus travelled along the coast.

Our Maltese holiday.

One of the many old watch towers found along the coast on Malta.

Our Maltese holiday.

Leaving the deserted coast and blue sea behind…and…

Our Maltese holiday.

entering into the town area, once again. This is in St Julian’s.

Our Maltese holiday.

Again…another one of those old watch towers…this time at St Julian’s.

Our Maltese holiday.

The bus made a stop in this area…to allow passengers on board to hop off and new ones to hop on.

Our Maltese holiday.

And then downhill through narrow street… towards the jetty in Sliema. It was fun going down the narrow street in a big bus! 🙂

The cruise started from Sliema in Marsamxetto Harbour…went through the Grand Harbour… and then back to Sliema. Basically, it covered 2 harbours and 10 creeks within that 90 mins. While the scenery along the 2 harbours were impressive, the guide on board made it even more interesting with his witty and funny commentaries. 🙂

And the followings are the views  from the boat during the Harbour cruise.  We realized only after coming back home… that we had forgotten to take a snapshot of the boat itself!  Oh well… it’s the view that is more important, is it not?

Our Maltese holiday.

Small boats in Marsamxetto Harbour.

Our Maltese holiday.

Built in the 1720s, Fort Manoel was severely damaged during WWII and subsequently fell into disrepair. It recently underwent extensive repair as part of a multi-million euro restoration project.

Our Maltese holiday.

An old building … no longer in use. Lazzaretto was initially a quarantine hospital for visitors from incoming ships. It then served as a hospital for people afflicted by contagious diseases.

Our Maltese holiday.

The capital city of Malta, the fortified city of Valletta… as seen from Marsamxetto harbour.

Our Maltese holiday.

View of Valletta from another angle.

Our Maltese holiday.

The Siege Bell War Memorial  in Valletta, which was to commemorates the victory of the Allied forces against the German and Italian forces during the Second Siege of Malta from 1940-1943

Our Maltese holiday.

Another view of Valletta.

Our Maltese holiday.

Along the Valletta waterfront, Grand Harbour.

Our Maltese holiday.

Here… you can see some of tents that were set up on the Grand Harbour waterfront as part of the facilities made available to the evacuees (from Libya) transiting through Malta.  According to the Times of Malta (3rd March), ‘over 9,300 [people had been] evacuated by sea’  by that date.

Our Maltese holiday.

The interesting looking small hexagonal structure at the tip of Senglea Point is a watch-tower known as Il-Gardjola

Our Maltese holiday.

whose sculpted eye, ear and crane bird  (seen on this picture) are tokens of the constant surveillance of the sea. Basically it serves as a warning symbol that from this point, the enemy can be seen and heard!

Our Maltese holiday.

One of those narrow staircases that leads from the city down to the harbour like those found in the city of Valleta. This one is at Senglea, one of the so-called ‘Three Cities’ in the Grand Harbour area. The other two cities are Cospicua and Vittoriosa

Our Maltese holiday.

An old mobile steam boiler along the waterfront.

Our Maltese holiday.

Cottonera Marina at Vittoriosa with Maritime Museum on far left.

Our Maltese holiday.

Fort St Angelo, Vittoriosa … with a somewhat similiar watch tower at the the tip (on the right).

Our Maltese holiday.

Another view of Fort St Angelo. There is a moat located just behind the arched structure.

Our Maltese holiday.

And this was the old Royal Naval Hospital (Bighi Hospital) near Kalkara. See the tower on the right of the building near the water’s edge? That was used to get patients from boats/ships up to the hospital complex.

Our Maltese holiday.

And this is Fort Ricasoli, situated at the south entrance of  the Grand Harbour… or… for those fans of epic films Gladiator and Troy….was the backdrop for some of the action scenes in these two popular films.  I didn’t know this when I took snapshots of it (as I liked the look of the place)… not until the hubby told me.  It seemed that Malta is quite the favourite place used as backdrops for several films. In fact in this article here, it was said that in 6 years, 3 different actors had played Odysseus in Malta! Well…if it has Calypso Cave…why not Odysseus, too? 🙂

Our Maltese holiday.

A complex of luxury apartments being built at the entrance of the harbour of Marsamxetto. We were struck by the number of cranes we saw over the Maltese skyline. It definitely looked like the island was undergoing some kind of property boom.

While the old buildings and forts along the harbours were lovely to see… it was equally interesting to see the thrive of activities in the 2 harbours…

Our Maltese holiday.

such as ship repair…

Our Maltese holiday

and all other marine related activities.

And the boats…..it is always nice to see big boats. Here are some of the bigger boats or ships that were docked at the 2 harbours…

Big tankers.

A catamaran (Virtu Ferries that usually goes to Sicily, but was being used for chartered evacuation trips from Tripoli and elsewhere) on the left…. and a luxury liner on the right. If you look closely there is even a helicopter at the back on the luxury liner!

Our Maltese holiday. Our Maltese holiday.

Two’s a company…but three’s better! Working ships….but for different purposes. The ones on the right are the coastal guard boats.

And this….??

is HMS York, a British Royal Navy ship which had just came in that day into the Grand Harbour, Malta….  ferrying passengers fleeing Libya! Oh yes….we just had to choose a time to visit Malta when there was trouble not too far away!

We  saw one of the two RAF Hercules transport planes used to fly out oil workers stranded in the Libyan desert when we first stepped foot onto the tarmac of Malta’s airport…and then this, when we did the harbour cruise several days later. A strange twist to our Malta holiday…I’ll say! Its like being a live witness to an event which could be a history in the making!

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