Wednesday, 21 March 2018

A Day Trip to The Silent City

At the end of last month the husband and I packed our bags and headed to Malta for 9 days. The break from our usual, repetitive 9-5 routines was more than welcome.

Despite having visited Malta many, many times in my life, it dawned on me recently that there are so many things the island has to offer that I haven’t seen and done. So, this visit, I was determined to do at least one thing I’ve never done before. 
A few years ago, my husband visited a place called Mdina, aka The Silent City/The Walled City, with his dad and step-mum when we were all out in Malta for my sister’s wedding. But the thought of spending all day traipsing round in the sun when I could be lying out in it, and some wedding organisational matters to attend to, meant that I didn’t go with them. Ever since his visit he has raved about the cakes at a particular eatery there. 
This time though, the pull of some great photo op’s, the promise of good cake, and wonderful views were enough to ensure that I put a visit to Mdina firmly on my agenda for this visit.  
Given how excited and determined I was to go to make that trip, I knew that it would take a lot for me to agree to a change of plan. With hindsight I can see just how close we were to scrapping the visit entirely, thanks to the heavens opening, the worse than unreliable bus service, and heading back home to escape the rain to nurse a cup of tea or four was becoming more and more appealing as the minutes passed by. Having asked one of the Maltese Transport workers if he knew what the delay was with the two buses that had failed to turn up, we were informed that they were “lost”. Excellent news! I couldn’t wait to get on the next bus and risk being on another “lost” bus…..if it ever came! Spoiler alert – I still have no idea what came of those two lost buses!
In the end we waited about an hour for the bus and luckily there was enough room for us to get on. What was billed as a 30-minute journey on the bus timetable ended up taking a little under 45 minutes. By this point I was done with the weather and I was done with the public transport service. And I was also done with getting my visit off on the wrong foot. So I turned my frown upside down, plastered a smile on my face and soaked up the journey and chalked it up to an authentic Maltese experience. 
When we finally arrived at our destination I knew from the second I got off that bus that I was going to love every second of my adventure through the Silent City. 
This walled city, which dates back more than 4,000 years was once the Maltese capital. According to Malta Guide (link here), “a visit to Mdina is like entering a time machine that will take you back centuries”. And if you programme your time-machine just-so you may even catch a glimpse of the apostle St Paul who, according to the history books, made Mdina his home after finding himself shipwrecked on the island. 
Before breaching the city’s gate, and from the bus stop we alighted at, we followed the path of the wall, taking in the extraordinary sight of new v old. The newly tended gardens and the uniformity of the freshly laid paving slabs v the ancient but stunningly beautiful city wall itself.  It stands tall and proud; protector of the historic world that lies beyond.
As you pass through the huge gate, and even on the approach to it, it’d be rude not to take the odd selfie or two along the way.
Immediately upon entering you are greeted by sand-coloured stone buildings, houses, a museum, the local police station, at least one huge church and more darling little shops that you can shake a stick at (one of which sold the most gorgeous bags which I may or may not still be thinking about!!). Little alleyways branch off in every direction, giving the illusion that you could be lost for a hundred years. 
I tried to snap a picture of every alleyway that we passed/walked down; I am under no illusions that I saw them all, and I don’t think I snapped any twice…..

Letting my imagination run riot for a second I can picture star-crossed lovers walking hand-in-hand down these very alleys, hundreds of years ago, with nothing but the moonbeams and stars to guide their way, glancing back every few steps to make sure they aren’t being followed. Listening out for the echo of footsteps that betray their enemy……  OK, OK enough of the romance already, I hear you!!! 
The cake that the husband has been going on about mentioned only once was next on the “hit-list”. Before you ask, no I didn’t take any pictures; I was too busy eating the thing to worry about taking pictures… bad, I’m sorry! But the cake I had was good. A white chocolate cheesecake which was light enough to not make me feel one tiny bit guilty. I’m ashamed to admit that I couldn’t finish it off….guys it was HUGE!!! Plus I’d eaten lunch and the cake was second course, so cut me some slack ;- ) But don’t worry it didn’t go to waste; the husband and my dad polished off the rest between them. 
If you’re interested the place we ate at was called Fontanella. Their website (link here) claims to have “breath-taking views” and they aren’t wrong. Guys, the view from this eatery is spectacular. Take a look for yourself. 
As some of you may already know I am geographically challenged so I have absolutely no idea what towns/areas can be seen from this vantage point, but when nature presents you with a view like that, who really cares?

And just for the sake of looking at some more pretty pictures, here's a bit more of what the Silent City has to offer....


If you’re ever in the vicinity I would highly recommend a visit to this gorgeous place. You won’t be disappointed.


1 comment:

  1. This brought back some memories of our visit in 2016. I remember it was much colder in Mdina than it was in St Julian, probably because of the altitude.