This week’s theme is V, for Valletta.
And for Thursday, the Floriana waterfront.
The waterfront here was initially developed with stores or wharves on the left (the Pinto stores seen here), and the Forni stores to the right (out of shot here, but you can see them in a #travelpic from earlier this week)
In between them is the Church of the Flight into Egypt – dedicated to the flight of Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus into Egypt to escape the massacre of children ordered by King Herod.
They were constructed beginning in the 1750s in a Baroque style – but were extensively damaged by aerial bombing in World War Two.
They’ve since been restored – but many are just facades, with car-parks and the like behind them. (*)
That hasn’t stopped the waterfront from being given a Grade One status as National Monuments .. and they are quite exquisite
In our picture, you will note that each door and windowsill has a different colour – that represents the goods that were once stored here: blue for fish, and green for produce, yellow for grain and red for wine.
I say goods that were once stored .. because these days, the stores are instead shops, and cafes, and restaurants and bars.
Our shot is from on board the MSC Musica, which had sailed across the Atlantic carrying about 1700 passengers – including a group of perhaps 300 Australians and New Zealanders.
One of those Aussies was a former Maltese who had emigrated to Australia decades earlier. And the journey for him and his wife was a celebration, for his 65th birthday from memory.
He apparently couldn’t figure out why his wife seemed to be fiddling around so much on the day we sailed into Valletta.
He was eager to disembark and catch up with a handful of relatives he had contacted, but she just couldn’t seem to get organised.
When they DID get down the gangplank, the reason for her fiddle-faddling about became obvious .. that ‘handful of relatives’ had contacted all of their extended family still in Malta – and they had booked out the restaurants on the Pinto stores, lock stock and barrel for a celebration in his honour.
Heppi berdej, George – I hope it was a very special day for you, and there are many more to follow. Evviva!
(*) An earlier version of this blog post said the waterfront buildings had been “rebuilt”. In fact, they were damaged rather than destroyed, and hence were restored rather than rebuilt.