banner - Around the World

Phespirit goes to Malta
Valletta     November/December 1998

Staying in Valletta not only gave Phespirit an opportunity to get acquainted with the Maltese capital, but also a well-connected base from which to see as much of Malta and Gozo as possible. Valletta itself is, quite rightly, a world heritage city - small, beautiful and heaving with history, ranging from the prehistoric to the relics of the crusades, the Napoleonic wars, the great seige of the second world war, and through into its present day role as a prominent Mediterranean capital.

Of the many sights, those which particularly pleased Phespirit were Valletta's Co-Cathedral of St. John with its two magnificent Caravaggio paintings, the citadel of Mdina at the heart of the island, the vast Mosta Rotunda and the prehistoric temples of Hagar Qim, Mnajdra and - especially - Ggantija on Gozo.

Beyond these peculiarly Maltese facets it is, sad to say, the cosily familiar Englishness of the islands which Phespirit most appreciated: driving on the left, white car headlights, Walker's crisps, Cadbury's chocolate, British high street stores and, of course, the prevalent English language.

Not everybody takes to Malta, possibly because it is not awash with the standard Mediterranean holiday essentials of beaches, booze and discos. But Phespirit loved it.

images 1