Mdina and Rabat

Big tick today. Mdina and Rabat were rather splendid. Made quite a difference about how I feel about Malta.

Mdina has been a hill top fortified town since the Phoenician times. It’s known as the Silent City as there are so few cars and even with the tourists it was possible to explore the side streets without seeing many people.

The buildings, alleyways and streets were a joy to behold, twisting this way and that giving a teasing glimpse of vistas beyond. Beautiful stone too.

These horse drawn trips proved popular but I’m never sure how well the animals are treated. They certainly look the part although it might have been more authentic if the drivers were clad in something more appropriate than baseball caps, trainers and jeans!

We enjoyed a brilliant lunch of a shared Maltese platter in the Mesquita Courtyard consisting of, amongst the cheese and sausage a broad bean paste (bigilla) and tuna aioli.

Between Mdina and Rabat we stopped for an ice cream - a misunderstanding meant that I purchased twice as much as I was supposed to. It wasn’t a problem dealing with the excess.

Rabat was rather more down to earth. Still beautiful and with the same intriguing narrow streets and wonderful buildings. St Paul’s cathedral is where St Paul was said to have preached after being rescued from a shipwreck off the coast of Malta. The extra is just one such street in Rabat.

We ended the day with refreshments in a very pleasant cafe on St Paul’s Street followed by an entertaining trip back through the backstreets under expert guidance from the satnav.

We have booked a walking tour in Valletta tomorrow. That’ll mean an earlier start than we’ve been used to to catch the bus for the guided tour at 10.00am. Very much looking forward to seeing this, by all accounts, very special city.

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