Tuesday, May 22, 2018


Mdina, pronounced Emdina, is an ancient city and former capital in the heart of Malta. It is an integral part of the history of Malta from biblical times, during the Crusades and the Middle Ages, and up to the Second World war. It is full of historicalness and shit. We decided it was worth a visit.

Our best-laid plan had been to follow the red hop-on hop-off bus which covers most of the tourist attractions in Malta. A couple of days ago, whilst sitting in the reception in the hotel sorting through our leaflets and attempting some kind of itinerary, we’d overheard a group of tourists complaining that they’d not been able to hear the commentary on the bus, nor see the sites properly (I don’t think they actually hopped off the bus, just expected to be able to see everything from its top deck). At this point we formulated our idea to simply follow its route.

I say simply, and described the plan as best-laid, so you’ve probably guessed that it gang aglay. And aglay it did gang. The road signs in Malta simply aren’t set up to help tourists follow the red route, as they should be, but instead indicate towns and villages that we have no interest in visiting whatsoever. I find this very disconcerting, and will be writing to my local councillor about it.

 As it is, we found ourselves on the road to Mdina, so made an executive decision that that was where we were heading anyway. Mdina is blessed with a carpark in the centre of town, and we took what appeared to be the penultimate spot in it. While we were congratulating ourselves it started raining, so we headed to the St Paul’s Catacombs and Wignacourt museum. Whilst the thunderstorm raged over us, we learnt about the history of St Paul, and also visited the tunnels which had been cut into the rock underground, where people sheltered from German bombs. Upstairs in the museum there was a bunch of stuff about churches which was a bit tedious, to be frank, along with a load of indifferent paintings of holy people. We kinda whizzed through that section, although they did have some interesting maps which we paused over.

They knew the world was round even in them days
After we’d stopped for a coffee, we emerged blinking into the sunlight. The storm had passed, and we were able to go about our business, which was mainly to visit the walled town of Mdina, just across the way. We found our way inside and wandered around for a bit, looking at the historicalness and the picturesqueness, before grabbing a quick lunch at Bacchus. In the afternoon we did the double bill of Knights of Malta (interesting, 3D film followed by waxworks tour with audio guide), and the Mdina Experience (boring film).

Nicola looking picturesque
After this, we decided that it was getting on a bit, and headed back to Gzira.

In the evening we went out to another Sicilian restaurant (they’re pretty common round here) where they gave us far more food than we could eat.

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