One of the first things you'll notice in Malta, especially in Valletta and its environs, are the protruding wooden balconies that the locals paint in a violence of colour. On streets where the houses disappear down racing inclines the closed balconies stagger haphazardly behind, barely able to keep up.
The photo is of a particular favourite of balcony snappers, and can be found towards the end of Republic street as it tips down towards the coastal road.
Time to walk to the Bus Station and show my husband the colourful Buses I had seen photo's of! Arriving there, we saw a good selection of old to new Buses. As early as 1905, buses were being imported to Malta, then from 1920, bus manufacturing was taking place on the island.
I am so glad we saw these Buses, as they are being sent to the scrap heap as it seems, only the tourist's love them. What is unique with the Buses, is they are "owner/driver," and the owners take great pride in keeping them nice. NO plastic bumper bars here, but brightly polished chrome bars.....They look great!
The old double decker red Bus in my photo, does tours around the Island.
There are several banks in Malta and several ATM's on the main shopping road and in the new Valletta Waterfront complex at the cruise ship terminal.
The Bank of Valletta has ATM'S at the Embassy Complex, Republic Street and the Waterfront.
The money in Valletta is the EURO.
Credit cards are accepted.
(as posted to a forum question...)
While you could probably spend more time there, I'd say your 14yr son would max out after about 90 minutes in the Co-Cathedral. But it is a must see. If I were you, I'd walk by and see about the lines first. If they are short, go in. If they are long, just continue walking to see something else and come back after the cruise ship groups have left the queue.
The noon day gun itself only takes about ~10 minutes for the set up, some brief words by the guards, then the firing itself. Best to find your spot by about ~11:45, then you're free to leave ~12:05.
There's several other things to do and see in Valetta, but I'd say with the exception of the Malta Experience show, you'd average about an hour per site. You'd have time for St Pauls Shipwreck Church, the Fort, etc. In my humble opinion, I'd just recommend walking the old town with no set objective for a couple hours and simply stop when you see something.
While visiting the Upper Barrakka Gardens of Valletta, I happened upon this statue which reminded me greatly of a similar statue of Winston Churchill in London. The statue in Valletta is dedicated to Sir Paul Boffa who I learned was indeed once a Prime Minister as was Churchill himself.
Sir Paul Boffa, born in Vittoriosa in June, 1890, was quite a man and an important part of Malta's history in the early to mid-20th century. He graduated from the University of Malta with a medical degree in 1912. He later served during WWI in the Royal Medical Corp, after which he opened a medical practice. He entered the political arena when Malta was granted self-government by Britain in 1921.
Mr. Boffa became an important figure in Maltese history because as the elected leader of the Labour Party in 1927 he brought recognition to the need for workers to have equal representation in government. His political activities temporarily became secondary to medicine again during his service in WWII and he was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1941. Following the war, he was elected the first Labour Party Prime Minister in 1947, and was subsequently awarded many honors.
Prime Minister Boffa will be remembered not only as a physician and Prime Minister, but for founding and leading the "Maltese Workers' Party," his work in gaining recognition of the Maltese language in Courts of Law, and for compulsory primary education and establishment of old-age pensions for Maltese citizenry.
Sir Paul Boffa died in July, 1962, and is buried in Tarxien. Fittingly, a hospital in Floriana has been named after him.
Valletta owes its name to its founder, the grand Master of the Knights of St John Jean Parisot de la Vallette. It was built in 1566 and it’s located on a peninsula flanked by two natural harbours: the Marsamxett Harbour and the Great Harbour. It’s the only capital city entirely walled and it’s also a UNESCO world heritage site.
Fondest memory: I liked many things.. the stunning architwcture, the fact that it's so compact and mostly laid out in a grid so it's impossible to get lsot - but in particular, because i was travelling with a very young baby, I liked that fact that the two main streets (Parliament Street and Merchant Street) are traffic-free, so that we could walk about without car pollution.
On the 5th of September 1800, the French signed over the islands of Malta to the British. the armistice was signed near to the Portes De Bombes in Floriana by General Claude Henri Vaubois and Rear Admiral Pierre Villeneuve for the French and Major General Henry Pigot and Captain George Martin for the British.
The Maltese took a special liking to Captain Alexander Ball after he was sent by Nelson to block the French troops in Valletta. He was chosen by the Maltese as their chief and representative.
This was the start of a relationship between Britain and Malta that lasts up until today. Malta is still part of the commonwealth.
Favorite thing: This link could be very helpful to prepare the trip regarding the local time, weather forecast, coordinates of the destination, twilight...
* Tourist Office
1 City Arcades
- Tel.: (+356) 2123 7747
- Fax: (+356) 2125 5844
- www.es.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Valeta (in Spanish)
E. Mail: email@example.com
There are two banks in Malta - HSBC and Bank of Valletta.
Both have very short working hours - from 08.30 - 14.30, except on Saturdays when they work from 09.00 - 12.30hr and Sundays, when they are closed.
Exchange rate for euro varies from 2.33 euros for 1 Maltese pound (Maltese lira) to 2.4 euros for 1 LM.
Regular currency in Malta is Maltese lira (pound) but many places except euro too.
I'd recommend to go to the tourist office in Valletta to ask for some leaflets about things to do and see in Valletta and around Malta.
The office is open from monday to saturday; from 9.00 to 5. 30. Sundays up to 12. 30. It is located in Freedom Square.
On the 1st of May, 2004 Malta joined the EU. This was memorable day for the Maltese as we all celebrated. Loads of people rushed to Valletta to watch the celebrations and also many foreigners came to Malta for a holiday and at the same time to see the celebrations. People rushed to Valletta to see the awaited grand celebrations. Foriegners even came from abroad to watch the celebrations and also at the same time for a holiday however they combined the two. The main celebrations occured mostly in Valletta and on that day loads of people all gathered beneath the walls overlooking the sea to watch a spetacular light show and fireworks. The lights where overprojected on the bastions thus creating this amazing affect. There were also various shows and dances.
Fondest memory: My best momory of this occasion is share such an important once in a lifetime experience together with my friends. When I will grow older I can tell my kids that their mum was 29 years old when Malta joined the EU and that this was a very special occasion for the Maltese and young people because it means a step to a better future ! (even though not much change occured unfortunitly - however we always hope !)
However I have a bad memory too of this occasion because I fell and hurt my leg badly due to the crowds of people that there were ! :-( so I will never forget this day !
The Tourist Information Office in Valletta is on your right as soon as you enter the main gate. You can get some really good leaflets of walking tours around Malta from there. These leaflets all have a map with the places of interest indicated, really good.
The Office is open everyday from 09.00 to 17.30 and also on Sundays from 09.00 to 12.30. Closed on Public Holidays. Tel : 21237747, 21255844
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