No visit to Malta can be complete without exploring Valletta. Europe’s smallest capital city is a World Heritage site and a true open-air museum. There’s plenty of history going around yet it remains a trendy and dynamic city. The city is so small – only 600 to 1000 meters – so you can easily visit everything by foot. Here are 5 top things not to be missed.
Malta’s Grand Harbour is often described as the most beautiful in the Mediterranean and it’s hard not to see why: the water separates Valletta from the three cities Senglea, Vittoriosa and Kalkara, making the view absolutely stunning.
For the best view over the harbour, head to the Upper Barrakka gardens. These gardens are situated on the highest point of Valletta and are built on top of a bastion. They used to be the private garden of the Knights of Malta.
On the terrace below you will find the Saluting Battery. Every day at noon a salute is fired.
This splendid Baroque church was built between 1573 an 1577 and is an architectural jewel. The Knights of St. John would gather here for communal worship and donated a fortune worth of artwork to the church, making it a place a full of remarkable things to admire: the paintings, the sculptures, the marble flour (a patchwork of tombstones)… Don’t miss the true treasure of the church: Caravaggio’s painting: the Beheading of St. John the Baptist.
The Grand Master’s Palace was once the residence of the Grand Masters of the Knights of St John and is now the official residence of the Maltese president. There are two entrances and the one for the public is the right-hand arch is the public entrance. You can visit the State Apartments and the Armoury, packed with medieval amours (more than 6000!) and weapons belonging to the Knights. With a bit of imagination, it looks like the knights are still alive.
Although Valletta is small you go wild with some serious shopping. There’s a large variety of shops (both international brands and little boutiques) spread out on Republic Street and Merchants Street. If you’re looking for local products and authentic handmade craft, explore the smaller back streets of Valletta. For duty-free shopping head to the Forni Shopping Complex at the Valletta Waterfront, a resorted site located on the Grand Harbour. Once a series of 19 Baroque warehouses, today a leisure complex with shops, wine bars and restaurants both for locals and tourists.
Personally I find the Maltese cuisine one of the most tasteful in the world, with strong Mediterranean, English and Arabian influences. The national dish is fenkatu (stewed rabbit) and of course there’s always a lot of fish on the menu. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from, from cosy budget bistro’s to high end gourmet restaurants. And if it’s wine you’re into, be prepared for a treat since wine bars are very popular on Malta.
And here’s an extra tip:
If you have fallen madly in love with Valletta and Malta (and I’m sure you will) than you definitely should go back in 2018, when the city is the European Capital of Culture. Check out all the details on www.valletta2018.org and start planning now.A day in Malta’s city of Knights: 5 top things to do in Valletta No visit to Malta can be complete without exploring Valletta. Europe’s smallest capital city is a World Heritage site and a true open-air museum.
"taking care of you" #Berlin
This theme park takes you back to the communist past, with a collection of statues and monuments that were removed from the streets of Budapest after the fall of the system. There are statues of Hungarian Communist leaders, Lenin, Marx and Engels and other ‘heroes’ of the Cold War.
Visiting Memento Park in Budapest: ghosts of a communist past – a photo gallery Memento Park is an open air museum located 10 kilometers outside Budapest’s city centre.
As most you know by now I’m pretty much head over heels with Tahiti and her islands (read about my visit the Blue Lagoon, the Kia Ora Resort and the Beginners guide to Tahiti). If you need more reasons to drop everything and go to Tahiti, here are 23 awesome facts you probably didn’t know about Tahiti and her islands.
#01. The over-water bungalow was invented in the 1960s in French Polynesia, on the island of Moorea.
#02. Tahiti and her islands span 4.000.000 square km, covering an area as large as Europe. This map, published in the Air Tahiti flight magazine, shows how extensive the area really is.
#03. The land above sea level covers 4.000 square km, consisting off 118 islands, grouped into 5 archipelagos: the Society Islands and the Tuamotu, the Austral Islands, the Marquesas and the Gambiers.
#04.Tahiti receives less tourists in an entire year than Hawaii gets in one day, making it one of the most exclusive destinations in the world.
#05. The best place for making exquisite airplane window shots of the islands when flying wit domestic airliner Air Tahiti? Make sure you have a seat on the left side of the plane when flying from Papeete to the outer islands and on the right side when returning.
#06. The English word ‘tattoo’ comes from the Tahitian word ‘tatau’.
#07. The Tahitian alphabet contains only 13 letters: the vowels a, e, i, o, u and the consonants f, h, m, n, p, r, t and v.
#08. Noticed that there is no b in the Tahitian alphabet? That’s why Bora Bora is actually Pora Pora, meaning first born, but early visitors heard it as Bora Bora.
#09. Bora Bora is known as The Romantic Island, Moorea as The Magical Island and Tahiti as Queen of the Pacific.
#10. The island Raiatea used to be named Hawaiki. Locals believe that the mythical island rose from the bottom of the ocean and that this was the beginning of life on Earth.
#11. The French post-impressionist painter Paul Gauguin (1848 – 1903) and Belgian singer Jacques Brel (1929 – 1978) are buried at the cemetery in Atuona (on the island Hiva ‘Oa, one of the Marquesas island).
#14. The atoll Tetiaroa is know as Marlon Brando’s private island. The actor first came to the islands while filming Mutiny on the Bounty in 1962. He married the Tahitian actress Tarita, bought Tetiartoa in 1967 and lived there with his wife and Tahitian children of several years.
#15. Today the atoll is home to The Brando, a luxurious resort which plan to open July this year. The Brando aimes to be the most luxurious eco-friendly resort on the planet.
#16. Tahitians are considered to be among of the most genuinely friendly people in the world.
#17. On Tahiti you will meet men, women and the third sex (mahu or rae rae, men who behave and/or dress like women). They were always regarded as people who combined the best of both the male and female gender. Homophobia is uncommon in French Polynesia.
#18. There’s a large Chinese community living in Tahiti. Most of them own shops and supermarkets. When Tahitian say they are going to ‘la Chine’, they mean they are going shopping.
#19. The tiny Motu Tapu is not only described as the best place in the world to relax, it is also the most photographed isle in the South Pacific. It’s located just a few hundred yards from Bora Bora and is part of the Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort & Spa.
#20. The Tiare flower is a true symbol of Tahiti. Both men and women wear these flower, either as a necklace, crown or behind the ear.
#22. The Tiare flower has as a sweet and attractive scent and is used in famous perfumes like Alien eau Luminescente by Thierry Mugler, Anais Anais Cacharel, Island Fifi by Michael Kors and many more.
#23. The Tiare Apetahi flower is the most mysterious flower in the world. It only grows on Mount Temehani on the island Raiatea. All attempts from botanists to replant the flower somewhere else have failed.
Do you know other great facts about Tahiti and her island that are not included in this list? Let me know!23 awesome facts you (probably) didn’t know about Tahiti and her islands As most you know by now I’m pretty much head over heels with Tahiti and her islands (read about my visit the Blue Lagoon, the Kia Ora Resort and the Beginners guide to Tahiti).
Bentley wings… #Berlin #Bentley
Girl in Beijing… #Beijing #China #Travel #Streetphotography