Tuesday, September 8, 2009
A walk round the city of Vittoriosa, (Birgu), (Part 2)
The different food aromas wafting up from the windows signalled the approach of noon. Walking in the shady streets I got so engrossed in distinguishing the different smells that were teasing my olfactory senses that I nearly missed this quaint old Norman style house in North Street.
I went back a few steps and looked at the open door - was this a museum? or was it just open because it happened to be so I asked myself. I read the Information display outside: This house with Siculo-Norman features was built in the 13th century. My! That was a long time ago!
I ventured inside, making shuffling noises just in case there was anyone inside. Silence...I became more adventurous and nimbly climbed up the tiny stairs that led to this one tiny room upstairs. There was a chest of drawers, a plate for donations and an album displaying the 'before' and 'after' photos of the house I was in. Yes, it was a kind of free museum - its owner had restored it to its original design and left it open for the curious tourists. How nice of him! I didn't take photos inside as it was too dark. I was glad for two things: that I had gone inside a very old house and seen with my very eyes the interior of an old house in Birgu and that I discovered another Norman house in Malta. I had previously thought that there was only one house with a Norman style in Malta and that was in Mdina.
I carried on with my journey of discovery round Birgu and spotted this small niche of a small Madonna lovingly decorated with sea shells. I spied another niche with a carved Madonna in another street corner. It is evident that the Madonna holds a special place in the hearts and minds of the Maltese people.
Wandering in the silent and shaded streets I found this Butcher's shop - couldn't help taking a photo of it. And I also loved the facade of this new restaurant.
Finally, in Pacifiku Scicluna Street, I came across this small building wrapped up in old electricity supply wires which used to house the executioner and his family during the times of the Order of St John and the Inquisition. His symbol can still be seen engraved on top of the windows.
There was so much to discover in Birgu. Each street had its own characteristics that distinguished it from the others leading to it. The inhabitants of Birgu have worked together to beautify their city - they have put plants everywhere, they have restored their houses with pride and they make sure to keep the streets clean. My journey came to an end with a mobile call which reminded me that my time was up - I had to go back home.