Monday, August 24, 2009

A walk round the city of Vittoriosa, (Birgu) (Part 1)

My walk round this ancient fortified city of Vittoriosa started off from this dark tunnel that can be found in an area called 'Il-Mandragg'. I've got this weird fascination with old tunnels and couldn't resist starting my walk from this very old one - a tunnel which must have borne witness to so many historical events that took place years ago. Looking behind me I could just about view three boats bobbing in the calm waters of Kalkara creek.

This tunnel led me on to the upper levels of the fortifications that surround this city. I turned right and found myself facing this old building. I was really amazed to find a display dating back from the years of the Second World War,still hanging over the door of this building.

From there, I wandered along this narrow winding path, past the honey coloured walls of the eerily ancient houses that overlook the harbour.

I spotted this door with the Maltese cross painted on it. My walk led through the winding streets: one beautiful street leading to another equally lovely one. The streets are so narrow that you can clearly hear the inhabitants talking inside and TV sets warbling in the background. I almost felt as if I was invading their privacy but then, these people have long got used to being overheard in the streets. Their lives are all one village gossip. You either like it or you don't.

Traipsing along the old streets I came across this secluded corner, sheltered by a vine tree. The boat carrier lying alongside the wall jarred harshly with the ancient clay jar and the stone well on the opposite side. The vine that had been lovingly sown in between them seemed to have the strange chore to set apart the old from the new.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Three Beautiful Maltese Houses

A Villa in Marsaxlokk

A converted farmhouse in Zabbar

An intricately designed townhouse in Paola

Monday, August 10, 2009

Cat Naps

Cats have a habit of finding strange places where they take their forty winks. I took these photos in the street where my parents' house is situated. This cat has a knack of sleeping in my mother's planter. The other cats have other favourite places - verandas, under the shade of cars, and even car bonnets. The second photo shows the two culprits napping on a neighbour's car. These two particular cats enjoy lapping the last rays of the sun on car roofs or bonnets! And they always take their time to slide down the cars. One of them is so gutsy that he doesn't jump off when I approach my car, not even when I open the car door. He stays there looking at me with that laid back attitude of his until I start the engine. Even a little animal can have a mind of its own!

Many stray cats roam in this street and everyone does his bit to take care of the cats. All these neutered cats are fed daily and taken care of by the people living in the street. However, when some heartless people decide to abandon their pets in the area the cat population starts accumulating again. A vet once said that a single cat and its offspring can cumulatively produce up to 70,000 kittens in 7years. Quite a large number of cats, isn't it?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Crazy Maltese House Names 1

We, Maltese have some fascinating customs and reasons behind the selection of our house names. One custom is that of naming one's house using the first part of the Christian names of the partners who own that house. Here are some examples:

'Marton'- Mary and Tony
'Josmar' - Joseph and Mary
'Carvin' -Carmen and Vince
'Charldor'- Charles and Doreen

Incidentally, DJ Bundy, a local DJ, once mentioned that there is a house in Zurrieq which was named "Condom" which we hopefully assume stands for the names of the proprietors rather than some kind of fetish for rubbery stuff. Some people can be so dumb at times.

Another custom is to find house names which are based on religious beliefs. Religious observance in Malta is strong and has been so for many centuries. Most of these house names usually bear the name of the proprietors' favourite patron saint or that of the patron saint of the village. For example if you go to Qormi you'll see lots of 'St Georges' and 'St Sebastians'. In Zabbar you will find many houses named 'Madonna tal-Grazzja'.

Then there are those houses which are named 'God Bless Australia', 'America' or 'Canada'. These reflect the migration of the Maltese to the above mentioned countries and the successful life they once bore.

And then, there are the plain weird ones of which I'm building a collection. Here are the first few.

Hmm the owner needs to brush up his French. I guess it should have been Mère de Grâce.

Did you know that St Joseph had a surname? It was Falzon!

A little demon in the house?? Short for Important?

Here's an example of the first custom I mentioned ...but pet's name has been also included.

Time Travellers robbed of their unknown future, maybe?

And last but not least, I couldn't help taking a photo of this hilarious plate. It does give you a sense of welcome, doesn't it?

Thank you

Thanks Doreen ( for thinking of me and rewarding me with this award. Today I'm passing it on to these fine people:

Here's my chosen list:

If you accept this award, please pass it on and then let your chosen blogging friends know they have been awarded this by sending them a comment on their blog or by emailing them.