Saturday, 20 May 2017

Malta - Mdina, The Silent City

It can be hard, on a family holiday, to strike the right balance between 'doing stuff' and 'doing nothing', both of which are great and valid ways to spend precious holiday time. When we booked to go to Malta, I had loads of ideas of places I wanted to visit, towns I wanted to explore, islands to discover - - the kids just wanted to hang out in the pool all week!


On the way to our hotel from the airport, however, we drove past an impressive looking fortress standing proud high upon the hills above us. "That.." we were informed by our stressed-looking Thomas Cook lady "is Mdina, The Silent City."

There's nothing like a cool sounding name to get the youngsters interested so (after a couple of days in the pool of course) they were excited to explore this mysterious sounding place.


We were reliably informed that getting round Malta on public transport was a piece of cake, and helpfully there was a bus stop right outside out hotel. It'll cost you 1.50E for two hours on the bus, but Malta is tidgy so that'll get you pretty much anywhere in the country - even with the 'relaxed' bus scheduling you may come across!


I'll admit that I was a little nervous about the journey as I'm not really a bus aficionado - I don't even like to take them in my home city (I'm not a public transport snob, I love a good train, I just don't trust my ability to get where I'm supposed to properly on a bus!), but despite my worries we soon arrived just outside the ancient city walls.



The kids took the description of Mdina as the 'silent city' quite literally, and I think were a little surprised that there is in fact some noise sometimes. The little gaggles of loud tourists were definitely not silent, but they were easy enough to avoid and there plenty of quiet, peaceful little streets to discover too.



(Though the sounds of the plentiful tweeting birds that just appear from holes in the walls everywhere are often heard, but no one was complaining about that!)



We'd been told that the Fontanella Tea Garden was a particularly top spot for an afternoon cake stop, so I couldn't help but make my excuses to pop in when we stumbled across it. It was pretty busy but we managed to find a table right at the top of the café that had the most magnificent views across the island.



As good as the views were, the cakes were equally as impressive!


Between us we had a slice of the chocolate orange cake, banoffee cake, and strawberry meringue, lemon sorbet, fruit smoothie and strawberry milkshake and a thick gooey coconut hot chocolate. It all came to a little over 20E - great value for the size and quality of the cakes and the special location! (The hot food delivered to the tables around us looked and smelled amazing too, but I'm aaaaallllll about the cake!)







We were enticed inside an attraction called 'The Knights of Malta' by a convincing lady in a costume. Now, costume-led tourist attractions aren't always rubbish, but....


I'm sure it was fine, really - it's a video about the history of Mdina, followed by a walk through various historical scenes with an audio commentary. However I missed half the sound on the video (technical issues caused by children), and my little lady freaked out a wee at some of the violent scenes and wanted to leave, so I really didn't have the chance to learn too much about the Knights of Malta! Ooops!

Though the nice costumed lady did lend me a stool so I could sit outside in the sun while we waited for the boys to finish up!



On balance though, I think our time would have been generally better spent just pottering round the pretty streets of Mdina!






I for one was really glad we managed to make it away from the hotel for a little while and have the chance to explore such a lovely and unique place - and the kids didn't even miss the pool that much!
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4 comments

  1. Wow, this place looks beautiful! I've always quite fancied Malta as a holiday destination, I'll have to add to my list of places to go when we can afford a decent holiday!

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  2. I would love to go to Malta and it looks like you struck a fine balance between exploring and enjoying the sights here too! I love those shots in the 'Silent City' they remind me of something out of Indiana Jones! The Tea Gardens sounded lovely too, and all of the sunshine in these shots just looks gorgeous. Glad you had a lovely time. - Tasha

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  3. It looks like you had a wonderful day with the kids. It's a shame about the museum, but walking around such beautiful streets was a treat. x

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  4. What a wonderful place to visit. I'm glad you managed to get the kids to come take a wander about and see the sights with you :)

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