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Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Friday 11th May

This morning after breakfast and climbing the 88 steps to the road, we waked along to the ferry to take us over to Sliema.  We thought that by the time the holiday ended that we'd be used to the stairs and that we'd be fitter in the process - I'll tell you now, that we were wrong!!

After our short ferry trip we went to the sales booth where we bought our tickets and waited for the 11 a.m. vintage tour bus, which was to take in the Three Cities.  The bus was already there, and it was very quickly filled with other tourists and we drove off on time.

 Note that this was fully air-conditioned - the windows were open!!  Being vintage, the ride was a little bumpy, but great fun and were toured round the Three Cities.  We stopped off at one point where there was a good view to take photos:

From the viewpoint

There were some fascinating little streets running from the square we stopped in:

Long narrow streets

Football decorations everywhere

Lots of wonderful balconies
The tour was great and we thoroughly enjoyed it.  When we ended up back in Sliema, we decided just to go ahead and do the Three Harbours tour as well seeing as the weather was lovely and the water was calm.  We needed to grab a quick bite of lunch so we popped into one of the nearest places - Burger King!!  Well, any port in a storm as they say, and it actually wasn't too bad!!

From the harbour tour, we spotted a viewpoint in Valletta that we hadn't discovered so made up our minds to find it once the tour had finished. 

After disembarking the boat when the tour ended, we caught the ferry back over to Valletta and headed to where we reckoned the viewpoint was that we had seen from both the vintage car tour and the harbour tour.  It turned out that this was the Upper Barrakka Gardens and The Saluting Battery (unfortunately the Saluting Battery was closed for refurbishment). The gardens and the views from this area were simply stunning!  There is also a cafe here which sells pastries, sandwiches, soft drinks and beer, so we made this a frequent refreshment stop during the rest of our time in Valletta!!

There are also lots of cats here - as I am a lover of cats, this was fantastic as far as I was concerned!! They seemed to be well cared for and I was gobsmacked to see a chap (one of the workers here presumably) jingling his keys, and all the cats were running after him.  It was like something from the Pied Piper!!  It was obviously feeding time!!  I think I spent more time taking photos of the cats rather than the stunning views!!  I'm intending to post a separate item regarding cats, so won't post photos of them here at the moment.  There are also lots of pigeons here, and it was so strange to see them living alongside the cats, which probably shows that the cats are well looked after.  The cats also hang about the cafe, but don't beg for food.  They will however, accept any scraps or tit bits that you care to give them.  They will also occasionally chase the pigeons, but it looks like they treat it as more of a game rather than a serious attempt to catch one.  Here are some photos taken in this area:

These canons look like they're lined up to bombard this cruise liner!

Wonderful views

Majestic archways
On leaving the gardens, we quickly realised that something was happening in the streets.  We'd seen flags and other decorations appearing all that week to do with Valletta FC and we were told that they had won the league cup (or some sort of cup!!).  There were to be some celebrations and stages and food stand were being set up.  Valletta is normally very quite at night - it's busy during the day especially when there are cruise ships berthed, but evenings appear to be very quiet indeed and we struggled at times to find restaurants that were open at night.  We never ever starved though, and we were never served a bad meal anywhere.  To get back to football - the celebrations went on over the weekend and I intend to post a separate item on that too, along with some photos. 

After dinner and a walk back to the hotel it was cocktail time then a last drink on the balcony before bed.

Pina Colada

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