Many of the cruise ships that used to call on Kusadasi, Turkey (Ephesus) changed itineraries after all the turmoil in the country to call on Valletta, Malta instead. We weren’t entirely sure what to expect from this port of call as we hadn’t been here before. We had been told that that sail in was extremely picturesque, but that’s the only real info that we had going in.
When we arrived, we realized that picturesque truly described the entire area. The old walled city has been home to numerous movie sets, including Troy and The DaVinci Code. Walking through the city, I can see why.
We chose not to do any sort of tour in Malta, and just to just spend time walking around and exploring the city. Once off the boat, we took the panoramic elevator up to the top to the “downtown” area of Valletta. Our waiters at breakfast kindly informed us that if we didn’t take the elevator, it was 275 steps to the top…since it was over 90 degrees outside, we chose to take the 1 Euro ride to the top.
Unfortunately, we arrived in Malta on a Sunday, so the vast majority of the shops and cafes were closed for the day. We walked up and down the narrow streets, which offered great downhill views to the turquoise water. We were lucky that when we arrived, we were able to see one of the military reenactments from the Knights of St John in front of the Grand Masters Palace. Their uniforms were definitely amazing, and the palace walls had plaques in marble from Buckingham Palace and President Franklin D. Roosevelt thanking Malta for their important contributions to victory in WWII.
The kids were getting hot, so as has been their custom, they had a bit of gelato to cool them off. I believe they’ve now eaten gelato in every city we’ve visited.
Finally, we ended the day with a horse and carriage ride back down the hill and to see more of the historic sights of the city. While we didn’t know what to expect when we docked, we are very glad our cruise stopped here. Hopefully we are able to make it back someday…just not on a Sunday so that we have more opportunities to see all that Malta has to offer.