Now that I had covered most of the places far and near that I wanted to see, I had one full day to explore. So I decided to go to the prehistoric temples similar to the ones on the Gozo island. They were almost across the island from Valletta. It took quite some time to reach. And then the bus that I was on, stopped around 2 kms. before Qrendi bus stop. From what I understood, there was some route change that day and another bus would come in some time to take us there. I was getting a bit annoyed because I felt that that my time was getting wasted. I guess when you are looking forward to something or being somewhere, time seems to be running away. Then I looked at the time table and the map and realized it would take me the same amount of time to walk to a panorama point as it would to wait for the bus standing there. So, I walked. And I am glad I did because it was such a beautiful scenery there. At some parts of the route, I was not sure if there was even a pedestrian path but since the road didn’t seem that busy, I just moved on and seeing a few other people walking that way gave me the confidence.
Upon reaching the panorama point, I was once again mesmerized by the inky blueness of the water around. There were some paths leading downwards to I don’t know where. I waited for the bus to come while clicking some pictures, as time was going by and I had no confidence in the punctuality of the buses to take a risk. There was a big group of people already gathered who were also waiting. Finally the much awaited bus came and we all hopped in. Upon reaching the bus stop for Hagar Qim, there was some confusion around which way to go but then everyone found the way. The temples are a short walk away from the main road where the bus stop is, but you cannot see them from there. Hence the confusion. Anyway, we found and went towards the temples. There are two temple structures – 500 m apart from one another – Hagar Qim and Mnajdra. To give a perspective – they are more than 5000 years old – older than the Stonehenge and the Pyramids of Giza. After getting the tickets, you get to see a film in an auditorium with even sprinkles of water, intended to give you an immersive experience, but which results in people giving out a surprised squeal. Then you get to see a museum, where I found this statue (several are there in the National Archaeological Museum but I didn’t have the time to visit that). This kind of statues have been found in the temples both in Gozo and Malta. Might be what several civilization across the world had as a Mother Goddess or a fertility symbol.
And then once you come out of the complex, you can walk along the paths of the ancients and imagine what they might be doing in those temples. The temples are covered with a tent now to protect them from the elements.
It was a nice breezy day and walking there, I felt quite peaceful. Sat down on a bench near the second temple, listening to the waves and the winds, I guess I had something to eat and then decided to return. There were longer trails but I felt a bit tired and the little snack that I’d had didn’t feel enough either. So I moved on despite wanting to be there for some more time.
Getting the bus to return was another long wait. I was confused between being on this side of the road or the other but eventually just took the bus that came. I guess the buses just keep going in rounds. So – it may have taken longer but I didn’t think too much about it then. The journey back was as beautiful as the onward one.
On reaching back to the city, I took a small break at the place I was staying in. Then went in search of a way to reach the Mosta Rotunda – the church that had fascinated me on my way to and from the harbor two days earlier.
I found a bus route and went there. It’s an interesting church. During WWII, the German luftwaffe dropped a bomb on this church on an April day in 1942. There were around 300 people inside. The bomb pierced the top of the dome, fell inside and just stood there – without detonating. Same thing happened to two other bombs. The experts then dismantled the bomb and threw it in the sea. The people consider that a miracle but then who wouldn’t? That must’ve been like seeing Death in the eye and then Death deciding to go somewhere else.
I went to the top of the church and saw the church bells up close. Saw over the roofs of the densely populated neighborhood with yellow limestone dominating the scene. I could also peep inside the church hall from there.
Coming down and out of the church, there was a bomb shelter which I could go into. It was like a museum with lots of photos and objects that people used in there everyday life at that time. One interesting photo showed the Luftwaffe pilots writing “Iron Greetings to Malta” on a bomb!
It was a depressing place and I couldn’t imagine people having to hide there during the war. I was happy to return back to the surface.
Then I went back to Valletta. Went to some jewelry shops and lost myself in choosing gifts for my friends. There were beautiful filigree designed pendants, earrings, charms, brooches and so on. It took me a long time to decide and then also, I didn’t feel I had had enough!
But suddenly the realization that I hadn’t seen the three cities across the bay from Valletta made me come out of my shopping trance! I thought between taking the bus and the ferry. The shopkeepers, who were an elderly couple, told me that I might still be able to catch the last boat (summer time had not yet begun when the boats ply for longer hours). So I found my way to the boat that takes people across, talked to a couple who were also boarding the boat to make sure that it was the right one and to find where to get the ticket from. Turned out that you could get it directly on the boat. Anyway, so I went there but by then, the clouds reached their saturation point and started pouring. So I just walked a bit to get an idea of the place and then found a bus to go back.
But the day wasn’t over yet. I wanted to go to the place that promised a Dosa. It was still some distance away – in the direction of St. Julian’s. But my love of Dosas gave me the strength to cover that last part of my “marathony” day. Those who say “love makes you strong” – may be on to something! There were so many places on the way that I wanted to get down and look around but the rain discouraged me and it was getting late anyway. Upon reaching where google maps had told me to get down, I found that I still needed to walk a bit to reach this restaurant. I didn’t find it. But didn’t give up and realized that it was actually inside a food court. Anyway, long story short – I found what I was looking for. I was hoping for a relaxing experience but you know how food courts are. Probably I didn’t express my wishes to the universe clearly :-). Anyway, the food was good
After that my body told me to just stop running from one point to the other, go back to the apartment and sleep! I had stretched it much beyond its comfort zone and it was beginning to complain now.
So called it a day. Returned and collected my things together to be ready in the morning to pack and then went to a much deserved sleep!
P.S. I went again in the morning to the jewelry shop to buy some more of those beautiful things but then I had to leave. After that, all went fine and I reached back my home by the evening. This brings an end to this series on Malta trip. Phew!