Visit to Malta – The best nativity scenes in Europe?

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Nativity scenes usually give people two very different ideas, tacky and naff or part of the very core part of Christmas to imagine a visual scene of Christ’s arriving into the world.    Was this horribly early?   No, actually I saw this first week of December.

Malta, which of course is a Catholic country actually takes this tradition very seriously, more than any other county I have visited (although I have yet to visit Italy)

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As well as a complete scene, it seems you can instead buy all the bits separately, expanding your collection each year.   In this store, this place has the animals, figures and scenery next to a Nespresso machine and kitchen cleaners.

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nativity4Best of all, are these nativity scenes which some local people can take up a whole garage!!

Notice the signs here and in others I have seen seem to make it clear what the object of it all.   🙂

Malta has people from other religious groups here, but hasn’t put any silly restrictions on celebrating a very important day.  Merry Christmas!!

St Julians Bay – Quite homely for the British – Marsaxlokk – Valletta the old capital – Community in Malta – The best nativity scenes in Europe? – Go Gozo

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Trip to Malta – Community in Malta

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Having greetings on a door frame like this, reminds me of the small diagonal things fixed to the frame of Jewish houses in Israel.

Incidentally particularly around Valletta, I saw small postcards with photos announcing a death of someone from their family.   Kind of like people used to do in newspapers in the UK.

This is also exactly whats done in Israel among Jews, Arab Muslims and Christians, to announce a bereavement to the local community.

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Malta has the largest numbers of churches in the world, but seems there a few others as well as Catholicism.

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I like the sense of community here in this island.   As I mentioned earlier, Maltese is a Semitic language, so its related to Hebrew and Arabic.   It actually sounds spoken about half way between Italian and Arabic.   When you consider its half way between Italy and Tunisia it shouldn’t really be surprising.   Its also the only Semitic language that uses ordinary Roman letters and not a right to left type system.

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Beware of Jellyfish!!!

St Julians Bay – Quite homely for the British – Marsaxlokk – Valletta the old capital – Community in Malta – The best nativity scenes in Europe? – Go Gozo

 

Trip to Malta – Valletta the old capital

Malta’s capital city is about a 3 kilometer walk from the hotel I was staying in St Julian’s

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This ancient streets look a world away from anything else!!

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There’s a lot of cafes and restaurants in this old city’s centre, but my camera decided it was broken possibly after being dropped earlier in the day, so not many pics here.

Plaque displayed proudly in the city centre square, showing its Commonwealth connections.

St Julians Bay – Quite homely for the British – Marsaxlokk – Valletta the old capital – Community in Malta – The best nativity scenes in Europe? – Go Gozo

Trip to Malta – Marsaxlokk

Marsaxlokk is pronounced “Marsa shlock” is a picturesque fishing town with quite a few outdoor restaurants.

The market resembles half a fish market and half a car boot sale 🙂

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marsaxlokk fish

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My good friend Peter lives here, he was born in Malta, and lived for a while in my home town of Portsmouth, now hes back in Malta and teaching English.   He often takes his students out for a beer when they have finished studying.    This was a really pleasant afternoon in this small village.

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This cacti look interesting, they look like a lot of the ones I’ve seen in Israel.   The Maltese take off the fruits (which is very difficult and dangerous due to thin razor spikes on them)  and make them into honey, well, its more of a flavoured syrup.   I bought some of this to take home which I think is a uniquely Maltese thing.

St Julians Bay – Quite homely for the British – Marsaxlokk – Valletta the old capital – Community in Malta – The best nativity scenes in Europe? – Go Gozo

Visit to Malta – Quite homely for the British

IMG_20141128_085921718This is what I saw when I woke up in my hotel in St Julians.  Yeah my hotel room faced not the beach end 🙂

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Its cheap too.  I had a beer and a F’tira which is a local sandwich made from Maltese own style of bread for about 6 Euros.   I think this must be one of the cheapest Euro-currency countries to live, although I don’t think the salaries here are all that great.  There are a lot of retired British people out here.

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It also appeals to boaty sort of people, being a tiny island, there are ordinary folk and the rich and the wealthy that live here.   The first day I got to see this marina with my good friend Peter who lives out here.

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Shops are quite old school here, less big stores and chains and more smaller type places, here this petrol station seems oldy worldy.   Might be to do with this island is quite tiny so petrol stations have to operate in smaller places I think.

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Unlike all of mainland Europe, but like Britain, this country drives on the left!!    Sandy white walls remind me a lot of Israel.   I’d recommend renting a car like we did, which is as little as 12 Euros a day!!

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valetta phoneboxSadly, only a few years before I visited, it seems Malta’s characteristic ancient yellow buses and no longer in service.   I think might be to do with them being less and less unreliable and not so feasible to run, occasionally I did see a few like this one re-purposed as a mobile gift shop.

St Julians Bay – Quite homely for the British – Marsaxlokk – Valletta the old capital – Community in Malta – The best nativity scenes in Europe? – Go Gozo