On our second day in Malta, we headed to the capital city: Valletta. Situated on the coast, Valletta is basically an open-air museum with magnificent architecture every way you turn. At times reminding me of San Francisco with its hilly streets and military fortifications (the Presidio), our day here was fantastic, and we walked all over the city. We started it off with a coffee and then slowly walked in the direction of Fort St. Elmo at the far end of the peninsula.
We ventured into Fort St. Elmo as well, walking along the walls and taking in the views of the sea and surrounding city. One thing that fascinated me was how much of the fort was in ruins. There was an entire section of barracks and ancillary buildings that would make an amazing hotel, restaurants, or other facilities, but just lay dormant and decaying. It was really something.
Also part of the exhibits at Fort St. Elmo was Malta’s history up until the present. I didn’t know that Malta used to be a British protectorate, and they even voted to remain a part of the UK (imagine The United Kingdom of Great Britain, Northern Ireland, and Malta!). Being a part of the UK at the time, Valletta was damaged in WW2. The Royal Opera House was completely demolished, and today only some remains of columns still stand. When we were there it was set up as an outdoor concert hall.
We ended our day in Valletta by exiting through the main city gate and walking around the outside part of the city walls. From this side, you could really see the scale and grandeur of Valletta, with its deep moat and massive bastion of walls and towers. After grabbing lunch at a fantastic café a bit into the modern part, we headed out for the day.