A tale of two cities with knobs, knockers and knights!


After a fantastic dawn entrance to Valletta harbour, watched almost in silence by a stunned crowd on the balconies of Oriana our cruise ship, I boarded the coach taking me to Mdina then Valletta for a guided tour. Not part of my original plan, but there seemed to be so much to absorb in only one day that a tour would be the best option.

Mdina and Valletta, the old and the new capitals of Malta, one built by those Phoenicians (again), the other by the Knights of St John. Our coach stopped at the main gate entrance to Mdina, we all got off, and 18 mins later we are all still standing there as the tour guide is still talking! This does NOT bode well for the rest of the day! We entered the main streets and ….. stopped for another 7 mins having walked around 50 metres in 25 mins. By now 6 of us held a referendum and voted Leave, so we did without any need to trigger Article 50 or pay a divorce bill. We just buggered off!
So, without googling stuff I have little to report on Mdina except that it was eventually abandoned as the “capital city” after a big battle between the Knights of St John and the army of Suleiman the Saracen. Although the Knights won, they built Valletta as a heavily fortified city in 5 years, but Suleiman never came back. Anyway, here’s a few photos of the many doorways which the local population love so much.

Our coach then took us to the centre of Valletta and our tour guide promptly walked us down ……. Republic Street, the one with lots of shops! Us Tourexiteers decided to string along because we were being taken for a tour of St John’s Cathedral, which was nice but ……. too long. Here are some nice photos inside.

The problem with this tour was that the guide either liked the sound of her own voice, or believes that quality equates to quantity of words spoken. It doesn’t! Tell me that the a Phoenicians built the wall in 750 BC and move on. Now tell me that the church is built in the Baroque style and tell me the three main features, then move on. The shame is that these wonderful historic sites are being made a mockery of by tour guides who have no concept of customer service or needs. Not ONE person in our group was satisfied.

5 thoughts on “A tale of two cities with knobs, knockers and knights!

  1. This is so sad to hear. We did our own thing in Valetta and loved it. I spent about an hour in St John’s Cathedral.They gave me a walking tour guide upon entry and it explained things very well. We only had a morning in Valletta but loved it so much we returned a year later and spent a week on the Island. We have had some good tour guides and some terrible ones over the years. The best was in Vienna and she was very funny too. Go figure!!

    Liked by 1 person

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