Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Another Round of Windows

I remember in the early days of this blog, my posts were heavy on windows.  It was because as early as 2006 I had started to collect windows.  I would go to San Francisco or wherever I find myself going and would furiously snap at windows ..... and some doors. 

I thought I was weird "collecting" images, until I read a very inspirational post by Ginnie - blogger nonpareil - about things we collect (read entire post here).  Of course windows are not the only ones I collect.  I also find myself fascinated by street lamps, although I am pretty new to this subject and so my collection isn't worth a post yet. 

But Malta (and the other four port of calls as well) were full of fascinating architecture that I think I had OD'ed on windows.  And I have every intention of showing them to you as in-between post between series.  If you are not a fan of windows/doors, worry not I will alert you so you can avoid this blog like a plague when the window post is on.

What about you fellow bloggers, what do you collect digitally?  I really want to hear your answers.  What people collect fascinates me.

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This is my entry for this week's WINDOW VIEWS AND DOORS TOO, hosted by Teach Mary.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Streets of Valletta

Here are some of the streets we took and/or seen while touring Valletta.

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Who needs gym?

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A little early for happy hour?

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Wonder what they're talking about.
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I love Valletta.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Auberge de Castille

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Every where in Valletta we saw signs alerting people that renovations are underway.

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Auberge de Castille, since March 4, 1972, has been used as the seat of the Prime Minister. It is also where the business of government are held as well as the weekly cabinet meetings.  It used to house knights who were stationed in Malta for defense of this fortress. 

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I don't know for sure if this is open for tours, but we never saw anyone touristy looking going inside so we didn't.  Can you see the two cannons infront of the main door?
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Just a stone's throw away from the auberge is a church that also had a renovation sign and appeared shut, so we didn't attempt to go in. When I was researching Valletta in preparation for these posts, I found out that there are many churches inside the walled city.  If your fancy is visiting churches, this would be your heaven.  Imagine 10 or so churches within walking distance from each other, and these are just Catholic churches.  Apparently there are also other Christian churches inside.  Now I question myself whether I put too much time in St. John's Co-Cathedral.  Actually, no.  One church to see if its as grand as St. John's is enough for a day I suppose.
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We spotted this spectacular view as we were leaving the area and was heading towards the main street.  I would have loved to walk that bridge/catwalk.
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Since we figured that we probably have seen everything that we wanted to see, it was time to hit the stores for souvenirs.  Malta is famous for its lace.  My loot consisted of aprons, tees, lacy purse, magnets, postcards, and the Maltese cross - which is an eight-sided cross. 
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And before we parted, we checked out the dining scene.  This particular establishment has a sign that says free tasting of their specialty which was a rabbit stew (the recipe of which is written on some souvenir items including but not limited to aprons - I bought 2 aprons for gifts).  Here Dave went up close to read the sign to make sure that we were not seeing things.  Nah, we weren't hungry enough. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Upper Barrakka Gardens

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Wasn't lucky here. Didn't get to shoot without people.
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Sir Winston Churchill's bust.
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"Les Gavroches"
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Looking down I saw what looked like a good outdoor restaurant seating.
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Memories of its valiant past.
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Fort St. Angelo

The Upper Barrakka Gardens are situated near Castille Place and possess unsurpassed views across the Grand Harbour over to the Three Cities.

The origins of the Upper Barrakka Gardens go back to 1661, when it was a private garden of the Italian Knights, whose inns of residence (auberges) lie close by. It was not before 1824 that it was opened as a public garden and during WWII the garden suffered much destruction.

The paths are lined with and the busts, statues and plaques that chart various personalities and other significant events in Maltese history.

Of special interest are the bronze group, known as ‘Les Gavroches’ (street urchins), by an early 20th century Maltese sculptor. Depicting three children hurrying forward, the idea behind this statue was the extreme hardship faced at the turn of the 20th century.

[source]

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Lower Barrakka Gardens

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We stumbled upon the Lower Barrakka Gardens after leaving the Siege Bell Monument. Along with the Upper Barrakka Gardens, it is listed as one of the must visits in Valletta. I can't remember how we got here. We weren't aiming to go there but somehow the streets we took led us at the gate. We didn't have any maps to follow but was glad that we managed to find the spots - which could only reflect how small Valletta really is, especially since it's enclosed by walls.

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Am I back in Greece? Felt like it when I saw this monument to Alexander Ball, a British admiral and first British governor of Malta.
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A close up of what's inside that monument. Is this Lady Justice?
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Can't believe I managed to snap without people. Although when we were there, there weren't many around the garden.
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Here's one of the commemorative plaque hanging at the walls of this arched structure.
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Here's another one.
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The Lower Barrakka Gardens has wonderful views of the Grand Harbour and the Siege Bell Monument.
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These locals found the best seat to read. Imagine this - reading to soothe your soul and when your eyes tire out a bit, just look out at the Grand Harbour for a little bit of soothing to the eyes too. Life can't get any better than that.
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One of the many monuments/statues around the city - this one's inside the garden and is titled Enea
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And the cruises are lined up that side. The city is just 20 minutes walk from the port.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Siege Bell War Memorial

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Without any itinerary or desired destination, we continued to walk until we reached the edge of the wall and then decided to walk along the wall until we saw this sight in front of us. We reached the Siege Bell War Memorial.

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This is what I found out about this memorial:

The Siege Bell War Memorial commemorates the victory of the Allied forces during the Second Siege of Malta from 1940-1943. Italian and German forces battled with Allied forces to gain control of Malta - an important strategic location.

Almost 1,500 civilians died during the Second Siege of Malta. The proud tiny island was almost constantly bombarded during this period. In 1942 Malta was awarded the George Cross. In bestowing the award King George VI said '...to honour her brave people, I award the George Cross to the Island Fortress of Malta to bear witness to a heroism and devotion that will long be famous in history'.

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The bell is rung daily at noon.
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I cannot find anything online about this statue that is located a few feet away from the bell tower.

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This is the plaque on that statue above.

This is my entry to this week's SKYWATCH. Sky watch is a weekly gathering of sky lovers and sky watchers. Join us.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Then There Were Doors

I've always been fascinated by doors, doorways even before arriving in Malta. But the walk had given plenty of opportunities to capture them. I will have to warn you that these are not fancy, lavish doors. They are simple doors that were replete with character. Here are some doors I saw and some of my fave door quotes/funnies.
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I went down the street to the 24-hour grocery. When I got there, the guy was locking the front door. I said, 'Hey, the sign says you're open 24 hours.' He said, 'Yes, but not in a row.' - Steven Wright
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If you shut the door to all errors, truth will be shut out. - Rabindranath Tagore

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Let everyone sweep in front of his own door, and the whole world will be clean. -Johann Wolfgang Van Goethe

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The closing of a door can bring blessed privacy and comfort - the opening, terror. Conversely, the closing of a door can be a sad and final thing - the opening a wonderfully joyous moment. - Andy Rooney

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Vice came in always at the door of necessity, not at the door of inclination. - Daniel Defoe.

Teach Mary hosts WINDOW VIEWS AND DOORS TOO. This is my entry for this week.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Caught By The Lens

Here are a few of the things my lens caught while exploring the walled city on foot.

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Carriage Ride anyone? We were offered 50 euros for an hour's ride. No thank you we replied.

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Their public bus. Must be here only for photo op, since no bus runs around the city. Didn't I tell you this is like an open air museum?

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Streets that go up and down. This one in particular reminded me so much of San Francisco.

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And dead end alleys, gotta love them.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Let's Go For a Walk 2

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Throughout our walk I continuously found myself trailing my walking companions. While our pace was slow and totally within my fitness level, my attention was elsewhere.
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My attention was on the statues that seemed to be everywhere. This one's of a former prime minister.
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Or I'd be lagging behind because I'd stop and take a closer look at a fountain.
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Or yet another interesting statue, this one looks like a royalty.
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And there's devotional statues everywhere. There was one street where every corner has a statue of saint, angel, etc on the corner. Two examples are the following images.
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I never really minded that I was lagging behind. See you next post. I'll show you more of the things that caught my lens.