Day 2 (Malta) – A Hilly Valletta

Who’s idea was it to come to Malta in the Easter holidays in the knowledge that a large proportion of tourists to said country are British?

Anyway, the plan for today was to hop over the water by boat to the tiny capital of Valletta. The decision to confine Superbunny to the hotel room was two fold; I didn’t fancy the idea of getting run over on the streets of Valletta plus I was unsure of how accessible the boat was (we also know that, after Russia, small boats and Superbunny aren’t compatible!). The latter was soon answered after the 5 minute trudge from the hotel to the Sliema ferry crossing over to the picturesque capital that is Valletta. Now, you would have thought that, seeing as it’s a vital link between said places, the infrastructure would be a little more than a simple mooring point but no, it was exactly that. After negotiating a steep ramp i.e. a concrete slab, you are faced with a rather big step up to the gangway, Superbunny would have no chance!

In a matter of minutes, the ferry docked in Valletta after providing panoramic views of the walled city…

If you do decide to catch said ferry (rather than busing it which is most likely what one would have to do in an electric wheelchair), there is an optional and accessible (if parked properly!) shuttle bus which eliminates the need to walk up a steep incline from the harbour by dropping you off at the bottom of the Barrakka lift. This lift is a direct entrance into the Upper Barrakka Gardens and subsequently the historical centre…very convenient (and something that was on my ‘to see’ list)…

Of course, it was also accessible…

As I mentioned previously, muggins decided to book this trip to coincide with the Easter holidays in the UK hence the main city sights such as the City Gate and Republic Square were overrun with crowds…not good for ones personal space…another lesson that!

What also comes with heaves of tourists? TAT! I think we came away from Valletta with around 5 leaflets, why on earth would you enjoy taking a walk when you are just bombarded with utter commercial rubbish every 5 minutes? Anyway, that’s my personal opinion and it didn’t take long to scrap the idea of following the tourist trail by taking the side streets…much better!

One of the attractions that I also wanted to visit was Fort St Elmo, one of the many forts scattered around Malta and the associated National War Museum which takes you through the various roles it played from its inception to the present day. It seemed as though the flocks of tourists seen in the centre do not venture out as we had the place nearly to ourselves. The majority of the place is accessible and, as its a fort, also provides views over the Mediterranean Sea and Valletta…

Valletta is very hilly by nature thus it takes some strength to push a manual wheelchair both up and downhill so it was decided that we would continue our jaunt back down to the harbour whilst seeking out a restaurant (with inside seating of course!) which certainly didn’t come to fruition whilst missing the turning in the process. Luckily, a local saw us and informed us to walk down an unassuming lane and an ominous back alley which took us to the harbour and the Sliema ferry.

To avoid faffing about with buses to the airport on Friday, our hotel is currently arranging an ‘accessible’ taxi (which I am slightly dubious about given the situation we had in Portugal), see how that pans out.

Tomorrow, the plan is to catch the bus and subsequent ferry over to Gozo!

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