As we pulled into the city of Valletta, Malta, we were greeted by a thick fog. In fact, the night before, the cruise ship had rocked back and forth in a storm. I had felt so nauseous I thought I was going to lose my dinner. I thought of the storm Paul and his companions had experienced 2,000 years ago in that same area. That storm caused the ship wreck that resulted in them staying on the Island of Malta for about 3 months.
The cruise ship pulled into the natural harbor that is shaped like a man’s palm. We disembarked right after lunch. The charming guide proudly described the history of this tiny island. Our first stop was a short walk into the town of Valletta. We walked through the small, crowded streets lined with immaculate shops on either side of the streets. Our first stop was at the Church of Saint John’s Co-Cathedral which is a Roman Catholic co-cathedral in Valletta, Malta, dedicated to Saint John the Baptist. This is, by far, is the most ornate and beautiful church I have ever seen. Wow! As soon as we walked through the doors, we saw golden art and decor that celebrated the life of the disciple John. The high ceiling, with its icons and painted art were grandiose and exquisite. Every angle, every wall revealed the magnificent art and unimaginable decor. The floors were marble squares with inscriptions that detailed the saints who were buried under it. After experiencing this overwhelming beauty, we left the church.
We drove through the center of the island to our second destination- the Mosta Church. This church boasts of having the 3rd largest dome in Europe. The dome was visible from miles away. As we walked up the stairs towards the entrance, it began to drizzle. Throughout our trip, we had enjoyed dry, warm, sunny weather.
We waited outside for a few minutes before we were allowed inside. The guide told us there was going to be a funeral service for a little child. That broke my heart. Under the Beaty of the dome, towards the altar was were pretty flowers. In the middle was a little white coffin. All the funeral guests wore white clothes. As a parent, such a sight is hard to witness.
We walked into a room that displayed a replica bomb, similar to the one the Germans dropped on this church at end of WWII. Praise be to God, the bomb went through the dome but did not explode! They call it the Miracle of the Bomb. Both churches we visited in Malta were spared during WWII. I fell in love with this little island. I told Rutendo, that in the 1990’s, though I knew very little about Malta, I used to say some day I will retire in Malta because it is situated between Africa and Europe. Good bye Malta. I hope to return some day.