It is now about a year and a half since the pandemic really took off in Europe and countries such as Malta started to introduce the many restrictions that have been part of life since. Back then, in early March 2020, Little A and I were enjoying a father and daughter trip to Malta. Susann was supposed to go to London but ended up at home alone due to cancellations. Little A and I had some time to explore Malta and see the streets of Valletta being emptied of tourists. As we now, a year and a half later, returned to Malta it was also time for a kid to re-discover the island. Well, this time in Malta, Susann was present most of the time.
Susann and Little A had spent our first day on Malta resting after our trip down here. In the meanwhile, I had gone on a hike along the coast to Senglea. As Susann still had some work to do for a day this week, Little A and I had a new opportunity to explore Malta and its capital Valletta on our own.
Taking the bus from Marsaskala to Birgu
We started the morning with a walk into Marsaskala Bay to catch the bus towards the Three Cities and the ferry stop in Senglea. There are plenty of buses to Valletta, but not as many to the Three Cities. There is the option to take the bus towards Valletta and get off in Fgura. However, there is also the bus towards Isla. It might go back and forth a lot before it reaches its final stop, which was why I decided that we had better get off before Little A got car sick. So we stepped off the bus already in Birgu and skipped the jungle route through Cospicua.
The early exit meant that we had a great opportunity to enjoy the view of the Three Cities. Walking along the outskirts of Birgu offers the possibility to get a good view of the marina. Little A was very happy to see the many large ships as well. The sea, with Senglea in the background, is hard to ignore and this is indeed one of the nicest sights in this part of Malta.
The Three Cities to Valletta Ferry
The ferry across the Grand Harbor from the Three Cities to Valletta only takes a few minutes and it is much faster than traveling around the bay. What is even better is the view. In the Grand Harbor, there usually are some magnificent ships. Add to that the view of the Three Cities, especially Fort St. Angelo, and of Valletta. It is indeed an impressive experience! There are just so many reasons to take the ferry even at times when you actually don’t need to cross the bay.
I had promised Little A three things for our exploration of Valletta. The first promise was a hamburger for lunch. Yes, she does like a burger from time to time. Secondly, at an earlier visit to Malta, she got a small football. It has been in good use, and it has survived with the help of the medical kit. So a football was on our shopping list. And the third object for the day also required some shopping. Because of the sunny weather, Little A required a new hat or cap.
Upon arriving in Valletta with the ferry there are two options. You can either climb the hill on foot or spend a euro to take the Barrakka Lift. If you travel with a kid and want them to save energy for the rest of the day, there is actually only one option. We headed towards the Barrakka Lift. Keep in mind that the way people park here is quite inconvenient. For instance, we were unable to help a woman and her baby to cross the road. The cars were simply parked in such a way that it was impossible to get the pram through the blockade.
Once you reach the top of the lift and the Barrakka Gardens, there is another great view out over the Grand Harbor and the Three Cities. This has since my first visit in 2011 been one of my favorite places on the island, mostly due to the amazing view.
After a fast lunch, Little A and I were soon walking along the streets of Valletta. We were looking for souvenir shops to buy the football and cap. We soon found out that the pandemic had taken a toll on the shop’s stockpile of footballs and especially caps in kids’ sizes. The footballs were available as uninflated in many shops, but the caps were non-existent. We eventually had to settle with a cap that was a bit too big, but at least something to protect Little A from the sun. Then it didn’t take Little A a long time before she found an inflated football. So we were soon finished with our shopping.
Returning to Marsaskala
Our plan for the afternoon was to continue from Valletta to the playgrounds at Sant’Antnin Family Park. Little A was a brave soul during our long walks in Valletta and especially during our waiting for the bus. Our plan to stop at the playground did, however, crash in a similar way as Little A. She fell asleep soon after we sat down on the bus and I was unable to wake her up. Apparently, the trip had been exhausting.
She slept all the way back in Marsaskala. She was quite disappointed that we had missed the much larger playground. It didn’t matter too much. as she was soon playing happily at Marsaskala Bay while we waited for Susann to join us. It has been a long day and just considering that my watch mentioned over 15.000 steps I can only assume that Little A had taken a lot more steps than that during the day.