After our exploration of Birżebbuġa, we had taken one day to just relax, have a look at the few sights in Marsaskala, and let Little A play at the playground. So, for our last full day in Malta, we were better rested. The plan for the day was to take the bus to Birgu and explore the Three Cities. Instead, we found ourselves walking through the town of Żabbar and enjoying the sunshine at the Park ta’ San Klement
Jumping Off the Bus in Żabbar
For some reason, Google Maps did not want to show the bus information for Malta this morning. This resulted in us jumping on the first bus heading towards Valletta. I don’t think anyone is surprised by the fact that most of the buses travel in that direction. Even though the end station is the same, the routes are different and we happened to take the one that goes through the center of the town of Żabbar.
Looking for something new to explore and with Żabbar being near the Three Cities, we decided to make an early exit along the bus route. The following walk took us along one of the main streets of Żabbar, a street framed by the traditional colorful wooden balconies of the townhouses. The balconies are known as Gallarijas and are related to the Arabic Mashrabiya. They are visible in many of the still traditional towns in Malta but are a bit more uncommon in the more modern resort towns such as Marsaskala and Sliema.
The walk took us past the Żabbar Parish Church to the square right next to the Żabbar Sanctuary Museum. At the square, we stopped for some water and an older man came forward and recommended a visit to the nearby park. I assume we looked like lost tourists, but we appreciated his recommendation. The walk there did, however, take us past a toy store. Of course, we had to stop for a bit of shopping before reaching the playground.
Playtime at Park ta’ San Klement
Park ta’ San Klement is between the towns of Żabbar, Fgura, and Cospicua. Just a few years ago, the area was an illegal dumping spot for waste. So, the similarities with the previous landfill at Sant’Antnin Family Park outside of Marsaskala are quite obvious. This park is right next to the Cottonera Lines fortifications and consists of a large area for picnics under the olive trees and a playground. Lille A was more than happy to play around at the playground while I enjoyed the view of the old fortification walls of the Three Cities. What was especially noticeable was how many of the kids here were Maltese (or at least spoke Maltese). At all the other playgrounds that we have visited during our trips to Malta, we had mostly heard English or other European languages.
A Walk to Birgu
An earlier walk from Cospicua to Fgura had taken us through the gates of the Santa Margherita Lines and the Cottonera Lines. This walk from Żabbar to Birgu led us through two other gates of the fortifications. First was the impressive Notre Dame Gate. Also known as the Notre Dame de la Grace Gate, it dates back to 1675. It is the main gate of the Cottonera Lines. We were soon standing at the gates of Birgu for a walk through the fortified city. Little A and I had explored Fort St. Angelo last year, but this time we cut our visit shorter to just enjoy the town itself.
As the rain started to fall for the first time during our visit we soon had to find a restaurant for lunch. Considering the storms that passed Malta the week prior to our visit, we were probably quite lucky with the weather. After all, this was day eight and our first sight of rain. Actually, the storms returned once we left the island. Maybe it was the weather that inspired us to try the English influence in Malta. We had fish and chips for lunch. It was a good ending of our last adventure for this time. We still had to pack and prepare to leave Malta the following day. We would be surprised indeed if we don’t return soon for a new visit.