Maybe Celebrating The Our Lady of Sorrows Feast or Maybe Not

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Published: July 30th 2023

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St. Paul's Bay SunsetSt. Paul's Bay SunsetSt. Paul’s Bay Sunset


Enjoying the view whilst eating our pizzas.

We had heard that there’s an excellent market in Floriana on a Sunday, but despite asking several people in the hotel, we were at a loss as to exactly where it is. Most people seemed to think that we were after some local fish market, which, quite rightly, they thought was a bizarre thing for us to be asking about. Eventually one of the receptionists told us that it was at the park-and-ride, about 20 minutes’ walk away, so we looked that up on Google Maps and set off to find it.

What we didn’t know is that the market finished at 11.00am, and we arrived at 11.30am to find everyone in the process of clearing everything away. It was a lot of walking in horrendous heat for no reason (although we did get to see the sights of Floriana).

Another guest in the hotel had recommended that we use ‘Bolt’ to book our taxi to our next destination (St. Paul’s Bay) rather than booking it through the hotel as it works out a lot cheaper (and we have had some bad experiences of booking taxis through hotels – see Tips, More Tips and a Moody Ukrainian Driver). It was our first time using any kind

FlorianaFlorianaFloriana


Sights on the way to the Sunday Market.

of ride booking app and, I have to begrudgingly admit, it worked perfectly. The taxi arrived after about five minutes and we knew exactly what it was going to cost in advance.

We arrived In St. Paul’s Bay and were in for a bit of a shock. Valletta had set very high standards both in terms of the area and of the hotel. Sadly our destination in St. Paul’s Bay didn’t match on either. The area was basically a resort of hotels and more hotels and our hotel was not a patch on the grandeur of the our previous one given that it was probably one of the best hotels we had ever stayed in. The room was tiny in comparison and when we found out that the toilet didn’t work we insisted on changing rooms, although the replacement was only marginally better. I’ve never had to explain the lack of workings of a toilet to a hotel receptionist before – which was an academic conversation as she couldn’t do anything about it and the maintenance people had knocked-off work at 4.00pm.

Furthermore, the pool is only open until 6.00pm, so there will be no 11.00pm swims here

Sunday MarketSunday MarketSunday Market


Or rather it was!

(there were even people in the pool when we went to bed at 12.30am last night and again when we got up at 8.00am). Yesterday was one of the few times I have ever gone in the pool that late (see Mazes Above and Below Ground), but now I consider it to be a fundamental human right and I expect it from every hotel to visit from now on.

After a walk round to orientate ourselves, we, again, hit the two-for-one cocktail circuit (or is it one-for-two in Malta? – see Doing Tourism in Reverse) this evening. A Mai Tai and a Pina Colada (times two of course). Afterwards we went for a pizza each, where I thought I would give a Maltese Pizza a try (black olives, feta cheese and Maltese sausage) whilst we watched the sun setting over the bay.

There seemed to be a lot of celebrations going on, with chanting crowds, music, ticker-tape and masses of fireworks. It was not obvious to us what was going on, but as far as I could find out thanks to Google, it may have been the ‘Our Lady of Sorrows Feast’. Alternatively, my wife thinks it might be some Hindu Festival. Otherwise it may

St. Paul's BaySt. Paul's BaySt. Paul’s Bay


Boats and hotels basically.

just be a normal night of loud frivolity in St. Paul’s Bay.

We also read in our guide book about fiestas (not the car), where all the towns and villages celebrate for no particular reason and like to try and outdo each other for how wild the celebrations are. Sounds good to me and we should do more of that in the UK – or rather in England, as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland certainly seem to have their celebrations.

Afterwards I went down to the beach with my camera to get some pictures of the Wignacourt Tower. The seafront was heaving with people watching what was going on. I’ve never had such an audience whilst I was taking pictures. I just hoped I didn’t keep them entertained by tripping or slipping on the rocks.

Back in our slightly larger room, we could still hear the huge thunder of fireworks going off through the late evening. Perhaps that was what everyone had been waiting for whilst they were watching to see if I tripped over on the rocks.



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