Sweet Refuge

Sweet Refuge

Malta, 16 September 2016

The name 'Malta' is said to come either from the Phoenician word 'Maleth', translated as refuge, or 'Melitē' from the  Greek -  meaning "honey-sweet”, possibly due to Malta's endemic bee population. Today, Malta is indeed a sweet refuge for those wanting to slow down and experience the deep blue waters of the Mediterranean, the alleys and walls of its fortress cities and the warm hospitality of its people. 

Mdina by night. The city dates back more than 3000 years, and was the ancient capital of Malta. 

Signs abound everywhere in Malta, many of them hand-lettered. These were found in Valletta, the capital city.

Open mic at the Maori Bar down by the sea in Valletta. Samantha Barendson reads a poem with Roger West. Both of them were participants in the 2016 edition of the Malta Mediterranean Literary Festival.

Abigail Ardelle Zammit, Maltese poet and creative writing lecturer at the University of Malta, poses in front of Mgarr Church, dedicated to Our Lady. Her great-grandfather, Gian Marie Camilleri, built the church in the town of Mġarr. 

A man takes a selfie above picturesque Ghajn Tuffieha Bay.

Feast Day for St Dominic in Vittoriosa, one of the "Three Cities" of Malta. The atmosphere is dominated by the hand-made street decorations and a troop of band club members who perform for the Patron Saint of the village. In the evenings, a fireworks display is usually part of the festa.

St Julian's Parish Church proudly shines out against the lopsided crosses of cranes that surround it, evidence of the inevitable changes that are taking place in Malta. 

Children playing amidst piles of confetti  along the Sliema promenade in the aftermath of the feast day celebrations for St Julian.

A statue of St Julian, carried during the village feast day, pauses to contemplate at the entrance of Saddles Pub. Hedonism and faith seem to mix insatiably and without rancour in  Malta's party hub. 

A long exposure to capture Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church on Balluta Bay in St. Julian's, Malta.

A game of dare off a narrow jetty on the Inland Sea in San Lawarenz, Gozo.

A view of the sea through the narrow tunnel that leads to the Inland Sea on Gozo. Just around the corner is the famous Azure Window. 

A rowboat at rest in the fishing harbour of Marsaxlokk, a traditional fishing village in south-east Malta.  

Guido De Marco, and his shadow, holds forth next to the law courts in Valletta. The sixth president of Malta, he was an influential politician and policymaker. The monument was cast in bronze by artist Aaron Camilleri Cauchi and his father, Alfred.

A quiet passageway deep in the heart of the beautifully restored Citadella in Rabat, Gozo's largest city. A fortified complex, the Citadel was built in Neolithic times and fortified during the Bronze Age. The Citadel was the centre of administration for Gozo under the Romans, and a temple to the goddess Juno stood where the Cathedral now stands.  

A fisherman watches as a giant cruise ship sails out from The Grand Harbour in Malta. Around 600,000 passengers visit Malta by sea every year