15th March 2009: Around Valletta Bastions
Valletta is always an attraction and it was no
surprise that more than a hundred ramblers
started off from City Gate towards Hastings
Gardens from where the panorama of Manoel
Island and Marsamxett was taken in for a few
minutes, even as profaned by the Tigne ghoulish ghetto.
With a quick downhill stride the rocky shore beneath the bastions at Marsamxetto was reached and trodden along as far as the broken bridge to the Breakwater beneath fort St Elmo.
A brief history of the fort was in order at this stage of the walk and taken as a breather. Ramblers contemplated the prospect of the connection to the Breakwater over the bridge and how this could have extended the pleasure.
The walk proceeded as the sun shone in the blue sky of scattered clouds that lent light and colour to ever-changing vistas. The seascape gave way to the magnificent landward views of the bastions, creeks and crags on this side of Grand Harbour.
Getting back and up to the tarmac it was the turn of marine archeologist Timmy Gambin to take the attention of the rambling group. He revealed forgotten aspects of the Valletta waterfront starting at Barriera Wharf along the Perellos Stores up the Nix Mangiare steps to del Monte (now Victoria) Gate past Ta’ Liesse church down to Customs House as far as Pinto Wharf and beyond to the Wine Merchants Wharf. The new informative panels set up by Heritage Malta were amplified very interestingly by Dr Gambin, and ramblers were amused by the historical details behind the places.
The ramble ran on to the other side of the harbour and came to its climax at the Marsovin winery. Not only was the history recounted and the present vineyards for premium wines located, but the vaults were shown and explained as well, with details of the various processes of wine-making. To crown the day, five premium wines were tasted starting from the whites to rose and then to the clarets. Without getting in any way inebriated all ramblers opined that Maltese premium wine compares well to the best that is imported.
Coach transport to City Gate arrived at 3.00pm.