Valletta Is Real Life (but better)

There are several factors working against me as I try to write this. For one thing, words do not flow from my brain directly into my right index finger as they are required to do when typing on a phone. Another issue is the soundtrack of my life: a My Little Pony/Shopkins mashup featuring characters like Shutterfly and Dippy Avocado. (Side note- Shopkins characters are as numerous and baffling as the Hindu deities.) Lastly, Valletta is wonderfully charming so I have nothing to write about.

But it deserves my sincere attempt, so here we go.

Valletta is made of limestone. Apparently that’s all they’ve got and the result is an extremely pleasing visual consistency. From Crusades-era cathedrals to 80’s apartment blocks, it all glows warm and buttery in the sun. With all this homogeneity, the points of distinction are the front doors and shuttered balconies. Where these are concerned, any color goes.

Have you ever heard someone speaking Maltese? It’s the only Semetic language written with the Latin alphabet and it sounds like a husky Arabic with an Italian accent. Actually, that feels like Malta in general. Another place at the crossroads where you spend all day trying to categorize it. Not quite Europe, not quite North Africa.

It’s enchanting but it’s not precious. The family eating at the touristy-looking cafe in the main square is as likely from Malta as Manchester. And if no one is driving down a pedestrian-only street at 9am, then everyone must be at church.


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