Apparently those few centimeters of snow have brought the systems of Royal Mail to a grinding halt, as my package from Cambridge has still not arrived. Today is a public holiday in Malta (with a curious name of St. Paul’s Shipwreck), the arrival of which was celebrated last night with fireworks bordering on chaos and sounding like there was a war going on.
I had to change hotels again, as Castille was fully booked for today, and now I have a room at Hotel British, right at the waterfront with a gorgeous view over the harbour and marina. Big parts of Spielberg’s 2005 movie “Munich” were filmed in Malta, and Hotel British was used extensively as it does indeed look like caught in a time warp – one would fit right in with polyester shirt, bell bottoms and sideburns here. They do have a wi-fi though, not the fastest one I’ve seen, but it does work.
Today I finally understood what all the hoopla of the previous week was about. Over the last few days the streets were decorated with dark red and golden draperies, and you could hear the sound of brass bands practicing through the open windows at nightfall. This morning they were all out in force and the whole town was brimming with action and excitement. Bands were marching from one cathedral to another, followed by hordes of screaming children and solemn old couples, men in suits and ladies with dark shawls on their shoulders. Bars and trattorias were cranking up the volume already in the early afternoon, so it looks like it will be a noisy night.
It all culminated at sunset with a formal cannonade across the harbour and a subsequent fireworks that scared yet again the living crap out of hundreds of sleepy pigeons. By the way, I have uploaded a few pictures from both today and previous weeks at Picasa – there is not much in terms of immortal art as most of the photos have been taken with my mobile phone, but it should give a general impression.