It is no wonder the hotel was fully booked.
Malta is staunchly catholic, evidenced by a fact that it is the only EU country where divorce is not legal. Every nook and cranny in Valletta bears a name of some saint and churches receive a steady stream of worshippers. Now, as it turns out, Apostle Paul is apparently the most revered saint in the country and therefore the commemoration of his shipwreck along the shores of Malta is no small thing. In fact, I would say that it is worth coming here for this day alone.
The celebration starts building up already a couple of days in advance but really kicks into the gear on February 10th. It is after the sunset that the three hour procession starts which reaches its frenetic height at around 10pm, when the relic finally makes it to the door of St. Paul’s cathedral and gets rushed in on the shoulders of young men dressed in all white. The streets are absolutely packed few blocks in either direction from the cathedral, bells toll intermittently, brass bands bands erupt into a march every now and then and children pour loads of shredded paper on the heads of the crowds from windows high above the streets that look like they are covered in ankle-deep snow. It truly is a sight to behold – all the magic you’d expect from Malta, and then some. I certainly hadn’t seen anything of the kind before.
However, my parcel has still not arrived and I really can’t sit here waiting for it any longer. I dropped some books and clothes at the post office today and agreed with Carla at Castille reception that they will mail my stuff to Estonia once it gets here. There isn’t anything really indispensable in that package anyway, some things I can simply live without and others I will have to buy anew. Now I have a couple of hours to kill before the ferry will leave for Pozzallo, Sicily.