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Saga Sapphire blog - Captains' blogs

17th April, 2014

Views across the sea

A high speed overnight run saw us passing Gozo by breakfast time, the early morning sun reflecting off the low white buildings set alone or in small villages amongst the spartan vegetation.

The approach to Valletta’s Grand Harbour was not to be missed on such a fine day and, after navigating around the breakwaters, we had ensured that the ship would receive the traditional salute of welcome from canons up on the buttress. It was rather special.

We were not alone however, and three other passenger vessels took the normal jetties, so we were allocated ‘Deep Water 4’, a rather tired looking wharf where the fendering was so poor the pilot suggested I approach ‘carefully’. I did not mention that I always park ‘carefully’.

It was not an issue and the all day tour passengers to Gozo were off just after the gangway was landed. They had a great time by all accounts.

The remainder of the tours were scheduled for the afternoon, so we took a walk before lunch, taking the new Barrakka lift, completed in late 2012, which goes up 58 metres from the waterfront to ‘where the cannons roar.’

The adjacent Barrakka Gardens are quite lovely and give a view across all of Grand Harbour and also lead on to the centre of town. The lift is highly recommended, but not of course by the taxi drivers who must now be losing a mint due to cruise ship passengers taking the far cheaper option.

Town was very busy and we just caught not only the Noon Day Gun, but also the cacophony of sound from the various church bells that went on for half an hour after midday. Like many men, I am not great at trolling round crowded shopping streets and to a carillon accompaniment as well, it was just a little too much.

We diverted away from the bustle and took some refreshment in a small café overlooking the harbour, far more restful.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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