Thursday, 29 November 2012

What I Saw In Mdina And Rabat

I went into Mdina through The Main Gate, where I came across another pair of lions, these ones holding some kind of shield, like ones I had seen near Sliema from The Bus.  This was now the fifth set of lions I had come across in Malta, they are obviously a thing (possibly connected to Grand Master Manoel de Vilhena?), and yet I never found a trace of them in any tourist shop, not matter how obsessively I searched.

I wandered Mdina:


It did look cool from a distance, but I wasn’t able to get a picture of this.  The view from inside out was less exciting though panoramic:

Both Mdina and Rabat were populated by some hilarious tiny stretchy birds
but they always flew away when I tried to get a photo.

I left Mdina through The Greek Gate which is of some historical interest or something.
This led into Rabat.

I visited The Roman Domus (€6.00).  The museum is built over what was once a Roman house, though only the foundations remain.  This was cool, with an astonishingly well-preserved mosaic being the centrepiece. 

It's 3D!


as well as remains of other mosaics:



this one was repaired with cheaper-non-matching tiles, showing that The Roman Family must have gone through financial difficulties
and here you can make out part of a freaky face.
I read every single piece of information in this museum so it must have captured The Interest. 

There were cabinets of various things they’ve dug up, nearly all interesting (apart from the bits of pot) because The Romans were incredibly talented craftsmen,
with freaky masks, beautiful perfume bottles, funny animal spouts and a huge glass vase that has survived in tact:
There were also several statues of Claudius and family: 

Outside there are more foundations, but not much to see, in a Tarxien Temple kind of way:

This is an orange tree:
This is some bush that was lucky to Romans and something to do with love:
I walked past St Paul’s Church:
Then I went to St Paul’s Catacombs (€5.00).  Here you get an audio guide free, so long as you give them a document as ransom.  Without The Audio Guide, the place is meaningless so I marvelled at doltish tourists who skipped it and then kept saying ‘I don’t know what I’m looking at’.  The above ground bit is dull and The Audio Guide goes on too long, but then you go into a tomb,

blocking stone engraved with surgical tools

which was freaky as hell. 

Then you go down into the main catacombs. 

children’s loculi (tombs cut into the wall)
The Audio Guide said to not be afraid of The Catacombs.  I ignored his advice.  This place was terrifying. 

‘agape’ table (for funeral meal)


large hall later used as an underground chapel
Once again I found myself in underground corridors carved from the rock with intermittent lighting (see here), but this wasn’t carved to save lives, this was carved to store death.  I was walking around graves.  I’ve seen enough films to know this is a BAD idea.

baldacchio tomb with vaulted lid carved out of the rock


baldacchio tombs without lid

And just as I had got as deep in as I could go,

gaping hole that suddenly appeared at head height showing further tombs inside; pretty sure this was the start of a horror film

the whole place went silent. 

No footsteps, no chattering, the other tourists had finished.  I was alone down here.
Most terrifying moment of The Life. 
The Audio Guide kept encouraging me to leave the main (tiny winding) path (filled with dark gaping holes full of monsters, zombies, mummies, demons, ghosts, evil, death, aargh) to explore, to which I respectfully said SCREW THAT and got the hell outta there.
After this I had intended to visit St Agatha’s religious complex, but I had had enough scary dark underground tunnels of doom for one holiday so went back to The Hotel. 

I did see this weird tree though:

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