Mdina

by Andrew Stein

After a 36-hour layover in Barcelona, during which we mainly try to fight our jetlag, our babymoon gets started in the walled city of Mdina, Malta.  Mdina is beyond medieval – in fact, it was Malta’s capital city back into Antiquity.  Starting with the Neolithic and Bronze Ages, then the Phoenicians as early as the 8th century BC, then eventually being home to the Romans, after which the Byzantine empire took a turn, and more recently (1500’s AD) the Order of Saint John. Finally, after having to put up with the French and the British some, Mdina and Malta are independent today. Everyone wanted a piece of Malta given its ideal position smack in the middle of the Mediterranean (just south of Sicily).  And as a result, Mdina, which sits high near the middle of Malta, saw many famous civilizations and empires come through.

We spend our first three nights on the island sleeping within the walls of this fortified city, with its population of about 300 (I’m not missing a “K” on that 300).  Once the tourists leave around 5pm, the city clears out and our small hotel, the Xara Palace, is the only hotel within its walls.  We wander the curved, quiet streets ducking into churches, cafes and medieval homes.  The quiet of the city is both magical and eerie. The only sound is that of the wind and the night time brings with it an incandescent glow. It feels like all roads lead back to St John’s Cathedral so we’re never too worried about getting lost and instead always try to go down the alley that we haven’t already seen. Mdina is clean, quiet, peaceful, and full of history.