This was ‘wander about Valletta’ day. Our first stop was the Church of St. Paul’s Shipwreck. It has an ornate Baroque interior and claims to possess the wrist bone of St Paul and half of the column on which he was beheaded in Rome. For a change of pace, we took the 3-Cities ferry to Birgu. To get to the ferry dock, we took the 58-meter elevator from the Upper Barrack Gardens. There is no charge for taking the elevator down. There is a charge for taking the elevator back up. The senior rate for the ferry AND elevator is only EUR 0.90. The elevator alone is normally EUR 1.0. While waiting for the ferry, we enjoyed the waterfront scenes. At Birgu, we took a short walk around. Birgu is known for its steep, narrow streets and lots of stairs. We visited the Immaculate Conception Church. It was built in 1637, and narrowly escaped total destruction in WWII. When we were there, several men were doing tag team prayers using a microphone. With the praying, we tried to be discrete and did not do our normal look all around the interior.
When we returned to Valletta, we toured the Our Lady of Victories Church. It was the first church and building completed in Valletta, Malta. After this, we deserved cools drinks back at Caffee Cordina. I repeated my mango granita and Marty had a fancy ice cream. On the return to the apartment for a rest, we passed the Guards at the Grandmaster’s Palace. For dinner, we returned to Nenu the Baker for our favorite ftira, the Gozo Island pizza style. We had plenty of leftovers for breakfast the next day.
Church of St Paul’s Shipwreck (Lonely Planet)
In AD 60 St Paul was shipwrecked on Malta and brought Christianity to the population. This church has a 19th-century facade, but the interior dates from the 16th century and houses many treasures, including a dazzling gilded statue of St Paul, carved in Rome in the 1650s and carried shoulder-high through the streets of Valletta on the saint’s feast day (10 February). There’s also a golden reliquary containing some bones from the saint’s wrist, and part of the column on which he is said to have been beheaded in Rome.