When I first hit the States, I was intrigued by the idea of open house. Where I come from, it means that anyone can drop by – for a party. In the States, it’s when anyone who is interested in buying your house can drop by. In Malta recently, I came across an open house of a different kind. The Birgu Festival of Lights.

Birgu Festival of Lights

The city of Birgu, one of the famed Three Cities of Malta (Birgu, Isla, and Bormla – also known as Vittoriosa, Senglea, and Cospicua), hosts the Birgu Festival of Lights each year in October. Residents open their front doors and decorate their living rooms and hallways with candles as passersby stop to peek in and take photos. While it was all stunningly beautiful, I have to fess up to feeling a little like a peeping Thomasina. I couldn’t help but eye up the paintings and the valuables and wonder how many burglars were in the crowd casing these joints for a return visit. But hey, each to their own. They’re a trusting lot, the Maltese.

Birgu Festival of Lights

Birgu Festival of LightsBirgu Festival of Lights

Birgu Festival of Lights

All across the city, tens of thousands of lights hang from balconies, sit atop walls and step, illuminate windows and staircases. It’s quite amazing. Over the weekend, a mere €2 will get you entry into both the Maritime Museum and the Inquisitor’s Palace, each worth a wander (can you believe how many Inquisitors became popes?????) A big screen in one of the squares shows submissions for the Short Film Festival while stages around the city showcase local bands of all genres. A massive craft fair inside the city walls is a haven for shoppers with a backdrop of historical reenactments with old-time British redcoats firing their muskets and making sure that everyone stays awake. Various eateries, including one run by the local scouts, serve up rabbit and horse and pork and chicken along with local beer and wine. It’s a great night out – and one even worth travelling to Malta to see.

Birgu Festival of LightsBirgu Festival of Lights

A fleet of water taxis are on hand, ferrying visitors across from Valetta and at €2 per person, it’s a ride to remember. Some of mega yachts (including one supposedly owned by Bill Gates) and make you wonder just how the other half really live. Some day, Mary. Some day.

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1 reply
  1. ola66
    ola66 says:

    The festival of lights ……..how beautiful, I would never be able to drag myself away. What a wonderful idea, please use your magic to spead it to UK.
    As for Bill Gates I have spent, sadly a relatively short time, sailing as a guest on one of these executive yachts……..certainly I gained bragging rights but it felt like being in the foyer of some grand hotel, the actual sailing is done by paid sailors……….the owners might as well be sitting on a good sofa, watching tv in their living rooms. I have far more fun in my small boat with a good outboard! ……….not much room for bikini clad, bronzed ladies though and funny enough even the room that there is remains empty!

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