The Maltese Cross

Flag of Malta
Flag of Malta (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Cross of the Knights Hospitaller, called the M...
Cross of the Knights Hospitaller, called the Maltese Cross (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The day is getting closer. It is now less than a month until I’m in Cardiff.

I was thinking the other day, of what I should take with me to remind me of Malta. Not that I will need remembering what with my parents skyping everyday!

While walking in Mdina the other night, Emanuel (the boyfriend) pointed out a lace parasol hanging out of a souvenir shop. I fell in love with it and thought it would be a nice reminder of home. Emanuel has been abroad on studies before and explained to me that all international students had something that reminded them of home.

I passed through the shop and my eyes fell on some dish cloths – terribly tacky and kitsch dish cloths mind you. But I got a glimpse of the flag – not the Maltese flag, but the KnightsHospitallers flag. This flag has a beautiful depiction of what is known as the Maltese cross. In the mid 16th century, when the Knights were in Malta, the cross (then known as the Amalfi cross) became known as the Maltese cross. The irony of coming across this symbol in Mdina is that the Knights never liked Mdina (the old capital) and built Valletta instead of it!

You might be asking why the Maltese cross flag rather than the Maltese flag. I have always fancied the Knights’ flag more than my own flag though why this is , I cannot really pinpoint! So I bought this 90×150 cm flag and it will be proudly on display in my tiny room once I take residence.

What have you taken from your home town when you travelled for long periods of time?

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Bristol – Chasing Gromit and Banksy in one day

To travel to Cardiff, I have two options.  One of them is a flight to London followed by a three hour coach trip. The other option is a low cost air flight to Bristol, followed by an hour train ride to Cardiff. I’ve tried both options and both have their pros and cons.

Just last Monday, I traveled via Bristol. Since I was only needed in Cardiff for an induction day on Wednesday, I decided to spend Tuesday in Bristol. This turned out to be fantastic because I was delayed on the flight leaving Malta by over 7 hours and therefore arrived in Bristol, and the hostel at around 3 am!

Turns out that Summer 2013 in Bristol is great. If you do have some time, a few days trip would be fantastic. The weather was fantastic, warm but not the heat of the heat wave they had a couple of weeks ago. Having only one day, I tried my best at going through the entire map. This resulted in sore feet and swollen ankles but a very satisfied Roberta.

Gromit Unleashed is happening all over with designed Gromits (over 60!) splashed all over the city. I snapped a couple of them on my walks – with the final one at the airport! It is for a great cause and at the end of the 10 weeks they will all be auctioned off! It was fun seeing the kids’ glee at finding a Gromit and the queue for the photographs!

While it was fun chasing Gromits, I was keen on finding some Banksy art. There are apps for this but I wanted to do it old-school style. I asked at the Bristol National and Art Museum and they directed me to three important ones-the man hanging outside the window on Park Street, the spray painting on the side of the Thekla (a boat) and the famous teddybear-grenade one in Stokes Croft. I didn’t make it to Stokes Croft and Gloucester Road – a trip for another time.

I loved the street art though and all the independent shops. I was so happy entering the vintage clothing/home accessories and flea markets that Primark and H&M seemed drab after them! Bristol is definitely a place I’ll visit again, if just to find the teddy bear! Seeing as I will be so close, it shouldn’t be a problem either!