Upper Barrakka Gardens

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I stumbled upon the gardens in Valletta by accident whilst in search of a Public Convenience after taking the lift from the Valletta waterfront! What a delightful surprise. The gardens were on my "must visit" list but, as I was aware they contained a cannon that fired a salute at midday, and it was late afternoon, I had decided to save my visit for later in my holiday.

Striding off towards the Sliema Ferry terminal on the opposite side of Valletta, I was enjoying the peaceful pathways and, pausing to admire the flower beds and fountain, found myself drawn to a row of people looking over a wall to the terrace below. I found a space and primed my camera on the smart, uniformed gentleman below just in time to capture the 4.00 pm salute being fired – managing to press my camera shutter a nano-second before shooting at least a foot in the air with surprise at the volume of the bang! Once my heartbeat had subsided, I was able to focus my attention on the stunning views across the harbour to the Three Cities of Vittoriosa, Senglea and Cospicua; and the towering Fort St Angelo.

I discovered later that for 2 euros it is possible to gain entry to the Saluting Battery itself for a ringside view of the salute and to hear a fascinating and informative commentary. I was not able to return as there were so many other places I wanted to visit on this lovely little Island but will certainly plan a longer visit to the gardens and the Saluting Battery when I return to Malta.

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