Wednesday, January 31, 2007

MALTA Featured in JACK Magazine

Last November Italian travel and lifestyle Magazine JACK contacted me to write an article for them about Malta. The parameters were to write for a young, trendy and predominantly male readership. It also had to be written as a personal recount of events and my experiences in Malta. Nothing easier than that, right?! Especially if you can write about what you love and for me that's about the best place on earth ;-)
Ahhh, and after the work is done, it feels so good to see your stuff published in a magazine like JACK!
Scroll all the way down to the English version. Have fun! And by the way, HELLO and Welcome to my BLOG to ALL JACK Readers.

Here is the English Version:

Over the last few decades Malta has been going through some drastic changes and has basically transformed itself from a tranquil Mediterreanean island into a fast paced society. Today, the island buzzes with life, action and movement!
I am on my way to Valletta. The common proverb might say "all roads lead to Rome" but here in Malta, all roads literally lead to the capital city. I am looking through the thick, stale glass of the archaic bus and let the impressions flow through me. Malta's changes are evident everywhere. The towns, that once had their own specific traditions and identities, are now growing into one big urban mesh, changing as rapidly as Malta's young generation. Old and new seem to co-exist in Malta side by side, a juxtoposition of traditional values and modern 21th century lifestyle. My thoughts take me back to last nights events. Paceville must be one of the hottest spots for nightlife entertainment in Europe. Yesterday we headed to the islands party town after a summer of absence. Having spent all hot season at oudoor events, such as rave, boat and beach parties that are organised all over the island, we were excited to reconquer Paceville's clubbing scene. Our night usually starts with a few drinks at Coconut Grove. This place is in fact nothing out of the ordinary but liquor is cheap, six shooters for LM 4 (10 Euro). A huge crowd of people is accumalting right opposite us in front of the new "old" Alley. This bar was once famous for its grungy looks and live rock acts but after an refurbishment it had lost its special appeal to its most loyal followers. Now everyone was excited to witness the return of The Alley to its original roots, as it was heavily advertised by its owners. There was no way though, we would make it in there tonight with half of Malta queeing right in front of its door. We needn't worry though, Paceville is crammed up with bars and clubs: You basically fall from one venue into the next one, and thanks to an entrence free door policy you can explore and roam the town as you desire. We walked a few meters and looked up to the balconies of Sabor. The atmosphere was right on and people were dancing to the house's sound. We'd stay there until our mood would carry us on to an endlist list of other clubs with different music styles. One night, we'd go to Places for it's progressive house, trance, and techno, then we'd chill a bit at 7 Rooms until we feel like Salsa and continue our night at Fuego's. Whatever your appetize, Paceville will satisfy your cravings.
By now, it's 1.30 at night. The clubbing scene usually starts to heat up around 2 am and carries on until the earlier hours of the next morning. We have some time for another drink from PLUSH before we descend into their underground club. This would be the night's last stop. We dig their cool lounge style and dance until my legs and feet won't let me go on, no more.

I find myself back on the bus that has just arrived in Valletta. As I get up, the morning crowd pulls me right through the city's gate into its beating heart. As much as it is swarmed by thousands of shoppers, office workers and tourists in the mornings, as deserted and silent it will get at nighttime. Current efforts by the local government to revitalize Valletta's nightlife seem frutile. Special events, such as the annual wine festival at the Upper Barragka Gardens and this years Notte Bianca give stage to Malta's diversivly rich music scene. Screaming Daisy, Beangrowers, Etnika, Ira Losco – from Malta's commercial export star to rock bands, folklore groups and Jazz musicians, the Maltese are huge fans of free open air concerts. Just recently we've gone to an awesome performance of TriBali, that were rocking the house at the ruins of the old theatre. The band has a unique style, a mixture of tribal musical instruments stemming from Indian, Aboriginal and African roots with a high energy rythum that makes your body move in sync with the drum beats until you get lost in their tunes.
Valletta holds another secret highlight. In one of the sidestreets is a small well-hidden wine bar called Trabaxu that combines all the elements for success: authentic atmosphere, traditional Maltese wine and food, and good jazzie music. If you are into Mediterranean food you will devour their meat and cheese platters. They go down well with some local red wine by Delicata and Marsovin.
Todays journey, though, takes me on another 20 minutes bus ride to Sliema, which is Malta's more mondain and hipper shopping area. I meet my friend at one of the many coffee shops that are lined up parallel to the Strand promenade. From here, we not only have a great view of Valletta's impressive bastions and Sliema's harbour but we are also perfectly seated to observe what's going on at Malta's catwalk.
We plan our short trip to Gozo, Malta's sister island. In winter, the farmhouses will be a chunk cheaper to rent than in peak season, making it a viable reason to travel over to relax a bit by the pool and basking in Gozo's tranquility. The islands most poshiest and exquisite restaurant has recently launched their new champagne and we are eager to live up to its luxury. An evening at Ta Frenc Restaurant will round up a perfect weekend on the Maltese Islands, before we all have to return to our hectic lifestyles on a busy Monday morning.

By Jessica C. Moritz

Thanks to Stefano Priolo and Diego Barbera.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Blessing of the Animals

Yesterday was an incredible beautiful day. Well it was Sunday, the weather was gorgeous and The Feast of San Anton took place in Rabat, St. Augustine. Due to the almost summery weather and bright sunshine (yes I saw some people with T-Shirts hanging around) this years blessing of the animals was a great success. There were so many happy faces, from old to young, everyone was in the spirit to enjoy this special annual event. This particular Maltese feast is one of my favorites because it is relaxed but with a great atmosphere and it is for the families with children. I do not want to make this post too long because I have loads of images to share. But what was initially planned to be a small coverage of the event turned out to be a photo shoot. So many people came up to me with their cute pets, posing for the camera and so many kids were showing of their "best friend"... I just couldn't resist to keep the shutter button pressed. Hope you enjoy and if you see yourself or a friend in one of the photos please contact me on my mailer on and I will send it to you.

This is the Statue of San Anton, the patron of the animals, which is in the corner of St. Augustine Street where the feast took place.

Happy and excited kids everywhere and all kinds of pets, from dogs and cats to water turtles, birds, hamsters, and farrets (and these were the ordinary one's, keep on reading).

Look at that little puppy... he was soooo darn cute!!!

But also kids make your hearts melt. Ain't she so cute with her bunny?!

I love cats, check this fluffy one out!

I can't decide which one I adore more....

... this is really tough competition!

Doggies were just everywhere!

A gentleman with his adorable granddaughter and their pet.

OH how sweeeeet!!

Another gorgeous cat. I was going to take it home with me....

The procession. Have a look at that blue sky. The weather was just marvelous!

Traditional Maltese altar boys leading the statue.

Onlookers. Had to capture that beautiful child with her grandfather.

With dignity. Devotee carrying the heavy statue. Great expressions!

The statue will be turned and placed by the entrance to face the crowd.

The blessing of the animals can begin.

Graceful police horses. They are amazing.

Have a look at this pet! This gentleman brought his goat along. That's pretty cool!

One last shot of that super little cute girl and her doggie.

PS: Email me for more images (I haven't had time to go through all of them).