Msida and TA Xbiex are those neighbourhoods in Malta where most of the locals live and work – so it’s not the area where tourists are usually around. Doesn’t mean those areas haven’t nice corners too.
I lived in Msida. Right away I shall note it is among the most unattractive area when it comes to a tidy housing or clean streets. But as you may know from following my Instagram feed I’m somehow into those places wildly developed by time and life – nicely decorated by the people’s clothes for drying, different generations of cables along the facades, and the busy streets including vegetable sellers placing their products in most funny ways (like on the bonnet of a car) or elderly people sitting in front of their houses watching the street life. I would say that’s Msida.
Well-fitting to that – the small backyard farm right under the balcony of the apartment where I found my place. There was busy life going on. Gangs of cats climbing the stone walls, small rabbits chasing each other (unfortunately a delicacy in Malta), pigeons in variable formations circulating around the block and a cock crowing so penetrant and waking me up each day at 5 am. Sometimes I dreamed about twisting his neck… just kidding :-). That’s the way the small farm below my balcony looked like…
At the same time, and unfortunately somehow connected, especial around the mentioned neighbourhoods, but almost over the entire island, you will find dirt and garbage. Dirt like dog poop on the sidewalks at every other step you take and smelling trash bags placed in front of the houses (not at least because that’s the official way the rubbish gets removed). Supposedly there is no other way to deal with such mentality as many locals are quite ignorant when it comes to recycling. Perhaps a question of time to change. Too often I witnessed situations where people got rid of their trash directly on the street, like it’s the most normal thing one can do. Being careless is not only a matter of garbage; once I watched a construction worker trying to route people around a freshly cemented sidewalk. Most people followed his advice. Well… except one women with a dog throwing the evil eye and the explanation ‘I don’t care’ towards the worker. Poor dog with cement paws then… I was shocked by her rudeness, but her ‘I don’t care’ statement followed me throughout my stay, becoming a running gag for myself explaining the things I evidenced. Its just a shame – not at least because Malta is such a wonderful island!
Yes, there is unquestionable plenty of beauty too, so let’s move to the positive ;-). Back to Msida street life and my favourite places. First and foremost there is the Parish Church of Saint Joseph. A beautiful baroque building overwhelmingly decorated with hundreds (maybe thousands?) of lights. As I lived on the upper floor of a building directly behind the church I could watch the beautifully illuminated church each day from my balcony. Sometimes, when there was a public holiday or something special to celebrate, and as I mentioned in my post ‘Valletta and the Three Cities’ this happened too often, they transformed the church into a monument of light. Actually, I’m not that much into kitsch, but when it comes to lights I really like it. Just reminding those summer nights on the balcony with a glass of wine and watching the church – was a great time.
When I was walking to work I crossed the Msida Yacht Marina. There is nothing like watching the sunrise over a harbour with hundreds of small sailing yachts and colourfully painted fisher boats right before work – definitely made my day. Same scenario when on my way back home… of course with a dramatic sunset then. Just the right time for hanging around with an ice cream…
When walking along the Yacht Marina in Msida you will directly pass by Ta Xbiex – which took me ages to pronounce. This area starts where the harbour ends and you get to see the sea and the impressing city of Valletta in the background.
There are lots of nice restaurants directly at the sea/harbour – or even better, you can bring your own food and drinks and have a barbecue directly on the seashore. The way of living is one thing I really appreciated about the Maltese people – there is nothing you can’t do. No one getting upset because of loud music or a bbq – great lifestyle! Even though this is not the area with the sandy beaches, it is more than good for cooling-down after work or for a night swim. By the way, if you are into architecture, Ta Xbiex is also the place where most of the embassies are located – nice buildings worth a visit.
My résumé, when in Malta, it’s worth getting a glimpse of the Parish Church of Saint Joseph (especially at night), overwhelmingly shiny during holidays, surrounded by the lively, lovely, and worn-out Msida. Just grab an ice cream and enjoy the scene from the Yacht Marina side.
Cheers with sunbeams.