Thursday, February 9, 2012

Walled Up or Wide Open?


When we were filming in Malta I remarked to our Director about how there are so many rocky walls in Malta it's difficult to see what a lot of the island actually looks like. It's a big change from Canada (and as the Director reminded me, from America too) where we are spoiled with wide open spaces.

Our Director, who is from the UK, told me that it's kind of like that all over Europe - everything is walled and enclosed. I had never really thought of it before, but she's right. And behind each wall there's a story.

I particularly love the rubble walls, or hajt tas-sejjieh, in Malta (pictured). They aren't made with mortar or cement, so their strength and durability relies solely on the extremely skilled placing of stones. Some of these walls date back half a millennia, and speak of the Sicilian and Arabic nature of Malta's heritage. Their construction might even be considered an art form, and the skill required to build them has been handed down from generation to generation. Imagine the stories, all from a mere rubble wall.

While Malta's walls restrict its open vistas, to me there's nothing quite as magical as peering over one of those walls and discovering a field of wildflowers, a vinyard, a tumbled down palazzo, or a centuries old girna.

So, what do you prefer: wide open vistas or walled up countryside?

 - Jess

p.s. And more importantly, how strange is it that I think this much about walls?

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