Monday, April 2, 2012

The Freedom Day Regatta in Malta

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Without further ado...

Last weekend we had a public holiday in Malta, Freedom Day, which commemorates the withdrawal of British troops and the Royal Navy from Malta. This is no small piece of history, as on March 31st, 1979 for the first time in three millennia Malta was no longer a military base of a foreign power.

Every year a regatta is held in the Grand Harbour as part of Freedom Day celebrations. We wandered over to watch the regatta last Saturday afternoon and were met with techno music, cheering crowds, Maltese style food vans, and a breathtaking view.

This was the first time we had seen boat races where the rowers stood up in the boats gondola-style. This really allowed them to put their full body strength into rowing, it was a site to be seen. I love those boats, how fantastic are their colours and shapes? The rowers were real characters too!

the fortified city of birgu, decorated with flags in honour of the regatta

each boat sported the colours of a city in the grand harbour area - bormla, kalkara, birgu, marsa, etc.
there was some real village rivalry going on!

the boats were entering the home stretch (far right) and excitement was building...

a winner! bormla!

i love that similar shaped boats have sailed the mediterranean for thousands and thousands of years. seeing them on the grand harbour is like watching a little piece of history live on.

beautiful boats. gorgeous views.  an action packed event. sunshine. what more could you ask for?
happy freedom day!


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