Monday, September 3, 2012

St. Julian's Festa & The Greasy Pole Game

In August we went to the festa in St. Julian's to see il-ġostra: the greasy pole game. It's a bit of Maltese folklore  that we had always heard about but never witnessed in person. During the greasy pole game a wooden beam is attached to a pier or a boat at a 45 degree angle and is extended over the sea. Flags are attached to the pole, which is then greased. The aim of the game is to run to the end of the pole and grab the flag, but it's no easy feat!

We arrived as spectators, but Mike left a participant. I think he was the only foreigner (and the tallest and least tanned guy) to participate. It turns out there is quite a bit of skill involved, so he didn't make it far. Maybe next year!

We had dinner at Gululu afterwards. It's my new favourite traditional-meets-contemporary Maltese restaurant on the island. Located in pretty Spinola Bay, the food and the service are superb, and the prices are right. Plus, the wait staff are very forgiving when you butcher the pronunciation of the Maltese menu items. I had insalata mhawra and Mike had bebbux ir-rikotta - say that ten times fast (hint: x's are pronounced as 'sh's!)

- Jess

p.s. We're in Avignon, France today - anything we absolutely cannot miss while visiting?

spinola bay, st. julian's

practice runs on the greasy pole in spinola bay, before it was greased and the official games began

(he didn't make it to the end - next time!)

mike snuck in and gave it a go
greasy pole spectators, spinola bay, st. julian's

spinola bay

preparing the greasy pole by attaching flags - if you can run to the end of the pole and grab one, you're a winner!

applying grease to the greasy pole. the pole is called 'il-ġostra' in maltese.
the greasy pole game in spinola bay, st. julian's

luzzus in spinola bay, st. julian's

spinola bay, st. julian's

spinola bay and the LOVE monument decorated for the st. julian's festa

we love this teeny tiny pirate boat - perfect for commuting to school, i'm thinking.

the LOVE monument and fishing boats in spinola bay, st. julian's


  1. Looks like fun! But also actually looks really hard even without the grease! Mike's a good sport for having a go :) Hope your enjoying Avignon, can't wait to hear all about your trip!


    1. Thanks! He is, you couldn't have paid me to do it.

      We loved Avignon :)

  2. The water there is so spectacular! You're going to LOVE Avignon. I was there this past November and didn't want to leave. Buy some lavender!!!

    1. I actually read your comment while in Avignon, and I had noticed everyone walked around with flowers. I didn't realize they were lavender :) Thanks!

  3. these pictures are stunning. I want to hop on a plane right now!


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