Strolling the narrow streets of Malta
gives you a little flavor of the local life.
Stone facades carefully preserved
and protruding balconies of many colors accent the narrow passageways.
Doors open to busy lives
and hide secrets of the Maltese world.
Little things like a British post box pillar dot the cityscape and remind you that Malta was under British rule for many years in the past century.
Baroque architecture is rampant throughout the island and amazes you with its ornamentation.
And yet, one of the most precious treasures of the island can be found behind this rather plain facade of the St. John's Co-Cathedral.
Once inside though, your jaw is likely to drop as you try to take in the elaborate decor of this church
which was built in the Baroque style by the Knights Hospitaller of St. John, also known as the Knights of Malta,
during the years 1573-1578 as a place for their worship.
The Knights, of course, were noblemen, whose mission was to protect the Catholic faith from the attacks of the Ottoman Turks.
There are 8 beautiful side chapels representing the 8 langues, or regions of the Knights.
The Knights were anxious to rival the great churches of Rome,
and that is why this is such a treasure house of rich Maltese baroque ornamentation.
Pervasive throughout the elaborate decoration is the symbol of the Maltese cross with 8 points, representing once again the 8 langues or regions from which the Knights of Malta originated.
Most of us came away with some form of the Maltese cross as a momento of our unique adventure,
as well as memories of an island and a slice of the world that we will always cherish.