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The Amazing Fishing Boats of Marsaxlokk

As it was our second time in Malta, Jim and I were well aware that we did not want to stay in one of the resorts around St. Julian.  Yes, that’s where the night life is centered.  Yes, you can get to the beach and work on your tan, but that’s not what we wanted.  We wanted to stay in the quiet, picturesque town of Marsaxlokk, which pretty much shuts down after dinner.  I like that.

Marsaxlokk

Marsaxlokk means “Southeasterly Port,” and it has been in constant use for thousands of years; primarily as a fishing port, but also as a strategic defensive point against a variety of invaders including the Ottomans during the siege of Malta in 1565. Today, it is a lunchtime tourist spot.  A short bus ride from anywhere on the island, visitors come to gawk at the pretty harbor and colorful boats as well as feast on the Med’s bounty.  Fish restaurants abound along the waterfront offering everything from the local fish called “lampuki” to some regulars like squid, octopus, swordfish, and tuna.

Marsaxlokk

We did this the first time we went to Malta and left feeling disappointed.  It was one of my favorite stops, yet we didn’t spend near enough time there.   We were intent on finding accommodation in this town away from the throngs of tourists and partiers on other parts of the island.  It was the right choice.

Marsaxlokk

We arrived at night in a huge rainstorm.  Our windows rattled and we looked out of the balcony to the moored boats rocking on the tumultuous waves.  In the morning, we walked all around the waterfront, and the only other people there were the fisherman who live on some of the larger vessels.  The sunrise brought with it streaks of pink and orange, which just enhanced the traditional colors of the luzzus, what the Maltese call their boats.

Marsaxlokk

These fishing boats were brought over with the Phoenicians around 1200 BC.  You can tell a luzzu from other varieties, because it is pointed on the front and back of the hull,  and they are traditionally painted in the primary colors of yellow, blue, and red.  The one characteristic which endears them to tourists is that on both sides of the prow are painted a pair of eyes.  These are called the ‘Eye of Osiris” which is of Greek or Phoenician origin.

Marsaxlokk

It is said that, like many fisherman all over the world, the Maltese can be very superstitious.  The eye has been there for centuries protecting them from the evils of the sea, but the fisherman don’t stop there.  They also keep the exact same paint pattern that has been passed down from grandfather, to father, to son, and just to cover all their bases will also have a crucifix attached to the inside of the prow as well.  One can never be too safe!

Marsaxlokk

We just love this little town and we were happy to find the perfect accommodation as well.  We stayed at the Portview Inn, and I would highly recommend it if you are looking for a quiet holiday away from the parties.

Marsaxlokk

Have you been to Marsaxlokk and seen the beautiful luzzus?

Marsaxlokk

Deniz

Sunday 1st of June 2014

Lovely! I like the idea of being somewhere quieter too. Thanks for sharing these photos with us!

Corinne Vail

Sunday 1st of June 2014

Deniz, It's really a gorgeous spot. I love Malta!

eileen @ familiesgo!

Tuesday 27th of May 2014

very fun photos! I always love stories that take you off the beach part of beach destinations and show you the local culture.

Corinne Vail

Tuesday 27th of May 2014

Eileen, I do too! Malta has so much more to do than just beaches, but the beaches are gorgeous as well! It's a great all-around holiday!

Michele {Malaysian Meanders}

Saturday 24th of May 2014

I like how colorful the luzzas are and how they stand out against the backdrop of beige buildings behind them. The clouds lend a certain brooding element to the scene. The Eye of Osiris tradition is so interesting. I like that they're keeping on the lookout for the boaters.

Corinne Vail

Monday 26th of May 2014

Michele, It's a great tradition, and really it was the luzzus that drew us to stay in Marsaxlokk. It was perfect!

jan

Friday 23rd of May 2014

I really enjoyed these photos. Boats and Marinas are my thing so they hit home. The Ottomans got around didn't they?

Corinne Vail

Friday 23rd of May 2014

Jan, Those Ottomans sure did get around. Malta was such a mix of cultures; there are still a few old mosques around. The luzzus are gorgeous!

Phoebe @ Lou Messugo

Thursday 22nd of May 2014

Those boats are so picturesque, I can see why you wanted to spend time there. The skies are so dramatic, and your 4th photo is just stunning. I've never been to Malta but would love to go.

Corinne Vail

Friday 23rd of May 2014

Thanks Phoebe. You really should spend some time there, it is an amazing place. One week would be more than enough time!