Romance: Titanic, The Notebook, If Only
Horror: A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity
Action: Terminator, Die Hard, The Expendables
Comedy: The Hangover, Dumb and Dumber, The 40-year-old Virgin
If you’re a movie buff, there’s a big chance that you have already watched all of these films. And like any other movie buff out there, I bet that you also dream of having a movie-like experience: an action-packed car chase, a thrilling ghost hunt, or an indescribable love story. Don’t worry, that’s only fair. Dreams are free after all.
But as they say, your dreams can’t come true unless you wake up. And because I have the same desire as you do, I have the right solution.
Released in 2002, The Transporter is a French action thriller of a driver for hire who delivers anything for the right price. Starring Jason Statham as Frank Martin, the movie was inspired by “The Hire” series. It is part of the three instalments: the The Transporter 2, released in 2005, and The Transporter 3 released in 2008.
Just like in The Transporter, you can live like an action star and transport yourself to Malta, a group of islands situated in south of Sicily in the Mediterranean Sea. Once used as a naval base, the country obtained its freedom from the United Kingdom in 1964. Due to Malta’s immense production of honey, historical records claim that the country’s name was said to be derived from the Greek word meaning honey.
Its capital city is Valletta, found between the Grand Harbor and Marxsamxett Harbor. Also referred to as II-Belt, the metropolis was named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980. Its name was taken from Grandmaster Jean Parisot de la Valette, the city founder.
At Valletta, delight yourself with the city’s array of landmarks and waterscapes. Part the endless list is the historical Fort St. Elmo, which played an essential role during the 1565 Great Siege. Built by the valiant knights and soldiers who protected the city from the Turks, the fort is now the home of the Police Academy. After this, head to the twin citadels of St. James Cavalier and St. John Cavalier, two other fortresses constructed as an additional defense system in the city.
You can enjoy a classical performance at the Manoel Theater. Built during the 17th century, it is among the oldest theaters in Europe that are still open for public shows. If you’re looking for inspiring sceneries, bask under the sun and gaze at the picturesque view of the Grand harbour from the Upper Barrakka Gardens.
A film adaptation of E.C. Segar’s cartoon strip Popeye, this comedic musical starred Robin Williams as Popeye the Sailor Man and Shelley Duvall as Olive Oyl. The story’s plot is about a sailor who came to Sweethaven in search of his father. In his journey, he fell in love with Olive Oyl and raises Swee’Pea, an abandoned baby. His nemesis is Bluto, Olive’s suitor.
Never heard of Popeye? No need to fret as the National Library of Malta will help you. Formerly known as Bibliotheca Tanseana, the edifice is the oldest library found in Malta. It was founded in 1766 and houses an entire collection of historical accounts, from the 11th century Crusades of the Knights of St. John to Napoleon’s invasion of the island in 1798. It was also called as the Royal Malta Library in 1936 until the official name of National Library was given to it in 1976.
And if, by chance, you didn’t find the story on Popeye in the National Library, there is still another option for you. Also known as Sweethaven Village, Popeye Village is an amusement park and museum located two miles from the town of Mellieħa. Constructed as a set for the 80s movie Popeye, the area is composed of a total of nineteen wooden houses. It remains to be one of the most famous features of Malta, especially for Popeye fanatics.
Attractions here include a twenty-minute documentary video of the film adaptation (which also talks about the set’s construction) as well as various shows and plays featuring Popeye’s major characters. A boat ride around the Anchor Bay is also available for tourists. But probably the most favorite attraction is the houses, complete with the film’s props and wardrobes.
Kon-Tiki is based on a true story of Thor Heyerdahl, who wanted to prove that the South Sea Islands were initially occupied by the South Americans. The Norwegian adventurer was played by Pål Sverre Valheim Hagen. Together with his five companions, Thor spent three months at sea on board a balsawood raft. From the shores of Peru, they reached Polynesia despite the dangers of storms, sharks, and other open water perils.
Not that I’m asking you to ride a raft and discover a new island, all I’m saying is for you to spend a good time in the coast of Marsaskala. Throw on a hot bathing suit and have the tan you always wanted. Find inner peace as you lay on the beach, under the bright sun.
A seaside village in Malta, Marsaskala is also affectionately known as Wied il-Għajn or the Valley of the Spring (Weid means Valley and Għajn means spring of fresh water). Wade your way to the long narrow inlet of Marsaskala Bay. The creek is bordered by Ras iż-Żonqor in the north and Ras il-Gżira in the south.
Don’t miss the opportunity to cruise on Malta’s calm waters. The coast of Marsaskala not only offers breath-taking beaches, but also ferry rides that let you witness the area’s different seascapes.
God’s Not Dead
A film that questions our faith, God’s Not Dead is a 2014 movie directed by Harold Cronk. The plot revolves around Josh Wheaton, a student who needs to prove that God exists. Otherwise, his non-believing professor gives him a failing mark.
Make a pilgrimage to the different churches found in Malta. First among the many is the well-known Basilica of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, built between the years 1958 to 1981. The one seen today is actually a reconstruction, since the first one was damaged during the World War II. Its most striking features are the marble columns and the 17th century painting of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
The second stop is the Virgin Mary Basilica in Senglea. It is said to be built by Architect Vittorio Cassar in 1580 in honor of the country’s triumph during the Great Siege.
From Senglea, transfer to the Church of St. Teresa in Cospicua. It is constructed by the Discalced Carmelites in honour of Saint Teresa of Avila. The fourth stop is at the Collegiate Church of the Immaculate Concepcion, also located in Cospicua. Built in 1730, it was designed by Vincenzo Casanova.
The churches of St. Lawrence and St. Dominic in Birgu are also worth visiting. St. Lawrence Church houses the art pieces of Mattia Preti and Stefano Erardi. Saint Dominic Church, on the other hand, is ruled by the Domincan Order.
A mystery-thriller film that was first shown in 2009, Perfect Getaway is a story about newlyweds Cliff and Cydney who went to Hawaii for a peaceful honeymoon. Hiking in the terrains of the country, they were forced to fight for survival after coming across a group of the murderous hikers.
I’m not trying to scare you—I’m just making a point. Trekking, hiking, and spelunking are dangerous yet adrenaline-pumped activities that adventurous individuals will love. They can definitely find this in the Cottonera Lines of Malta. Cottonera consists of the three cities: Cospicua (aka Bormla), Vittoriosa (aka Birgu) and Senglea (aka L’Isla). Together, they are called the Three Cities.
Serving as Malta’s main port town, Birgu was given the title Città Vittoriosa, or ‘Victorious City’, after the success of the Great Siege. The city serves as a home to a number of maritime, mercantile, and military bases.
Cospicua, on the other hand, is the largest of the three cities. While its other name is Bormla, it is also known as Belt l-Immakulata or the City of the Immaculate, because of the city’s patrons, the Virgin Mary and Immaculate Concepcion.
Senglea’s title is Civitas Invicta, which means “Unconquered City”, because it remained unvanquished during the Siege. The city was also used as a hunting region during the time of the Knights of St. John. Due to this, Senglea was also dubbed as L’Isola di San Giuliano.
Although the Three Cities is known for the essential role the played during the country’s dark days, it is rarely obvious because their sceneries are very appealing and enchanting. Sunsets are also best seen in these regions.
Life in a movie
Dreams, wishes, whims, and desires are words that best describe our greatest aspirations in life. But, those wants will never happen unless we do something. After all, their just intangible feelings, and making them happen is really the hardest part—or maybe not.Malta is on the rescue.
Experience that rare love-at-first-sight sensation and have a windy car ride driving through all of the many villages of the country. Films are made to help us realize our yearnings. So make that movie-like journey in Malta.