by Ricky Mullen
Our Lady of Victory Church
When on holiday in Mellieha Bay during July 2010, I wished to go to Mass on the Sunday I was there. Staying at the Luna Bay complex, the view from our room was straight up the hill to the most gorgeous church at the top, the Church of Our Lady of Victory.
Each morning when I got up I'd open the curtains to gaze up at the beauty of the church stood proudly atop the hillside, and at night it was silhouetted against the nightime sky guarding the land below.
That Sunday also coincided with my birthday, so early that morning I made the steep, but pleasant walk up the hill in time for 10 am mass.
I recalled a previous visit to Malta when, with our 1-year-old daughter in a pushchair, we missed the last bus from Mellieha Bay to Qawra and had to walk from the beach back up into the town - and in that heat it was quite a climb! I would imagine that the climb that day stuck in the memory of my wife and daughter as they chose not to repeat it with me.
For me though, and for anyone who doesn’t mind a steep climb, it’s a definite must. Such magnificent views take the sting out of the hike.
Outside the church there were plenty of people like me taking in the spectacular sights and sounds, and amidst it all was a solitary chameleon slowly making its way across the forecourt and up a tree! It seemed somewhat surreal to see this creature casually making its way through the throngs of worshippers whilst going about its business.
I went into the small chapel for the mass, the beautiful service set amongst an extremely picturesque interior, so peaceful and thought-provoking. The church was so beautifully decorated and such a fitting place to be on a Sunday morning.
Afterwards, I stood atop the hill taking in the brilliance of the view towards Gozo, all the way to Victoria. From there you can see for miles and miles and it took me quite some time to decide it was time to go.
Over to my left I could see Anchor Bay and Popeye Village. I’d been there the day before and it is set amongst jagged, breathtaking cliffs which are a must to see. Even on the journey back down the hill there were still many sights and sounds to fill the senses. Every so often you would have to stop a while just to take in what you saw.
Back at the complex I went on the roof and up to the poolside and from there the view up the hill made you realise how wonderful the view was. I made more than one climb up the hill during our stay in Malta, despite the ascent it was always worthwhile and a pleasure to do.
It was a truly memorable day amongst many fond memories of a wonderful holiday and one I'll always treasure.
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