Around Wardija

The Harrison Lewis walking group is a small group of walkers in Malta, limited in size so that numbers on any walk rarely exceed the teens. They are named after the group’s founder, Harrison Lewis, who is often erroneously referred to as a former “American ambassador to Malta”. In fact he pre-dated the first formal ambassador. Until 1964 Malta had been a British possession. Malta gained full independence on September 21, 1964. The United States recognized the new nation and established full diplomatic relations on September 21, 1964, with Harrison Lewis as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim until George J Feldman presented his credentials as the United States’ first Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary on 5th October 1965. Harrison Lewis, a retired Foreign Service officer, died on December 21, 1986 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

I joined the Harrison Lewis group for a circular walk from Burmarrad via Wardija hilltop village. This was my first group walk since arriving in Malta and was very enjoyable. Everyone made me feel very welcome and the time seemed to fly by.

Walking with a group is rather different from the solo walking that I have become used to. I found myself cheerily chatting to other members of the group only to find that five minutes had gone by without me noticing anything about my surroundings!

This particular walk introduced me to an interesting rural part of Malta that I had not previously visited and I shall certainly go back there again.

A Chameleon on the Path

We met at 9:45am in the car park of Scott’s supermarket in Burmarrad and set off along the main road towards Buġibba. After a short time we turned left along a track and began a gradual climb up to the hilltop of Ġebel Għawżara, occasionally turning onto a different or occasionally leaving tracks behind and skirting the edges of fields.

In the middle of one of the tracks we found a good-sized chameleon which was very lucky not be be trodden on before someone spotted it.

Soon we reached the top of Ġebel Għawżara, with spectacular views over St Paul’s Bay. It was very interesting to see the gun emplacements, dating, I assumed, from the Second World War period.

View over St Paul's Bay

We then descended down a rough path to Wied Qannotta and up to the Wardija road.  We circumnavigated the hilltop in a clockwise direction stopping for lunch above the cliffs which lie under the Wardija Hilltop Village development of 25 apartments. The latter are built in the style of a traditional Maltese village and fit quite well into the landscape.

After lunch we passed the Castello Sultan tas-Sultan. It is known as Tas-Sultan, in remembrance of Grand Master Ramon Perellos y Roccaful for whom this was his favourite spot on the Island. Castello Sultan is one of Jaqui’s favourite houses on the Island. It is currently the private home of Count Alfred Manduca. The chapel attached to the house dates from the time of Roccaful and is dedicated to the Madonna tal-Abbandunati (Madonna of the Abandoned).

Wardija Hilltop Village

We then made our way back down to Burmarrad.

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