Notte Bianca came and went. The public saw and conquered. Lessons were learnt and fun was had. Those of you expecting an ‘oh woe is us the organisation sucked’ kind of post will be disappointed. As far as I’m concerned it was a job well done, the kind that deserves a pat on the back or three. This is what I learnt throughout the course of the night.
1. No matter how many museums are open, people will gravitate towards the hot dog stand. Or the Chinese buffet. Or the nutella muffins. To the nearest food outlet available, just in case you didn’t get me first time round.
Don’t get me wrong, the cultural and music events were well-patronised, but nowhere near as well-patronised as the food stalls. If last Saturday is anything to go by, high-cholesterol and diabetes are guaranteed to be our lot in a couple of years’ time.
2. Even if there isn’t a problem we will somehow manage to create one. I had just managed to stroll down Republic Street with comparative ease when I stopped to get myself an ice-cream (Blush. Guilty as charged and so on and so forth). Topic du jour in the queue? The “fact” that the crowds were impossible to navigate and it took at least 30 minutes for people to get through the former City Gate. Oh…and that “they” should be ashamed of themselves for not organising a smoother event. Bollocks, says I. The organisation side of things was nifty and it took me less than five minutes to walk through the entrance to Valletta.
3. We are genetically programmed to never shut the freak up. No matter how interesting the topic under discussion, or how knowledgeable the person delivering the talk, or how inappropriate the circumstances for a casual chat, or how many people are shushing us. When I say “us”, of course, I mean “you”. Because I wasn’t the one having a nice chit-chat with my daughter while other people were trying to follow a World War II documentary.
- Accessing locations that are usually closed to the public – the Lascaris war rooms, the shelters at Casa Rocca Piccola, the shelters under Castille, the Chinese Embassy…Making like a tourist can be fun
- Going 200 feet under ground level to the shelters where the British cooked up their WWII strategy.
- Having a drink at Oliver Reed’s last pub in Archbishop Street.
- Eating ftira with majjal and patata l-forn (bread topped with roast pork & potatoes) at Dimitri, my favourite lunchtime haunt during office hours.
- Simply being inside the grand salon at the Museum of Archeology.
- Seeing people who wouldn’t usually bother with art exhibitions taking it all in – and enjoying it.
- Experiencing a capital city that was buzzing with people. You know, like we’re used to seeing in other countries…
- Realising that yes, we can keep an orderly queue. Something that I’d never thought I’d see.
- The impromptu busking at random points in the city.
- The 2 Moak coffee points that looked oh-so-cute and served oh-so-yummy coffee.
- The chill zone at Malta Design Week, the old University Building.
My 2 cents’ worth of suggestions? Stretch the whole shebang out over a whole week, make it our very own Fringe Festival. As we’ve seen, the demand is there. The facilities, the attractions and the potential events are there too. All we need to do it take the plunge and have some faith.