The time we jumped off a bus in Malta

You can see a grey brown shaped dome (from the outside) and in this particular photograph three of its windows  (shaped like inverted Us are seen). You can also see the bell in a little tower like structure.

“Quick! Let’s get off right here,” my usually soft-spoken husband was excited, almost elbowing me to get to the door.

We were in a Malta Public Transport bus, headed to Ċirkewwa.

Suddenly, I found myself on the street as our bus leisurely made its way through the traffic.

It was Easter, and right behind me, there was a chaotic queue – people in festive clothes were swarming a local bakery.

But my husband stood there transfixed. I followed his gaze. A beautiful, magnificent dome dominated the landscape, rising over the crowds, shops and Easter stalls.

“What is that?,” my husband asked.

I fished out my phone. We had alighted at Mosta, and this seemed to be the Mosta Dome.

We made our way to the structure, looking quite out of place in our denims and T-shirts as almost everyone from grandparents to children in strollers and their parents were dressed in formal wear.

We made it to the portico and paused to take in the six columns and the two bell towers flanking them. But it was when we stepped inside that I felt like Alice in Wonderland.

Or perhaps I had consumed magic mushroom? The interior of the dome was spectacular, coming alive in a beautiful gold, white and blue. As I stood wide-eyed and open mouthed, a man who must be in his sixties came to me.

He pointed at a board and smiled. “Miraklu. Miracle.”

Apparently in 1942, a German bomb had pierced through the ceiling and smashed a hole into the floor below. About 300 worshippers were in the church at that time, and no one was hurt. The bomb failed to detonate.

We saw its replica displayed in the sacristy.

Grinning, my husband turned to me: “Aren’t you glad we just jumped off the bus?”

Yes, I laughed. “But I am hungry now and we won’t make it to Gozo in time for lunch.”

“We should simply follow the locals. They seem to be making a beeline for the market outside.”

We ended up with brown paper bags filled with Easter delicacies that we had never tried before – Apostle’s Ring Bread (a soft bread covered with sesame seeds and almonds), almond brittle, a Maltese pastry stuffed with a marzipan-like filling known locally as Figolla, fig and coconut filled biscuits.

Munching through the biscuits, I said, “But surely, we need something hot and savoury?”

It was then that we remembered the bakery near the bus stop. We joined the festive, pulsating crowd and bought two traditional pastizzis filled with ricotta cheese and mushy curried peas, a slice of Timpana (a baked pasta dish with a macaroni filling) and then, feeling quite adventurous, a slice of octopus pie!

Happy with our purchases, we boarded a bus. It was crowded with locals and tourists. We stood in the aisle, beaming smiles at everyone, our paper bags letting out a waft of delicious fragrances.

Sometimes, alighting off buses, on an impulse and a whim may give way to beautiful experiences. You just have to take the leap.

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