I arrived in Malta on a Tuesday morning, very early on a Tuesday morning I had flown from Athens to Malta with Miss G and Miss T. It was an interesting flight, I have never traveled with people who are actually scared of flying. Oh well I slept through most of it as usual.
My first impression of Malta as we speed along in a taxi was that it smelt like horses. Lots of horses, like this was where the horses of the world were breed then sent out from. It hasn’t smelt that strongly of horses since that night but I have seen horses swimming in the ocean.
I think we slept in the next morning I am no longer sure of days and events and what not. All I know is that I have seen a fair bit of Malta. It’s an interesting place with the cities being extremely old and influenced by so many different cultures French, English, Turkish, Italian the list goes on. I think everyone has tried and normally successfully invaded this tiny nation at some point. We were lucky enough to be staying with my friend the Giraffe, the Giraffe’s sister (the sloth) and her friend (I haven’t come up with a name yet) so with the extra 3 people in the apartment it was a tiny bit squashed but not to stressful. I have been treating Malta like a holiday in the middle of my adventure, my chance to get my health back on track, slow down and generally prepare for the next month in Italy and finally settling down in Berlin as I am definitely not ready to come home yet. Sorry Melbourne I love and miss you but there is so much more to see and do before I come back.
As I was saying Malta is an interesting place the capital city Valletta is a beautiful old fortified city with limestone buildings that tower above you and are baked in the mediterranean sun to a golden colour they have wooden closed in balconies painted blue, green or red making it feel quiet French. Most of the older cities are like this whilst the ‘newer’ areas are more hotels and apartment blocks spaced out with English pubs. Malta becomes over run with the English during summer and well thy aren’t the nice English its the only way is Essex type English. I keep getting confused for being English as apparently my accent isn’t very strong for and Australian. This I am not sure I should be proud of or not. Plus I do have the complexion of the English and I didn’t help matters by getting extremely sunburnt on day, okay two days whilst being here. Back to Valletta, it had one of the most amazing churches I have ever seen it was St Paul’s shipwreck church, you walk through a door with not much going on and a sign saying come in its worth it to an extremely dark room lined with wooden cabinets. You wander through a door at the back and BAM! There is a giant ornate church soaring into the sky’s, covered in gold an onyx and to boot they have St. Paul’s wrist bone and the skull of one other dead religious person. It’s a crazy cool place the sign didn’t lie, totally worth it. To back up a little bit according to history and what not, St. Paul became shipwrecked in Malta on the way to Rome and stayed here for 3 months. The grotto where he stayed is in Mdina but the whole nation seems pretty into this whole having had an apostle live here thing and Popes have visited the Maltese people are very religious and there are churches every where so it can get over wheeling but I strongly suggest a visit to the shipwreck one.
During my time here I have visited Mdina twice. It’s called the silent city and yep it’s a pretty quiet place. Apparently it was called this as people had to be quiet so no one would know it was there, so it couldn’t get attacked. Logical, I guess… I really enjoyed wandering around here in the near empty streets just loosing myself in the city. My second visit was to go to St. Agatha’s Crypt as I have a thing for catacombs and seeing the bones of people who have been dead hundreds of years, maybe thousands and the murals on the walls are brilliant. On this visit I also went to the Cathedral museum, the cathedral and an exhibition on rosary beads. Who knew there could be an exhibition on rosary beads, interesting actually. So they were really my cultural efforts on main land Malta the rest of the time has been beaches, beaches, shopping and going to the gym. I am going to miss the gym a lot. I forgot how much I enjoy working out and eating right. I think I might have slimed down a bit whilst being here and regained some fitness I now just need to keep it up through out Italy.
The beaches in Malta are varied some have sand and some are just rocky out crops that have stairs into the water but a beach is never far. I have visited Paradise, Bugibba and Mellieha beaches but the most stunning, most breath taking was the Blue Lagoon on the island of Comino. Crystal blue waters, contrasted against stark cliff faces the only downside is all the people. We got there early and got front row seats AKA on the waters edge and stayed for most of the day well until I realized I was burnt to a crisp as we didn’t have an umbrella. I loved it there though the water was just so damn blue.
My time in Malta wouldn’t have been complete without a trip o the other island Gozo. So I jumped on a ferry and went on over to see everything I wanted to see I needed to do a hop on hop off bus tour. I had never done one before and pretty sure I won’t do one again but it was my only option. I could have spent a couple of days on Gozo but I only had the one and I got to see the Ggantija Temples, thought to be the oldest free standing structures in the world, they were pretty cool but not as large as I thought they would be, could have used some more detail about them. Also visited some amazing cost line in Dwejra making me wish I had my bathers so I could swim at the Azure window and also at the beach bellow the fabled Calypso’s Cave in Ramla Bay. I finished off with a walk around Victoria again an old fortified city with winding streets and a citadel from which I could see most of Gozo.
My time in Malta has been relaxing (apart from the trip to the dentist, that’s another story) and I have spent many days shopping or just doing nothing more than going to the gym and watching TV I needed a break I was exhausted from moving around as let’s face it I didn’t do much in the Greek Islands. I feel though that my body has thanked me for it as has my soul. So now I am relaxed and ready to for the next part of my adventure. ITALY, I can’t wait.