Malta in the Rear View Mirror

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_bcc6Pictured above are our friends Todd, Tania, some of their Maltese family and our new-found friends. They were very generous with their time and hospitality. We spent ten days in Malta, the longest we’ve stayed anywhere overseas other than our Scotland wedding trip. We chose to stay here that long in order to spend some quality time with Todd and Tania, who were visiting Tania’s Maltese family in Zurrieq. Ten days here seemed questionable at the time we booked, but in retrospect we’re glad we did. Thanks to Josette, Tania’s sister and wannabe/should be tour guide, we saw parts of Malta and Gozo that we would never have otherwise. It was great.

As we leave, here are some random observations about Malta and Valetta:

  • We knew it would be hot in both Sicily and Malta, and unfortunately we were right. Including our time in KY, twenty-one days of sweaty clothes isn’t something I care to repeat. Heat now bothers both of us more than when we were younger, and this was a stern test.

  • I’ve ridden more buses in the last ten days than in my entire life. The buses cover Malta like locusts – they’re everywhere. We rode the bus an average of about 2 hours each day. Cheap way to get around, but requires a lot of patience.

  • Maltese people are very generous and polite. Even driving the narrow twisty roads they willingly make room for each other.

  • The August/September religious feasts (festivals?) are unique and amazing. I’ve never see such civic pride. Everyone turns out, everyone celebrates for days. Our pictures of the Santa Caterina feast at Zurrieq show how fun and crazy it all is. Mardi Gras has nothing on these folks.

 

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  • It’s weirdly hard to find a good bottle of wine in Maltese restaurants – at least in the 10-12 restaurants we tried. It’s hard to explain in this part of the world. But Malta seems to be more of a beer culture than a wine one.

  • Stones and stone walls are my most memorable feature of Malta. They’re everywhere, walls upon walls, each defining a small plot of land. The amount of work required over the centuries to unearth and stack all those rocks is hard to imagine.

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  • Malta, Valetta in particular, is more beautiful at night. The city and major building lighting is dramatic. I hope you can see some of that in the pictures.

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  • In Valetta there’s music on every corner, every evening. Sometimes an orchestra, sometimes a solo artist, sometimes a band. It’s wonderful.

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  • If our Maltese friends are any indication, they LOVE the water. Makes sense with the heat and the beautiful beaches and coves. And swimming here is pretty easy – the extremely salty Mediterranean water floats you like a cork.

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All in all, we loved our time on Malta. I’ll add it to my list of favorite European destinations – I could easily see us return to Valetta for a 3-4 day visit in conjunction with a France or Spain trip.

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