A Maltese Getaway

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An overview of Malta

  • Malta is comprised of 3 islands: Malta, Gozo and Comino. During this trip we only stayed and visited Malta itself. 
  • The islands is ridiculously tiny. After 2 days of exploring we felt like we had seen most of what it had to offer. 
  • Further to my previous point, had we woken up really early we would have probably been able to fit every single sight there was to see on Malta itself in one day. But we're not early risers, so instead we managed to 'only' fit 3 cities in one day without even rushing. Seriously it is THAT small. 
  • The whole island seems to be in various states of decay and desertion. The latter may be due to the fact that we visited well out of the tourist season in December, but I'm not quite sure about the former. Though on the whole it is a beautiful place and you can feel the history seeping through every wobbling stone, both Nessa and I couldn't help but feel an eerie sense of doom almost. Like the one you have at the opening of a horror movie that is set in some remote small town where all the inhabitants know of some horrific death inducing secrets that the new incomers are yet to discover. Yeah... 
  • Maltese food is basically Italian & Sicilian. I said it! 
  • The windows on the old houses are very peculiar. I have personally never seen any of the kind anywhere else in the word. They are called gallerijas apparently. Scroll further down for some pictures. 
  • If you like beautifully decorated and massive doors, then Malta should definitely be on your todo list. 
  • The highlight of our trip was most certainly the cute and quaint little fishing village of Marsaxlokk. It is a very hard to pronounce name for a town that only has 5 streets of which only one hosts everything there is to see there. 
  • Everything is dirt cheap. 
  • There a good public transport links, that being said, beware of the bus drivers. They tend to do as they please and not stop if they don't feel like it. We've seen several instances while on 3 separate buses, of drivers ignoring people at a stop and just continuing their route. They would only stop if someone requested a stop from inside the bus. The rides also tend to be more rocky than a rollercoaster. 
  • Malta is the European capital of culture for 2018. You know what the means; loads of very funky arty stuff will be happening all over the islands during this year. Might be worth checking out.   

Check out visitmalta.com for more info on Malta, Gozo and Comino.

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Our hotel in 

St. Pauls Bay 

Seen as we live in different countries, I travelled in first from London and checked into our hotel while Nessa joined me later in the evening flying in from Brussels. This worked out perfectly because I like to nap when I first arrive at a new destination. 
Nessa arrived a couple of hours later and we spent the evening at the hotel bar, downing SUPER CHEAP happy hour cocktails surrounded by British retirees wintering in Malta.
We were by at least 30years the youngest people around.  

 

 

DAY 1 - A tour of three cities

The next day we hoped on a bus that took us from our hotel doorstep straight to the charming walled city of Mdina, where some scenes of Games of Thrones were filmed. 
Mdina is ti.ny.! We walked around it all in about 2 hours, maybe even less, then crossed the road to visit nearby Rabat, which I I kid you not is just across the road. As in on the left side  of the road is Mdina, on the right side of the road is Rabat. 

Up to this point the whole island seems like a ghost town to us. There were very few visitors around and even fewer locals. We felt like we had the entire place to ourselves and proceeded to take over 3000 pictures between the two of us as we were left undisturbed practically everywhere. Girls just wanna have fun and taken pictures eh… 

We had lunch at a cute Italian restaurant in Rabat, where we ended up being the only customers. That's how empty and deserted the town was. The food was rather nice and we ended up having a nice chat with the owners. They even treated us to wine on the house.  

After lunch we hopped on another bus that took us straight to Valetta, the capital of Malta. The contrast; it seemed all the living souls on the island had been hiding there. Valetta was vibrant and full of life, but still in a decaying decor. 

Having already visited two cities in one morning, we were pretty knackered by the time we arrived in Valetta. It took us nevertheless less than 2 hours to walk it up down and side to side. The fact that we arrived just as golden hour hit the harbour made for another bajillion picture opportunities for two already trigger happy girls. 

Come dinner time, the original place we wanted to dine at, located by the port but was closed when we got there around 6pm. By the time we trekked all the way back up to town (not such a long distance but hills and fatigue…), we realised that the restaurant wasn’t in fact closed for the day but our hungry starving selves just showed up too early. Restaurants in Malta close after lunch and don't reopen until 7pm. 

We had to kill an hour and had no choice but to do some shopping. I bought a hat, I've been wearing it everywhere ever since. Someone should come and take it away from me before it melts into my head. 

7pm hits, an hour has been added to our fatigue and the thought of braving that hill again all the way down to the pier just didn’t seem all that worth it. We’re lazy girls who will always pick comfort and convenience over anything else. 

We found this place instead. It hosted a jazz night that particular evening and we were swayed by the hot chef in front of the door taking the last puffs of his cigarette before the start of his shift. Sold!  

We ended up having a very tasty dinner in the basement of the restaurant with a live jazz soundtrack and a prime view on the hot chef who we could see prepare our food through the open kitchen. A three course meal and two bottles of wine later, we left happy satiated and ready to crash into bed. It was 9pm. 

We’re old OK? Long gone are the days when we used to stay up all night raving and partaking in questionable activities in strange places. These days, we rave on the couch in comfy fleece wear, a giant glass of wine or 10 in hand, and we do questionable things in the comfort of our home or a safe hotel room where we don’t need to worry about how to get home after. That’s called Growth.💁🏾  

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1. Mdina 

A hilltop medieval walled city featured in Game of Thrones and packed with the historic mansions of Maltese nobility

We had the entire place to ourselves and toured the city in less than 2 hours. 

Recognise this gate from 'Game of Thrones'? 

 
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2. Rabat

A ghost town with more catacombs and dead bodies than live ones, and so so so quiet. 

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3. Valetta

The capital city and the liveliest one of the three. Seems like this was the place the whole island had been hiding all along. 

DAY 2 - A Colourful fishing town

Having been in bed by 10pm, we still had a hard time waking up the last day, due in full to the 2 bottles of wine we downed at dinner the previous night. We did make it to breakfast at the last minute and managed to check out in time. Yay us!   

We booked a taxi, which drove us straight to the quaint town of Marsaxlokk, further referred to as Marsa from this point forward. Now I kid you not when I tell you that this town is as big as a handkerchief. 

There are five streets, one square with 1 church, one market and a whole lot of seafood restaurants lining the one street that starts and somehow ends at the same square. But boy, is it a charming 5 streets and 1 church. The marina, aka main street where it all happens, is filled with fishing boats each more colourful than the next.

We were lucky to have visited on a Sunday, as this is the weekly market day in town and when the whole 5 streets (technically just the one really) are at their liveliest. 

We killed the 3 hours before our flights home the best way we know how, eating freshly caught seafood and downing glass after glass of cold Maltese white wine. Our first trip together in 15 years couldn't have ended on a better note. Good food, nice wine a stunning view and the best company imaginable. 

Special shoutout to our waiter at Filippo for making sure our glasses were never empty and only charging us for half of what we actually consumed. 

Proper well fed and full on drunk, it was time to part ways again. Back to London for me and Brussels for Nessa. Until our next trip later this year, where we’ll most likely descend upon Montenegro with all the fury of two millennials with a self imposed 10pm curfew. ✌🏾

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Marsaxlokk

A quaint fishing village with 5 streets and a sea of colourful fishing boats. 

TravelElla ParadisEurope, Malta