Malta

I will admit that this trip was a bit of a surprise on many accounts. Before my hubby booked our tickets, I hadn’t even heard of Malta. I originally thought that it was somewhere off the coast of Spain because of its name. I wasn’t too far off but what I didn’t know was it was off the southern coast of Italy, a country that once belonged to a long list of powers including: Romans, Moors, Normans, Sicilians, Spain, Knights of St. John, France, and England.

First impressions came from reading my fellow spouses who made multiple comments saying how beautiful it was there.  Once we pulled away from the airport area, however, we learned quickly that it was really a third world country that benefited greatly from affordable amenities and tourism.  We went during the off season so didn’t have that much competition.  The island had some varied views: beautiful waterfronts with rocky beaches, ports with colorful local boats as well as some less pretty sights of rundown streets, homes made of yellowish stone and brick walls that reminded me of the Middle East.
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The house we stayed in was a huge estate, more than enough to accommodate our party of 10 with air conditioning, en suite bathrooms and an in-ground pool. If we hadn’t left the house, it’d be easy to pretend that we were staying half-board at a small resort.
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Definitely the coolest traveler in our group was Maddie, the two year old daughter of our friends. She was a trooper: waited for busses in the sun, eating berries and ice cream and just fun to be around.  Watching her run around the house until her feet were dirty and just being her silly, funny self was a good memory from the trip.

Our main method of transport was the bus system. It seemed easy enough to navigate and on paper looked like a legit system. Unfortunately we had to wait around a while for some of them to show up, as our house was in between the big towns of Marsaxlokk and Valetta. Despite the wait, we only paid about 1.50€ for each trip and we even rode one line about 2 hours away to visit …
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As per the food, it was pretty delicious. The main highlight was a luxurious lunch we had at the number one restaurant on Tripadvisor in the town of Marsaxlokk called Ta’Victor. The head chef and the manager came out to greet us personally and get our orders. Our first course was different anti-Pasti which was followed by various local fish dishes that we all shared in a conveyor belt around the table manner.  We also had the local beer called: Cisk, a very pale ale but complimented our dishes very well and ice cream for dessert. IMG_4027.JPG

Another favorite memory of mine was a place called il’Kantina ta’Katarin …which was a subterranean resto/ wine bar. It being Lenten season, I tried to stick to a pescatarian diet and ordered a salmon pasta which was amazing. We also tried the local “pizza” which was called a f’tira and to our disappointment was mostly garlic bread without sauce and some lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese barely melted on top. Thankfully we made the mistake our first night there and knew not to order it again. We had a fun time unwinding from our flight and the stress of getting 10 people to the same place from different towns. It was a fun night and we really enjoyed ourselves.
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Our second day there we walked around a town called Valleta. We caught the tail end of the daily market which reminded me of the ones that we have in Bury and Mildenhall. Then we had lunch at a local place that served rabbit and local fish as well. I was of course attracted to the cute coloring and the blankets on the chairs.  It was a little windy while we were out and the warmth was definitely welcome.  After lunch we were able to walk around the historic fort and land bridge. Here’s a couple pictures of us and the Mediterranean.
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We also decided to break away from the big group to do some exploring ourselves.  The town was called: Spinola Bay and is famous as a port town.  There were lovely little row boats and local fisherman boats in the water as we walked around the center of town. I really enjoyed taking pictures that played off the water at sunset. Then, we stopped for sushi made fresh for us. It was delicious. I’m such a sucker for seafood, especially eel!!
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After our long weekend, we unfortunately had to say good bye to the sunshine and the beautiful views. Maybe we will be back in the high season to enjoy the beaches and boat rides as well.  If we do, it’ll be interesting to revisit this post and my reflections.
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Planning our next trip now which is going to be Ibiza.  We can’t seem to pull ourselves away from Spain. Barcelona and southern Spain are still on the list

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