Welcome to The Rock!
05.20.2015 - 05.25.2015 80 °F
Merħba lill Malta!
This. Place. Is. Awesome.
After two weeks of tracking through glaciers and over the frozen tundra of Scandinavia, this little rock in the middle of the Mediterranean was a very welcome sight!
And I say rock because this whole country is just that. In fact, the locals refer to it as "The Rock."
I was secretly hoping for Sean Connery to greet me at the airport.
Unfortunately, he did not. Nor did my luggage... *sigh*
So, my brother and I did what anyone would do in that situation: We went to the nearest beach shop, bought a swimsuit, sandals and some sunnies and headed directly for the Med.
When I say this whole place is rock, I am not kidding. There is one sand beach on the other side of the island made from sand imported from elsewhere. Otherwise, this is the beach.
They have cut interesting pools into the rocks so water can flow in and out. They actual create a very welcoming place to relax and swim.
While this was my first time to Malta, this was visit number 14 for my brother. For those of you who don't know, he used to live and work in Libya which is just a 30 minute flight south. He would visit here as often as he could both for holiday and to have his visa renewed. Over that time, he made a number of great friends who are still here today.
We were lucky enough to stay with some of those good friends, Emilie and Kris who are dating and Roxana, Emilie's Romanian roommate. While Kris is Maltese, Emilie will tell you she is more Maltese than French, even though her accent gives her away. They are all seriously some of the best people I have met in a long time. They spent the week showing us around and taking us to all of the spots that tourists wouldn't know about. It was great to live like a local.
Back to the fun in the sun!
A beautiful bay that Brandon decided to swim across so he could fatgirl at dinner. I decided not to but to fatgirl anyway. #bigisbeautiful
That form, tho!
We spent a lot of time on the rocks at a waterfront bar called Surfside. Great drinks, free wifi, horrible food. Eh, two out of three aint bad. You can see all of the sunbathers behind us. Popular spot.
One day Kris was nice enough to take us around to some of the more rocky cliffs and caves around the island.
Malta is only 122 sq miles with a population of around 450,000 making it one of the world's smallest and most densely populated countries. But it is more than just pretty coast line. It boasts a rich history of nations invading and has been under the control of the Phoenicians, Romans, Moors, Normans, Sicilians, Spanish, Knights of St. John, French and the British until it gained it's independence in 1964.
The new capital, Valetta was built in the 16th century and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The streets are beautiful and hilly.
And the walls fortifying the city are enormous.
For all of the Game of Thrones fans out there, a lot of it is filmed here. Welcome to King's Landing:
A few miscellaneous extras:
One night Brandon and I hit the casino for a little black jack. His winnings vs. my winnings...le sigh.
Brandon had to take off a day early to get back to the States so Kris drove Emilie and I around to some of his favorite spots around the country. We stopped for what were easily the best strawberries I had ever had in my life. GMO and pesticide free. Just real. Hard to believe.
Malta has easily been one of my favorite spots along my trip. Exploring it with my brother and being shown around by awesome locals made it really special. It is a long way from home, but there is no doubt that I will return.
And while I am sad that my time here is ending, I have one week left before I return to the real world.
"Hey, Ryan Air, where can I fly from here thats cheap and awesome?"
"Wanna go to Sicily for €17??"
Thanks for reading!