Escaping to Malta - A journey to the Island with some friends
May seems to be a bit of a hectic one for me and I am not saying this as a bad thing. I have been waiting for this trip since my Birthday and I have to say this - one of the best presents I’ve had in a while. My friends definitely know how to spoil me and they do it so well. Honestly, this journey took the best of me. I have never suffered so much damage - blisters on my feet (not the standard ones, one of them was as big as a small ice cube), skin got dirtier due to the vast amount of dust, lost half of my right eyebrow (mostly my fault). Regardless of all the sacrifice, I felt like this adventure lasted more than three nights, we had seen and done so much, it was almost unbelievable. Now let me give you some details on each day.
Day #1 - Marsaskala and Valletta
The trip from Malta International Airport to our flat in Marsaskala wasn’t longer than an hour or so. We had the chance to look at some amazing rural areas between this ever-changing territory. On every trip I go, I’ve always hated the journey to my accommodation. Having to travel again after 3 hours on the plane and 40 mins in a taxi wasn’t something that helped me get excited - but it had to be done. Luckily, the bus wasn’t so far away from the Arrivals exit and we hoped onto one with as little as 10 minutes wait. I’ve always loved public transport as this is a doorway to the country’s core essence - streets, people, architecture and day to day events happening around you. Gives me such a quick introduction and visuals, colours and patterns I can consider for when I am ready to photograph. Always, I was really surprised to see the mixture of Arabic, Greek and Italian Heritage - it has definitely taken me by surprise. All excited we arrived at our beautiful flat, unpacked and hit off the road. We did make some plans but after a short lunch break (great pizzas by the way!).
After the short bus ride to the capital, I was mind blown and ready to take the city by storm. Everything was so new and exciting, everywhere you turn there is something new to see and photograph. This is one of those journeys, that I wish I have taken my camera with me but fortunately, my new Samsung Note 9 did a marvellous job capturing the shapes and colours of everything I was witnessing. The city of Valletta is very beautiful as it is so diverse in architecture, combining heritage cites and modern buildings for shops and retailers. Walking around has given me a sense of the Italian life but at the same time, the type of people you stumble across will remind you of a more Western country. Clean and equipped with many places to enjoy the good weather - benches, corner cafes and places to dine. Valletta will definitely invite you to spend more time outside rather than inside. Do ask me if you are looking for a good place to dine - there is quite a few around the city :)
Day #2 - Sliema, Mdina and around
Fast-forward, we are now awake on Friday morning (8.30 am can you imagine!?) and preparing to leave the flat. Grabbing a few croissants, a coffee or two for those of us who need it and we are ready. On today’s agenda, we decided to visit the old capital Mdina and the culinary/shopping city of Sliema. One thing to note here is that organising the logistics between each location is such a pain in the ass and we wouldn’t have made it if it wasn’t for the gang’s effort - particularly mentioning Ivo, Ani A. and Ani G.
Sliema really reminded me of my home town due to its similar city centre filled with restaurants and a warm climate. As you can see from the images below, it definitely has a great atmosphere for a summer holiday or even a weekend away. The rocky shores are ideal for sun-bedding or casual run/workout. Apart from it being so picturesque, it is filled with life and many social spaces - parks, beaches, clubs and restaurants. This is where I probably had my best Cesar salad and piece of Berry chocolate cake. I just need to think of the name of the place.
Right after this delicious treat, we were on the road again. At this point, my feet were bleeding (I did this rookie mistake of wearing a pair of new shoes) and I didn’t want to do anything else but sit, eat and enjoy the view and the life around me. Sadly, this wasn’t the case with the rest of my group. We were all ready to visit The Silent City - Mdina. Another bus and another location.
Being inside the compound felt almost like I was in a different world or even a film set, yet filled with tourists. If you ignore the crowds you can almost hear the harmony and feel the energy of this historical site. So many details and texture around me and the best part is that there are still people using these homes for a living. Lucky monkeys, a? I love this place so much - made me relaxed and enjoy this even more. I can honestly say I forgot where I came from but I knew where I was supposed to go. Beautiful place!
Our hungry bellies started rumbling and we had to eat before every place closes, so we went back to Silema for a final meal. Who would think we would end up dancing an hour later. By the end of the evening, I claimed I will never walk again or use public transport. My feet were giving up on me and we had to walk for a good 40 minutes to find the nearest stop, which by the way, didn’t indicate the line we were supposed to catch. At this point, we decided we want to go home instead of trying our luck and relying on the locals to guide us. Taxi, take me home!
Day #3 - Popeye Village and The Blue Lagoon (Comino - Gozo)
The final day, IT WAS ALL ABOUT RELAXING! There was no other way I could do anything else and honestly, the budget was running a bit low. I forgot to mention that the previous night we came across this ‘taxi‘ driver who became almost like own driver (in return of 20 to 40 euros) and we used him to get ourselves from almost every point for the rest of our weekend. He took us to the Popeye Village and then helped us get to the Blue Lagoon (he suggested it).
The village was so cute but I decided not to post any photos from there as I don’t want to spoil the location for you. It is 11 euro or 9.90 for students (need a valid student ID) and includes a boat ride, a cinema, free popcorn and a free postcard. There is plenty of decors to see and photograph there and also the burger you can eat in their restaurant are huge - worth the pounds. The 10 minutes boat ride was also very refreshing and really boosted up the morale between the people. We spent around 2-3 hours exploring and finding our own interest in the set and right after we got picked up as usual with our driver and head to Comino. Once we arrived there, we got our speed boat tickets and got the most amazing drive forth and back! Some of us got wet and others just a good laugh.
Final trip and we are at the Blue Lagoon. In all honesty, I was expecting this to be so much bigger but once you set your foot on that beach you can see why everyone goes there. People dressed and undressed in their swim outfits were chilling around with a cold beverage. This is when I knew I had to at least put my feet in the water and chill for the limited time we had on the premises. Knowing the last boat back was at 5 pm, we had to make sure we were at the front of the queue to assure the best seats. Now, thinking about it, I laughed so much at Ani A. and Dessy getting showered but it was an amazing feeling to get on top of the waves with such a crazy speed.
The worst part was flying back the next day. We had to leave our flat at 8.30 am and after such a busy few days and lack of sleep due to huge pain, I hated that morning but it was all worth it. I have over 200 images on my phone from the trip and I could spend hours choosing what to show you but for now, these will do. These are the rest of the selected images I wanted to share with you: