There are some several premières for me related to the trip in Malta: my first isle, the cheapest flight ticket (24 euro from Girona), the first time I took a water taxi…
I visited Malta in May; I have friends there (they lived in Msida, one of the cities). I’m not a morning person – and this might have added to the charm this country spelled on me – so, waking up early, taking a bus from Barcelona to Girona, then flighying made quite an impression on my metabolism and my traveller’s sense, sharpening it.
I thought I will take a nap once I got there and then go visit the main placed, but at arrival, a shiny sun awaited and an amazing bus:
Some of them were in traffic since the beginning of the last century (more details here). They had a rope string which you were supposed to pull in order to mark the stop (and make the driver aware), the rope had a bell attached (charming, right?) and their doors were never closed. Not to mention they drive on the right side of the road.
My friends took us around (I was there with a friend who introduced me to Cadogan travel guides, good trick, Crina!) and showed us the most important spots: Mdina, Valletta, the buses’ station at Funtana tat-Tritoni (Triton’s fountain).
- the cities are, for the rest of the Europeans, neighbourhoods – there is just a street between them (if any!)
- you can use boats (with paddles) as taxis for around 10 euro (this adventure totally freaked me out, but it was worth it) to move from one point to another by water (it does sound cool, though)
- there is no traditional dish (at my insistence, my friends took me to a mall and fed me some rabbit dish, but it was not tasty, thus not memorable)
- very few people live in the capital, Valletta (but all the administrative institutions are there)
- the language comes from Siculo-Arabic (“the Arabic dialect that developed in Sicily and later in Malta, between the end of the ninth century and the end of the twelfth century” according to wiki)
- the famous red telephone boots are everywhere (Malta gained its independence from the United Kingdom in 1964)
What I liked the most:
- the mixture of architectonic styles; each corner, each view, each street made me feel in a different place (something looked like Italy, or like Spain, or like France)
- Valletta’s old & new air (and also the fact that we caught a procession after which a movie about a saint was projected on the wall – yeap, inside the church)
- the colour of the sky
- the terraces down town Valletta
- Mdina – do visit, it feels like stepping in a different era (it is fort city)
- the Tarxien Temples – a complex of four megalithic structures built between 3600 and 2500 BC (I have a joke about them also: it was being late after we visited them, we insisted in seeing a tour with a canon to which we took a bus that left us in the middle of a dusty nowhere from which we hitch-hiked with some Spanish tourists back to the town where we took a cab to Msida…)
What I will visit next time (because my friends still live in Malta and they still like me):
- Comino and Gozo – for sure
- The Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum in Paola – a labyrinth, wow!
- The Ġgantija Temples
- The Blue Grotto
Until then, I dwell on the old photos and check for flight tickets!