I just spent the last five days in Malta with my lao tong (i.e., soulmate), Luzell. We've been sisters from another mister since we were 12 years old. Its no wonder that even now, both of us ended up in neighboring European countries. We just can't be torn apart!
|Me and the LT on our last night in Malta!|
The adventure started when we decided to do our Zell birthday trip. We skipped one last year since Luzell got married, but the year before we went on an epic trip to Montreal.
The question was, where did we want to go? There are so many places to explore when you're two American gals in Europe. We agreed that we wanted a slightly tropical, slightly off the beaten track kind of place with a few big cities (Luzell being a city girl and me being a huge beach bum). Luzell is the one who suggested Malta; I had barely heard of it. But man oh man, now that I've been, I can't wait to go back, and spread the word on Europe's best kept secret. (Leave it to me to spread the word!)
|View from our hotel room. Amazing, right?!|
Malta is a very small country located between Tunisia and Italy. It is a very interesting mix of Arab and European culture, at least architecturally and when it comes to its culinary scene. The language is sounds like a strange mix of Italian and Arabic. The country has recently been a safer, cheaper filming alternative to other Mediterranean filming destinations, so there's a huge influx of very famous people and their posses around. However, it has remained relatively untouched by the lionshare of European tourists (not to mention international tourists). I'm not really sure why. It's beautiful, safe and seems stable, politically. From the empty homes, shops and towns, I'm assuming the economy suffered as badly as the rest of Europe in 2008, and hasn't managed to bounce back just yet.
We stayed in Melleiha at the Pergola Hotel and Spa. It was a great place for two vacationing gals. We had a big suite with an amazing view (see above), kitchen, living area and separate room. However, we weren't in the room much- too much to do paired with absolutely beautiful weather. Although Melleiha was slightly far from some of the big cities in Malta, it is easy to get around the island by bus- and very cheap, too (about six euro a day for access to the whole island).
The first day we visited Mdina, aka King's Landing for Game of Thrones fans and the capital of Malta. This tiny, ancient city is literally walled with a moat around it. With only 300 inhabitants, its probably the oldest-looking city I've ever been in, and probably the prettiest.
The second day was my personal favorite of the trip, when we got to go to Comino and Cominotto, two small Maltese islands visible from our hotel room. We had to travel to the northwestern trip, Cirkewwa, and take a ferry to the Blue Lagoon. Once there, we realized that Comino has a very, very small beach (as in, about 20' by 100'), which is not at all suitable for the hundreds of people thronging it. Therefore, I made the executive decision (that LT was slightly uncomfortable with) that we'd place our bags over our heads and wade through the neck-deep water to Cominoto, a small island across the lagoon from Comino.
|Cominotto from Comino. A bit of a hike!|
The hike was worth it. There's much more beach and few fearless travelers ready to make the trek- so if you're ever in Comino and wondering if you should pack your bags, place them above your head and make the trek, I'd say do it! Just beware of the rocks right before you reach the beach on Cominotto. They're pretty sharp on soft feet!
On our way back, we had an amazing tour of the Comino caves. The water was so clear. So, so clear. I almost wanted to jump in and swim if I hadn't been told it was 20 m deep!
That night we had dinner at the amazing Il Mithna. In Malta, it seems customary to get a little appetizer before dinner along with an apertif. I could definitely get used to eating like that! I also loved the seafood-heavy fare, although I had pasta.
The next day, we went to Valleta, the capital of Malta. It was built in the 1500s by knights coming through fighting in the Crusades, which makes sense when you see the absolute opulence of the city and its main cathedral.
For both beach bums and city dwellers, I would say Malta is a great place for a nice break away, especially with a sister from another mister.