Malta Full, Image Property of Author: Louis
When I booked my flight to Malta, a singular thought was running through my head: Where’s the line between being adventurous and just being plain stupid, and have I just crossed it? For the first time in my life, I had just booked a flight, due to depart the next day, with no planning whatsoever. No idea on what to do when I got out of the airport, no traveller’s guides, nothing.
All I wanted was a purely spontaneous adventure.
So, what did I actually know about Malta when I booked my flight? Not much, to be honest. I knew that Malta is an island in the Mediterranean Sea, just south of Sicily… and that it probably had pretty nice weather.
Well, I was wrong on that last guess: Maltese weather isn’t good, it’s incredible. That’s not the only surprise Malta had up her sleeve, either.
Malta’s rich history has left behind some of the most fascinating ruins I’ve ever seen. After asking around, I was set on the trail of the Hagar Qim and Mnajdra temples, two stone temples built around 3000 BCE. Not only did the sight of these ancient structures leave me feeling ridiculously young and insignificant (in a good way!), but the view from the cliffs on which they are perched was simply breathtaking.
On the more physical side, diving is a fun and surprisingly affordable attraction in Malta, provided to begin your dive from the shore. A three-hour ‘try-dive’ cost me around €30 (£25) including all the equipment. It was definitely worth it to ogle the myriad of fish on display and a great first experience!
Food and drink
If you’re looking for something distinctively Maltese, go for anything with rabbit (or fennek) in it. Rabbit is somewhat a traditional meat in Malta, so if it’s got rabbit in it, it’s pretty safe to assume it’ll be delicious.
As for the drink – well, let’s be honest – as for the booze, it’s great. Look out for Cisk: a sweet, cheap and delightfully refreshing local beer that was well-needed after another hot day of gorgeous weather. To be entirely honest, though, I’d drink Cisk in any climate. In fact, I’m planning to drink it after a familiarly grey and rainy day; I brought a case back home!
Luzzu at Spignola Bay on Malta, Image Property of Author: Louis
If you speak English or Italian, you shouldn’t have much trouble being understood in Malta, so it’s tempting to go the easy way and speak to everyone in English. Don’t. Picking up a Maltese phrasebook and trying your best to learn a few basics is extremely rewarding, and the locals will greatly appreciate it. My own brand of broken Maltese was always met with an indulgent smile whenever I mustered up the courage to use it.
Rent a bike. It’s cheap and it makes travelling around much faster. If you plan your journey out you can always take the awesome 50’s-looking buses, but if taking my approach to exploring Malta, a bike and a good map will go a long way. Luckily for me, there are bicycle rental shops all over the island, so it’s really no trouble to find one.
Finally, just relax and have fun. Malta is a pretty chilled out place, so this last tip should be pretty easy to follow!
Shortly after my trip, I took the time to actually do some research on the place. It felt odd, a bit like having a main course after eating dessert, but it was fascinating nonetheless. I sometimes felt a little twinge of regret when I discovered that I’d been mere streets away from some amazing sight and had marched right past it, so if you’re prone to regret, I recommend you do at least a little research on the internet (MyMaltaInfo.com seems pretty good) instead of solely relying on your traveller’s instinct as guide. I definitely don’t regret my blind date with Malta, though; her bounty of surprises was the best part.
Meet the Author: Louis Jobin
Louis Jobin is an undergraduate studying English and Japanese Studies. His passions are European literature, Asian cuisine and Scandinavian music.
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