My June trip, well end of June, was to Malta. Never been, Didn’t really know what to expect, so it was that more exciting.
Getting from the airport to your hotel/apartment usually sets the tone for how your holiday will start. And I have to say that this time around the transport was extremely well organized. I booked my transport the day before from Holiday Taxis, and the shuttle transfer to my accommodation was there, everything was confirmed, and even though my flight was delayed, it went smoothly after that. For less than £7,- I got a door to door return. Perfect right?
First day I spent relaxing at the pool cause after a full work day and delayed flight, I was exhausted. I like taking short breaks as it gives me the opportunity to visit places you can explore within a short time frame. If you visit Malta, during summer, make sure you’re staying somewhere with a pool or at least a rooftop terrace, cause even the beaches can be too much sometimes, so a nice cool pool/relax area is always welcome.
No travel without exploring, I’m not the sitting around all day at the beach traveller, so exploring the island on the second day was crazy, cause it was so hot. I arrived during a heatwave, so being outside was almost unbearable. I took the north bus sightseeing tour which takes you through 29 different stops and unless you prefer private tours, this is a really good way to see the island. I hopped on the sightseeing bus at stop 1 (Buggiba, Topaz Hotel), which was only a few minutes from my stay. I hopped off at favorite stops; St George’s Bay, Sliema Ferries, San Anton Gardens, Mdina & Rabat. Depending on what your interest is, the tour caters to many without missing the to-go-to locations. If you’re planning to do the tour, you have to consider that from the first to the last stop alone takes about 4 hours, so if you’re planning to hop on and hop off a lot, start early, so you can have your breaks, lunch etc.
One of the things I was impressed with on the tour was the historical narration. I didn’t know much about Malta and was of course curious about the Arabic influences in names and words, and this was a great way to find out about the history while visiting the older parts of island.
If you visit Malta, you might as well, actually you should, visit Gozo. The smaller island can be reached by ferry (not expensive at all) and has some amazing beach locations and interesting sights of its own. I booked a Jeep tour to Gozo which included hotel pick up-and-drop off, ferry transport, lunch, local tastings, full day tour in Gozo and private boat tour back to Malta. This all for about £55,- . Definitely worth it. You can choose a language preference for your guide and get to experience Gozo with a local in groups of 5-6. This was well worth it.
One of the best parts about traveling is discovering local cuisine and enjoy great fresh food. Malta disappointed in this area. The small island caters to a lot of British tourists (although plenty other tourists to find) and a lot convenient restaurants/food hobs were more of the fast food kind. A friend who lives in Malta confirmed that it’s definitely one of the let downs of this Mediterranean destination.
Traveling, whilst black and a woman, you never know what to expect, I think the most notable thing was people being surprised that I was traveling alone or that I wasn’t American (I hear this a lot). The only truly negative experience I had, was on my last day as I decided to enjoy the pool one last time. I got to the pool there were a few Eastern European couples and a family with a young boy. As soon as I get into the pool, the father pulls the boy out and refuses to let him back in for as long as i’m in there. Well, if you know me, you know I decided to take my sweet time, after that. There are very few things that shake me, and everyday racism is not one of them. This experience did make me question the other side of Malta though.
I’m planning to go back to Malta, and hopefully interact more with the locals, and possibly see how the migrant crisis has influenced Malta as a migrant passage route. As a researcher, I was very intrigued with the high number of black men of African descent on the island. I didn’t see as many women, and was truly inspired to go back and document their experiences.
Overall, Malta & Gozo have a lot to offer, especially if you’re planning a short trip. It’s well worth the travel. From beaches to UNESCO heritage sites, you will find plenty to do.
Illum jien u ghada int. Malta
Today me, tomorrow you. Malta.