It’s Saturday and I have a to-do list a mile long, but first I was going to make a pot of coffee and feed my creative soul with a little knitting, reading or photo editing. I was a few sips into my coffee when the bickering started from the other room. I heard the low tones of the sharp words they spat at one another, and I made an inner plea that it would end there. Then, someone broke into a wail that begged for adult intervention.
This isn’t a parenting post. Stay with me.
At first, I did everything right – I listened, I didn’t raise my voice, I tried to have them work it out. Then I did everything wrong – I sided with the older child until the younger one cried and pleaded her case, which eventually won me over and I changed my stance. While the younger child played happily on the floor, her big sister flew upstairs in a fit of tears. Realizing this had gone terribly wrong, I shut them both in their bedroom, asking them not to come out until they were friends. I left them both crying and went upstairs to take a shower. When I came down, they were playing Lego together and laughing.
Now, as I pour over pictures from our (kid-free) escape to Malta, I beg for a Saturday do-over as the images transport me to tranquility.
I’m not sure why we selected the mysterious island of Malta as our long-overdue escape. We knew very little about it before we went. Perhaps that was part of the appeal, and besides, we love the Mediterranean.
If you’ve considered going to Malta, but are unsure if it’s the right choice, maybe this post will help. It isn’t full of detailed facts and can hardly act as a city guide, however, there are strong reasons why Malta is the answer to the beautiful and simple getaway you’ve been dreaming of.
1. The Dreamy Blue
I’ve heard it can rain in Malta, but we had blue skies every day. Even bluer than the sky, was the water, with aquamarine patches dotting the coast. Not surprisingly, it is a place renowned for snorkeling and scuba diving. The contrast between the limestone architecture and the cobalt sea was like a desert mirage. One dip in the cool, clear water and you realize it is not a figment of your imagination.
2. Cultural Fusion & Historical Abundance
Malta ticks all the boxes when it comes to the good weather, food and friendly people we associate with the Mediterranean region. It goes a step beyond, with a Sicilian and Middle Eastern mix of culture and flavors. You can speak English wherever you go, but also learn a few Maltese words. You can take a step back in time by exploring old fishing villages, towering churches and fascinating museums.
3. Tantalizing Cuisine
History and geography play a large role in Maltese cuisine, hence the Italian, Middle Eastern and Arabic flavors. Rabbit stew is a popular dish, but highlighted on most menus (and much more our style), is the marvelous seafood.
I think I’d go back just for the imqaret (deep fried pastry filled with sweet dates), Pastizzi (puff pastry and ricotta cheese) and the gelato from Amorino in Valletta.
4. A Photographer’s Delight
I realize that photography and travel don’t go hand-in-hand for everyone, but it would be amiss not to mention my constant state of photography bliss in Malta and Gozo. There is a dizzying display of texture and color among the seemingly monotone architecture.
Did I mention the balconies and doors? I came back with quite a collection!
Whether you capture it on camera or not, the contrasting blue and gold of the beaches emulate paradise and the coastal landscapes are truly breathtaking.
5. Short Distances
Driving around the island is relatively easy, so you can explore in a few days if you wish. There was some construction going on when we were there, but I can only assume this is creating future improvements. The ferry to Gozo could not have been easier, especially since we were staying in Mellieha, near the ferry port.
Three hours from London and we were there. With so many small towns to explore, beautiful beaches to visit and delicious food to try, it’s a great destination for people who like to combine sightseeing with relaxation (like us!).