The Maltese Islands, while publicized by various movies and stories, is actually a very sought-after vacation get away for Europeans. Beautiful crystal blue water, a great night life and unique mediterranean cuisines; what was there to shun when my friends proposed the trip? When the four of us packed our bags and set out on a last “hoora” for one of our dearest girl friends, I had no idea it would be a vacation for the history books. Tricia was moving back to the states for university and the planning was a bit last-minute. While I’m not one to normally travel in a group, this particular bunch of nutty, unique individuals was definitely going to hit the small island by storm. Good company is like good wine; as long as there’s music in the air you can’t go wrong.
Malta is actually an archipelago similar to Hawaii consisting of 3 main islands; Malta (the largest), Comino and Gozo. Located in the Mediterranean sea off the coast of Sicily and North Africa; the trip was a mere one and half hour plane trip from Rome. We set up home base on the main island and planned to visit some friends on the other island of Gozo by the end of the week.
Malta has many cultural influences from all whom have occupied the small islands over the years. The strongest to date are probably that of the British, Italians and Arabs. While their language (Maltese) sounds in some right like an arabic language, they mix in words that I could comprehend from either Italian or English. A lot of their consumerist products such as cars, groceries and technology appear to be straight out of the U.K. Tourists from all across western and eastern Europe can be found inhabiting the beaches by day, and of course the parties by night…
Whew! these people definitely know how to party… I think the next day a little relaxation at the beach and a nice dinner in the capital city is in order…
*Their national beer Cisk is a crisp, full-bodied lager… while I saw most Maltese enjoying Heinekens or other spirits, it’s always nice to get a taste of the culture.**The historical capital of Malta is a place called Valletta; a beautiful area festively decorated and perfect for a nice dinner with friends or family. It is said that during the summer season there is a special religious festivity nearly every week… and I thought we just had good timing!**This looks like a nice place to eat.**This amazing seafood soup was probably my favorite dish of the night… mixture of sea-fruits, peppercorns and other spices in a simple broth.**One of the guys got this prawns appetizer… very flavorful, but lacking something.**Fresh Bass in a traditional Maltese sauce… really light and delicious.*
That’s what I call a nice evening… a little live jazz on the river and then it was back to the apartment to rest for tomorrow’s traveling to Gozo.
While only about half the size of the big island, I was very excited for our trip over to Gozo. Not as sought after for tourists, I knew I would get a good taste of culture here. Tak had a few friends he met in Rome a while back who were planning a few days for us in their home-town. The girls turned out to be really sweet and so nice; setting time aside for us and really showing us a side of the island I’m sure no normal tourists would ever experience.
*Arriving around lunch time, the girls took us out to a traditional Gozitan restaurant high on the cliffs of an old military compound… The end result, an amazing meal and breath-taking view.**A colorful platter of cheeses, olives, capers, and tomatoes is a textbook mediterranean plate… I was getting used to this!**Rabbit is a popular dish here, due to its abundance on the islands and longevity as a Maltese staple. The preparation made for such an aromatic and delicious looking plate that it barely made it to the table.*
Our new friends were so cordial that that night they invited us to a town party where most of their family and peers would be. Opening house and home to us, I really want to say thank you again to Romina, Sandra and Nyam for being so friendly and showing us their life.
After a night of festivities, it was time to get a bit of rest for the next day. The girls had arranged a boat for us to the Blue Lagoon of Comino in the morning as if they hadn’t done enough already! Of my whole trip, I would have to say that my time in Gozo was by far the highlight… Great vibes, amazing friends and good food!
*The famous Blue Lagoon of Comino draws crazy crowds during the hot summer season… One can see why! Aqua blue water clear like a swimming pool, diving rocks, caves to swim through, party boats and beautiful young people!*
Of course, I had to compile the best pictures and sum up the longevity of my vacation into one blog entry. Mind you, the pictures go on with many more activities, festivities and wild nights. These are the photos I have gathered from a total of about 800. I feel I have given the trip, the people and the experience the justice they deserve. THANK YOUUUUU MALTA!*Don’t ever limit yourself in the possibilities this world has to offer.*