Friday, September 16, 2016

A Short Trip to Malta





I never considered taking a vacation in Malta but when I was informed that I would join a four-day company trip to the Mediterranean island I was quite excited. I knew nothing at all about my destination.


Without going into too many details, because I really don't know that much, Malta is actually a number of small islands some 80 kilometers (50 miles) south of Italy. The country is small in size and only 450,000 people live there (making it one of the world's most densely populated countries). The capital of Malta is Valleta.


The country consists of three islands: Malta, Gozo and Comino. Valleta is located on Malta, the largest island, while Gozo, the second largest, is more rural. Comino, the smallest of the three, is mostly uninhabited yet it serves as an attractive destination of day boat trips.

The residents of Malta speak English and Maltese, which sounds like a combination of Italian and Arabic. Some of the places we visited had Arabic names, including the medieval fortified town of Mdina and the nearby town of Rabat.


Malta is an ancient land conquered by the Phoenicians, the Romans, the Normans, Napoleon and the British. Holy Roman Emperor Charles V bequeathed Malta to the Sovereign Military Order of St. John of Jerusalem who ruled as the Knights of Malta from 1530 to 1798. During the Second World War, Malta withstood a two-year siege and played an important role for the British in their battles against the Axis. Malta gained its independence from the British in 1964.


During my short vacation I stayed at the InterContinental Malta, a very luxurious hotel in the midst of a seedy tourist area filled with bars and strip clubs. The beach down the street wasn’t too attractive. Driving around the island I discovered many waterfront restaurants and boat moorings. A huge cruise ship towered over luxury yachts and the streets were crowded with tourists.


The main attraction of Malta is most definitely its rocky coastline. The water is deep blue and refreshing and there are many coves and bays where you can anchor your boat. I sailed to Comino for a day’s stay along the coast and we also visited the Blue Grotto, where small motorboats transport you into magical water caves.


I enjoyed my visit to Malta and I have the souvenir magnets on my refrigerator to remind me of my trip. Now, on to my next adventure!





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