Medieval Malta in My Heart

   Hey there! How’s the summer? Let me guess… It’s fine: work, kids, angry wife, etc. Just kidding…But if seriously, I miss those hot summers near the sea full of adventures and amazing trips. One of them was a trip to Malta, the island in the Mediterranean sea.

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You may wonder why I miss it so much.

I have never been in such an island where in such a short period of time I got so many impressions. This island captivated my heart because of  the beautiful landscapes, architecture, friendly people and delicious local food. I’d been planning this trip for a long time, ever since I first watched Game of Thrones series, where in one of the episodes Daenerys Targaryen got married near the Azure Window. After that I started looking up more information about this island, and I found out that Malta is an ancient republic with old and interesting history. Cheap RyanAir plane tickets from Kaunas, a couple of friends from different parts of Europe (Sumit and Robert) and here you have the greatest journey in my life.

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Our story started in Malta’s International Airport where we met, as we found suitable flights for each from our countries. Sumit, my Indian friend, came from Turin, Italy as he studied car design and engineering there. Robert at that moment was studying international relations in London.

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After I bought the flight tickets I made a reservation of a nice hostel in Sliema.

The Sliema is a town in the middle of a two cities: Valeta – the Capital of Malta and Patchvill – the Ibiza of this island. Each of us payed around 60 eur per 5 nights, breakfast included,  not as cheap as I though it would be for accomodation. We were lucky that we went in April, I can’t stand hot, sub- tropical climate (when I previously traveled to Cyprus and Crete in summer I was dying), this is why  the middle of spring was the best time for travel. Average temperature was around 25C (not too warm, not too hot), similar to normal Lithuanian summer weather.

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Our main plan was firstly to explore Malta as much as possible, so that at the end of the week we could just sunbathe on the beaches, drink a beer and share our impressions of this journey. But my expectations have failed me, at the end of the week we realized that Malta has so many things to show, that it is not possible  to see everything in such a short time.

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On day one we wanted to experience Maltese nature by walking by the coastline of the Northern part of the island where we saw some impressive cliffs and an unforgettable sunset. All day we were walking from the Blue Grotto to the Dingli Cliffs, sharing stories from our lives and making jokes. At the end of the day we were staring at the seemingly shy sun hiding in horizon while sitting near some observatorium.

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The next day we set our course  to Mdina, a city in the center of Malta. Located on top of a hill, high enough so that the whole island and the seaside could be seen. All Mdina is surrendered by huge walls which in the past protected citizens from attackers. In this place we got immersed into the knights culture. Here we were walking around the town and museums where we found out about knights orders and from where they came from. Basically, the Maltese order was created by the biggest and most powerful european countries in the middle  who tried take the Israel (Land of God – Jesus) from the Arabs. In that time Malta was like a last checkpoint before the Arab world for the knights.

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After all we went to closer to the seaside to see flying boats – Marsaxlokk. Flying boats you may ask? What the hell are those? Well, almost! The water in the sea port is so clean that when you are looking at those parked boats, it is looks like they are flying above the bottom of the sea.

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One thing we didn’t like the most in Malta – public transport, as all connection was through Valletta. From Mdina to Marsaxlokk it is around 20-30km, but with stop in Valletta was around 50km and an extra hour in the bus. Next time we will rent a car or motorcycle… You should do the same… It might be more expensive, but it will save your time as it did for my other friends who were here.

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After a good night’s sleep and an underwhelming breakfast which the hostel was feeding us every morning we went to the Gozo island where was the legendary Azure window. Why was? Hmm… because it’s gone now xD There had been a storm a year after and this nature phenomenon was destroyed. That is why we were so lucky to see this not only in Game of Thrones but as well in real life.

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You can get to the Gozo island only by ferry, which is bringing tourist every hour from one island to another. Another reason why you have to visit Gozo- the biggest city here – Victoria. Lovely name, isn’t it? Victoria is going to inspire you with its middle age architecture, romantic atmosphere and nice landscape of the island – similar to the one we saw in Mdina.

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And of course you are reading this and asking yourself – What about Valeta- the capital and the biggest city of this amazing island? Yeah, let’s leave this part for desert…

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Valeta gave us something that is hard to understand. It is giving you different experience for it’s architecture. Someone mentioned before that Maltese culture is a mix of European and Arabic cultures, the same with architecture in Valletta. Some buildings have Arabic elements of design, others- European. Many colorful balconies and addresses without numbers but names makes this city even more exotic and confusing. Artistic atmosphere in this city makes exploring in this city more laid back and fun as you can take a crazy picture in each corner, and the locals will not even bat an eye.

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Patchvill is the right place where you can party on the island. I would call Patchvill the second Ibiza in the Mediterranean Sea, as in small town on every corner is every kinds of club and drunk tourist who come here for partying, drugs and sex.

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In conclusion I want to talk about costs. For five days with plane tickets this journey cost me 500 eur, in which I include accommodation, food, which I brought with me and as well local restaurants and cafes, bus and ferry tickets. I had a flight from Kaunas to Vilnius by Ryanair. Bus as much I know Sumit had fly with EasyJet from Geneva and back, and that cost him 60 euros. For Robert one direction ticket from London cost around 30 pounds.

So 500 euros- was it expensive for this such a trip? Let me know in the comments below.

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