Malta! A Little Bit of Magic!

Posted by on Jan 16, 2012 in Blog, Featured | 8 comments

Golden Arches

Malta! What do you know about Malta? I didn’t really know a lot about it until I lived there for 90 days. Now I can safely recommend it to anyone who likes living on an island where they can easily explore everything by bus and where the people speak English.

The people of Malta do speak English. They also speak Maltese, which sounds a bit like Italian and bit like Arabic. No matter the language spoken, we found the Maltese to be friendly people.

Carry the statue of St. Paul

Malta felt like one of the safest places in the world. They have a very low crime rate. We felt comfortable on the streets at any hour. It is perhaps one of the staunchest Catholic countries in the world. There are 313 churches, cathedrals and chapels on the island. All of the bells are still rung by hand, too. They say that at all times there is someone on their knees praying in Malta. Maybe that is part of what makes this island feel so blessed.

Streets of Mdina the silent city, a medieval walled town

Often described as the crossroads of the world, the little island of Malta is only about 122 square miles. It is located about 50 miles off the coast of Sicily. Malta is very much a rock quarry at sea. So much so that the vast majority of the houses and buildings on the island have been built from the golden rock of the island, giving the towns a very special appearance. It is a heavily populated island, but easy to get around in with public buses only costing about the equivalent of 75 cents regardless of where you want to go.

There is plenty to do and see on this magical island, making it internationally renowned as a tourist resort. There are no less than nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites named. The capital city of Valletta is a very pleasant place to hang out with plenty of shopping and theaters and restaurants.

Bread in hand

Of course, I do not consider myself a tourist, so my days were filled with a lot of homely activities. Once again, we lived like the locals by doing our own cooking and shopping for food at the local markets or street vendors. Fresh bread was delivered by truck throughout the village every morning. Vegetable and fruit trucks were always close at hand as well.

From the balcony of our inner courtyard

We rented a 400-year-old house in the town of Attard. It was a really interesting house. I loved it. Built of the golden stone, this house was as solid as they come. I adored the marble staircase and the stone archways throughout. The little interior courtyard was also quite lovely. This house was huge and seemed even more so because the ceilings were easily 15 ft. high. The monthly rent was so reasonable because we bartered for a three-month period leaving us to pay about $400 a month. If you ever have extended time to spend in Malta, renting is very doable.

While we were in Malta we got to celebrate Christmas and New Years. We also got to be present for the consecration of a new Archbishop, an event which had not been done for 30 years. What a spectacular experience. The entire island participated!

Marsaxlokk and the luzzu boats in Malta

Malta is part of a cluster of islands. Only two others are inhabited. The isles of Gozo and Comino are both worth seeing. All three islands have great seaside appeal where you can dine in open air restaurants, visit the famous Blue Grotto or just lie in the sun enjoying the climate.

I realize that I am drawn to the countries that share the Mediterranean. Spain, Malta and Italy have tantalized me with their gorgeous connection with the sea. Soon, I am sure, Portugal will do the same, leaving me with yet another place that I will feel drawn to return to over and over again.

Malta is special. Tiny but impressive. Consider it!

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8 Comments

  1. Hey Teresa, thanks for sharing the photos and information on Malta. We are so looking forward to making it our home over the next two years. I will of course be dividing my time between Australia, NZ and Malta, as well as searching the world for future house sit assignments, as as we love this way of life and look forward to many years of travel. Our house sit assignment here in Yorkshire is almost at an end as we leave Saturday and have five days in Switzerland/Germany on return to Canberra. We are so sad to be leaving and have had an amazing time, but….we have been asked to return in February 2013, so we are off to a great start. Hope you have a wonderful time in Portugal. Best regards, Rosie.

    • I thought you might like that post, Rosie! LOLOLOL Sounds like the bug has bitten you, too. Oh, my gosh! You are without hope now. I just hope that your husband doesn’t mind following you all over the planet!
      Portugal will be divine. I have wanted to see Lisbon for years. My next house sit is back in Spain. Same familiar village, but new client and spectacular house. I will be writing a lot about these two fine places in the days to come.
      Love hearing from you!!!

  2. I must go to Malta one day. I love your photos and I love the idea of a beautiful island like this. I was born there but I have never been back since I was less than a year old. What a shame.
    I will have to look at the possibility of housesitting there one day.I have onlly been a house sitter in Australia but I love the lifestyle. You make it sound so wonderful. Thanks for the reminder.

  3. The’bug’ has been there for many years Teresa. I moved around a lot before I got married and the first seventeen years of married life we moved nine times courtesy of the Australian Airforce within Australia and overseas. Nothing new, only this time we can do it at our own pace. Life is good.

  4. Hi Teresa,

    My wife uses a power wheelchair but can walk short distances. How do you think that would impact traveling overseas?
    We’ve traveled to Orlando, Hawaii, Vegas…etc. and while a hassle it was no big deal because the airlines are obliged to take the chair and the ramp on board as baggage and we rent a minivan to carry it.
    Are public places overseas as handicap friendly as most sidewalks, bathrooms…etc. stateside?

    • Great question, Ray! I have to admit, I have never given it a lot of thought. One thing I love about my website is the fact that loads of people write to me and ask really good questions. It always sets me on the path of some research or a new thought process in an effort to find some answers. I am a Capricorn and we love to solve things!

      Right off the bat, from personal experience, I can say that some of the place that I have been, like my favorite village in Spain could be a bit of a challenge for a wheelchair user as getting about in the village is actually a bit of a stretch for some able bodied people. However, I have a particular interest in mountainous regions and so I search for places that meet my requirements. You would be no different! Decide what you would need in a foreign destination and then begin searching for good matches. I can guarantee you that they can be found.

      I often ask myself, what would I do if I were in the same situation as the person who asked the question. I do know that if I wanted to travel abroad that I would find a way regardless of whether i was a wheelchair user or my loved was wheelchair bound.

      Check out the following websites for a good starting place:
      Sage Traveling
      Rick Steve’s Europe
      Same Difference
      There are even travel agency that specialize in organizing trips for families with a member that uses a wheelchair.
      Accessible Europe

      If I find anything else of interest or a great thought crosses my mind, I will let you know. In fact, down the road I think I will write a blog post on the matter. If you haven’t already subscribed to my website, I hope you will consider doing so.

      cheers and happy trails……

  5. Malta is so gorgeous. I never wanted to leave. I hope to go back soon.

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