Malta

17th Dec 2015 until 15th Jan 2016

First up I have to say that Malta should be on any European’s list of places to escape the worst of Winter.

If you’re English speaking, especially for those from the UK, Australia or NZ it’s a particularly easy and familiar place, many of the locals speak English and there’s a growing expat community, especially retirees.

Retiring to Malta would be an easy choice for a UK resident, cheap flights to and from the UK 15 – 21 degree days in Winter and they even drive on the left. Malta was under British rule up until 1964 so you can get almost anything here that you can in the UK.

Outside of the city and towns Malta appears to consist of vast dry fields of stoney brown soil separated by roughly built stone walls (stones no doubt cleared from the fields) it’s apparent that the infrequent winter rain is gladly received by the farmers if not the towns people and tourists.

Valetta and Malta is an excellent spot to spend Christmas, the city is decorated beautifully the days are warm enough but the evenings can still be chilly so you get appreciate the warmth in the late closing stores and scarves, and wooly hats can still be worn more as fashion though as they are definitely not essential.

In their historic and beautiful theatre they even have Christmas Panto’s in English.

My enduring memories of Malta will be;

  • Eating Hot Date pastries at the entrance to Valetta.
  • Valetta with it’s trademark enclosed wooden balconies jutting out of the faces and adding squares of colour to the limestone buildings.
  • Walking among the remains of the 5000 year old tarxien temples.
  • Our spacious apartment in Marsaskala where the honk of a horn from the street below normally meant a vendor was stopping to sell Gas bottles, Fresh Bread, or even the local delicacy Bigilla with Olives
  • The warmth of the December sun and swimming at New Years in the clear, chilly but not brain freezingly cold Mediterranean.
  • The pocket sized silent city of Mdina with it’s sweeping views and it’s enduring fortified beauty. The Maltese Cross and the Knights of St John. Having grown up with St Johns Ambulance always present at social and sports events it was fascinating to learn some of their history.

Because of our lifestyle, we are not really tourists so couldn’t do all the day trips etc, we have to live on a normal pretty low budget, we would love to have seen more..

We would have hired a car to but Grant’s NZ license had just expired and it appears it can only be renewed in NZ (Top Tip renew your license early if you’re going to be travelling when it expires :p) As the Maltese drive on the left so for UK, Australian or Kiwi drivers it should be pretty easy we plan to return and explore the island(s) by car next time!

Read more about each place by clicking the link in the photo’s below..

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Marsaskala
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Valletta
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Sliema
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Mdina
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Marsaxlokk
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Tarxien Temples