Arriving into departures (yes, you read that right) in Malta wasn’t actually as bad of an experience as I thought it was going to be. It had been a long, hard night but I had my suitcase, I had my owl bag and I had my hopes up.
Luckily, the bus I needed was waiting for me when I got there. An English bloke (not guy… BLOKE) who holidayed in Malta a lot, showed me to the buses… but I probably could have found them on my own. They WERE right outside the door. I was thankful anyway.
Getting on the bus was when I discovered the first most amazing thing of the day. Everybody in Malta speaks English.
I don’t know why this hadn’t occurred to me as a possibility before. After all, Malta had been under English rule right up until 1964. It made a lot of sense.
|Independence Day in Valetta by night
I asked the bus driver for a ticket to Mellieha. He explained in perfect English that he could take me as far as the ‘interchange’ because he was an express bus (X1 to be exact) and therefore didn’t stop in Mellieha old town, where my Bed and Breakfast was located. He then told me to buy an all day, unlimited travel ticket for 1.50 euros (just 20 cents more than a single ticket) and catch a bus into the old town. I sat down, feeling optimistic.
The landscape in Malta, to me, is like the birth child of Greece and North Africa. Little square buildings in light coloured paint spattered their way across dusty expanses. It was a long journey from almost the South of the island to the North but it flew by just as quick as the dust clouds did. I think it’s important to mention here the second most amazing thing to happen today… I saw a horse swimming. Full. On. Swimming. In the sea.
When I arrived at Mellieha interchange, a couple of guys helped me catch my next bus to the old town. It wasn’t far from the interchange but I was glad for the bus. It was 10AM and already getting hotter than I was used to in Spain. This is when it dawned on me that I had no idea which stop to get off at. I remembered reading something about George’s Bakery but I was so overstimulated that I couldn’t make sense of anything that I was seeing.
|Rooftops of Mellieha, Malta
As we squeezed our way through the narrowest of streets and jauntily made our way down the steepest of hills we stopped at yet another bus stop. I thought to myself that I will get off at the next one and ask for directions to Splendid Guesthouse. This was immediately before the third most amazing thing happened. My parents casually strolled past the open bus door. Perfect timing!
I jumped off the bus and almost knocked Dad out in the process. Mum didn’t recognise me. I blame the hair. We walked together to dump my luggage at Splendid.
The next few days were a bundle of greatness. I ate so much Chinese food, I thought I was going to die. I slept for a night in luxury at my parents hotel. I survived an invasion of jellyfish. I even contemplated hiring a canoe but I was too afraid to fall down the slippery ramp.
|The jellyfish invasion
The greatness was punctuated by tears. Plenty of tears. I was so happy and so conflicted. In just a few days I would be back on my own… and could I handle it?
While I thought about it, we took a trip to Gozo. For 4 euros return you can catch the ferry from the North of Malta to Gozo Island and maaaaan, it is WORTH it. Just for the lizards. And to shout “I’m on a boat!”
We got so lost, and covered in dust and sand, but we did enjoy lunch on a rooftop terrace, where I went about taking pictures of EVERYTHING. And Mum went about taking pictures of me taking pictures of everything.
The next day, I made the worst decision of my time travelling. Things were going well on the all inclusive drink front. I drank until my teeth ached. Then, when everything else also hurt, I carried on drinking. We went on a night out in a close(ish) town and if truth be known… I don’t remember much. Other than drinking more than my fair share of vodka Redbull shots and dancing ridiculously on a podium.
In the morning, I hated myself. I spilled into my parents room and I blamed them for encouraging me to go out. Then I passed out… half on the bed and half off. I wasn’t going to make the early morning speedboat trip, so they rescheduled it to a later time in the day. Because they’re awesome.
For them, this worked out a treat. For me? Well… this happened.
And then this happened…
Yeh… don’t drink and speedboat, kids.
My wonderful Mum took most of the photos on the trip while I was too busy getting slapped around the face by waves. Here are a few of everyone else having a great time! I learnt a lot on this trip… a) don’t get rat arsed before a day trip b) I need a waterproof digital camera.
The day before my flight to Sicily, we all caved into my Dad’s request. We were going to rock jump into the sea outside of the hotel. It didn’t look too bad… until I stripped down to my bikini and was teetering on the edge. Fuelled by the desire to have a super spectacular picture of me being the bravest I’ve ever been, I launched myself from the rock edge with the intention of diving head first into the turquoise sea.
Only, I got frightened, or something, and tensed up into a sort of half ball. My upper body gracefully entered the water without damage, but my thighs hit it with such a force that I thought I had ripped both my legs off. Climbing out on the slippery ladder was near impossible and I chewed the insides of my mouth to stop myself crying.
Now let’s see that in a picture…
Please, for the love of God, just jump… don’t dive. You’re not a professional diver, it’s going to end badly.
My time soon came to leave Malta and it was heartbreaking… again… to say Goodbye to my family. A wonderful couple ushered me into their private taxi and took me down to the airport with them. Here I sat, with a very large Costa latte until my flight to Sicily, Italy, was ready to board.
I absolutely adored Malta and I would, without a doubt, return to do all the things I missed. It was just a whole load of fun.