And now to the final destination: Malta.
As silly as it is, I don’t feel I’m able to talk about Malta without talking about the flight over. I had a jaunt from Edinburgh to Gatwick that was fairly forgettable bar its perilously late arrival, and then at Gatwick just managed to board my flight to Malta. All of my flights within Europe had been with discount airlines but not this leg: dear readers, they fed me. Twice. I nearly cried with gratitude, which is pretty pathetic really but all in all it was a lot nicer than that to which I had become accustomed. They fed me, and it was edible, and they had a palatable vegetarian option on hand. There were nuts. And wine. And dessert. I snacked my way across western Europe and spent most of the flight gazing out the window, as it was a perfectly clear day and I could see everything. I saw the English Channel, Paris, the French Alps, the Mediterranean, and Sicily. I actually felt kind of guilty for being in the window seat because the view was so lovely and the aisle seaters didn’t get to enjoy it as much.
I arrived in Malta late, rendezvoused with my father and his partner (old hands when it comes to Malta), and we climbed about a bus bound for Gzira. Once we arrived at our accommodation I didn’t really have eyes for anything except my bed, but the next morning I awoke to a view that was none too shabby.
We spent the next couple of days exploring Valetta, Mdina, and Marsaxlokk. I couldn’t get over the colour of the sea. I mean, I don’t want to knock the good old Tasman Sea or poor old Bass Strait, but they can’t compete with the Mediterranean in the blue stakes.
One day we took the ferry out to Gozo and spent a pleasant day poking around the towns, having a nice cold beer near the beach at Xlendi, and wandering around near the Azure Window. I didn’t actually realise that they filmed the Dothraki wedding from Season 1 of Game of Thrones here until I returned to Australia and nearly choked on my tea while watching the scene. Friends joked that between Iceland and Malta I was doing the Game of Thrones tour of Europe (I will admit to making a few silly jokes about going north of the Wall) but I was completely oblivious to this one until after the fact!
I also spent a lot of time indulging my inner history nerd, as Malta has a history that is as long as it is eventful. I pottered around archaeological museums. I ducked into the National Library in Valletta and stared longingly at all of the old books. I giggled like a moron at some of the more awkward taxidermy in the Natural History Museum in Mdina, which I actually do recommend because taxidermy notwithstanding, it is a very sweet little museum. And of course, I visited Ducks’ Village.
Ducks’ Village is a funny little place that is completely unlike anything else I saw on Malta, and I loved it both ironically for its vaguely Texas Chainsaw Massacre chic decor but also un-ironically because it is actually very sweet. I guess you would describe it as a more-than-slightly ramshackle, completely home-made, sanctuary-cum-adventure playground for rescued animals. There are ducks, but also chickens, and I also saw some rabbits lolling about. A passer-by told me that the man that runs it takes in animals that have been abandoned by their owners, so I think the cast of characters changes pretty frequently.
Perhaps I’m not selling it very well but trust me, it’s adorable in its own weird way.
We capped off our final day with a tour of the harbour. Again, I spent a lot of time swooning over the history and the water by turns.
The less said about the trip home the better – it took me four flights to get home and by the end I was pretty damn tired. I love Melbourne, but it does take a long time to get there from more or less everywhere! It was good to be home though. It always is. I love my city.
And it’s still good to be home. I’m obviously a bit late in writing these travel posts, as I returned in June and it’s now coming up on late-October. No excuses bar the fact that the interim period has been extremely busy. For the first time in a few years I’ve returned to studying and have been completing my practical legal training. The course I’m doing is very demanding, but it’s certainly nice to be studying again. I’m also enjoying the practical focus of the course; I learned many of things at university, first and foremost that I am not a particularly theoretical person. It’s nice to be able to learn by doing, and to use the skills that I’ve been taught. And come November I will get the opportunity to use them in a whole different way, but more on that next post.