Malta, upon landing, was not as hot as I wanted it to be, but then it is the end of September and there were rain showers all day. The following days were not as kind on the skin though as the temperatures soared more towards the higher 20s, but not enough to be scalded or saturated in sweat (yuck).
Upon arriving the airport was not bad; imagine it like Edinburgh airport, medium sized with shops. I guess anything compared to the Ryanair airport in Finland where it was like a shack, and was especially and what looked hastily built just to host Ryanair. In fact Malta international airport looked everything as good as Edinburgh with its own facilities, many shops, well presented airport and signs, tourist information though it was tiny, and easy to navigate because it really wasn’t big enough to get lost in. And on the big plus side, free wifi! Have always always always maintained, every other International airport in the world offers free wifi, only UK, stingy begrudging UK still does not offer any free wifi in their airports, shameful! But then how many international airports in the world charge people for drop off from the car? (Don’t get me started!)
So I met my friend at the airport, who has been patiently waiting for over an hour for my plane to arrive, not my fault really it was only suppose to have been 40mins wait, but Ryanair from London decided to arrive early, how inconsiderate, and so she had to wait longer for me lol. In my defence on the return journey my homeward flight was over 10 hours later than hers!
After frightening me by jumping (literally) into my sight as I exited the customs area, we headed out to the bus. Such a bargain the bus service is. Not only is it very convenient as it goes to all our areas of interest usually fairly frequent, but you can purchase 7 day tickets at an absolute steal – only €12, compared to a return train ticket from my home to Edinburgh during rush hour is around £8.
The bus journey last around 30-40mins from the airport to Malta’s capital, Valletta, so it’s not far at all. Upon driving through the streets the first impression that came to mind was dusty followed by Malta seems like it hasn’t finished building yet as we drive along yellow sandy roads with a cluster of buildings followed by vast open and brown untouched land followed by cluster of buildings, more sandy roads and vast open brown untouched land. The third thought to stick was, where’s the greenery?
Not realising that an airport bus does go directly to the area where our hotel was situated, we arrived in Valletta thinking that we would be able to take the ferry from Valletta’s harbour to Silema’s harbour (where our hotel was located) free of charge as it was included in the 7 day pass we had purchased (funnily enough because it was confirmed it would by the bus people at the airport). When we got to the harbour, no, it seems the ticket is not valid and so had pay €1.50 each for the ferry taxi ride (maybe my question earlier was lost in translation, I have no idea!). A few Euros lighter and sea salt drenching 10mins bumpy ride later, the ferry taxi arrived on the other side (the right side for us) albeit all wet.
But despite the slight transport hiccup, a walk up a short hill we got to our Hotel fairly comfortably. We then found in the following days just how amazing convenient the transport here is!
All in all Malta is a nice place to visit for the beach and much warmer weather though you would need to hit the island in the summer rather than autumn for this. There are a few historic sites to wander around if you can manage to drag yourself from the beach. A good collection of cafes to chill in and the transport is really convenient to travel on. The buses it seems, go everywhere! The waters are lush and the views amazing. As part of our trip we also booked a horse riding tour which took us to a small village built on the side of a cliff within a bay. At first none of us spotted it because really, why would you expect a small village in the middle of no where, and I mean no where as the plateau we were standing on to view the village had nothing but barren sand covered land. We were later proudly informed by the guide that that village was actually a film set for Popeye, the movie. I did not know they filmed Popeye there, I actually did not know there was even a movie. Ooops.
But the most memorable part of our trip was when we went on a glass bottom underwater tour. The tour itself, unfortunately, turned out to be a scam as we saw nothing. OK, maybe a few tiny tiny fish and the under water rock formation, but that was it. Talk about a bitter disappointment. What was surprising though was when V and I looked back through our photos to find, well, see for yourself…
I don’t know why but clearly the two behind us saw something we failed to see!