So, I took another trip. This time, I spent a total of 9 days in Malta. This was a trip I did in January, and this trip was special because this is the first trip I took where my accommodations were primarily handled through Couchsurfing. I will of course begin a series of travelogues featuring the dozens of photos I took, but for the moment, I am doing an overview post, as usual.
So, back in October 2013, I realized that my last trip was to Georgia and Armenia, which was in August. I realized that I was itching for another trip, so I planned a 9-day trip to Malta. I figured that given the size of the country, a week including the two weekends that wrap it should be enough. Hence, I was there for 9 days, flying in to Saturday, and leaving Sunday the weekend after. This was from January 4 to 12. And the following is my itinerary.
On January 4, I woke up really early, because I was catching an early flight from Berlin Tegel Airport. I was flying with Lufthansa, on an award ticket (yes folks, because I did a lot of flying with United Airlines in the past, I had enough miles to do a couple of round-trip flights, including this one). I was connecting in Frankfurt. I arrived in Malta around noon time, and I bought a bus ticket to go to the ferry, and then I took the ferry to get from Malta (the big island) to Gozo. I then got another bus to go to my Couchsurfing host. I stayed with Mario, a local Gozitan, for three days. I chatted with him for the whole afternoon, and after that, I just took a little stroll in his village.
On January 5 and 6, I spent these two days in Gozo. The first day was spent wandering around Victoria, which is Gozo's little capital. I loved this castle city, and I explored several museums inside it. The next day on the other hand was spent with me using Gozo's bus network to see cliffs, ocean, rock formations, and large cathedrals.
On January 7, I left Mario's house in the morning, and headed to Malta (the main island). But before that, I checked out one last thing in Gozo, which was the salt pans in the north. After doing that, I headed to the ferry harbor and crossed back to the main island. Then I took the bus to get to my next Couchsurfing host, Karl. I stayed with him for three nights as well.
On January 8 and 9, I spent these two days exploring Malta, including the walled and silent city of Mdina, as well as the capital, Valletta. I also spent most of my time underground, because I visited prehistoric archaeological ruins underground, as well as Roman-era catacombs. I spent lots of time taking pictures, and I learned a lot about this small country.
On January 10 and 11, I moved to a hotel. I said goodbye to Karl and moved to another part of the big island. I have to say that these nights are the ones that I enjoyed the least. Somehow, spending time with locals gave me an interesting perspective in the country. I was able to find out about their social problems, their issues, and so forth. I saw more than just the pretty side of the country. I spent these two other days exploring the capital, as well as visiting other prehistoric sights. The country is small enough such that one can base oneself in one location and bus one's way all over the place within the day.
On January 12, I checked out of my hotel, and took the bus to get to the airport. And by the evening, I was back in Berlin.
This was my 34th country to visit, and perhaps this is also the first country that I felt like I scratched more than just the surface. I loved every bit of it, and can definitely recommend it to someone who is a big fan of history. Malta is a gem in the middle of the Mediterranean, I just hope that it doesn't get overrun by British expats escaping the winter.
Of course, there will be posts with pictures to follow, so stay tuned.