Winter in Warsaw: cold, gray, interminable, and to top it off, the air is toxic. By February, everyone who hasn’t gotten out yet is starting to get a little crazy. We sure were!
Last week, we grabbed a red-eye to Malta. SO WORTH IT.
Malta is a fascinating place for all kinds of historical reasons. The Maltese language, which is a mix of Arabic, Italian, and English, reflects the island’s crazy mix of cultures. But that was just a bonus. We really loved the sun, the landscape—and the food! Also a mix of Mediterranean influences, Maltese cuisine (and wine) definitely stacks up favorably against that of Italy or Spain, my other two favorite places to eat.
By coincidence, we arrived the Saturday before Lent. This posed a few minor problems in terms of things being somewhat randomly closed with no notices posted online, but on the other hand, we were able to see Carnival preparations and parades close-up.
We only spent a couple of days in Valletta, as our real objective after being stuck in an apartment all winter was to GET OUTSIDE. So, we rented a car and made several only slightly terrifying expeditions (left-hand driving, daredevil drivers) to other parts of the island.
We also took the car ferry to Gozo, Malta’s smaller sister island and hiked around. We liked Gozo a lot: it is less developed and quieter than Malta, and oh my, the landscape!
On our last full day, we set out in search of the Victoria Lines. These are a series of forts and walls that are built along a natural fault line running east to west across Malta. The various fortifications date from the time of the Crusades to WWII. A sketchy hiking trail follows the wall across the island. Like most Malta attractions, it was a bit of a treasure hunt! But that’s why it was a good thing we had the car.
Malta was more than just a vacation. It was much-needed therapy. Hopefully, we both stored up enough Vitamin D to last until spring!