Malta – diving into the Mediterranean Sea

The blue cave and a close up of euphoria melitensis, a beautiful endemic plant

The blue cave and a close up of euphoria melitensis, a beautiful endemic plant

We really needed a break lately so when I peered the chance of jumping on a plane and going somewhere else I instantly took it! I have a dear friend living there, we met in London ages ago and we’re still in touch, thanks to the very hated Facebook. He’s got a sister working in Venice and he came to visit her a couple of months ago, he also spend a couple of days with us before leaving and he made us promise to go and pay him a visit back very soon.

Well, I’m sorry folks but I really need to make you sigh with some postcard-like pictures I took during our trip. I won’t be long with words because I can’t even remember the name of the places we’ve been, Maltese is very difficult for me to hear since it sounds arab (although when I read it I can see many words resembling Italian). Pictured above there is this bay, with a narrow walking path that lead to a pebble beach. The slopes are filled with acanthus mollis (which I didn’t know could be so drought resistant!) and a beautiful white umbel which I couldn’t identify but I brought some seeds home with the hope they will sprout. At first sight you think Malta is a rather bare little island, indeed looking closely you realize how amazing nature could be, transforming limestone and dry clay in an open garden.

Above you can see the umbel I was talking about and the narrow path with that led us down the bay.

Malta has been inhabited for more than 4.000 years over history, history that is now literally layered above stones and sand, the island is in fact so packed with evidence of every single Age that it seems built of it, as though someone had emptied the Museum of Louvre on the sea and the result is a beautiful place full of surprises.

There was this swirling pattern engraved in a bunch of variations on prehistoric sites scattered around Malta. The link between every single age is the use of the maltese soft stone and limestone. The soft stone in particular has an amber colour that can reflect and amplify the already strong natural light giving it a very warm tinge that makes you feel like in a dream.

Medina

Medina

Medina was one of the old capital of Malta and I always enjoy visiting this place. Maybe because there are barely no cars around, the place almost look abandoned but not ages ago, as though all the people just left a few hours earlier than our arrive. Or maybe they were just hiding behind the billions of windows…

Everything in Malta has a different pace and measure, the place is very small and packed with beauties and rather weird people, they drive like mads and on the wrong side of the road! The food is fantastic, we had a lot of fish; seaside is breathtaking, you can bath (although you really need to be brave sometimes jumping from tall rocks into a pure, chilly water), you can get a suntan and you can watch undisturbed nature at the same time (yes, that’s a geko!).

The place is literally covered with: prickly pears cacti, maltese spurge (euphorbia melitensis), capers and some kind of unidentified grass. There are barely any trees though.

Unfortunately 4 days passed in a moment and we had to leave Malta and our friends in La Valletta with the promise to meet sooner than 10 years next time. I’m glad to keep in touch with people around the World that after years still think of me as much as I think of them.

Twilight upon La Valletta, seen from my friend's flat where we were hosted

Twilight upon La Valletta, seen from my friend’s flat where we were hosted

Sunset at Golden Bay

Sunset at Golden Bay

 

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31 thoughts on “Malta – diving into the Mediterranean Sea

  1. Well okay I am jealous. What a magical place. The sea is fabulous but I most loved the images of the buildings and windows and the carved rocks. And acanthus growing in the sun? I thought it wanted shade… no wonder mine never blooms. I’m glad you got to make that trip Alberto.

    • Oh good morning! I have mine in partial shade and it is rather ugly too. If at least I could have nice leaves I’d give up flowers, although I love them. I read there is this acanthus hungaricus that likes drought and full sun but I can’t find it anywhere. the one pictured is molls though, I’m pretty sure.

  2. You have brought back happy memories Alberto, we went to Malta over 20 yrs ago and really enjoyed our time there. I remember the architecture, the ancient sites and the Prickly pears. Mdina, was lovely and peaceful, thanks to the absence of cars and of course I brought some glass home. We hired a car when we were there and found that the locals drove in the shade, whichever side of the road it was on!!

    • My friend Neil told me about the shady part of the road, indeed! To me it always feels odd sitting on the left and not having the wheel in my hands, especially when they drive like mad, it’s very uncomfortable. I’m glad I brought you back some good moments.

    • Well maybe it wouldn’t be the first choice for an American visiting Europe but you’ve been to Russia in winter already, you shall now enjoy some seaside and warm sun next time! 🙂

  3. How nice to reconnect to some old friends. And what a gorgeous place. I love the acanthus, and the stones with their engravings. And the blue, blue sea. And that beautiful white sand along the pathway. What a great experience to have seen all this beauty, if only for a short while. Thanks for showing us some of your “postcards”.

    • Thank you for watching them! I often found rather boring watching other people’s vacation pics but I had so many beautiful pictures, how could I not share them on my blog?

  4. So beautiful! My husband and I planned a trip to Malta many years ago but ended up canceling it. I forget why. I really wish we’d gone. It looks like an incredible place. 🙂

    • Hi Casa, as I wrote Jason (gardeninacity) Malta would not be my first choice as an American touris: Europe has so much to offer. Anyway you can easily take a low-cost flight and spend a few days in Malta too. It only costed 60€ forth and back to me.

    • Hi Filip, travelling is very contagious, ins’t it? 🙂
      10 years ago I went to Malta the first week of september and it was very, very hot. don’t go after september though, my friend told me they have some damp and warm winds blowing from october that makes you fell even hotter. This time I have to admit the weather was awesome but rather chilly in the evening and the water was rather cold. I though I would be hotter in May and found out they have the same weather of me in Venice (without rain though).

  5. Huh, you had better weather thn I did in Spain. What is that white flower with the purple stamens? Surely not a caper? It’s pretty. I want one in my hot Scottish climate.

    • Yes it is indeed a caper. They grow profusely in southern Italy and in Malta there are plenty too. They like dry rocky spots or gaps in the walls. I bet the only way to have capers in your hot Scottish climate is canned.

  6. Hi, Alberto, I have been in touch with akismet and they have just told me they have fixed the problem. Just doing a test run to see if this comes through without having to retrieve it from your spam. Please just delete this. Thanks for your patience. Alistair. I will be back with more conventional stuff later.

    • We need summer!!! Warm weather is making us beg this year, even here in Italy the season is sooo late… Everybody looks at my suntan with envy…

  7. Hello, Alberto! Thanks for the picture post card views of Malta! I would love to visit such a place. I have never been to the Mediterranean, but this is my idealized vision of it! You are indeed fortunate to have good friends who have remained so over the years, truly one of life’s great treasures.

    • Hi Deb! Indeed this is a cliché of the Mediterranean Sea. But you have never enough of those cliché!!!!
      Yes, I’m so glad I can count on friends even when there are hundreds of kilometers to part.

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