The Island of Malta
Written by Rachel March 12, 2014
Adventures off the beaten path are often the most rewarding. On our last travel weekend, my friends and I decided to go to Sicily and Malta. I was really excited to go to Sicily because Dr. Al (the Director of CIMBA who is also my Law professor) has been telling my class great things about it for weeks. I wasn’t super familiar with Malta, but I just assumed it was another island off the coast of Italy.
A day or two before we left, I was in my Business, Culture, and Society class with my friend, Mike. Our professor, Dr. Standish, was giving us a lecture on the EU and which countries were using the Euro and which countries were not. He handed us a map of all the countries in the EU. After reviewing the map for about five minutes, I realized Malta was it’s own country! Mike turned to me and said the exact same thing I was thinking. We felt really smart… At least we learned something new that day!
We got to Malta on Friday night. It was the first time I had been in a country where the steering wheel was on the right side of the car! Our taxi dropped us off at the Hotel (an upgrade from subpar hostels…) and we spent the night on St. Julian’s Street, walking into different bars and clubs. The nightlife in Malta was so fun! It was also really cheap; we didn’t have to pay cover anywhere.
During the day, we had the option of relaxing at the hotel or taking a bus tour around the northern part of the island. A few of us decided to check out the bus tour. It was only 17 Euro and we were allowed to stop and get out twice, each time for an hour. It was pretty windy and sitting on top of the bus was chilly, so we decided to get off in the old capital city of Malta- Mdina.
I had done a bit of research on Malta before we left Paderno, because I was writing an article on the island for my Travel Writing class. I knew Mdina was a famous walled city in Europe, but I didn’t know much about the history. However, just being in the small, quaint city for an hour made me realize how special it is.
When I think about Malta (after I realized it was it’s own country…), I picture a sunny coastline with people in bathing suits, laying out on the beach. We went in the end of winter/start of spring, so we saw a lot of empty resorts, drained pools, and jeans and sweatshirts. We were a little disappointed, because even the hotel’s pools were drained. Once we we walking around Mdina, though, that didn’t really matter.
Mdina was definitely a hidden secret in Malta. It it home to only 320 people and when you walk through the narrow, windy streets, you feel like you’re in the 1700s. The city (if you can even call it that) has a handful of restaurants and gift shops and a beautiful Cathedral sits in the center of the main square. If you ever visit Mdina, make sure you stop in the glass shops. About 50 years ago or so, Malta opened their first glass factory in Malta. The pieces were beautiful; you could tell a great deal of work went into each piece.
It was really special to experience a completely new and undiscovered city with my friends. We had a blast on the rest of the bus ride. We were given headphones to plug into our seats and every few minutes a woman’s voice filled us in on what we were driving by. For example, we learned that all the Churches in Malta have two clocks; one says the real time and the other is set wrong. The locals believe Satan can never enter the Church if he doesn’t know what time Mass is. Hence, different clock times.
We had the best time in Malta. It was exactly what we needed. The weekend before, we walked over 25 miles in Rome (in 2 days, OW). My feet were so sore, so sitting at the hotel and riding around on a double decker bus all day was amazing. I realized that sometimes you need to take a break from all the sightseeing and just let yourself be.