My time here in Malta is soon to expire. It feels therefore appropriate to bring out the 'time flies when you're having a good time' cliché as that's certainly been the case for me with it feeling like I arrived only a couple of days ago when in actual fact, it's been two weeks! You might even recall my entrance to Malta those weeks ago was by boat, at night, and it was on arrival that I was immediately memorized not by the allure of a beautiful woman but by Valletta's spectacularly lit up waterfront.
As the plan is to wind down these last couple of days, I can spend more time composing my three final Maltese posts. The first being this one which will cover my last two afternoons of exploring and provide the usual assortment of tales culminating in a rare 'treat' for myself on my final evening. As for my last two articles, I want these to be more dedicated and more professional and so these will be titled 'Top things to do in Malta' and '30 pictures why you should visit Malta'.
Although Malta had never previously appealed to me, I arrived here with an open mind which is an ideal mindset when you are wanting to report back your experiences, impartially. My parents in particular were curious as Malta had never previously appealed to them either. I really hope the posts they'll have seen and read along with the final few posts to come, will be enough for them to believe Malta is so much nicer than they previously imagined. In fact, I'm so convinced that my Mother would love it here, I'm going to suggest we head out here next year sometime for a week or so. She will then relay on to Dad she had an amazing time which will then lead him to come out and then they can look at buying a place over here. Voila, job done, hehe.
I also quietly hope a lot of the images shown will have also presented a different perspective of Malta to the two lovely ladies who kindly commented last week. Of course no writing or imagery can or will alter their own tangible experience here but IF my pictures (and my immensely positive two weeks) have made them re-consider there just might be more to Malta than they remember, well that's my job done.
Before Valletta though, have you noticed that I haven't written much about bad or unlucky scenarios over the passing months? In all honestly that's not through lack of disclosure or pride but because I've been fortunate enough to have avoided such situations. However, in this my seventh month, some bad luck finally caught up with me as I lost 30 euros. That may or may not sound a lot to you but when you consider that currently 40 euros can get me through two full days, you can now better appreciate the value to me of losing such an amount.
After a couple of hours recovery time from the annoyed state I found myself at, I was back in good mental health. To be fair, a couple of hours 'downtime' is already a vast improvement over the 2014 version of myself - despite being significantly and comparably financially worse off. I gave a little prayer requesting that the benefactor of my misfortune will have been somebody who really needed the money. Oddly, believing that to be true has helped me now smile warmly over what was once a miserable situation for me.
Being money down, I instinctively switched back to conservation mode. Completely coincidentally, I happen to be staying in the cheapest accommodation I've stayed at since my time in the Balkans so if anything, now was probably the best time for me to have lost this! Another complete coincidence was that the following day a friend back in the UK suggested I try a Maltese 'light-bite' claiming this to be both enjoyable and cheap.
And you know what, he really wasn't kidding. A single Maltese Pastizz from a back-street bakery costs a scarcely believable 30 cents! And they genuinely taste good too! Nice one Nigel, I mean seriously. Y'know this type of pastry brought back wonderful nostalgic memories of my time in the Balkans and the ubiquitous böreks. The man doesn't just known his pastry but his coffee too. Fellow Clevedon coffee aficionados should get involved here - http://coffeeinclevedon.blogspot.com
In fact, they were so good (particularly the pea filling), that I think I had one on nearly every day of my last week :-)
Regarding my accommodation for the last few days, granted it wasn't much to look at but it did have a fridge and a kitchen down the hallway which are two essential things for cost-saving.
Interestingly my room is part of a huge complex that is primarily used as an English-teaching school. This means the front few blocks are for long-term (several months at-a-time) students and the rear blocks have been let as hostel dorms. Makes good business sense to me! Subsequently (and for such a low price) this place would be full in the summer but not so much now in early November. In fact, I am just one of three in an eight-bed room which suits me just fine.
Speaking of cost saving, how about this being 10 euros per night.
Crazy huh. Oh, and there's just one other thing worthy of a mention...
With it not being summer, this meant the following was in no danger of being overcrowded allowing myself (and just a few brave others) to enjoy the slightly chilly swimming pool.
Did he really just say swimming pool?
He did and they say good fortune favours the brave...
I'm guessing you didn't expect that for £7 GBP a night. Honestly, it was like having my own pool in a private villa.
Subsequently, both of these things (the cheap food and cheap accommodation) are what have allowed me to be super-frugal for the last few days and not exceed 20 euros per day!
Valletta is a magnificent city to just walk around and gaze upon in wonder and admiration. It's only 1KM long so you can really see most of this city in a full day. As I've mentioned before, this is the European capital of culture for 2018 and as such, the city will be having purposefully built buildings being constructed over the next few years to showcase as much as it possibly can - in addition of course to the already-standing 16th century structural elegance that you are constantly surrounded by. In fact, I've recently read that Valletta is one of the most concentrated historic areas in the world.
Let's start with the most recognisable images of Malta that I've been providing these last two weeks.; the big dome and Church but this time not viewed from afar, but up close and personal. Past images give the illusion these separate entities are a distance apart but in reality, they are very close and almost aligned with each other.
Republic street and other side streets. Republic street is the main pedestrian street in Valletta.
Recognition to Malta in reference to war along with just one of several memorials
Independence square and Upper Barrakka area.
Malta gained its political Independence from Britain in 1964.
Do you know how long since it's been since I watched a movie!? So very long. In fact, I think the last time was THIS one-off memorable experience back in early July.
Most of you will know which film has been released this weekend so suddenly being in an English speaking country does have some advantages after all...
Yes folks, tonight it was me and Mr Bond, James Bond
A fantastic movie at a fantastic price (£5 GBP) to finalise the end of two fantastic weeks.
Thank-you, Malta. It's been a pleasure...