Earlier this week I received an email from a friend back home saying how my blog had opened his eyes to a number of things and in particular, the quality and cost of alternate accommodation. (By alternate, I specifically mean other than hotels).
A perfect time then to show you my latest hostel. First though, I needed to get here as it was in a different city to Valletta (Malta's capital) which is where I stayed yesterday for one night following my late ferry docking.
Some quick and notable statistics surrounding Valletta are: It's Europe's most southerly capital, Europe's smallest capital and that it will be hosting the title of European Capital of Culture in 2018.
Oh, and how about the entire city being UNESCO protected!
Having been charmed by its night-time aura, I knew with certainty this city would be place would be worth exploring but research had educated me that I didn't need to stay here (and pay higher prices) to visit it. That's because it's just a five minute sea crossing to get between my new destination of Silema and Valletta.
Result. Go on, let's give it a try then...
Spot on! And at 1.50 euros a journey, I could make my way back and forth to the capital as often as I wanted.
Regarding the hostel, thankfully it was conveniently located less than three minutes away from where we docked. In addition to it being excellently positioned, it had all-important availability, fantastic pricing and the word 'boutique' in its name so I was never not going to stay here was I! Although admittedly once upon a time I'd have thought this too good to be true but it wasn't, it really was as advertised. I mean, just look at this place...
No breakfast included at this hostel but still the price was superb at 13 euros a night (9.50GBP)!!!
Are you now finally convinced!? Remember if I can stay in these places, YOU can! The clue's in the 'unlikely traveller' name. (Although I appreciate this is less applicable to persons 'of an age').
I'd been made aware that the forecast for the next couple of days included some rain so I was keen to head out and explore for the remainder of today at 22 degrees.
Did you know that Malta is really quite hilly? I was happy my day's walk would be on the much flatter promenade but be assured, roads like this are common and even more so in Valletta. Look! Even the local posty has a motorised bike and I really don't blame him!
The houses along here were beautiful and the majority looking very similar to those shown above and also those shown below. Along the area of the promenade where I docked, more and more modern looking flats are being built which I can only assume is indicative to Malta's growing (and already well-established to those in the know) reputation.
In the distance (and then soon to be in the foreground) - The Basilica of Our lady of Mount Carmel in Valletta. So as you can now see, Sliema and Valletta really are that closely separated.
So folks the start of my Maltese experience couldn't have begun any better. An effortless and quick sea crossing from Sicily, a couple of hours peaceful night-time wandering and now accommodation in one of the best maintained hostels I've stayed at in nearly 7 months. Oh, and today I enjoyed low 20 degree heat too.
Hopefully then you're beginning to realise that Malta really looks like it has a lot more to offer than you (and I) ever thought it would...
Top tip: Backpackers dismiss staying in Valletta and do as I did above or find accommodation in the more lively and less expensive Paceville / St Julian's.