June 30, 2019 ♥♥♥
Stay: Casa Ellul (for all 3 nights)
Dates: June 1-4
Valletta, Malta took us by complete and total happy surprise.
A week before Dave and I left for a European Adventure/40th Birthday/Friends Reunion/Winter Escape/2nd Babymoon holiday, we heard a few odd things about Malta…
First one is that apparently wealthy South Africans go there to get EU citizenship and that’s all it’s good for. Second, a few South African’s warned us to “be safe”. Coming from a South African…that actually made me a tad nervous. Lastly, everyone kept asking us “why would you go there? (even though they hadn’t been yet).”
Here’s why: Because it’s an unknown country to us that looks beautiful, was named Europes’ culture capital in 2018, Duchess Fab Megan Markle loves it there (and even stayed at our hotel!) and because…why not?!
Our 2.5 week holiday would be filled with luxe and gorgeous destinations where we’d be reuniting with our best friends. This beginning part was our time alone– a moment to pause and soak it all in that this would be our last solo trip as a couple for a very long time.
We couldn’t be more excited to become parents, but one last adventure into the unknown was something we had to check off. Perhaps this isn’t quite a big risk big reward scenario….but landing in this beautiful country and gazing at the stone walls as we entered Valletta….we just looked at each other and knew- an adventure into the unknown always pays off.
Day 1: An Adventure into the unknown always pays off.
Valletta is an architectural masterpiece. A delight for the eyes. And a treat for your belly.
Everywhere you look is a plethora of impressive castles, incredibly maintained baroque buildings, beautiful serene gardens and palaces that have been restored to perfection. As you walk on the cobblestone streets, you can’t help but feel giddily overwhelmed at it’s beauty. It’s shocking. Especially since the rumors we heard were quickly turning into just that.
Their history is confusing though. The Italians first conquered? Then the French. Then the English (Queen Elizabeth famously said she’s never felt more normal than when she lived in Malta). And now they’re independent. I’m not much of a history buff so there’s the VERY short end of it. But one may wonder, with all that war and fighting over it, how did it stay so incredibly beautiful?
I attribute credit to the warm and kind locals.
Tip: Head to Rootz Bar, a dark and sexy cave like place, to hear a live pianist perform classics, taste a grappa and finish it off with a real deal Hot Chocolate (I’ve become a bit of an expert on Virgin drinks this trip). Not to be missed- Dave swears it’s one of his favorite bars ever.
Day 2: Expats and shopping
After a delicious breakfast at our hotel, we took a stroll all around Valletta, exploring all the alleyways, and working off our meal until we arrived at the docks where we took a 20 minute ferry ride across the water to Sliema.
Sliema is the modern part of Malta and coincidentally where the bulk of the expats reside. It’s also where all the shopping is. Let’s just say my South African deprived shopping needs were fulfilled easily (Dave’s more which is shocking even though it was Sunday and we NOW know how most countries besides the states love to close on a Sunday). Thank goodness for Zara.
Wandering around the town we got a peek at real estate prices. Ummm….it’s not cheap to live in the Mediterranean! I suppose with view like this, why would it be?
It was a lovely morning. Not essential to see but fun to get some cute dresses in and soak in the local culture. The rest of the day was spent back in Valletta walking nearly 8 miles! Remember, 6 months preggo over here! Swollen ankles and all- it’s still SO visually worth it.
Day 3: Mdina for the day- aka: Kings Landing
Our last full day in Malta was spent exploring the great walled city of Mdina, which is now famously known as Kings Landing from our favorite show, Game of Thrones. Needless to say, we were excited a bit. We hired a driver who gave us a tour along the way- which turned out to end our day quite eventfully (hint: Dave broke into an old castle because he just HAD to. Ugh!!).
Day 4: Malta to Sicily
We ended our time in Malta with more walking, more eating, and wishing we had more time. We only took a bite out of the island by staying focused on Valletta due to time constraints but I can’t wait to come back some day, rent a car and drive all over this gorgeous country.
Until then, Dave swears it’s the next Croatia so I highly suggest you go now!
Ciao Malta- you were a delight. Off to our next chapter: to see the Godfather in Sicilia! Hope you all enjoyed. xo