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Malta: Part 1

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It wasn’t long ago that I couldn’t even locate Malta on a map.

For the record, this tiny island nation is sandwiched between Europe and Africa. Malta is only about 80 kilometres south of  Sicily, and 280 kilometres west of Tunisia.

Malta is one of those places that you’ve probably heard of, but know nothing about.   I knew a little about it only because my hometown, Toronto, has a sizeable Maltese population.  In high school, I had Maltese-Canadian friends who would abscond to their parents’ homeland every summer.  Still, my knowledge of Malta was hazy, at best.  Still, I never imagined that I would go there myself.

And then I moved to London.

The depressingly grey skies as seen from my bedroom window
The heavy grey skies and damp, frigid air native to London at this time of year make me sad. Some days, I find it impossible to drum up the energy to even leave the house if it’s not necessary. A little over a month ago, feeling particularly listless and uninspired, I pronounced to Liebling that I desperately needed some sun. The best excuse for travelling, no?   Leaving no stone unturned (as usual), we scoured the internet for good flight deals to sun-drenched destinations within a 3-hour flight of London.

We couldn’t help taking the Malta bait.

  At 145 British pounds ($225 USD) per person for a round-trip, direct flight to Malta’s Luqa airport, it was obvious that this trip was meant to be. With no hesitation, we relinquished our credit card numbers and parted with our hard-earned farthings. We were off to Malta for a three day weekend!

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After a sweaty, mad dash to meet Liebling at Heathrow (I am nearly always late!), the three hour flight to Malta passed without incident. We arrived to the island late on Friday night and were whisked via private car to our accomodation.  Now, before I continue, I have a confession to make.  A while back I was contacted by Hostelbookers, who said they would be happy to host me at one of their properties should I  find myself in close promixity. I was delighted to see that they had properties in Malta. And thus it came to be that Liebling and I were invited to stay at the lovely Argento Hotel.
I’ll admit that I was a tad concerned about potentially being a talking head for a brand. I know that you take my recommendations to heart and I’m not in the business of misleading people. As a result, this sponsored stay filled me with trepidation. What if the hotel was beneath my (highly critical) standards? While I wouldn’t dream of slagging the place (I do have tact!), my sharp tongue and moral fortitude beg me to speak the truth.  Thankfully, my moral compass was not tested. The Argento has recently been renovated and is absolutely splendid. Hostelbookers hooked me up. In addition to the monstrous bed and stylish decor, I was particularly geeked by the spotless bathroom facilities. I mean, if you *ahem* have to spend a long time in the bathroom, you want to make sure it’s a nice one. Just sayin’.

 Spoiled, I slid between the cool sheets and let Liebling’s snores lull me to sleep (just kidding!).  The next morning, I awoke to the most soul-stirring view from my hotel room window.  London, this place ain’t.

One hearty hotel breakfast later, we were out on the bustling streets of St. Julian’s, the area of Malta we were staying in.  St. Julian’s is home to a flurry of activity, rammed with hotels, restaurants, and lots of nightlife.  It is also home to the dazzling Spinola Bay, which was just steps from our accomodation.  I spent a full 10 minutes trying to capture the beauty surrounding me.

An impromptu walking tour took us along the promenade, past large bodies of cerulean water, and through narrow streets book-ended by abodes with beautiful balconies. I shook off the dreary London doldrums that had been weighing down my spirit and smiled as the intense sunlight seeped into my skin. Yup, Malta is that amazing.

 

I have NEVER seen such pretty buildings.

 We seemingly erred through the streets, but we had a destination.  We were walking from St. Julian’s to Sliema, where we purchased tickets for a hop-on, hop-off sightseeing tour of the island. Weaving through the streets for 45 minutes, we arrived at Sliema, a little dewy from the heat, but warm and happy. There we were to board our sightseeing bus, which would take us on a tour of the northern part of the island.

I again marvelled at how the good weather and spectacular sights had served to brighten my mood. Taking one last look at the panorama before me, I boarded the sightseeing bus and took a seat beside Liebling.  I couldn’t wait to see more!


Do you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder like I do? Does the weather affect your mood? I’d love to hear from you!



As I mentioned above, HostelBookers graciously arranged my stay at the Argento Hotel in St. Julian’s, Malta.  The opinions, as always, are my own, but let’s face it- photos don’t lie- this hotel was amazing. This hotel is also relatively inexpensive with rooms starting at just $25 USD per person, per night. You can book the property through HostelBookers here!

Psst! Don’t forget to “like” me on Facebook if you haven’t already! Your support is much appreciated!

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22 Comments

  • Reply
    Try Anything Once Terri
    December 19, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    You already now how I feel about the cold from Facebook. I am having a hard time transitioning into the cold, even though we tend to have sunny cold days here in NYC. I am jealous that you were walking around without a coat!

    I agree that I don't know much about Malta, but I am looking forward to learning more from your posts. Also no worries on the sponsored stay. We trust you (or at least I do). ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Ashley
    December 19, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    My sister had a hard time transitioning to England's weather when she moved there, so I understand where you're coming from as I heard her complain about it.

    Malta is gorgeous and it's been on my list since a friend of mine raved about it, and so did you ๐Ÿ™‚

    They have those buildings in Turkey, too ๐Ÿ™‚ I have a link to an old post of mine, so you can see:
    http://littleturkishgirl.blogspot.com/2011/04/part-three-alacat-turkey.html

  • Reply
    sprite
    December 19, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    I cannot get over those bright blue skies- so gorgeous. You and Liebling seem really relaxed in these pics; it's wonderful what a change of scene can do, especially when it involves sunshine, sea, and sleeping in!
    As a child I used to love the UK (my family used to come here from Africa at least once a year for a break) and the cooler weather seemed so different & exciting but now that I have lived here for years I am officially over the rain and gloom. How does the weather here in UK compare to Canada though? My OH and I are looking into relocating to Canada (work transfer) but I have heard the winters there are not for the faint-hearted!
    Give me sunny climes anyday!

  • Reply
    Tatiana
    December 19, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    Umm…YES to your question about SAD! This is my first winter in Germany, and I can definitely relate to feeling listless. No travel plans for me this winter, so I'll continue to visit ur blog for vicarious sunshine.

  • Reply
    Monqiue
    December 19, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    SAD is no joke. November – March each year is torture for me here in Holland. http://www.motravels.com/2009/03/march-madness.html

    That's why the last few years we've been going someplace sunny during the Christmas holidays. Tallinn was beautiful and all, but Africa, here we come!!!

  • Reply
    KiKi
    December 20, 2011 at 1:06 am

    Thank you for displaying a map of Malta. You saved me the trouble.

    LOL

  • Reply
    hillary
    December 20, 2011 at 2:24 am

    You know me, Oneika- 2 years in Berlin just about killed me. I couldn't even get out of the house most winter days. I learned my lesson- never, ever (if I can help it) will I live north (or south) of 40 degrees.
    I'm glad you got some sunlight in Malta, though, and a good story too.

  • Reply
    Bruleegirl
    December 20, 2011 at 2:59 am

    I am miserable in cold and grey weather. I live in the South and its sunny all the time which I love. The only problem is I love the cities and countries that have a bunch of cold weather( when they are sunny).

  • Reply
    Mrs. Pancakes
    December 20, 2011 at 4:31 am

    Oh wow…I would die to go to Malta! Too fun!

  • Reply
    kvowels
    December 20, 2011 at 5:26 am

    I am not entirely certain, but I think I may have. When I lived in Pma and it would rain continuously and I couldn't leave the island I would become so irritable. I joked with an old boss that I had SAD. Perhaps, I did. But I am going to enjoy living somewhere where the seasons change. I am thinking of Colorado. I will let you know!

  • Reply
    Oneika
    December 20, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    @Terri: The weather was just fantastic and so I was even more depressed when I came home to cold London!

    @Ashley: It does look really similar! Interesting because when I went to Istanbul, the buildings I saw looked different, but I wasn't paying much attention. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    @sprite: Where I'm from in Canada (Toronto), it gets REALLY cold in the winter but we often have a lot of clear, sunny days. So as a result I don't think I mind the cold as much as the grey!

    @Tatiana: I'm struggling right along with ya, sister! I fly to Berlin on Friday and will spend the holidays there. Certainly not looking forward to the weather!!! Are you based in Berlin? If so, would love to meet up!

    @Monique: I am so so jealous about your Africa trip! Think of me shivering and miserable over here..

    @Kiki: glad I could be of assistance LOL

    @Hillary: Thanks, lady, after only 2 months of living in London, now I know what you meant about Berlin… At least in grey HK we had warm weather… This is really killing me here.

    @Brulee: Maybe Scandanavia is the place for you then! I have always had the impressive that despite short periods of daylight in the winter, that the air is fairly clear and the sky is blue.

    @Mrs. Pancakes: Maybe you can go for a second honeymoon???

    @kvowels: Never been to Colorado but people tell me Denver is a cool city. Keep me posted!

  • Reply
    Andi of My Beautiful Adventures
    December 20, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    Wow what a fabulous hotel! I love the marina shots.

  • Reply
    Ashley
    December 20, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    Yeah, I think Istanbul has a different feel for sure, where this was more of a village I went to. And geographically, it's south of Istanbul, closer to Greece.

  • Reply
    Emily in Chile
    December 20, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    Both the hotel and Malta itself look like the perfect weekend escape to lift your spirits! I'm with you, the grey weather gets me down, so that would have been reason enough for me to head somewhere sunny.

  • Reply
    Linda-Purely Holistic London
    December 21, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    Lol, ah yes! I know how you feel, I get serious SAD most winters in London, especially when it first hits Autumn and I slowly go into "hibernation" mode lol! But over the last 2 years I have been throwing my Self into activities I love- there are some great mind body spirit, film and creative festivals going on all over London (oct/nov are busy with events!) that I love going to – keeping busy with a routine helps me too!

    Always love your travel pics, this is one place I still need to check out- thanks!!!

  • Reply
    tatiana
    December 21, 2011 at 11:52 pm

    Safe travels to Berlin! I'm in Wolfsburg (about 2 hours west of Berlin). No Berlin for me this weekend, but I'd love to meet up the next time you find yourself in Germany! Off topic, but have you heard of this film, My Last Day Without You? My husband and I are pretty excited about seeing it. http://mylastdaywithoutyou.com/

  • Reply
    Erika
    December 22, 2011 at 1:14 am

    Yeah, the weather was the biggest factor against me moving to Michigan, but I did it anyway. But it does affect me and make me sluggish. On days when the sun is shining, I feel like I can do and be anything. When it's not, like you, it's hard for me to even get out of bed or move. I tend to stay as close to home as possible on those days. It'll be interesting to see how winter affects me this year.

    Anyway, glad your quick trip to Malta cheered you up. And just hearing about it has cheered me up! Your photos and writing are fabulous — as always. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Cata
    December 23, 2011 at 2:00 am

    Malta looks lovely! I must put it in my list of places I want to travel. I love summer and I've consider moving to NYC and DC several times but I'm a chicken when it comes to cold weather. PS: love the boots!!!!!

  • Reply
    Claire
    December 23, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    No need to tout a place by mentioning them in your blog-the look on your face in the pics says it all!

  • Reply
    Oneika
    December 25, 2011 at 8:33 am

    @Andi: Nice eh?! Im dying to go back!

    @Ashley: Definitely very mediterranean!

    @Emily: Definitely found my new escape! Now if only I could figure out how to get sponsored plane tickets as well… ๐Ÿ˜‰

    @Linda: Thank you! You#re right, the best way to shake off the winter doldrums when you can't travel is to keep busy and get involved in local events! I've really been trying to take advantage of the London 'scene'.

    @Tatiana: I think someone mentioned Wolfsburg just last night at the dinner table! I might be spending part of the summer in Germany so I would love to meet up. Never seen or heard of the movie, but I'm often living under a rock so I'm not surprised at my ignorance. Will have to take a look!

    @Erika: Thanks lady! When I lived in Mexico and Nice the weather was always sunny and I felt ready to conquer the world every day. Maybe I should move back? LOL. Michigan may be dreary, but really cool cities like Chicago aren't too far!

    @Cata: Honestly, cold weather sucks! If I could live somewhere like Malta year round I probably would. So weird that I am Canadian but can't stand winter or grey days! Anyway, thanks so much for the compliment- Liebling actually hates these boots!

    @Claire: LOL! I know!! Nice hotels make me a very happy girl.. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    The Martha from Malta Diary
    September 7, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    I cannot believe I am acutally seeing someone’s blog post about Malta!! No one ever knows where it is!! Your pictures and words really made me proud to be Maltese ๐Ÿ™‚ Im glad you had a good time, I just found your blog and I think it is absolutely amazing ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Reply
      Oneika
      September 14, 2012 at 7:28 am

      Thank you! I grew up around tons of Maltese people so was at least familiar with the name of the country ๐Ÿ™‚

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