Saturday, 31 March 2018

(Photo) Diary of a Solo Traveller - Malta #2

Following on from my previous post, here is my second and final photo diary of my time in Malta.
This post will focus on the places I visited on the bus tours around the Northern and Southern areas of Malta.

For this trip I wanted to see as many of the main places as possible and I decided that the bus tours were the best way to do this. I will admit, one of the downfalls about the bus tours was that you only had a limited amount of time to spend in a place to make sure you caught the next bus. If you missed the bus you'd risk spending too much time in one place and not enough in another. This actually happened to me as I didn't check the schedule and got off to see Mosta Rotunda only to realise it was closed during that time of the day. The hour I spent there resulted in me having less time to spend in Mdina and had to miss seeing Rabat all together. However. the hour in Mosta wasn't completely wasted as I used this time to explore the area and take in the local Maltese culture. I love going to supermarkets and small shops in other countries to see how they differ to England.

San Anton Garden
Possibly one of the best known gardens in Malta, San Anton Garden was built by Grand Master Antoine de Paule and has been open to the public since 1882. It's such a beautiful place with pathways that take you through the garden allowing you to discover its amazing botanical delights such as fountains, ponds, mature trees, formal flowerbeds and stone urns.
On the road to Mdina...

Mdina
Also known as Città Vecchia (old city) or Città Notabile (noble city), Mdina is a fortified city in the Northern region of Malta. The city is the old capital of Malta with narrow streets and beautiful views of the island.
For those who don't know, Malta was used as a shooting location for a few episodes of Game of Thrones. I did my research before I went so I knew there were some locations I wouldn't be able to visit, such as the Azure Window which collapsed recently and some locations that I would. Mdina Gate (first image) was used in GoT as well as Mesquita Square (directly above and below), which I actually found by accident - I took a wrong turn and found it when I was lost...
I then went on to have a delicious dinner at Piccolo Padre which is a family run restaurant located in St Julian's. The food was amazing (I had the salmon) and I had a great view of St Julian's Bay. This was my favourite meal in Malta so if you go make sure you give them a visit. The staff were attentive and the food reasonably priced. 
As I mentioned in my previous post, eating by myself was something that I wasn't quite used to; there's a huge difference between having a quick burger in a fast-food chain and having a sit-down three course meal in a restaurant. But I believe it's all about taking risks and putting yourself in situations you're not familiar with!

Marsaxlokk 
Marsaxlokk is a traditional fishing village with colourful boats, markets and fresh fish restaurants. The vibe in the village was so relaxed, and with the beautiful weather and amazing views I felt like I really took in the Maltese culture.
When in a fishing village, make sure you stop to have fresh seafood! I had some time to kill before the bus arrived so I stopped at Terrone for a quick lunch (recommended by the hostess at my B&B - it was delicious). There was so much to choose from but I knew I only had a certain amount of time so stuck to what I knew and ordered calamari with potatoes.
On the road to Blue Grotto...

Blue Grotto
Such an amazing site, Blue Grotto is a natural cave with crystal blue waters. Believe me when I say crystal blue, I couldn't believe how vibrant the colour of the water was. Usually you're able to take a short boat ride but when I arrived this option wasn't available and rightly so because the waters were very choppy!
I had a great time in Malta, it was a country I'd always wanted to visit so I'm very happy I finally had the chance to do so. For anyone wanting to go I'd highly recommend it. I went for four days but wished I had a couple more so I'd say about a week is a good length of time. And for those wanting to solo travel but are scared by the idea, do it! I have another trip booked for May which I'm really looking forward to, so keep an eye out for those photo diaries xo
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