You're probably thinking 'where the hell is Malta?' and if you do happen to know where Malta is, you're probably thinking 'why the hell did you go to Malta?' Sure it's slightly out of the way from the rest of Europe and had absolutely nothing in common with any of the other countries I was visiting, but that was exactly why I went. I hadn't made any plans to go to this tiny Mediterranean island country before I got to Budapest when I realized that I could use a break. A vacation away from my vacation if you will. I wanted to get away from Central Europe, where it was absolutely amazing and beautiful, because the architecture was beginning to get a bit monotonous.
I left Budapest for Vienna, where I was to fly out of, feeling sick. When I arrived at my hotel in Malta I made the almost fatal mistake of having a glass of tap water before bed. I felt fine, other than the stomach bug I had from Budapest, until mid-afternoon the next day when I starting getting the worst stomach pains, or any pain for that matter, I had ever had in my life. That night I dragged myself to a clinic and they referred me to the hospital. I spent much of the night on a hospital bed on a drip. I just wanted to die, I was in so much pain and discomfort, plus being severely dehydrated. They gave me a prescription for some pain killers and some anti-dehydration medicine and sent me packing, at four thirty in the morning. There was no public transport or taxi service this time of day and I had to walk back to my hotel which was about four or five kilometers away. I didn't get back until six, I could barely walk and had to lie down on sidewalks and benches numerous times just to gather enough energy to walk a bit further. The rest of that day was probably the worst, I won't get into describing what kinds of bodily fluids I was passing out and at what volume, but let's just say I was just about ready to go back to the hospital with worse symptoms than I think I had before. Luckily the pains started to subside the next day and I was managing to drink more. I have never been so sick in my life and it took away half my time in Malta.
Now that I had only three days of good health to do as I pleased, I ended up not getting to relax, which was the sole purpose of this side trip. I got in as much of the area around Valletta as I could and made it out to Mdina. On my last day there, I wanted to do something cool and went on a jeep safari around the western island of Gozo. Cruelty struck again when I was placed in a jeep with two hot French girls who were studying in Malta. Why was it cruel? It was cruel because they were hot, and I was flying back to Vienna that night. Oh well, I managed to snap a picture of them in their bikinis, I mean...I got to know them quite well...during our safari...
I was very pleasantly surprised with what Malta had to offer. It's such a small country yet it has so much history and things to see and do. I was there for a week, albeit only functional for a few days, and I barely saw anything. You'd be hard pressed to try and fit in all of Malta in one week, I can honestly say I could have spent two weeks there and always had something to see or do. As for having a change of scenery, it hit the spot. Malta's architecture, climate, and landscape is very Middle Eastern. Of course I've never been to the Middle East, but seeing pictures and TV shows, Malta could be a part of Israel. It was so cool being in a place like this and I hope to one day go back, besides, I haven't seen it all yet.
©2003 Paul Inglis