Happy Monday, friends!
How are you all? I know it’s been forever since I posted and I’m still not 100 percent sure that I can commit back to a regular blogging schedule quite yet, but since it’s too cold to leave the house this weekend (more snow + a 15 degree wind chill), I thought I’d at least try and get back into the habit!
I didn’t mean to go MIA but I started a new job in November and usually leave the house at 7:30 every morning and don’t get back until 7:30 that night. And since I know I’ll be too tired to workout when I get home, I’ve been making it a priority to wake up and workout in the mornings, which makes me pretty much a zombie by dinner time. It’s the first true 9-5 (or really 6) job that I’ve ever worked since teaching + grad school have such different hours so it’s been a huge adjustment to say the least but I’m sure I’ll get the hang of it eventually.
Today, I wanted to share with you all about our recent extended weekend trip we took to Malta in February for Jeff’s birthday. Why Malta? It’s been an absolute freezing winter here in England and I am beyond over it so we literally looked at where was the warmest place we could reasonably travel to for 4 days that had the cheapest flights – and Malta won!
I literally knew nothing about Malta before our trip and beyond picking a hotel to stay at, didn’t do much research until the few nights before we left. But I think we ended up doing a pretty good job of seeing as much as possible in the two full days we actually had on the island while still making the vacation as relaxing as possible.
We had an early flight out of Birmingham to get to Malta by about lunchtime. I had called our hotel the night before to arrange a cab ride from the airport, so they were waiting for us when we walked off the plane. It was about 25 euros for the 30 minute taxi ride (yes, you need to tip in Malta but only about 10% – I had to google this on the ride over!).
We decided to stay right on the water at the Hilton Malta and the hotel was beyond stunning and the service impeccable. We definitely could only afford to stay there because of the off season prices! It was a bit of a bummer because all of the outdoor spas were closed for winter but they still had an indoor pool, gym, and sauna area.
The weather was about 60 degrees the entire time we were there but super windy at times, so dressing in layers was a must. I got a ton of use out of this dress layered with t-shirts, button-ups, and jackets (super similar here).
We spent most of the day walking around St. Julians’s – there are lots of restaurants, pubs, bars, and shopping right near the hotel. The island used to be a British territory (where wasn’t??) and apparently is still hugely popular for British tourism and as a place for British folks to retire, so it was funny to find so many British influences, like pub food everywhere (we did NOT eat at any pubs!). All of the signs are in English too and everyone we met spoke English and were just so friendly and welcoming everywhere we went.
We then shared a wood-fired pizza overlooking the water at a local chain-ish restaurant – we really ate more pizza than anything else there, it was amazing!
On Monday, we had booked tickets for a Hop On, Hop Off bus tour. I thought you needed to pick up the bus in Valleta (more on this town on Day 3!) so we walked to breakfast at a local cafe by our hotel first on our way to the ferry to take us there. You could get freshly pressed juice combos everywhere in Malta – I think it was my favorite part!
You can take the Sliema Ferry to get to Valletta which is a super short trip across the marina but you get gorgeous views along the way. Once we got there, however, we realized we could have picked up the bus almost right outside our hotel – oops!
But again, everyone was so friendly and were able to direct us to the right spot to pick it up again.
We took the southern route and tried to stay on the top of the bus as long as possible, but the crazy 20mph wind gusts that day made it a bit difficult! Still, it was a great way to see a large part of the island. We only got off once – at theĀ Hagar Qim Temple Complex, a megalithic temple dated between 3600 – 3200 B.C.
I’m glad we took the time to explore, but the bus that was supposed to come back every half hour took about 1.5 hours to return, which was not fun considering how windy it was.
We got off the bus in Sliema by the ferries (another spot we could have gotten on!) and Jeff found us the cutest little beer spot to warm up before we walked back to the hotel.
On Day 3, we decided to take the Sliema Ferry back to Valletta so we could tour around the city a bit more and then took a bus to Mdina.
We had seen a lot of Valetta from the bus, so spent most of the morning walking around and basking in the sunlight. Some of the top spots were:
We also wanted to take the 30 minute bus ride to Mdina, which is where they filmed a lot of Game of Thrones (they filmed a lot throughout the entire island), including the Gate to King’s Landing.
It was the coolest walled city with narrow alleyways leading you throughout.
We ate lunch at a little restaurant in Mdina overlooking the countryside – it was breathtaking!
I was also eating my weight in Gelato at this point, so as soon as we got back to Valetta, I got myself another cone while Jeff tracked down another cute beer spot.
Our flights left at 11 in the morning, so we had a quick breakfast, went on a walk around St. Julian’s, and then took a cab back to the airport.
All in all, it was a great short trip and a much needed break from winter – it was 8 degrees and snowing when we got back to Birmingham!