You know there are some places that are intriguing but never quite seem to make it on to the “must see” travel lists? For us, Malta has always been one of those places. But in our latest You’ve Been Where post guest writer Yves Makhoul tells us exactly why we should all get over to this beautiful country. Trust us, we’re pretty sure you’ll be adding it to your bucket list too…
Who are you and what do you do for a living?
Yves Makhoul and I’m the social media manager for the University of Melbourne.
Where is home?
I live in Melbourne, Australia, but was born in Beirut, Lebanon.
Where have you been? When did you go?
Malta. June 2016.
What were the highlights of your trip?
Definitely Valetta, The Prehistoric Hagar Qim & Mnajdra Temples and the island of Gozo.
Valetta is basically made out of Maltese sandstone and rich with history. It didn’t take us long to begin exploring the delightful city streets and alleys.
The Prehistoric Hagar Qim & Mnajdra Temples are awesome (just a short bus trip away). These unique monuments were constructed in the Neolithic era, so around 3600BC. Mnajdra is a megalithic temple complex and it’s among the most ancient religious sites on Earth.
While there, make sure to take in the view with the island of Filfla in the distance (pictured) – it’s the southern most point of the Maltese Archipelago.
From here, you can head down to the Ħal-Saflieni Hypogeum, an underground prehistoric burial site discovered in 1902 in the suburbs of Tarxien. It really was incredibly haunting to see such a spiritually rich underground burial so immaculately preserved – and archaeologists’ speculation on what the “fat lady” represented were interesting – we have our own theories! We picked up a replica as a souvenir. It currently sits under our TV.
The island of Gozo (also part of Malta) is a short ferry away from the main island. Beautiful beaches, quaint streets and just a relaxed atmosphere.
Don’t go to Gozo without visiting Ta Rosina restaurant in Sannat. Hosted by an infamous local grandma, you’re basically getting a home cooked local meal and a warm chat with a local legend. She’s made international news for her rabbit dish, so if you’re not vegetarian, you know what to order.
What did you least like about your trip?
Stay away from St Julian’s centre, unless you’re into young rowdy UK tourists and strip shows. Took a wrong turn and ended up on the main drag. Won’t soon forget it!
Do you have any funny stories from your travels?
Not so much funny as surprising. Rosina actually let us into her kitchen and showed us around! We shared a drink and chatted with her and her friend about the history of the place, Malta and Australia.
What were the locals like?
Everyone is friendly, helpful and speaks English. A lot of British citizens live in Malta, but this could soon change after Brexit is finalised.
What was the food like?
The food is excellent. Malta is known for its rabbit, but there are international chefs setting up shop. Would definitely recommend Chapter One in St Julian – run by an Italian couple who fine-tuned their craft in Melbourne!
Did you learn anything about yourself or the world on this trip?
I learned that I much prefer islands and small towns than large cities! History and nature excite me a lot more than clubs and shops. In terms of the world, I hadn’t realised just how many countries Britain had colonised.
Would you recommend others travel here?
Definitely! Malta may not be the most visited country in Europe, but I think that contributes to its appeal. From the history and architecture, to the cuisine and friendly locals, Malta has so much to offer.
Do you have any tips for people thinking of travelling here?
You can take the bus virtually anywhere on the island (Malta is known for its extensive and cheap bus network) and taxis are ever on hand if you prefer a more direct and private journey.
*Follow Yves on Instagram for more amazing adventures.
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