Thursday, 4 September 2014

My first solo trip to Malta

Ive been to Malta many times with my family over the years my Grandad was maltese and I consider it to be my second home. Back in 2011 I was going through a weird time trying to convince myself I wasn't ill and that I can do things on my own and that I could totally travel. So I announced to my family I'm going away for a week on my own and I did just that. In a way my first solo trip could be seen as cheating as I've been so many times to Malta before but I did spend the week living and exploring on my own so it counts. Im going to break it down into sections so you can see how my first solo trip went. 

Malta from the sky

I choose to stay in a hotel over a hostel as I think there are only about two hostels in Malta and I didn't want to stay in either of the cities they were located, I stayed in Bugibba. Some people hate the thought of spending a night on their own in their own home let alone a hotel room. But for me I was totally cool with this not once was I scared or felt lonely. Being home alone has never been something that worried me actually I just figure its like any other night just without other people being close by breathing the same air! The only downfall to staying in a hotel is that nobody talks to you, its not like a hostel where like minded people are staying and are more than willing to talk to you.

The hotel i stayed in.

I found the eating thing tricky I was in an half board hotel and I felt incredible awkward eating in a dinning hall with groups and families. Plus I'm a really fussy eater and I found it hard to find something I liked. Part of the problem was nothing was labeled and one night I ended up eating rabbit ! It wasn't the same after that eating in that dinning room again I didn't go near any of the meat I just kept visualising a little bunny rabbit eating a carrot on the chair next to me ! However at breakfast there was a cake I rather enjoyed and I would you know sneak a little bit out of the hall for dinner later. Yes I know your not suppose to do that but in my defence most nights I didn't eat dinner in the hall so I had double the breakfasts instead. I would eat lunch out and would either get something on the go or go into a cafe to eat which strangely didn't feel so awkward to me I think its cause I saw people from all walks of life eating and not just families so I felt more comfortable eating alone.

Getting around
I sometimes walked but mostly I got the bus to where I needed to go. This had actually changed from the previous year of me being in Malta because they had gotten rid of the best part of Malta the yellow buses! I'm still pretty upset they replaced those beautiful yellow customised by the owner buses and replaced them with arriva buses. So now the buses ran on time and had air conditioning but I liked not knowing if a bus would show up and the sweaty smell inside the bus! Anyway the buses were how I got around Malta and it was pretty easier to follow and I didn't have much knowledge as to what buses to get cause it had changed and I had always relied on family to get me to where I needed to go. I managed to explore Mosta, Valletta and Qormi using the buses. 

What the buses use to look like ! 

Now one of the downfalls to travelling on your own is that there are some things you might feel you don't want to do by yourself or think you can't! But I actually did everything I wanted to do without a problem. Including swimming in the sea and leaving my bag unattended on multiple occasions. Obviously its a bit of a risk but I made sure I didn't carry large quantities of money on me the only thing that was expensive in my bag was my camera. I felt fine about leaving my bag unattended as you can't think something bad is going to happen cause you won't do anything if you think like that. I went on a boat to camino by myself and explored the sea and rocks and walked around the island. I explored some of the cities and markets by myself. I went out in the evening for walks and I did have an encounter with a strange guy who wanted me to walk with him and was asking me all sorts of questions but I used my gut feeling to tell me something wasn't right and become very assertive with him and crossed the road so I was around other people. 


Camino is the best place to swim.

A sign on the island.


Roman Baths.

Malta under the sea.
Most dome.

Tiny boats.

A Luzzu is a traditional maltese fishing boat.

My granddad's home town  
Whilst I was in Malta I wanted to do something id never done and that was to go to Qormi and see the town my grandad grew up in and see the places he had talked about. I had to ask the bus driver to let me know when we were in Qormi. I met a lovely lady on the bus who lived in Qormi and we chatted briefly and she told me the best stop for me to get off at. I had printed of a map and marked the places I wanted to see and off I went to find everything. Although the map was mostly correct it wasn't always right and the streets were a little confusing but with a little help from strangers who were delightful I found most of the things I was looking for. It was awesome to be walking around the streets that my Grandad and my family had walked around in for years.

San Bastjan Church 

The bar my Grandad's family ran.

Things i learned 
* Always carry more water than you think you will need I learned this walking around Qormi when the sun was at its hottest and when all the shops were closed for siesta I run out of water early on and ended up quite dehydrated.

* Carry sun cream with you always, again walking around Qormi when the sun is at its hottest wasn't smart should have carried sun cream or brought something with me to cover my shoulders. 

* Strangers are your friends, I talked to a few people over the week most conversations were brief but I found the people of Malta to be polite and take the time to help you. 

* Travelling on you own with M.E is exhausting as you have to be more aware and it drained me quickly I did end up spending quite a bit of time in the hotel room relaxing which wasn't to bad as I still did the things I wanted to do. But travelling with M.E isn't easy.

I can't wait to go back to Malta it might be a tiny island but theres still so much I want to explore. This post is dedicated to my Grandad, who I love and miss everyday.

Have you ever traveled solo ? What was your first solo travel trip like ? Have you been to Malta?