Jimmy and I just (ish) returned from our latest and most unique adventure: Malta.
Malta is an incredible, diverse, and stunning country filled with beautiful and welcoming people. But before I jump into all of the amazing-ness that is this golden gem floating in the Mediterranean Sea (and believe me, you are in for some info and some gooooorg pictures!) I wanted you to first experience Malta the way that we did: from the sea.
As a little anniversary treat (you know, besides the whole trip) Jimmy booked a private sunset sailing cruise for us to enjoy on our first night on the island. Yes, apparently, he can be romantic at times!
So we met our skipper, Rob, in the lobby of our hotel at 6pm and walked the short block to the small marina nearby, where we jumped on to his 44 ft sailboat and began our journey out to sea. Rob wanted to make sure we saw some of the cities by dusk, but also that we were far enough out onto the water to see the sun slide below the blue horizon.
We hoisted the sails and let the winds carry us out to sea as dusk turned the receding island pink.
We popped champagne and drank to our many blessings.
We literally sailed off into the sunset.
All the while, enjoying fascinating conversations with our skipper about the long Maltese history and the unique culture it has created. A born-and-bred Maltese, Rob loved the island and offered us a candid look into the life of the people. He helps to skipper the boat for the owner, James, and had brought along his girlfriend (who happens to be Swedish) to show her the ropes, or halyards, as it were. Rob claimed that he was not a great sailor, but yet had once sailed from Malta to Great Britain and back, so he obviously knew what he was about.
Maybe you didn’t know, but I am somewhat of an amateur sailor, myself! If sailing one particular boat on only one small lake every summer for 10+ years makes me a sailor, that is. I know that boat and that lake very well, but open waters are a different game entirely. Regardless of my qualifications, I did get to take the wheel for a little while and even sailed us through a (rather flawless, if I do say so myself) tack while we were at it. In non-sailing terms, I turned. It’s more exciting than just that, however.
After the sun made its final dip into the now-deep cerulean sea, the moon made a dramatic rise on the opposite horizon. Full and bright as a flashlight, the rusty sands blown up from Africa in the south gave the massive moon an dramatic entrance. Every night, we were treated to these crimson moon rises which were almost as spectacular as the sunsets that preceded them, as if they were but an opening act.
The moon guided us back to the bays of Malta as Rob treated us to a tour of each of the main ports, relating the history and tales about the structures that surround them -such as the 1565 Siege of Malta, the modern addition of anti-aircraft gun towers to the ancient walls, and the abandoned military hospital that he once explored without a flashlight on a dare.
Returning to the harbor and then our hotel, we knew that this was just the appetizer for our adventure on the stunning little island- and we were hungry for more!
(Oh and speaking of hunger, we were ravenous when we disembarked, realizing that we had only snacked throughout the day. We ordered a pizza and ravioli from room service and each took 2 bites before we realized we were too tired to even eat!)