The sooner I can get back to Malta, the better. The food is the perfect combination of southern Italian, Greek, and a whole bunch of other things. The weather is warm. The wine is delicious (and, surprisingly, local), as is the prickly pear liqueur…when you live on a small remote island you learn to make the best use of everything. The people are friendly and, most importantly, you’re never more than 30 minutes from the deep blue waters of the Mediterranean…unless you’re taking the bus. Now that is an adventure. There must be one bus manufacturer for the entire world, because the Maltese buses (including their psychedelic fabric seat backings) are exactly the same as the buses in DC, Mainz, and probably Mars. The funny thing is that these buses do well on the (mostly) smooth, paved, and relatively flat roads of DC, but put them on the insanely narrow, crazy hilly, and potholed roads of Malta, add a wannabe Mario Andretti as the driver, and you have what S and I decided is the real life version of the Knight Bus from Harry Potter. We’d sling around corners, and people and things would sling around the bus. We’d crest a hill and I swear the whole bus would catch air like the Ferrari in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off when the valet took it for a joyride. A couple nights, we hopped on after some of the busiest stops and had to stand. Holding the ceiling hand straps and attempting to stay upright without slamming into our fellow riders was the hardest arm workout I’d had in a long time, maybe ever. At one stop, a lanky (slightly tipsy) Brit failed to get off in time. On his way toward the door, Mario suddenly took off. Half signaling Mario to stop, half attempting to verbally steady himself, the wobbly Brit weaved around yelling, “whoa whoa…whoa whoa whoa.” Something about his goofy tone and cadence mixed with the scene of the Knight Bus struck S and I as truly hilarious. We haven’t stopped repeating it since.
Moral of the story: when in Malta, rent a car. Also, enjoy the journey!
Here are some of my favorite shots from our trip in August 2013: