Hi friends! Hereâ€™s my final vacation recap. Thanks for sharing in our adventures! ðŸ™‚ If you missed the first three recaps, check those out first. Iâ€™ll be back to normal blogging tomorrow!
For the final portion of the Malta adventure, a smaller contingent of us (me, Matt, Kris, Kuo, Wan, and Krisâ€™s friend Jenna from Paris) headed about 30 minutes south to a town called Sliema, where we stayed together in another Airbnb apartment.
The apartment was right on the beach, which was rocky, but there were big flat rocks where you can relax and it was great for swimming â€“ lots of fish to see! Iâ€™m obsessed with swimming and basically spent all day every day on the Malta trip swimming â€“ so glorious. My kind of vacay!
Our first evening in Sliema, after spending the afternoon swimming, we tidied up, put on nicer clothes and makeup for the first time in a week, and hopped on the ferry to have a nice dinner across the water, in the city of Valletta.
Valletta is the capital of Malta (and, fun fact, the southernmost capital city in Europe) and was officially made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980. It contains buildings from the 16th century onwards. Another fun fact for my fellow Game of Thrones fans: parts of the first season of the TV show were shot in Malta, including Valletta, and the Azure Window, which I wrote about in my last post!
We had dinner at a lovely little spot on Valletta called Capistrano (where I neglected to take any photos because I was too busy with delicious food + wine), and then had fun walking around the town before catching the 11:30 ferry back over to Sliema.
The next morning, we went for our one and only run of the entire 2 week trip! There was a really nice path along the water (that was also flat â€“ amazing since all our other locations were really hilly) so Matt, Jenna, Kris, and I decided to check it out.
Even by 8 a.m., when we went, it was already really hot out, so we didnâ€™t make it too far (maybe 3 miles?), but it still felt good to get out there.
I planned on doing more runs while in Malta but between the hiking, tons of walking, yoga, scuba diving (those tanks are HEAVY), water playground, and insane amounts of swimming, I wasnâ€™t feeling running at all and I was fine with that! Plus, it was hot â€“ and I donâ€™t love running when itâ€™s hot. Itâ€™s good to take a break from running every now and again â€“ and not to force it. ðŸ™‚ Iâ€™m feeling refreshed now and ready to get back to training for the Nike Womenâ€™s Half in San Francisco in October!
After our run, we discovered the most amazing place that was right around the corner from our apartment: PURE juice & health bar!
They had insanely good homemade almond milk iced lattes (sweetened just with a little cacao powder), green juice and smoothies (the one pictured was kale, pear, apple, avocado, and spinach), and healthy food, too!
I ended up snagging a quinoa and lentil salad and a protein box with hardboiled eggs and salmon and mixing them together in a to go container to have for lunch later on. Delicious!
The lunch was enjoyed at St. Peterâ€™s Pool, a really neat spot that my Instagram follower Allison recommended to us. It was hard to find (down a tiny and impossibly narrow/rocky dirt road that we somehow managed to make it through without killing the rental car) but so worth the trip!
Matt and I went there on our own (the others spent the day exploring more of Valletta) and it was fun to spend the afternoon there together jumping off rocks, swimming, and relaxing.
There were a fair amount of people in the main area, so we did a little exploring and ended up discovering our own private area around the corner! Sweet! We laid out towels and spent the afternoon reading in the shade, hopping in the water every so often to cool off. It was one of my favorite afternoons of the whole trip â€“ so relaxing and peaceful.
Back in Sliema that night, we all went out to dinner â€“ everyone but me, Matt, and Kris were leaving the next day. Cheers to a great trip!
Jenna left bright and early the next morning, but Kuo and Wan werenâ€™t leaving until early afternoon, so all of us headed on another adventure: a trip to The Blue Grotto! It was about 30 minutes away and near the airport, so it worked well to drop Kuo and Wan off there after checking it out.
The Blue Grotto is a beautiful area with natural caves and cliffs that you can take a little boat ride around, and swim in, too.
We spent some time swimming and jumping off cliffs into the water after the boat tour. Really fun! I <3 swimming.
After dropping Wan and Kuo at the airport, Matt, Kris, and I drove on to Mdina, a medieval walled town in the center of the island of Malta.
We had a really good lunch (try the Maltese wrap if you ever go!) at this place called Don Mesquita before wandering around to explore.
Evidence of settlements in Mdina goes back to before 4000 BC, and when Malta was under the control of the Roman Empire, the Roman Governor built his palace there. It was also originally the capital of Malta. The town is still confined within its walls, and no cars (except for residents) are allowed on. It has a population of only 300!
After walking around for awhile, we grabbed a coffee at a cafÃ© and looked at a big map of Malta, randomly picking a coastal area that looked nice for swimming and making our way there. I canâ€™t remember the name of it now, but it was a lot like St. Peterâ€™s Pool! After a refreshing swim, we returned to Sliema for dinner. Last night â€“ so sad to say goodbye!
On our last morning, I woke up in time to see the sun rising from our apartment in Sliema, starting the day with some yoga stretches in preparation for another plane ride.
I was so sad to say goodbye! It was such an amazing 2 weeks with a great group of people. Getting some time to really unplug (I didnâ€™t open my computer once on the trip until the plane ride home), explore, and connect with friends minus smartphones was wonderful, and Matt and I both fell in love with Malta. Itâ€™s a beautiful country with really friendly people and perfect if you love outdoor water sport type activities. We found it to be a cool mix of European and island cultures, too â€“ relaxed and casual but with a lot of interesting history, architecture, and a European beachy feel. It reminded me of Italy in particular, which makes sense since itâ€™s nearby. If you ever have the chance to go, I hope you will. Youâ€™ll love it! ðŸ™‚ Also, go in summer, since apparently their winters can be quite rainy.
Thank you again for sharing in our adventures â€“ it was fun for me to relive them by writing these posts! ðŸ™‚