I suppose on a trip as long and complicated as mine there will be at least one place that disappoints. For me, that’s Malta.
I made mistakes in planning the Malta part of the trip. Although it’s off most Americans’ radar screens, I’ve known a little about Malta since planning a young couple’s honeymoon here a few years ago. I had been wanting to see it for myself since. I knew it was a very popular beach resort. I have the books, I read the web but I missed some basics. For example: I thought I was going to a Caribbean climate – Malta is farther north than New Bern! And although the sun shone every day, the wind at 22 miles an hour today is keeping me inside once again today.
I was sick for nearly half the days I spent here. I now believe it was tap water from storage barrels on the roof of this building running through the pipes (instead of clean public water directly from the local utility) that made me sick. Lesson learned: Always drink bottled water unless you know the source of the water available to you. Because Malta is a member-nation of the European Union, because English is one of the official languages, because many things look familiar and its only 30 miles from Italy, I believed I was in just another safe and charming piece of Europe. And it is — but things are done differently here.
Finally, I have been very disappointed in the apartment I rented here via TripAdvisor. I still don’t know all that’s going on behind the scenes but I do know that the owner of this apartment created not just a very professional marketing package for the web but also a completely false description of himself. “We’re Martin and Michelle” all his ads say. His prices are quoted and paid in English pounds leading me to think he was English. Halfway through my stay he became “Vic” from California. This place meets only the most minimal standards yet the reviews are really good. Although the ads make it sound like one of the big high rise apartments all around me, this place is old, very poorly maintained and ugly! Finally I’ve figured this out: I’m in one of the very best locations in this country at a low rent and others who rent this place know that. (It’s fully booked for the season.) They don’t expect much. So, if they bother to write a review on Trip Advisor, they give it a bunch of stars, talk about the view and the location, and never give a thought to people who will follow them here.
So tomorrow I leave! I’m flying to France where I’ll spend almost all of the next three weeks exploring Brittany. I’ll drive around from place to place for the first week before moving into a gorgeous apartment in the center of a famous old city called Quimper for about ten days. I’m looking forward to having much to tell you about!
Sunny skies ahead,