I wasn’t a fan of Malta, and its not somewhere I would chose to return to. To be honest, it never recovered from my first impression - run down. The buildings are weathered and dirty, the roads in a terrible condition, the air is dusty and polluted and a lot of the people are over weight/obese and dress horribly.
The purpose of my trip to Malta was 3 weeks in Palumbo Shipyard. Even though I wasn’t a fan, I was determined to make the most of my time and hope to find some hidden surprises. On the first weekend the captain and I went for a drive around the Island. I much preferred Malta the more rural you go. A natural atmosphere replaced the run down impression, with greenery in between scattered villages, and I saw glimpses of how Malta used to look back in the day.
St Julian’s is were all the nightlife is, and to be fair it’s a decent night out. It reminded me of a club 18 – 30 holiday destination, with streets full of bars and ticket touts standing outside. On the first couple of nights, we stumbled across a few bars that were full of ridiculously young looking kids - the place felt like a school disco. Fortunately we soon learnt where these bars were and avoided them. I found my drinking ban hard, and it crossed my mind to give in, but I thought quitting after 2 months was not good enough - I would never forgive myself if I gave in then something happened that I would have to live the rest of my life with the consequences.
Kim and I went on a harbor tour. This amused Rob. He thought it was a very touristy thing to do and didn’t understand why we wanted to go on a harbor tour when we work on a boat. I really enjoyed the tour, and Malta looks much nicer from the sea, than it does on land. Towards the end of the cruise, I mentioned to, Kim that may be I was being a bit harsh on Malta, but a soon as we got back on land, the run down impression came flooding back.
Gozo, is only a short ferry ride away, so Alistair, Emily, Kim and I went on a day trip. As Gozo is a holiday destination, I was expecting a bit more, but again I was left disappointed. Dwejra Bay and a snickers cake saved the day for me. Dwejra Bay is to the west of the Island, and the last place we visited. The appeal for me was the rough weather. I enjoyed the waves crashing against the rugged coastline and loved watching nature’s power.
The best day out was at Badger Go Karting. To make sure the karts were up to scratch, Alastair, Emily, Rob, and I tested it out then returned with Kim and the crew from Lady M (another boat in the shipyard). We had 5 minutes of qualifying, followed by a 15 minutes race. The first few laps of the race were insane. Apart from the eventual winner, who ran away with it, and lead from start to finish, the rest of the pack jostled for position. We were all bumping, spinning, slipping and sliding – it was great fun.
I had a good time in Malta, but that was down to the people I was with and making the most of it. I’m glad my visit was for work and not a holiday, as I would have been left gutted.