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Malta, the land of wind and contradictions

Who I am
Joel Fulleda
@joelfulleda
EXTERNAL REFERENCES:

SOURCES CONSULTED:

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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It has been a long time since I dreamed of trying to take a trip in total solitude, booking a random bed in a random hostel. I also chose Malta here by chance, the flight was cheap and? close to Italy so I said to myself ... why? no?!
A strongly desired trip, despite having people who offered to accompany me. I wanted to do it on my own, I wanted to see how far I could go, how much I could only rely on myself and how much I could manage.
And I came to only one conclusion: if we really want it, we are capable of EVERYTHING.

1 day

Bergamo - Luqa
The departure is not? of the best: arrived at the airport an hour and a half before the flight I realize that I have forgotten money, documents and tickets. I've been too agitated for a couple of days, my head is here with me just because? ? attached to the neck.
I don't know how but my gorgeous dad? (who from today will be my superhero) manages to take me back and bring me back to the airport in perfect timing! I arrive at the gate 10 minutes before boarding starts, but I leave with that feeling of "if you start like this, everything will go wrong!".
Flight without problems, luckily, I land at Malta airport and find out already? what here? midsummer: scorching sun, very hot and wind. That wind that I still did not know would have accompanied me throughout the holiday.
The waits begin: I manage to take the bus after about 1 hour to try to understand where to go and also to understand the indications given by the locals.
I finally get on, I'm tired and a bit nervous from the bad morning game. After about 20 minutes I arrive at the hostel in Sliema, very nice, very clean and welcoming. A few steps from the seafront that connects Sliema to S. Julian and also in front of the bus stops.
To welcome me, I find Ivo, a little more boy? that 20 year old who has been working here for a few months. I discover that he comes from my area, near Lecco, we chat and talk. We know each other, we tell each other.
He is nice, he has a clean face, that face of a person who is good and clean inside. In the common area there are also two other Italian boys, one born in Monza but always traveling and the other who lives here, Gianluca da Brindisi.
I enter the dormitory and I am assigned a wrong bed than the one requested, the dormitory is not? from 4 as I had booked but bens? from 8.
It is my first time in a dorm, I feel strange and uncomfortable. Or maybe? just my mood not being good today.
I know the other girls, or at least part of them: Linda from Pamplona sleeps in the bed under mine, in front of us? Anita, a German lady who left her husband and children at home and yes? took a week off alone. On the other side are Marie and Sophie from France and another girl whose name I don't know who is from Argentina.
After having settled down I decide to go out and go ahead and discover the area; stroll along the seafront, finally sipping an iced drink in total relaxation. Is the sea very beautiful here? crystalline and? already? It is possible to bathe even though the water is quite cold.
On the other side? a succession of restaurants, bars, sandwich shops, ice cream parlors, shops and all that? what can? serve a tourist.
I go down the stairs to get closer to the sea and enter a small park where a huge statue of a cat masters from above. It is full of stray cats but kept very well and I soon discover that? the cat park: people come here to leave food and blankets to make them feel good. What a nice thing.
I keep walking very slowly, I sit down to look at the sea, I reflect, I go back to walking. I take my time and try to fix the ideas, I find myself at pi? 2.000 km from home and I'm alone. At that moment a feeling of panic pervades me.
I return to the hostel with a thousand questions and a thousand doubts ... avr? done the right thing? I have a whole week ahead, I have to find a way to feel at ease.
I take a hot shower but isn't here? privacy, people enter and leave the room at any time of the day or night. And they are all unknown, right now I have no one here who cares about me.
I go to bed, headphones and music. And diary.
Him now? my confidant, I am writing here what I feel right now. ANXIETY.
I feel confused and alone, I have a veil of melancholy on me and I don't know why. I never thought I'd say it but I'm less than 24 hours away and I would like already? my mom.
How long can I be a child?
Today is the day? revealed more? disastrous than expected, perhaps thanks to all the obstacles I encountered (ah, by the way I forgot the entire beauty at home) but I still have hope for tomorrow. Do I still want to see how it goes? and also a little bit of curiosity.
In this moment all there? what do I think? the importance of real relationships and who are not here with me, like family and friends more? close. No one to tell how I am or just fall asleep with. What? really important? Until 3 months ago I planned to give up everything and go to discover the world and now I miss everything. We should really learn to value the things we have the moment we have them, not before and not after.
I wonder what person I would be without my family, what would I do if I didn't have them? Is it really worth taking the time away from them just to travel? What can? try a parent who has their daughter away from home?
They love me so much that they let me go and suffer a little ... for me, for my joy. And I? Am I cos? selfish to always think only of my happiness?
Yes, are they already? moral and lost. I would like to hug them, thank them and be home.
Tomorrow, perhaps, he will go? better.





2 day

Busy day!
Wake up early and with more? determination, shower while everyone is still asleep, quick breakfast and off, I get on the first bus bound for Valletta. Even today it is really very hot.
I arrive in the capital, in front of me the entrance to the city? while behind me a tree-lined avenue led by the Statue of Independence, reached only in 1964. Monuments to the fallen, flags, wreaths of flowers.
Valletta, like so many other places in Malta,? a city? fortified and? therefore literally closed within ancient walls.
Just outside, on the sides, there are several kiosks where you can taste the typical sweets of the island, pastizzi, but also different types of very good bread.
A small bridge connects me to the city? and as soon as I enter it I see the seat of the Parliament: a very modern spectacular quadrilateral that is in extreme contrast with the post-war architecture of Malta.
I find that? was designed by Renzo Piano, that's why? ? cos? wonderfully special. I follow my beloved Lonely Planet which takes me to discover the ruins right next to the Parliament: here was the Royal Opera House, destroyed by an aerial bomb during the Second World War. Of her only the external columns remain, they are wonderful and? a real shame that the rest is gone.
I continue immediately behind the ruins, go up a slope and find myself in the Piazza della Borsa, the view? splendid. There are carriages and horses, soldiers, bersaglieri. It looks like a fashion show.
I smile, observe, take pictures ... I feel good, I feel free and I begin to settle in. Outdoor lunch, in a bar inside a small street made of cobblestones: the dehor? surrounded by flowers, wooden tables and chairs, very bohemian.
I go back to walk, I can not stay still too long with all this goodness that c '? to be seen! Arrive in a huge square, home to the Presidential Palace. By chance I witness the changing of the guard and I read that here the last colonization before Independence was by Great Britain and lasted? for more? than 150 years.
I keep walking through the narrow streets, I abandon the main street, too touristy and too chaotic: what is there? inside of ? much more? beautiful. Balconies, colored doors, fluttering flags, perfumes, statues.
I realize how religious Malta is, the mentality? ? very conservative, they are still used to the woman staying at home with the children while the man goes to work. In fact, the locals look at me with amazement why? I am a woman who travels alone. Is it a city? certainly with many contrasts: does the mentality alternate? old-fashioned women's clothing, even too skimpy. Why? are they cos? back on several things and so? forward on others? A constant relationship between old and new, between reality? and fiction.
Without realizing it, I return to the Parliament and to the Piazza della Borsa, I go a little further and find myself inside a small botanical garden with a breathtaking view of the harbor.
Under me c '? the war museum, I see cannons, weapons and helmets but I much prefer to look at the view: the sun makes the transparent sea shine, on the sides the houses perched on the hills of Valletta and in front of me the famous Three Cities: Vittoriosa, Senglea and Cospicua.
I walk on this huge balcony and at every step I feel myself changing, evolving from caterpillar to butterfly. I feel like I'm really walking, not just figuratively. I'm going somewhere, overcoming what until yesterday I believed were my limits. Every step? a joy, every inch conquered? oxygen filling my lungs.
I remain to observe this wonder for a while longer, then I head to the bus and go to Vittoriosa (Birgu). In reality? from here I could get there with a small boat in about 10 minutes but the line? really too much and do not load more? of 4 people, it would take forever.
Arrive in Birgu in a shorter time. or less short and I am dazzled: very narrow streets, colors of doors and windows in contrast with the sand-colored architecture, flowers on flowers, churches, Maltese crosses everywhere, wonderful views and finally the long-awaited isolation.
I realize that I can not anymore? to enjoy the crowded places but I find myself in the deafening solitude of these beautiful streets. It is very easy to get lost, the signs are only in Maltese here, but I don't care at all. It has always been what I have tried to do on every trip: get lost.
I put the Lonely Planet in my backpack, I put away all the maps and I let myself be totally overwhelmed by the desire my eyes have to discover everything, without following itineraries or signs. I let myself be guided only by instinct and the beauty of what I see.
I wear a basketball tank top with Boston written on it and I cross an American boy who smiles at me twice, the third time he stops me: "Hey, are you from Boston?", I answer no. He asks me why? of my shirt, I tell him that I just liked it, like I like the United States. He smiles, white teeth and tanned skin: "I like Italy instead!" and leaves, exactly how? arrived.
After a few more laps, hoping to catch the American again, I go back to the bus stop towards the hostel.
Obviously I get off about 15 minutes before my actual stop, I still wanted to walk and see that part of Sliema that I had not yet seen. I stop on one of the many benches, new age music in my ears and sunset over the sea in front of me. A dream. I relax, I am learning to follow my rhythms and my instincts. I calmly return to the hostel, take a nice shower and chat a bit with my roommates. They give me advice on what to see and give me other maps. I spend the evening in tranquility? of the hostel today? far better than yesterday. I am happy and more and more? curious.
Who knows? where will I go tomorrow?



3 day

Wake up today more? late, I am very rested and ready to grind kilometers. Breakfast with Anita, the German lady in my dormitory, a chat with 3 guys who have just arrived from Modica in Sicily and who will stay here for 3 months for an English course.
I go out, today is more? cool thank goodness, yesterday I burned my shoulders just walking. The sun here? tremendously powerful already? in March.
I get on the bus, full satin as always, two Italian gentlemen ask me for information thinking that I am a local ... what a satisfaction! Do I feel that I am already? moving as if I were at home, I don't have more? afraid of getting lost. I notice that next to an Islamic girl with a veil c '? a seat but no one wants to sit, everyone looks at her strangely. Stupid psychological terrorism. Stupid racism.
I sit there, she smiles at me in relief and under the veil she shows two very dark and huge eyes. She picks up her phone and opens Facebook, watching funny videos or talent show videos.
Suddenly a shiver runs down my spine thinking that we are all really like that? equal, the only distances are in our head. And in the clothes.
Now I have arrived in Valletta, I take the 52 which takes me to Rabat. Today I would like to see the catacombs of S. Agata, less famous than those of S. Paul but it seems they are much more? beautiful, Mdina and then move to enjoy the sunset from the cliffs of Dingli.
Please, the weekly bus pass? the best thing to do: unlimited rides at any time.
The bus to Rabat? half empty and I'm the only tourist, which makes me believe I'm on the right track. Probably today will see? a place little known by tourism and it fills me with joy. In the distance, on a promontory, I see a fortress that truly leaves me speechless. I get off at an undefined stop but they all get off so I follow them. I find myself in front of Howard Gardens and am amazed by the walls. I'm just outside Mdina, I find that? a town enclosed entirely within the walls and from the outside it looks just like a giant castle. It is located within Rabat, the city? main.
I FALL IN LOVE WITH THIS PLACE.
I get lost in the alleys, churches upon churches, cloistered monasteries, crosses and statues of saints everywhere. Very religious, it is called "The Silent City" - La Citt? Quiet. Visit it absolutely before lunch or after 18. I go out just in time why? at 14 pm, wagonloads of buses full of noisy and disrespectful tourists arrive.
In fact, at the right moment, I can't find anyone walking around Mdina. Very few bars or shops open, probably accustomed to opening in the most? "hot".
To fully enjoy the situation and the atmosphere I take off my headphones and listen only to the deafening silence. It seems that time has stopped, it seems fake. Only the sound of my footsteps, of horses, of some elderly Maltese and of the tolling of the hours on the bell tower. It is truly wonderful and evocative, it helps to reflect and relax.
Lunch at La Fontanella, a real institution in Mdina, after which? I leave the walls and head to Rabat where to welcome me c '? a huge square with the church of San Paolo, leave behind arriving at the catacombs of S. Agata.
What to tell you? Are they splendid, the guide? a Maltese gentleman in his 70s with a somewhat peculiar English. This ? it was the refuge where Sant'Agata hid, arriving in Malta from Sicily, to escape persecution against Christians.
The walls of the catacombs have paintings, which those of St. Paul do not have, narrow and low passages, on the sides of the crypts in which skeletons still lie. In the end, in the main area of ​​the catacombs, c '? a small space used as a sanctuary that was used by Christians to pray in secret. All this because, until the arrival of the Emperor Constantine (Roman Empire) Malta was in the hands of the Carthaginians, so Christianity was banned.
In short, these catacombs are full of very interesting stories and are also very beautiful: recommended!
I leave the crypt and go back to the bus stop, take the 181 towards the Buskett Gardens, localit? of relaxation for the Maltese and the island's only "green lung".
Malta? in fact an extremely arid country and the sand is even found on cars in the city. The North African influence? evident not only in the architecture, history and language, but even in the desert climate and flora.
I quickly realize, however, that I got off at the wrong stop and I find myself in Buskett city, I ask for information and they tell me that the gardens are about 4km away going back towards Rabat.
And it seemed to you! I begin to walk in this climb in the middle of nowhere more? absolute, only countryside and probably abandoned cascinotti. I only meet trucks or the like and hitchhiking here doesn't tempt me at all. I walk under the scorching sun of 3 in the afternoon until? I arrive at the top but probably I lose the entrance to the gardens why? c '? again a town. I ask again and they tell me that I have to go back already? a piece, then I decide to get on the first bus that passes and get off at the first stop. I just don't notice that? the wrong bus (again!) and I'm back at the entrance to Mdina.
In short, I reluctantly give up on Buskett Gardens, it is clear that it was not destiny.
Next floor: the cliffs of Dingli. I go in search of my bus, possibly the right one this time, and I know Julia, a bus driver. He is about 35 years old,? very kind and shows me how to get to the cliffs. Let's talk a little,? Spanish but has lived here for 5 years. It helps me a lot to orient myself in this day when I don't get half of it right. I say goodbye and go back to the bus station in Rabat, take the direct one to Dingli.
Didn't know for? one runs every hour so I had about 45 minutes to wait. Do I use them to drink a "coffee?" in a little bar in Saqqajja, very disreputable. And indeed it was.
Run by 3 women, probably mother, daughter and niece (the niece must have been 60 years old); they didn't utter a word in English, they screamed, they almost certainly hadn't seen a shower since '42 and smoked like longshoremen.
I drink this disgusting broth with a drop of milk and then I ask about the bathroom, in a bad way I am told that it was not accessible why? she had just cleaned it and could not already? dirty again.
I explain that I just wanted to wash my face and hands why? I was around early in the morning and I didn't have the wipes with me (what a fuss about a tap!), they turn up their noses but decide to make me go down the stairs and go to the bathroom. One of the three follows me and watches that I didn't dirty anything, I was shocked and also annoyed.
I go back up, I absolutely want to leave here, I go to the cashier and ask how much ?. And there? happens something that I have NEVER seen, not even in the country pi? poor and run-down I've ever visited.
He takes a pen and paper, writes on "1,80" and shows it to me. I ask if it was normal that price for a coffee, since up to now I have not paid it so? even in the place pi? cute of the capital. She tells me, I don't know in what language and I don't know how I understood, what? cos? high why? i used the bathroom.
ARE WE SERIOUS? 80 cents more? for using him 30 seconds of tap water. I ask her for the receipt and she refuses, telling me that the cashier doesn't work, obviously a lie since she had used it just before with another customer.
In short, he wanted to cheat me and in order not to make too many fuss I let him do it ... I certainly came out better and certainly does not change my life 80 cents. They probably do.
I go back to the bus stop, the bus arrives and finally in about half an hour I arrive in Dingli but I discover that my bus stops in the village and not directly on the cliffs, so I take another 30 minutes of hike up, in the middle of the nothing. AGAIN.
When I get up there, all the effort and the "nervousness" of today are rewarded by an unimaginable view. Arrive in time for sunset, even if unfortunately the sky? a little cloudy, but still beautiful: dark blue? mixed with a thousand different colors; gray and purple mix with the red and yellow of the sun.
Prepare anoraks and pashminas: the wind on the cliffs literally takes you away! I stay in contemplation and take some pictures for a while then I go back downstairs? at the bus stop in the town.
The last bus of the day arrives, taken by a hair, towards Valletta and who do I find above? Julia the driver! He asks me where I am headed and I reply that I am going back to Sliema but I am worried about not being able to catch the last bus. He tells me to be quiet why? buses leave from the capital until 22,30 pm and she leaves me at a stop where I can take the connection to Sliema without necessarily passing through Valletta.
He's the first kind person I find here, with the exception of the people in the hostel, He heartens me a lot,? nice to have people "friends" when you? alone ... and above all that they help you without ulterior motives. He makes me stop at a point not foreseen on his route and shows me the stop where to wait for the other bus, can I tell you what? the first person in the place what? kind to me in 3 days that i am here.
She blushes and smiles at me "It's my pleasure!"
Are people like you who still make me believe in humanity? and to think that not everyone is rotten inside. I say hello again and who knows? Maybe we'll meet again!
Now I am on the bus to Sliema, please divine forces that it is the right one! It is 21,30 pm when I arrive "home", I am dead tired but I want to reward myself. Yes, why? despite all the bad luck of the day I have always made it. Besides, I went to all the places I wanted to go. I deserve a nice dinner!
On the seafront between Sliema and S. Julian I find an all-Italian place called Vecchia Napoli, I order a very good pizza. I relax for an hour, use the wifi and call home reassuring everyone given my disappearance of about 12 hours.
I go back to the hostel, shower and arrangement of the photos. I am really happy and satisfied with how it went, despite everything. A beautiful and exhausting adventure.
"No sailor has become proficient in calm seas."
Good night.



4 day

Weather today? ugly: cloudy and cool. My trip to Gozo? slipped to better times.
For? at 10,30 am on the bus heading north of the island: Mellieha. Please, always call your bus with a gesture, otherwise they won't stop.
As I look out the window at the usual arid vegetation I feel proud of myself. This trip yes? proved very difficult at the beginning, but now I think it will not be possible? pi? do without traveling alone.
Do you have total freedom? of every single second of the day. Pi? the days pass, more? I feel complete, truly capable of anything.
Arrival in Mellieha; the town? based on a rocky promontory close to the sea, the panoramic view? from goosebumps. I walk, up and down, long stairways all colored and embellished with splendid graffiti.
I arrive in the heart of the country and I find the religious historical site in which several interesting things are contained. It starts from the square where many pilgrims have locked themselves up in prayer since the Middle Ages: in the center a completely white statue, to indicate its purity, depicting the Virgin Mary and on the four walls of the square there are prayer plates in every language of the world. Once through an arched door, immediately on the left, there are stairs that lead to the sanctuary dedicated to the Madonna, unfortunately closed.
Going down other stairs you come to an underground shelter that was used as a hiding place by the population during the Second World War: 12 meters wide by 400 long. It's creepy, endless tunnels, without lights and claustrophobic.
It's amazing how they were forced to live during that time. Each family was entitled to about 10 square meters of space dug into the wall, with no doors, no bathrooms, no electricity. Nothing. I get emotional.
I am probably alone and influenced by the fact that the Maltese, clever, to encourage the tourist part of the thing, have inserted mannequins with period clothes and sounds that evoke everyday situations in those basements.
It starts from the maternity ward, what I found more? disturbing: cots, games, dresses and shoes. In the background the cries of children and the sinister noises of creaking wheels, in the cradles of the ruined dolls and next to mannequins disguised as nurses. HELP.
We then move on to the "sacred" area: priests, crosses, images of Jesus. Finally, the workers' area: mannequins of miners, diggers, faint noises of picks, chainsaws and people talking.
I go out after about 20 minutes of anguish, for? ? it was beautiful and above all interesting. In the tunnels there are plaques with the story explained in detail.
I head towards the stairs that give there? they go down to the "Madonna of the Grotto". Eighty counted steps, quite high and uneven, descend to the entrance of the cave: in the background an altar immersed in a spring. Illuminated only by dozens of candles stands a huge statue of the Madonna holding a newborn baby.
On the walls behind me are hundreds of papers, photos and clothing from all over the world. Pilgrims ask Our Lady for protection and hope.
I'm not a believer, but I burst into a vale of tears, I just can't hold them back: I don't know what happened there? inside, but? was the thing more? touching since I've been here.
People who ask for grace, people who suffer, people who are sick; but especially children. Children everywhere, sick or already, unfortunately, dead. Their dresses, the smiling faces in those photos. It was heartbreaking.
I stay a few minutes to recover then go up and go back to the bus stop. I am emotionally dazed, I need some cheer now.
After the classic 35 minutes of waiting, I finally get on the bus but obviously I'm wrong direction, this time through no fault of my own. I was told by a gentleman I asked for information.
Never mind, I know Marco, the driver, now I'm getting used to it! Marco ? a man in his 50s or less, an Italian who has lived here for about 30 years. He takes me to the right stop from where I can take the other bus. I greet him, thank him and go down.
I'm in Mellieha Bay, a huge and totally sandy beach. Today c '? wind for which? full of surfers, I take off my shoes and touch the sand for the first time this year. It is cold but very soft.
I walk on the shore for a while, then go back to the stop.
I sit down and after a few minutes I meet Peter, a Nigerian boy who lives here. He's a reggae DJ at the Fortezza in Sliema, he invites me to tonight's evening, he wants me to experience REAL live reggae music. He's kind, very. It is Rastafarian: are we talking about love, about serenity? interior and life. Does it tell me that everything a human being needs? within himself, that we must love everyone without distinction or limits.
He says to me, "I'm dark, that's a problem for you"? I am stunned, of course I answer that not? absolutely. My problem is not? with religions or colored complexions, but with bad people.
The goodness? of his eyes would not scare even a child and I see it, I can feel it,? genuine. Can you tell me when? been to the Rio de Janeiro carnival in 2013, when he lived in England and Canada, I recommend a nice trip to Jamaica or Africa.
We talk for about an hour, I almost forget about the bus that is about to arrive. He leaves me his number and asks me to write to him in case I decide to go to the party tonight and he would be happy to play "the best reggae music in the world for you"!
In English then he adds: "I would always like tourists to return home enriched, that's why I love to be a DJ. I can convey to them everything I have inside, give them a unique experience and emotion".
Peter? really that dark, dark as coal. His white teeth stand out like a lighthouse in the night. But? the person with whom I would be least afraid in the world, gives me peace and joy.
What a nice person, seriously. Sorry, I greet him and get on the bus.
I finally arrive at Popeye Village, the village of Popeye. Guys ... COME US!
It is a very small but wonderful amusement park, very colorful and built on a cliff. It has a small inner bay of crystal clear water where? possible to swim in the summer and immediately in front of other cliffs from which? You can take great pictures of the landscape.
Inside ? like being in a movie: perfectly built in detail, even the pots in the houses look old. There are bars / restaurants, mini golf, a relaxation and games area, entertainment shows and several souvenir shops.
I know the staff boy dressed as Brutus: under that disguise and that fake baby bump, there is a boy who has destabilized me a little.
He is Maltese, he asks me my name and where I am from. He kisses my hand and says "It's really nice to meet you and have you here!" and his eyes spoke. Two huge eyes the color of the sea, dark curly hair and an unkempt beard. Tanned and with a 106-tooth smile. Wow. Besides being beautiful, he has a really sweet look. And those eyes ... who forgets them anymore.
The rest of the staff? just as kind, polite and very nice: I get involved in games and in a little show from which I "steal" a photo with Olivia.
I spend about 2 hours there. inside, getting lost between one building and another, laughing with them and drinking a fruit punch offered by the bar.
Leaving the village I go to take some pictures from the cliffs, what a wonderful view.
Unfortunately it starts to rain and I take refuge, waiting for the bus, in the bar in front of the Village. I take a cappuccino, the best cappuccino I've ever drunk, except for the ones I make!
I slowly drink the steaming cappuccino and look out, c '? wind and rain. I ponder.
This place me? loved it, sorry to leave. I felt like a child again! And those blue eyes, that smile ... would it take a lot more? in the world!
Traveling alone? a continuous self-discovery, an infinite inner journey. Eliminate barriers with people and teach you that not all evil comes to harm, not all people are bad. Learn to travel slowly, following your own pace; let yourself be carried away by the events and welcome the moments so? how they come. Messed up and unique.
After 4 days I am relaxed, does it not bother me anymore? waiting or taking the wrong path. Indeed, so? doing I get to see better there? that I have in front of me or to discover new places that were not in my plans.
In short, a glass always half full ... and patience.
I get on the bus,? full but I can find a place next to a super smiling and a little crazy old man, He tells me that he and his wife come from Norway and that when they retired they bought a house here. He is about 80 years old at a guess, all elegant, sand-colored suit, tie and hat. He asks me questions about my age, my country of birth and why? I am traveling alone. I answer him that? an experience that I have always wanted to do and that I am slowly following my path. He answers me in perfect English, smiling: "Miss, happiness in life is everything. Look at me, every day at this time I dress well and go to find the love of my life. My wife and best friend from 53 years. She hasn't recognized me for a while now, but going to her is something I need to be happy. Just to see her and bring her a raisin cake every day that she loves so much. That smile that's enough for me. So miss, you are right, follow your happiness wherever it takes you. "
Need comments? I believe that none of my words right now can express what I feel.
I thank him, I smile at him and he gets off the bus. With that smile on his face, the smile of love. I continue and decide to stop at Spinola Bay, a cove of S. Julian which? the village before mine. I do a total of about 4 km of wonderful waterfront, I find the Love Monument.
Is the writing "LOVE" in large letters completely of white rock,? work of the Maltese architect Richard England, and? precisely dedicated to love.
Nearby there are also padlocks, writings, drawings of lovers but the most? beautiful ? what this writing? with inverted letters: you can? to read in the right sense only in the evening, when the lights of it will project the writing on the sea. Really nice.
I continue to walk the seafront between clubs and restaurants until? I find a kind of rocky staircase, created naturally by the water, immediately behind the sea. I sit on a step and watch the rush of the waves, as if they wanted to eat the earth. Aggressive and harmless at the same time.
I stay like this, dazed staring at the sea and its foam and relaxing with its sweet sound. I resume the walk and around 8 am I am in the hostel.
In the room c '? Linda, the lady of Pamplona. Next month will do? 61 years old, looks at least 15 younger and is moving here after retirement. He tells me I'm beautiful and compliments me on my skin. But not only: "Jessica, you should never use makeup. Your skin glows with natural light and you should show it without shame. Don't listen to society that gives wrong messages, it's not true that make-up is more beautiful. we're just fake and I'm tired of the lies in life. If a person only sees your makeup, then they don't deserve the purity of your soul. Just think about it! " and smiles with an unprecedented sweetness.
I am moved and hug her. Hug her seriously, ever a woman? she was with me like this ... without barriers. Vulnerably true.
This day has given me unique emotions, I am happy and I would never want this to end.

5 day

This morning I wake up early why? I want to go south to Marsaxlokk, a purely fishing town where every Sunday they set up the only fish market on the island.
I go down to the kitchen for breakfast and I meet Stefano, a boy from Empoli who has lived here for a month and works in a restaurant as an assistant cook and pizza maker. He is very nice, stylish and smiling. Now comes back from work and from the evening, asks me what I am already doing? wake up and I feel old. I go out and he is going to sleep, I don't have more? 19 years like him alas ?.
He asks me why? I still live in Italy and I don't really know what to answer him except "eh, I have a job" ... let's get off to a good start this day!
I greet him and head to the bus stop. I take the 13 direct to Valletta but I get off first to take the connection with the bus that takes me to my destination. Now I turn almost with my eyes closed.
What I didn't know instead? that on Sundays use public transport? pure suicide! They pass much less, at random times and 8 out of 10 are so? full not to stop either.
It takes about 1 hour and a half between waiting and bus to get to Marsaxlokk. On the bus I meet Simona, a 25 year old Calabrian girl who has lived here for 2 months but is about to move to Barcelona for work.
We chat for a while and we come to the market together. Marsaxlokk? concentrated on the waterfront, inside only houses and churches scattered here and there. It is purely built on ups and downs (what's new ?!) but the best part? definitely the area of ​​the marina. A myriad of small boats are scattered on this crystalline and flat sea, they seem suspended in the air.
Colorful and all prepared only for fishing. I notice that on all boats c '? drawn an elongated eye that I? familiar. I also notice it on the stalls: on bracelets, T-shirts, brooches, magnets. It's everywhere. I ask one of the fishermen and am told that? the eye of Osiris, which in the Egyptian religion? symbol of prosperity, royal power and good health. It is therefore a kind of luck charm.
I am fascinated by it, I love it all? what concerns the deities? Egyptians.
Carry on slowly, people? cos? so much so that you hardly move. There? a long stretch of purely "tourist" stalls among which you can really find everything, from souvenirs to tents for the house.
But? past this piece, the beating heart of the market arrives and the show begins: the fish area. What I see reminds me a lot of the port market of my beloved Taranto. The fishermen on the small boats fish with nets and bring the fresh fish completely pouring it onto the stalls. The women take care of the cleaning of the fish and the subsequent sale. And everything happens before anyone's eyes, that fish? cos? fresh still moving.
We arrive at the end of the market and take a tour in the square in front of where we find the S. Peter's Church, where the Madonna of Pompeii is venerated. Here c'? really little to see apart from the market, for? about 40 minutes walk from the port, not reachable by buses, c '? Peter's Pool Bay what? a kind of natural swimming pool very small but very very beautiful.
I greet Simona, thank you for the company and I head back to the bus to face another odyssey. After 35 minutes of waiting in the sun the bus arrives and I shoot myself, standing, about 57 minutes of travel crushed against the driver's glass. What I do not understand ? why? instead of stepping up the means of transport on Sundays that? peak day for tourists, are instead reduced. A bus per hour, when it is good, with 30/40 people at each stop, it really seems a bit 'little.
I arrive in Valletta around 15 pm and I am stressed by the buses. I'm about to give up the idea of ​​exploring again but I decide to have lunch. I need to relax and put my ideas in order.
After lunch, I'm back on track and decide that I want to finish the day's program, or at least try. I go to the station and take the bus again, late again. Again do I have to settle for an alternative bus that won't take me? directly to your destination but about half an hour's walk. Not bad, avr? way to see a new place.
I go up on 72, direction Qrendi, I go to the megalithic temples of Hagar Qim and Majdra. I get off at the terminus I start walking in this city? forgotten by God. On the street I find a lady and ask for information. She ? was the turning point of my terrible day: her name is Angela, a Maltese about 50 years old. She tells me that she has 2 children, one married aged 30 and one still in the house aged 26. The children have traveled the world but instead she is afraid of the plane. He asks me what I do there? alone, I tell her I'm on vacation. Does he tell me he wished he had half her in the past? of my courage. In reality? I don't think it's courage, I think it's just passion. Ed? the one that pushes me to make choices that others would not make, right or wrong, but always really felt and wanted.
She offers to accompany me to the temples and I gladly accept. The street ? long and very steep, she is out of breath but does not give up! First we stop at a small sanctuary where Angela lights a candle for her son and daughter-in-law who seem unable to give her a grandchild. We continue the road in the open countryside but we are at the top and I can see the coast and the sea from here. We arrive at the temples, I hug her and give her a big kiss. The world ? pi? nice with people like that? kind. He leaves me his home address and invites me for tea. back from the temples but I have other plans so I thank you and kindly decline the offer.
I enter the temples, I'm just in time why? in about 1 hour they will close, I have to hurry. They are two archaeological sites at a distance of 500 meters from each other, covered by awnings to prevent the weather conditions from ruining them.
Ruins that probably date back to between 3200 and 2500 BC entered the Unesco heritage in 1992, if you like archeology both are definitely worth a visit.
Immediately after I head towards the Blue Grotto following the signs. I walk for about 45 minutes between sharp bends all downhill, I hope there is a stop already? after all why? the idea of ​​going back up on foot doesn't appeal to me much?
I am beginning to be tired, I have been walking for days and I sleep little. Let's say the hostel is not? just the shape indicated for those who want to rest. I arrive at the end of the road but I find nothing that even remotely reconnects to the shape of the blue cave and I begin to worry.
I ask for information to an elderly man who manages the parking lots and tells me that there? c '? the entrance for the excursion inside the cave but due to the rough sea no boats leave today. Very well!
It is 19 pm and I am very tired so I abandon (for now) the idea of ​​seeing the cave and taking the long-awaited photo of the panorama from above. I wait for a bus that fortunately arrives and? even the last of the day that passes through here.
It takes me to Rabat where I take the one to Sliema. At the bus shelter in Rabat I know two Sicilian guys who live here and who have been hired a few months ago at Malta Public Transportation. In short, they are bus drivers, so I ask them all the questions I have had for a few days.
They tell me that they are totally disorganized, that the schedules are never respected and we must always calculate between 6 and 12 minutes later than expected (I would say even more?). Furthermore, to make life a little more complicated for people, all routes are completely changed once every 1-2 months.
My dispassionate advice? to check on Google the night before all there? you need: timetables, number of buses, changes. Above all, always check the last bus of the day or you risk being left on foot. From Valletta buses leave until 23pm, then you will be forced to use taxis. Or the legs.
I get on the bus for home and I meet two guys in their twenties from Livorno. They ask me if I know where a certain place is, why? they're going to get presales for an after. And I feel more and more? old.
But on the other hand, I travel to get to know Milan, to tour the clubs.
I arrive at my destination around 21 pm and I decide that I want to reward myself for not losing my patience even today. I stop again at the Old Naples and take a plate of pasta with rag ?. Taste of home.
I go back to my room, everyone is asleep. A quick shower and then I fall asleep almost without realizing it.
Blue Grotto,? a promise, tomorrow you'll be mine.

6 day

Today I decided that I will take it to rest, I have walked a lot and slept little so I dedicate the day to my relaxation. I go down to breakfast and sit at the table with Linda, my roommate from Pamplona, ​​and we chat about the most. and less. He tells me about his life, his rather turbulent past. She confesses to me that she is separated and the mother of two boys.
Do they live with dad? why? they never got along, in fact he tells me: "I love my sons, but I don't like them". I remain confused why? I can't understand how a mom can accept that from her children, can't she? natural. But probably? also a question of mentality, we Italians are very close to the family and not for all peoples? so ?.
She says she is now serene, hasn't seen or heard from her children for 5 years and knows she can't? force them to love her. Tell me what? vegan, naturopath and who taught English and creative writing at the University. This woman? full of resources!
Mom taught her martial arts and yoga so after breakfast and after advising me to go vegan, we go to the beach together and she gives me my very first yoga class.
After that? I stay to bask in the sun for a while, it's really good today. I see people bathing but the sea? really too cold for my taste. Around 17 pm I collect my things, take a walk eating an ice cream and enjoying all my complete freedom.
I don't have to talk, if I'm tired I stop and if I want to walk I walk, this kind of isolation from the world begins to really like me.
I still have the shadow of the Blue Grotto hovering in my mind so I take the bus and go, without thinking twice. Bus to Valletta, wait 30/40 minutes and go!
After about 1 hour of semi-deserted bus I arrive at the Panorama stop (is it really called that ?!) indicated as the right one, we hope!
I go up and down? on the way to the cliffs but I don't find any signs or signals. I begin to question whether I have misread the map. At one point I find a small staircase in an area that is not well defined and certainly wild. Instinct pushes me to get off and in these days I have learned to listen to it. I walk these stairs and then a path when at a certain point ... HERE IT IS !!!
I am moved like a child, I am really excited! Until last night this beauty was just a photo on a computer and now? entirely in front of me. Just for me. I am alone and I could not be more? happy with that.
I discover that in bad luck I have found the best panoramic area, all the rest of the tourists instead go to a more? forward and more? large than this but less impressive.
I stay here for a while, enjoying this spectacle of nature, then I get back on the road and take the bus again, this time strangely without waiting. Before returning to the hostel I stop in Valletta,? the last night I can see her and? a real spectacle: illuminated with every color, the cathedral? entirely covered with white and red lights to remember the Maltese flag. Fireworks, band, flowers everywhere. Was I like that? lucky to have happened here on the evening of the feast of the patron saint of the capital that I honestly did not understand if it is San Paolo or San Pietro.
I dine here, the wind yes? appeased and I am joyful. Wearily joyful. I walk a bit in the desert, the population yes? all poured into the square of the cathedral and the internal streets. There? a strange atmosphere of peace and serenity, much better than the day that? instead overrun by tourists.
Back to the hostel around 22pm, Linda? wake up and stop to chat with her again. He tells me about his long walk and the afternoon dedicated to reading. He bought a house here but has to wait 2 months for the keys; months that will pass? here in the hostel. He still tells me that I have a bright face and what? was very impressed with my eyes. He also tells me "you're so good with people!" only why? I ask her every day how she is, do I realize that being kind to others? really good for the heart. We fall asleep in the darkness and silence of the dormitory, in the background only the noise of the street, a sparkling air that penetrates through the half-open window and the orange light of the street lamps.

7 day

Wake up very early today, at 8 am already? at the bus stop. I go to Gozo if fate? from my should I be there? in about 1 hour and a half. But what am I telling you to do? Destiny plays tricks on Malta, especially when you are "in a hurry".
The 222 bus arrives at 9,20 with pi? 1 hour late. Arrive at Cirkewwa Port at 10,25 am and the ferry departs at 10,45 am. Note: the ferries have a frequency of about 45 minutes, they are very large (cars also embark), on board there are a snack bar, the journey takes 25 minutes and you will pay? the trip (4,65 euros) only on the return trip.
I arrive in Gozo and I decide to do something super touristy that I had promised myself not to do: the sightseeing city bus. The classic red open-top bus that goes around the country in stages. Why? I did it? Why? I only have one day and I'm already almost 11,30. For a matter of speed? and comfort? since I would like to visit more? possible things.
Tip: go on one day during the week and buy the ticket directly on the bus. It would cost 18 euros, but what? by doing you will have a discount and you will pay only 10. On the ferry and at the port they sell it to you for 15.
I get on the bus, first stop Dwerja, the other place I've always dreamed of seeing here after the Blue Grotto? the Azure Window.
Before reaching it for? the driver advises me to go just more? below, in Inland Sea, a sort of tiny bay enclosed by cliffs and reachable only on foot. The color of the sea? between emerald green and blue, in full contrast with the ocher of the sand and the black of the cliffs. A beautiful thing. They do snorkeling and diving.
Pi? forward c '? a walkway and at the bottom I see some boats, I approach and ask for an excursion. With 4 euros they make me take a 15-minute excursion inside the caves and take me to the foot of the Azure Window, what? one of the most natural things? bloated and elegant I've ever seen. Really, I don't know how to tell you how much with words alone? it was wonderful. The crystalline sea below me, the caves above my head and on the sides only the purple corals. A quarter of an hour of real and deep thrills. Soon after I go up to the surface to look at the Azure Window and Fungus Rock from the panorama, take my usual photos and rest in contemplation of these natural masterpieces. From here, on the horizon but not too far away, can you? see also Comino, a tiny, purely seaside island.
I get back on the bus and watch everything from up here, with the wind and sun peeping out. I pass from Ta 'Pinu, a very very religious area. On the top of the hill I see a huge cross planted in the ground and I discover that? been put there? in memory of the end of the Via Crucis. There are statues of popes, saints and who more? has more? put some, without forgetting churches and sanctuaries.
Immediately after Victoria, the capital, where I decide to stop for about an hour: it develops uphill, modern and similar to Valletta in terms of shops and restaurants. Pi? at the top you can? to reach the Citadel but the climb? really too long and I have little time available.
Back on the bus, this time I go to Ramla Bay where I only see the beach, famous for its yellowish sand that contrasts with the crystal clear water of the sea. Then Ggantija, I go down and I enjoy the megalithic temples, the remains pi? large of the Neolithic. It seems to have gone back in time and I really do not understand how they could have done certain things without the help of cranes or similar machinery.
I go out, get on the bus again towards Marsalform, a fishing town and here too the beach and the sea are splendid. It is 17 pm and I decide to go towards the port, hoping there will be a ferry departing, without too much waiting. Luckily I only waited 20 minutes, which? great!
I arrive in Cirkewwa, I take the 222 again (for the last time) and after 1 hour and 10 minutes I am in Sliema. One last ride on the seafront, have a coffee? in a terrace bar on the beach and I relax. It starts getting cool and I go back to the hostel. You must know that here, at this time of the year, c '? a frightening temperature range: it goes from 23-24 degrees during the day to 9-10 in the evening. And the wind almost never stops blowing!
I go up to my room, arrange things, shower and relax by writing this diary, what? became like my best friend. Marie, the Frenchwoman from my dormitory, has heard that I am about to go home and does not know if I will succeed? to greet me tomorrow morning. He approaches me, hugs me and says "it was a real pleasure to meet you, I feel that you have a good heart and you are a beautiful person, therefore? I wish you all the best in life". I'm not really used to these people who open up without fear, who compliment you even without knowing you, without hypocrisy or ulterior motives. All of this ? very beautifull. Moving.
After that? Linda approaches and tells me more? or not the same things, though? she adds a sentence that you will not forget? never: "I have sentimentally lost my children 5 years ago or maybe more, I don't have a family that loves me, I'm alone. But this week it was you, who gave me your smile and your wonderful company. You have been my friend and my daughter for a little moment in my life and I really appreciate that. Thank you. "
What can I say? I hugged her and two tears fell for these words so? strong.
Early tomorrow morning I have the return flight and as usual I'm here to take stock. It was a really intense 7 days, intense and very strong. It was tiring, difficult and demanding at times. I had to make do, to cope with every "uncomfortable" situation that I encountered on my path, but? it was a one of a kind experience. A contact with life that I recommend to anyone at least once. I discovered so much about the world, about people and about myself. It was a real pride to see that there are so many women like me, with the same passion and the same independence.
Strong women, with courage to sell, warrior women who for? they don't forget to be sweet and spontaneous. Women who know how to surprise and surprise you, reinvent themselves and be reborn again, despite the sufferings of the past or age.
Malta has given me so many joys, so many satisfactions and also so many expectations; ? an island in constant contradiction, a country that must be lived, understood and finally loved for what it is: a slow, arid and windy paradise.
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