For those of you who aren’t great with your geography of tiny obscure islands: the Maltese island itself is a land mass of around 250 square kilometers and can be found a little under 100 KM to the South of the Island of Sicily, Italy (the ball at the toe of the boot of Italy).
Since making my move to Malta about a year and a half ago there has been a lot of change – my location, job, relationship dynamics, living situation. But those are changes you experience with any move. In this post I wanted to shed a bit more light on the changes I’ve noticed since moving to Malta specifically.
Of all the changes the biggest surprise – well, I can’t call it a surprise….the aspect that took the most adjusting to is definitely the laid back approach to life and how to get things done here.
If someone arranges to meet and they give you a time; that is simply the time they will start to contemplate getting ready to make their way to the meeting place, so add on another 30-40 minutes. Being a punctual person it does begin to make you feel a bit daft after several experiences, but it’s not a habit I want to slip into!
Unfortunately, that laid back attitude is kicked to the curb as soon as they get into a vehicle of any kind (pun definitely intended).
The fact that there are almost 600 vehicles to every 1000 people is a statistic that speaks for itself. Combine that with the approximate population of 450,000 people and then spread that over the space of just 250 sq KM and you’ll begin to understand why they don’t have any patience on the roads. You’re never too far away from a near-miss or some road rage.
Another change is the general shopping. Having lived in the UK for my whole life I’ve always been accustomed to grocery shops being open pretty much 24/7 and shelves stacked with all sorts of ingredients and products to suit any and all dietary requirements. In Malta, Sunday is definitely a day of rest. You will be lucky to find a store of any kind open for business, let alone one that will stock what you need for a vegan friendly dish other than tins of beans! Most electrical and general goods are understandably a bit pricier, even after taking exchange rates into account. You’ll find that ordering online and waiting a few days longer for a delivery is the way to get things a bit more budget friendly.
Now, looking at all of those aspects it may seem like a pretty negative little rant. I can assure you that it is merely a heads-up to be ready for some changes to your attitude.
Adopt the infamous laid back disposition, be a bit more cautious on the roads and spend that extra time planning or searching online for the best shopping options, nothing to it!
How about some positives:
The food – being heavily reliant on tourism, there are an abundance of restaurants of all varieties which will be able to serve you a dish you’d eat again and again. Naturally, Mediterranean cuisine is at the forefront, pizza, pasta and fish will be the staple dishes for most places you try.
For us, we have a few go-to places: Grassy Hopper for delicious veggie and vegan food, Cafe Cuba (the falafel burger in particular) and Soul Food in Valletta if you’re looking for great food and service in the heart of this historic city.
The weather – mild winters and hot, hot summers! You’ll be able to find plenty of spots to catch some rays so embrace the heat and enjoy that healthy glow for most of the year.
Mild doesn’t mean it doesn’t get cold by any means, but you won’t be wearing balaclavas and winter coats for too long, if at all. I think I still managed to rock a pair of shorts a few times during December last year, so it is a kinder winter than it is in most places.
In my short time here we’ve taken on some beautiful hikes, embraced the culture on great days out and spent a day or two soaking up the sun on a gorgeous beach and cooling off in the clear waters, of course.
I think, for me, the very best thing about this place is that you’re never too far away from something amazing – get out and explore the place!