A trip down memory lane and beyond - Malta

(Image courtesy of Henrietta Subuola Makinde)

4th March 2021

By Henrietta Subuola Makinde

I still remember the exact feeling when I realised that I had done the wrong 32 mark essay question in my A-Level English Literature exam, not just any exam... my final A-Level paper. My heart sank into the pits of my stomach, nothing could console me, except for remembering one detail that the exam stress had long since flushed away from my memory. I was going on a girls’ trip with my mum and sister the next day!

Instantly, it went from what would’ve been a day of wallowing in self-pity, to a day of excited last-minute preparations, packing, and endless discussions about the first things we would do once we arrived in Malta.

At 4am the next day I woke up for my 7:30am flight to what can only be described as the ‘pre-holiday feeling’: that mix between restlessness, nerves and absolute thrill. The three-hour plane ride consisted of the usual downloaded Netflix binges, snacks, and chatter. Then the moment finally came. The words “Ladies and Gentlemen Welcome to Malta, we hope you enjoy your stay” blared out of the PA, and it was game on.

I felt the smack of the warm air against my face, and the pre-holiday feeling went straight from a ‘feeling’ to reality. After settling down in our cosy hotel suite overlooking the Marsamxett Harbour in Sliema; the first thing I did was step on to the balcony to take in our surroundings, again, I was hit with that warm holiday air and intense sun, and met by the delightful sight of the harbour dotted with dainty white boats and yachts. Once I was done drooling over the view, we took our obligatory holiday nap, after which, we were all set to explore.

Our first full day on the island consisted of a visit to the capital city ‘Valletta’, I literally can’t even begin to describe how mesmerising this area was, the colliding of Middle Eastern and Medditeranean architecture was a true sight for sore eyes, and nicely reflected the location of the Island right between Western European Italy and North African Libya. Once we arrived, we spotted a Haagen Dazs and took the opportunity to cool down with a touristy scoop (or two!). The highlight of the day was definitely the architecture, and the lively spirit of the city. We also watched some kind of soldier parade in front of a very odd but cool looking ‘museum’, which we later realised was actually the Maltese Parliament building!

The next thing on our itinerary was a relaxing beach day, our day in Valletta was packed with so much walking, that we honestly just wanted to chill out. We decided to take the bus to the beach (which was completely on the other side of the island) for a more scenic journey. The journey took what felt like ages, and we definitely saw a different side to Malta, we went through twisty, narrow roads, and passed through some more quaint, rural areas like L’Imselliet. We finally arrived at the beach around midday, by this point we were all ravenous, and we ate at the beach shack, where we were able to try some Maltese bread, or ‘Ħobż, it turned out to be an dry, rustic style of bread, which was covered in tomatoes, olives and capers. Although we enjoyed the ‘Ħobż’, we decided that it would be a crime to not get chips at the beach, and caved into our touristy ways. Mellieha Bay definitely lived up to our goal of relaxation that day, the breeze blew at just the right speed and temperature, and the ocean’s gentle waves crashed softly, making it perfect for a quick nap in the shade. Once the sun began to set, we headed back to Sliema for the night.

(Image courtesy of sbs.com)

The night before our 8:30am flight back to London was full of premature holiday blues, we started to wake up from the seemingly alternative reality you’re transported to when you go on holiday. And one sleep later, we were on the plane back to normality…

Thank you for taking a trip down memory lane with me, let us know where your first trip after the pandemic will be!

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First published in 1965, InQuire is the University of Kent student newspaper.

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