A Guide to Siena

Siena is a city in Tuscany Italy which I had the pleasure to visit a few weeks back. I fell in love with this medieval town in Tuscany even though I only spent a day there. The historic buildings, the surrounding valleys and of course the food. Being very small, it is easy to see the old town in a day. Being on a budget (a low one) we opted to walk instead of using the bus and it was one of the best decisions we did on the trip. For one we got to see more as going on foot, you get to stop and admire the scenario offered by the surrounding hills and we got a good work out out of it (to eat more at dinner).

If you want more tips on what we did and what we saw, check out the link below:

https://travelista.club/guides/one-day-in-siena-a-guide-to-the-city/

 

Until next time, stay safe and live the moment

 

Michelle

What to do When in Malta – Part 4

Being an island, Malta has numerous beaches all around its coast. Whether you’re a diver, a cave explorer or just want to laze around in the sun to get a tan, you can be sure that you’ll find the right spot.

Sandy Beaches in Malta

Around the coast, there are quite a few sandy beaches where one can spend a whole day just soaking up the sun. The best known sandy beaches are Ghadira (the largest sandy beach even though its name literally means “pond”),  Apple’s eye, the Riviera, Armier and Gnejna in the North of Malta St. George’s bay in Central Malta and Pretty bay in the South. During the summer months, these sandy beaches are full of beach goers enjoying the sun and the sea. Most beaches have the facility to rent sun beds, umbrellas as well as paddle boats and canoes. These are the perfect spots to get the perfect sun tan.

Rocky Beaches in Malta

If you really don’t like the sand (who wants all that stuff sticking to them), there are a lot of beautiful rocky beaches you can so to. The most famous ones are Anchor Bay (Popeye Village to many Maltese), Mistra bay, Salina bay, most areas in Sliema and most areas in Marsaskala (a personal favorite). The rocks are not as comfortable as the sand for a whole day of swimming and sun bathing but some cushioning will do wonders and you can enjoy these spots for as long as you want. Most of these rocky beaches do not have the facilities of renting as when you visit the sandy beaches therefore if you want some shelter, do take your own.

Diving in Malta

Around the island, there are a number of diving spots where one can explore the wonders of the world under the sea. Here in Malta we also have a number of purposely sunken ships as well as historic shipwrecks for diving explorers to discover. One can find a few diving groups with whom one can explore these sites. If you just want to watch the fish swim, there are plenty of fish to chase in every beach.

Activities Near the Beach in Malta

If a full day of sun bathing and swimming is too boring for you, most beaches, especially in the North of Malta, offer adventurous activities such as parasailing, canoeing, paddle boating and wind surfing. Most of these activities are against a fee but the view of the Maltese islands from a parachute or exploring the caves with a canoe are worth every euro cent. These activities make a day at the beach fly by even faster along with giving you a reason to boast to your friends what a daredevil you are. In some beaches, you can also rent a boat to get a sightseeing tour of the area on the sea or so you can get to a spot on the beach which is more difficult to access.

Tips from a Local (too many to just give you one):

Put on sunblock so that you do not waste the rest of your holiday due to sunburn. I get a lot of patients wanting something to ease the sunburn. Therefore sun block and an after sun  lotion are a must.

If you do not know which beach to choose, https://whichbeach.com.mt/ suggests the safest beaches at the time according to the direction of the wind.

If you truly want the Maltese beach experience, go to the closest grocery store and buy a ftira. Some grocers offer that they do it for you, a typical Maltese ftira with tomato paste, tuna, olives, olive oil, onions and capers….mmmmm

In the past few years we have had jellyfish invasions, so be careful when swimming. I suggest you buy some hydorcortisone cream so if you get stung, you apply some immediately to limit the pain and you can keep enjoying your day by the sea.

 

Until the next time, stay safe and if you’re reading this post for suggestions to go to the beach, use sun block.

 

Michelle

What to do When in Malta – Part 3

For those who are more culture and history oriented, this post is a summary of the most interesting historical places we have here in Malta.

 

Maltese History and Art

Maltese history goes back to prehistoric times with sites to make any history buff fall in love with this island. If you are one to dive into the origins of a country and love to get to know the secrets of how a place came to be, Malta is the best location for you. If you want to plan a holiday around learning the history, you are sure to spend at least a week to skim through the rich history this island offers. The beautiful prehistoric temples like no other on the planet offer an insight to how our ancestors used to live. We have 6 main sites where these temples are located. The most popular ones (and the most beautiful to visit in my opinion) are Hagar Qim and Mnajdra temples in Qrendi and Ggantija in Gozo. With the sea as a backdrop, these temples have the best basis for cool photos or selfies to boast to your friends online.

Through the middle ages, the Maltese being devoted Roman Catholics, built many magnificent churches and adorned them with impressive art pieces that are cherished by locals as well as tourists. All around Malta one can visit numerous churches (at least one parish church in every town and village), each with its own set of sculptures and paintings usually depicting scenes from the life of the church’s patron saint. The two best known churches (and the two most adorned churches) are the cathedral in Mdina and the St. John’s co-cathedral in Valletta. A visit to these two magnificent churches is a must to both art enthusiasts as well as those who just visit the island.

For a history buff and an art enthusiast, the capital city Valletta and the silent city Mdina are two precious gems that should not be missed. However other villages and towns around the island are also rich in history. The Three Cities in the south of Malta are three such towns and one could spend a nice morning going around these cities. You can opt for a nice walk on the promenade going from Senglea through Cospicua to Vittoriosa or you can rent a Rolling Geek to speed your way around (be careful and do follow traffic rules if you opt for the Rolling Geek). 

If you’re not into the classical art, during the year there are many contemporary art shows and festivals across the country which you can easily find online through a Google search for activities going on when you are going to visit.

Tip from a local: A number of museums around the island offer an interactive experience so that you can learn the vast history in a few minutes. Also, the lines are not too long to visit the museums so it is worth it to visit at least one if you’re not a big fan of art.

Until next time, stay safe and travel

 

Michelle

What to do When in Malta – Part 2

As I wrote in my previous post, I will be posting different activities one can do when visiting the Maltese Islands. Today I am going to give you some insight on what our Saturday night (or any other day of the week for that matter) looks like.

Partying in Malta

For those looking for a partying atmosphere with cheap alcohol and very loud music, Malta is a top destination, especially in summer. Every weekend around the island, one can find a number of parties going on with top local DJs as well as foreign guests. During the summer days, we do not believe in just partying during the weekend so if you’re looking for a party on Tuesday, most bars are open as well. Some venues also host special parties every week, mostly on Wednesdays, so that after three of hard days at work, we Maltese hard-workers can go unwind and blow out the money we earned in those three days (usually even more than that) in the middle of the week. You are more than welcome to join the party. Parties go on to the early hours of the morning and a sure way to have fun and dance the night away to popular music.

Alcohol is quite cheap to buy, both from the clubs/bars as well as from the local convenience shop. Do drink responsibly but buying drinks while giving your dancing shoes a break will not empty your pockets. The legal age to buy and consume alcohol in Malta is 17. It is illegal to carry glass bottles with you, so if you want to mix your drink and take it with you, be sure that you have a plastic bottle (a re-usable one is advisable so that we care for the environment). 

If big parties are not your style but you still love a good drink, there are numerous bars you can visit. You can find the local bar in most towns and villages where the atmosphere is a very informal one. Some of these bars also offer appetizers for free so you don’t have to drink on an empty stomach (as mentioned in my previous post, we do love our food!). However if you want a more formal setting there is a good concentration of bars in the capital city Valletta as well as the tourist favorites Sliema and St. Julian’s.

Tip from a local: Many locals love to pre-drink before going in the club as this is cheaper but buying drinks from the club will not empty your pockets either.

Until next time, stay safe.

Michelle

What to do When in Malta

 

This post is about what to do if you visit the island I call home. In the picture above (thanks to my brother) you can see the three main islands that make up Malta from the plane window. As there are a lot of activities one can do in Malta, this is the first post of a series of posts that I will upload in the coming weeks.

The Maltese islands are a group of mainly 3 islands situated in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. The three main islands are Malta, Gozo and Comino with a number of smaller islands surrounding the coast. It is a small island of around 400,000 inhabitants occupying most of the island with characteristically unique towns and villages. Being a small country, one would think that many activities one might want to try would not be available, but despair not, Malta is home for numerous activities that will suit everyone’s tastes.

Activities to do when in Malta

Whatever your tastes are, be sure that you will find ways to enjoy them here. Whether you’re a foodie, a party animal, a history buff, an outdoor enthusiast or if you’re just looking for somewhere to relax and enjoy the sun, Malta offers something for you. Any type of holiday you want to have, you are sure to find some spot where you can undertake the activity you are looking for. 

The Cuisine in Malta

They say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. The Maltese have taken this to heart and obey this as if it was a universal truth that is key for the survival of the race. Food is never a shortage around the island and you are never further than a few steps from a restaurant or a take away. In fact, so as not to be hungry for long even if you’re too tired after a day exploring the island, you can download an app on your phone that gives you a lot of options that deliver anywhere, from your hotel room to that comfortable spot you found at the beach.

If you fancy a nice quiet dinner, many restaurants around the island are available with different cuisines usually available at the same restaurant. Therefore if you crave a creamy pasta dish but your partner is dying for a juicy piece of meat, you can both quench your thirst at the same restaurant. There are also a lot of restaurants that offer typical Maltese dishes such as the delicious rabbit stew (you can only find this in Malta), the mouth-watering ross il-forn (rice with meat sauce that is cooked in an oven) or the typical Maltese aljotta (fish soup with a number of different herbs that together make your taste-buds party in your mouth).

If you’re in a hurry but you still want to taste a typical Maltese dish, you can try out a pastizz (typically ricotta or a pea and beef mixture inside an oil or butter drenched dough), a Maltese all-time favorite. Even if you’re full, do try out a maqrut (imqaret in plural) which are deep fried pastries stuffed with  dates.

Tip from a local: Do a quick search on Google for the best restaurants, however if you choose a top restaurant do reserve a table as we love our food and an outing is not an outing without food.

My next post will give you an insight to the partying scene here in Malta for those who want to dance the night away.

Until next time… stay safe u dream big.

 

Michelle

Hello world!

Hi there.

So, this is my first post here therefore it is a must that I introduce myself.

My name is Michelle and I am a 26-year-old Maltese lady. Getting to the point, I love travelling and experiencing new cultures (a personality trait that I have discovered only recently). I am eager to learn about how other cultures live and what their normal day to day looks like. But first a little overview of how my day to day looks like so that you get to know me.

I am a Maltese citizen living in this tiny island in the middle of the Mediterranean called Malta situated just under Sicily. Though very small (not enough people to reach the half-a-million person mark) we have a very rich culture with a history going back thousands of years. Unfortunately, being a local, you rarely appreciate the unique characteristics of a place but I try to look at this small piece of land  with a foreigner’s eyes (when I have time to think about it). Being very small, it offers little holiday options for a local as the furthest you can go is about an hour’s drive away from home. Some people do that everyday as a work commute and to us Maltese people, that is crossing the island to find a change of scenery for a drink.

I am a pharmacist by profession which allows me to be in contact with a multitude of people from different cultures around the world. Apart from the obvious health issues I help them with, I have also learned about how they live through the 5-minute conversations we share during their visit. This increases my wanderlust by a thousand fold. Other routine activities during the day also make me long for a getaway somewhere, not necessarily exotic or adventurous, but a haven somewhere away from here sounds bliss at the end of the day.

Buying a new house and getting married in a few months does not leave a lot of money available for travelling. That is why the beer pockets! At the moment, I can only afford to travel if I do not spend all my savings on one trip. However I do manage to take couple of trips a year, as long as I find cheap flights, relatively inexpensive accommodation and free adventures to explore the destination I go to. The one thing I do let myself splurge on is the food. Trying out the cuisine is the way to my heart. I think I would forget certain details about a trip, but a delicious local meal will forever be engraved in my brain.

So now you have some information about me so you can get a feel of what I’m into. Through this blog I aim to post articles about travelling around economically so you can experience the world with beer pockets. Here I will post stuff about personal experiences  and what I found useful as I believe that we can all learn from each other’s mistakes and adventures.

 

For today, thanks for reading, stay safe and live to make your dreams come true.

 

Michelle