From Aug 15th to Aug 20th, I was in Malta to visit a friend.
Sunny weather greets
When I arrived in St-Julian’s, I phoned my friend and told them they could easily recognize me because I was only dummy wearing jeans despite the very warm weather. Yes, it was warm. Very warm. The temperature was at least 40°C.
But at the same time, it was raining in Paris so I couldn’t really complain. I was just happy to see the sun again.
We started by getting a cappuccino by the docks.
Belgian flags are everywhere
When I arrived in St-Julian’s, the first thing I was surprised to see was the Belgian flag. It is literally everywhere, along with the British, European and city flags.
I found out later that this is actually the flag of St-Julian’s. What’s funny is that there are Belgians living in St-Julian’s and, not surprisingly, they tend to display the Belgian flag. But since it’s the same, there is no way to know if a black/yellow/red flag hanging on a balcony is supposed to be the Belgian flag or the flag of St-Julian’s.
Half a building is a common thing
The real estate market in Malta is booming. The prices of appartments and houses are climbing like crazy. Real estate agents have understood that and there are dozens of them along the coast. The rise in prices has also pushed investors to build entirely new homes which can be sold with a nice profit.
What’s odd is that a lot of buildings seem to have been started but never finished. In Malta, it seems very common to see buildings that have all walls done, but no paint or windows.
One of the most surprising buildings I’ve seen is the one where you see the shape of the flat to be built on the ground but construction has apparently been stopped.
This tendency to stop construction in the middle of the job has inspired some pranksters to write “If only I had paint” on a half-painted wall.
On my last day in Malta, I took a cab to the airport. The cab driver told me that the recent Prime Minister elections in Malta probably played a large role in the construction of these half-buildings. A lot of construction permits were supposedly given out before the election. The real-estate investors secured these permits by putting down a few stones. But apparently, they didn’t see the point in finishing the construction.
Road signs scream and tires crunch
The roads of Malta are a bit different than what I am used too.
For starters, I noticed the road signs. They usually include an ALL CAPS text to catch the drivers’ attention. We don’t have those in France. In France, a road sign usually doesn’t include any text. Not so in Malta.
Here is the “SHARE THE ROAD” sign:
And here, the “SPEED KILLS” sign:
Also interesting: the gas stations. Because there are only small roads on the coasts, gas stations have little room to expand. So they are also small. People stop on the road, fill their gas tank and go on about their day. We see this kind of thing in Paris as well but it’s much less common.
Talking about roads, Malta has its fair share of quads and jeeps. And their tires crunch a lot! I think that the road is incredibly polished from the wind and sand. This makes it slippery, which in turn makes tires crunch a lot. I felt like every few minutes, bank robbers were fleeing from a heist.
I’ve been told by locals that they have gotten used to crunching tires and hardly notice it anymore.
Valletta is touristy
I spent a day in Valletta, which I was told was beautiful and a must-see.
I bought some post cards to send to my family.
And there were some noteworthy streets there:
On the whole though, I felt like I was in a very touristy place and time could be better spent elsewhere. Like on the beautiful coasts.
One of the places where I liked to be was the coasts. They were terrific!
A picture is worth a thousand words. So let’s use pictures.
Here is a beach near St-Julian’s:
And here, the docks of St-Julian’s:
HardRock Café rocks
Before boarding the plane back to France, I had to see the HardRock Café. Great place to listen to good music, have that last Maltesian beer or buy some souvenirs.
Until next time!