Sweating, so much sweat, all the time. Day and night, energy leaving the body with every step. It was hot in Greece, perhaps hotter on the headline temperature, but the humidity in Malta made it incredibly hot. Unpleasantly hot. The hostel didn’t have air conditioning.
I had gone from Athens to Larnaca in Cyprus firstly, for a one night only appearance. Larnaca has little to it. It has a salt lake with flamingoes. Apparently. At this time of year it is dried up, and the birds have flown. The beach is a key attraction and the long waterfront. The sea is warm. English voices everywhere. I could find no hostels so I had a hotel for a night. A treat, with wonderful air conditioning, it would remain a memory to get me through the next days.
The Maltese hostel was odd in several ways. Advertised as one big room it was comprised of three floors and you walked through each room to get to the top room, if you were located there, as I was. The lights could be turned on but would turn themselves off after a few minutes. There was no air conditioning. There were three fans provided. One was plugged in. The other two had two-pin plugs when the room was full of three-pin sockets. I managed to get an adapter from a member of staff when I saw one, as no staff are based there. The bathrooms were on the bottom floor and were often without toilet roll and frequently had a wet floor. There was NO AIR CONDITIONING.
Valletta is a very small city, a very small capital. It all looks very old and shabby, the streets are often steep but there is a certain charm. On my first night I decided to watch some Friday night football of the Maltese Premier League which took me to a stadium that would be considered small by non-league standards in England. The level of play was similar and Floriana beat Tarxien Rainbows 5-0. Unlike many top divisions, this game was to be followed by another league clash, in the same stadium, but I didn’t stay for this.
The next day I wasted trying to explore more of Valletta but ended up not feeling all that well and had an early night. On my final day in Malta I explored the other side of the bay to the west of Valletta where Sliema sits. This area has some modern construction and looks generally a bit nicer. It was still incredibly hot though.
From Malta I took two flights to get to Croatia and the city of Split (via Frankfurt). Split is also hot but not so humid as Malta and once again bearable. Split has a pretty old town that I first explored on my first evening with the company of my roommate Anna. It has tight, cobbled streets and some historic squares as well as Diocletian’s Palace, which was a hive of activity (despite the owner apparently not being in…).
It had probably been about 20 years since I had been in the sea but the next day I joined Anna on a trip to Bol beach on the island of Brac. I did not realize the beach was a pebble beach, but despite the pain of this, the water, the weather and landscape was beautiful.
Trogir is a town set about 40minutes by bus away from Split and is a UNESCO site. Which means, as with all UNESCO sites, the place is now essentially an open-air museum and it is purely geared up for visitors. The place is small and pretty, but there isn’t much to do. I spend a couple of hours there before heading back to see some more of Split in the daylight and catching the sunset.
As I write this I am still in Split and planning to stay a little longer to add a day trip to Hvar before I begin heading up Croatia for a couple more stops before I get to tick another country off of my list. I hope the worst of the heat is over.