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I’m still at a loss why more people aren’t aware or intrigued by this beautiful little island. Every time I mentioned it as a destination on my trip, people wondered why and some even asked where it was. So for those who don’t know; Malta is a tiny island off the coast of Sicily and is made up of 3 islands including Gozo and Comino. It has an amazing history (I’ll touch on that at another post) filled with pre historic temples, knights, war and is definitely worth learning more about. I can’t even remember when I first learn about Malta, that’s how long I’ve wanted to visit. Unfortunately, I became really sick the night before my flight. I was in Madrid and had been feeling a little off since Barcelona, but then I woke in the middle of the night with full body aches and chills. I made it to Malta the next day and basically showered and went to bed. Not wanting to waste my stay, I ventured (sick and all) to the beach the next day. I stayed at a great little hostel near St. Julian’s but the beach of Ghajn Tuffieha was apparently a must see. I ended up on the bay beside it because it’s a little confusing unless you ask, but Golden Bay is lovely too. I bought some snacks and lots of water and I laid on that beach all day long, cooling off in the water when needed. I slept a bit, I read a bit and I relaxed. After a lot of go-go-go, I definitely needed it. I can’t even properly describe the peace I felt there, surrounded by the cliffs of the bay, the sun overhead and the beautiful water. The scenery is rustic and worn, making it feel more like a far away land. However, there is charm that’s indescribable. The beach front restaurant made a great environment for a satisfying dinner and the next day, I did the exact same thing. From the hostel it was a short walk to a bus that took me directly to the beach, so over all it wasn’t a lot of effort. Half way through my week in Malta, a friend from back home came to visit. I knew I had to be in better shape for her arrival, which is why I chose to do nothing for the first few days. The owner of the hostel was amazing too, she answered all my questions (which were a lot) and even let me hang out during the day while I waited for my friend (kind of rare in the hostel world). The next few days were much more eventful, which just goes to show you; Malta has something for everyone. I can’t begin to mention everything there was to see and do, during this one post; so I’ll leave that for another time.

September 14-20, 2013

Bilbao, Spain

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Here’s another one for the dream come true category! The Guggenheim was another building I had studied for school and I desperately wanted to see it on that trip back in 2010. Unfortunately, Bilbao was too far out of the way so we were only able to do Barcelona. This time around, I made sure to get there! It was actually difficult to fit in because there were only 2 trains to Madrid per day, and my connecting flight out to Malta was set due to price. I ended up arriving at 10:00pm in Bilbao and had to walk 1km to my hostel. I also had to use my data to download a map because nothing was open and I had forgotten when I had WIFI, which cost me about $60 back home! Note to self: never again. EEK! I was probably asleep by midnight that night and was up the next day, dressed, packed and out the door, by 7:30am. I was so tired but excitement took over. I’m so happy I was so early though, because I got fantastic shots (like the one above) without any people in them. I really took my time and saw all the exhibits and art possible, including the outside. By the time I left, the whole place was buzzing and the sun had come out. It was so neat to see how the building changed and shimmered in the sunlight. It’s really an architectural masterpiece; it was amazing to see and to learn more about the construction. Afterwards, I found a delicious restaurant to have lunch that was an all you can eat salad bar, but with hot food and dessert too (sorry I forget the name, but if anyone knows it, please comment). I then city mapped nearby sites and found an adorable little park and courtyard, which I strolled around for awhile. I wish I could have stayed longer because I know Bilbao has so much more to offer. I’m content though; I set out to see the Guggenheim in Bilbao and I did. My train left at 5:00pm that evening and I spent the night in Madrid, so to say it was a whirlwind is accurate. The travelling probably caught up to me because I came down with a horrible cold that same night, but that’s a story for my Malta post.

September 12-13, 2013