My heart is so full right now! Full of the city, this country, the people, and the moments I have experienced here so far.
I’m in love, and I never want to leave this island. ❤
I have visited most countries in Europe and have had my heart stolen by a fair few, but this is different. There has only ever been one other place where I have got off the plane and instantly felt a connection. Malaga will always be a city I revisit time and time again and the enchantment I feel in its presence will never subside.
Malta has also cast this spell on me.
From the minute I arrived, I was spellbound. The first view of the island was from the plane window, where I was cheerfully greeted by fields of stunning yellow flowers set amongst the country’s intriguing collection of ruins. The more my eyes have been blessed with, the more head over heels I have become.
But it’s not just Malta’s unique aesthetic make-up that has enticed me; it’s the feel of the place.
When I lived in Ibiza, I used to swear by the fact that the island was not a destination, but a feeling. If you’ve ever been to Ibiza, you’ll know exactly what I mean. It takes the laid-back Mediterranean luxe and spins it on its axis, creating a dreamscape of divine existence.
Malta also has its own feeling. It’s nothing like Ibiza’s – in fact, it isn’t comparable to anywhere else I have ever visited.
It’s humble, and bashfully shy of its own outstanding beauty. It sits pretty on the outskirts of the Mediterranean, bowing its head and blushing.
Cascading in history, Malta dazzles with traditional character. Every street you find yourself walking down will take your breath away. Valletta in particular is full of gloriously unexpected charm.
It also takes the people to make a place all that it is. That was one of the reasons why I fell so hard for Paris: the locals were some of the kindest people I have ever come across and I will never forget them taking me – a 21 year old girl travelling alone- under their wing.
Every single person I have met in Malta has been staggering kind. From taxi drivers to the staff in the ice-cream parlour, everybody has gone above and beyond to make me feel welcome and valued as a tourist.
The whole island just sparkles with joy, and a joy it is to simply be here!
I couldn’t love this place anymore if I tried. I’m honestly ready to FedEx the contents of my entire house over and break the news to my boss that I am going to be trading my HR skills in for a career in dolphin training.
I still can’t quite believe that today actually happened!
I was finally able to tick ‘Swim with dolphins’ off my bucket list.
My beautiful dolphin was called Sol, and he was ever so gentle. He looked after me spectacularly.
I think it goes without saying that I cried! I mean, part of that might have been to do with the fact that it was roughly around minus 55 degrees in the pool... (Can you get delayed hypothermia?? I actually think I’m at risk of PTSD from that pool!) 🥶
There is something so calming about being with animals. I do believe that animals are huge stress busters.
I also fed budgies by hand and made friends with a gecko, and THAT, in my opinion, is a day very well spent!
Anyone who knows me can vouch for the fact that I am obsessed with animals. I generally very much prefer them to people. In fact, there’s no ‘generally’ to it – I do prefer them to people.
I am always blown away by how pure animals are. They have such kind hearts and know no deliberate malice or discrimination.
If I’m not writing or running, you’ll usually find me weeping over video compilations of unlikely animal friendships. Frogs and dogs. Rats and cats. Whatever weird and wonderful combo, I’m inevitably in tears.
That gecko today shared his enclosure with a turtle, and my heart melted a little bit.
I just think that people can learn A LOT from animals, especially at the minute.
Just look at their stunning colours! 😍
I can’t believe that I have only been in Malta a day. It feels as though I have been here years – I feel so at home!
This feeling is indescribably warming.
I have found a little bit of home in a place I have never visited before. The world really is my oyster, and this trip has just made me even more determined to fill my life with the wealth of travel. There is no greater richness to be earned.
In England, I would never go out for a meal without make-up. Up until two years ago, I wouldn’t even leave the house without make-up, even if it was just for a run (and I wondered why I was suddenly plagued with cystic acne… 🤔).
Tonight, I actually went out to eat with zero make-up and I didn’t feel self-conscious once. In fact, it was quite the opposite: I felt confident. I sat at my little table at the food market with my Hawaiian ‘poke bowl’ and wrote the evening away, soaking up the atmosphere of Friday night in Valletta.
I don’t know what Malta has done to me in little over 24 hours, but I need more of this free flowing ecstasy.
After my tea, I went for a wander around the city. The ancient walls were basked in a soft glow and the waterfront whispered its lullaby into the stage of the night.
I could have walked all evening, immersing myself in Valletta’s silent serenade.
Of course, I like any place that links me with my beloved Grandma Barbara. When I visited her hometown of Hannover several years ago after she had passed away, I felt such a rush of bittersweet nostalgia. It was exactly as she has described; the words from her treasured stories coming to life right before my eyes.
I wish I knew more about my Grandma and Grandad’s lives in Malta. I wonder whether part of my adoration of the country is because she is here with me somehow. ❤️
All I know is that I feel such an attachment to this country and I can’t wait to get it know it a little bit more.
Cara Jasmine Bradley ©