Just got back from a mini-holiday where some friends and I went on a sailing trip starting in Malta and ending in Siracusa in Sicily. Here’s what I learned:
- Malta is a beautiful place that oozes history. It’s where the famous Knights of St. John were based. They defended the island against the Turks during the siege of 1565 and founded Valetta, the capital afterwards.
- It was a British colony through 1964. The British influence can be seen from the postboxes to the fact that they drive on the left hand side of the road.
- Surprisingly for a place just 50 miles from Italy, the food in Malta left much to be desired. We think this may also have been part of the British influence.
- I am not a sailor. I got seasick the night that we sailed to Sicily. Our captain commented that had he gone to bed that night, he’d have slept until about noon. But it was really cool to drive the boat during our little day sail!
- The food in Sicily was great. We had some great meals including perhaps the best pasta I’ve ever had — casarecce with mushrooms, shrimp and almonds — an unlikely combo but it was magical.
- Ortygia is the ancient part of Siracusa and has these narrow, atmospheric streets with balconies on top. Very cool.
- There were no touts, guides or hustlers in either place. What a relief!