After an early start in Brussels on the metro and a bus, I boarded the first of two flights via Zürich to Malta, a little island in the Mediterranean at the bottom of Italy. It was simultaneously a completely normal feeling, being back in airports and on planes, yet also tinged with a sense of lack of surety; like the feeling of losing a habit and needing to readjust your body to it all over again, enabling the muscle memory to kick in.
The first flight was cloudy out the window, a short fifty-minute hop between cities. It was the second flight that flew across southern Switzerland that had my eyes glued to the window as the snowy alps rose majestically below. Having not seen the mountains in a year since I lived in New Zealand, and having missed them desperately that entire time, it was a surreal experience to get to see them from above, even if I was not physically in or on them.
I landed in the early afternoon and made my way via local bus (public transport is surprisingly decent here) to my AirBnB in Sliema (pronounced Sleema), the quieter neighbour to Valletta (the capital city) which is just a short ferry ride away. I was greeted by the loveliest host, a British expat who now hosts travelers and students in the three bedrooms downstairs while living upstairs. The AirBnB is gorgeous, typical Maltese, built out of the limestone that this island is formed of. Exposed brick walls and ceilings give the place an authentic feel.
With just a few hours to go until sunset - the sun goes down much earlier now that I'm so much farther south! - I headed towards the coast, desperate to see the ocean again. While Sliema is quite touristy, being next to the heart of the country, I still felt the authenticity as I wandered the streets, camera in hand. Most buildings are in varying states of disrepair, the coastline is dotted with sun-goers and daredevils jumping into the naturally formed limestone rock pools while a winding coastal path stretches the whole way around providing picturesque views.
Here's Sliema through my lens: