But its blue details might be the most captivating of them all.
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With perpetually-blue skies and a location in the heart of the Mediterranean, Malta naturally seems defined by the color blue. I hope you enjoy the series! Magnificent Lake Skadar is the largest lake in Southern Europe.
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It is also home to a dazzling array of wildlife. Gone were glimpses of the expansive Adriatic. In a pine-shaded park overlooking the sea in Split, Croatia, a fuzzy donkey emerges among a cluster of joggers, dog-walkers, and families.
Some people snap photos of the grey donkey with their phones. Eventually, the donkey wanders off, searching for the ideal patch of greenery to nibble upon. She seems content when she finds a grazing place. It has commanding views of the sparkling Adriatic Sea and neighboring islands. With a short attention span, the donkey trots off again, stopping next to an abandoned phone booth. Seemingly unrelated at first, the juxtaposition of the two is symbolic in that both animal and booth were once considered essential in daily life. Not long ago, donkeys were commonplace in the Mediterranean — beasts of burden that sometimes carried weight greater than their own.
They toted water and food and helped to mill grain. By some accounts they are approaching extinction in their native environments. The scent of frangipani blooms danced in the air, and powdery dirt coated my skin from my knees to my toes. We arrived at Malta Polo Club est.
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A small gate in the wall revealed a huge sandy arena and race track, with horses and traps galloping past just the other side of the wall. The building looked like it should be a commentary box, but instead housed a BBQ and grill. Because it was a stag do, and we were all incredibly manly, we all ordered a mixed grill.
When it arrived, the ribs were sticky and sweet and fell off the bone, the steak was smoky and perfectly flame-grilled. It was all accompanied with heaps of greasy potatoes which may or may not be Maltese but were delicious. It was brilliant food, and when combined with a few beers, was absolutely not what you should eat just before a four-hour introductory polo lesson.
A few minutes later we started our four-hour introductory polo session.
None of us had a clue. Eventually, we were trusted to ride real horses, and proceeded to trot around the arena brandishing our mallets, swinging them wildly in an attempt to thwack the ball. Every so often, I caught a glimpse of the shadow of myself perched on the horse, which looked vaguely reminiscent of the Ralph Lauren logo.
At least we looked the part. No stag do would be complete without a significant number of beers. The most popular beer in Malta seems to be Cisk, which was cold and refreshing but largely tasteless. It was a curious place, and although it had plenty of bars, many were completely empty. On one corner, however, a crowd of a few hundred had gathered outside an off licence to drink, chat and generally block the traffic.
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The fridges in what I imagine was the Maltese equivalent of Oddbins displayed yellowing hand-written signs explaining that it was illegal to drink on the street. But no-one seemed to care, so we joined the rabble in the road for a few more bottles of Cisk. The main reason that Chris chose Malta in the first place was to watch some European football. On Saturday evening, after spending the afternoon accidentally joining a regatta in Valletta Port, we arrived at the Hibernians Stadium capacity: 2, to watch Balzan vs.
Tarxien Rainbows. Malta is packed with historical sites, from the UNESCO-protected ancient temples to the three ancient cities on the harbor.
For movie and television buffs, Malta offers the chance to walk in the footsteps of Hollywood stars. Explore Popeye Village on a hot afternoon—originally built to film the s musical starring Robin Williams and now a resort with a swimming cove, refurbished sets, and a small winery. A visitor strolls along the narrow, stone streets of Vittoriosa, one of Malta's ancient harbor cities. If you can manage to bring home the olive oil that sits on every Maltese dinner table, it makes for an excellent reminder of your time on the island.
If not, there are plenty of local crafts that are perfect keepsakes. Similar to its Venetian counterpart, the Gozitan designs are complex and delicate. Here are the details you need to plan a trip to this Mediterranean destination.