Why Solo Travel Is Good for You

I was 19 years old when I set foot in an airplane, leaving for my first solo trip.

I was 20 years old when I went on my 6th solo trip, 6 times zones away from home.

We can conclude that the travel bug bit me – in a maybe slightly disturbing way. But that is not the subject here. Because what about you? What is stopping you?

Why should one go solo travel, you might wonder?

Let me sum up the most important reasons one needs to go solo travel at least once in a lifetime.

You gain independence

Let’s start by the beginning. You arrange everything yourself: you plan your trip, you saved up for tickets, you take leave at your job and you just go. Doing things on your own and taking care of your own requires independence. You are fully in control. You have to take care of your own. There is no family member or colleague or friend to assist you. You have to figure out things all by yourself. And that is where the fun begins. Because that is when you get to make mistakes and learn from it. That person you asked for instructions became your friend. The flight attendant whom you spoke to about your travels, gives you tips and invites you to a night out. The life begins. All because you gain confidence, courage and  independence to live your life.

You gain strength

Going through an adventure alone strengthens the mind and spirit of a person.

You miss your family, lover and friends, but that makes you realize what you really have in life. Because you are separated from your normal life and the persons in it, you start to appreciate it so much more. And you become more grateful for everything that life gives you.

Mentally, you become more reliant on yourself and stronger as a person. You learn more about yourself and you trust yourself more.

Another important factor is that you broaden your horizon. You gain more courage and the true adventurer inside you steps out to the front.

You overcome fears, because you are out of your comfort zone.

When I was in South-Africa, I was so afraid to go hiking on the huge Table Mountain. After I collected all my courage and I did the hike, I felt like I was standing on the top of a mountain. Literally and figuratively. It was an accomplishment that I was proud of. I had became more stronger and had overcome a big challenge.

And that feeling, standing on the top of the mountain, is something we all need to have at one point in our lives.

You gain knowledge

Cultures, stories, languages, food, people: they are all part of new discoveries in your travels.

The moment you set foot into another country, you can smell it’s air, observe the people, learn their ways of communicating, dancing, eating, etc.

You learn about so many wonderful places, events. Your eyes won’t believe what they see.

And again, because you are alone, you have to figure things out alone. Every time you do that, you learn something new. All the mistakes I made traveling solo, I immediately transformed into lessons and learned from them for the better.

You gain life experience

After you travel solo, you have been through a lot. You can be very proud of yourself for accomplishing this trip. You have witnessed beautiful moments, made a lots of friends from around the world, maybe learned more about a language, a culture, etc.

You can become a travel expert and knowing the world little by little.

You learn about stories of people and you will share memories with some you will never forget. And you can be proud of yourself, because this is your accomplishment, your independence, your life.

So I invite you to try solo traveling at least one time in your life. Be the best version of yourself. Experience your moment on the top of a mountain. Be bold. Go solo travel.

More moments. More world. More life.

The Trip That Didn’t Go As Planned

Destination: Buenos Aires.

The plan: stay in the city. That’s it. One goal. One plan. One place. 

An excited, yet half asleep girl is strolling through the hallway in the airport while in the background there is a subtle smell of coffee and the metal spoons clinking against the coffee mugs of other awaiting passengers slowly waking up. Gate A30 is calm and quite so early in the morning. She holds her freshly printed out boarding pass strongly in her sweaty palms. With all her strength, courage and braveness she could gather, this 19- year old girl is on her way to her first solo trip, holding on tight to her over packed backpack and overweight suitcase. Her backpack is stuffed full of notes, preparations, tickets, plans, and itinerary’s. Also awaiting her: a trip that didn’t went a single second as it was planned.

Do you remember your first ever solo trip? Do you remember that feeling of being lost and being found at the same time? Of being in control of your life, but at the same time having no idea what you’re doing? That feeling like all the control you have in your life is slipping right out of your hands?

It all started mid-flight. Since I worked as a flight attendant when I was a student, I always make some small talk with the flight attendants. I told them about my plans, where I was staying – I booked 4 (!) accommodations – and basically everything about my trip.

When I got out of the plane, I cancelled all four accommodations and booked a centrally located hostel in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Needless to say that my inner planning freak was on the loose. I didn’t plan this.

I arrived in the hostel and started to pack out. I passed my first night quite panicked and stressed after I found out that it was impossible to open my suitcase with my code. My inner planning freak? At this point, she’s in a corner, crying.

Day 2 of my city trip to Buenos Aires. I booked two tours that will keep me occupied the entire day. Full of excitement and positivism, I am waiting at the meeting point. As groups of families and old couple are gathering and some people are approaching me asking me if I am the tour guide, I start to realize that maybe this wasn’t the best idea.

I think it was the moment when the group in front of me departed – I saw the tour guide guiding everybody holding a stick with a flag – and everybody with their headset on following the guide like a horde of sheep, that I realized that I wasn’t supposed to be there. I am like a bird, you cannot keep me in my cage. I have to be free in this world to fly wherever I want to. So I went to the leader of the group, told her I was sick – while everybody could follow our not-awkward conversation because her mic was still on – gave her back the headset, and just ran off. Literally.

We’re Thursday, day 4 of my first solo trip to Argentina, Buenos Aires. The plan? Staying in the city. The reality? I am currently in Uruguay, walking around in an unknown city, without any WiFi or internet or a map, with a friend I made one day ago. My inner planning freak? She’s already had a couple of breakdowns, I’m sure she could handle this one as well.

Saturday, day 6 of this unforgettable adventure at the other end of our dear world. Location: a gas station near the local airport of Buenos Aires. Time: 4 A.M. After an attempt of getting cash at three different ATM’s in sleepy Buenos Aires, I succeeded to get Argentinian pesos for my trip to the airport. Note to self: always get enough cash.

Day 7. I am currently attempting to survive a 6- hour hike at the waterfalls of Iguazu in Northern Argentina. As you see, my plan of staying in the capital has failed uttermost and I almost crossed the border to Brasil, which would be the third South-American country I would visit during this “city”trip. Note to self: know what you want. How’s my inner planning freak, you might wonder? She’s become an old lady, consumed by all the stress, quietly sitting in a corner in my head, drinking whisky and smoking cigarettes in her sofa, totally defeated and given up on her job.

Day 8. I am sitting in the courtyard of my hostel in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I have never felt so grateful and strong. Grateful for this life and these adventures, strong because I did it. I did it. I finally understood that it is not about the plan, or the schedule, but about the journey. About what is happening in this very moment. Life is not about what is going to happen, but what is happening around you, here and now.

Destination: wherever life takes me to.

The plan: to enjoy the ride.

Majestic Milan

Ah, Milano.

Every traveler’s go-to spot for the newest and trendiest fashion pieces, delicious artisan ice cream, and beautiful views at typical Italian cafeterias overlooking the Duomo di Milano. 

Magical mornings in Milan

Waking up in Milan is magical. You wake up, go outside, stop by a small Italian bar, order a latte macchiato and a croissant con Nutella and you start your day. After jumping on a local bus, be sure to look around you and enjoy the sun coming through the romantic, vintage styled buildings of the Milanese suburbs.

Milan is known to be a modern, trendy city, but I experiences that it holds a strong authentic, Italian vibe. You can move through the city using the old trams and the city architecture is beautifully antique. The vintage, romantic Italian style is without a doubt well present in this major fashion hub.

Buonissimo!

One of the reasons for me to go back to Milan would be the delicious gastronomy. Spaghetti Carbonara, Risotto alla Milanesa, Cotoletta alla Milanesa, … the list of mouthwatering Milanese dishes is endless. After a delicious Mediterranean meal, be sure to drop by an ice cream shop for some homemade gelatocon tiramisu, Ferrero, Nutella, this ice cream doesn’t even match your wildest fantasies. It is safe to say Milan is a mekka for fashion lovers as well as for foodies.

Fear not: the history-, architecture- and even religion-lovers will not be left in the cold. The stunning piece of architecture il Duomo and the fantastic fountains and churches in the city will provide you Instagram-worthy material all year long. Even inside the iconic mall Galleria Vittorio Emanuele has a magical point which you have to pass: the bull’s balls. IN the middle of the hallway, you will find a mozaïc of a bull and on the place where his testicles should be, there is a hole – made especially for your heel. Tradition says that if you rotate backwards around three times, you will have good luck for the rest of your life. Look at that, another advantage of this amazing city!

You will leave with a full stomach, an Instagram feed for the rest of the year, and good luck for the rest of your life. What else would one want?

“The Italian Maldives”: Beautiful Budoni

That summer breeze, that endless ocean, that lagoon blue ocean that is so clear you can see every little fish and sea shell floating on the sand… is there anything better than a good ol’ tropical beach?

I agree.

Having Greek and Italian roots, my parents used to take me to the most beautiful Mediterranean hidden treasures – small and cozy, yet beautiful villages, relaxed beaches, gorgeous viewpoints and impressing castles – nothing escaped our family vacations.

Now that I am an adult and I travel by myself, it is less evident to find such places – until I ended up in Sardegna last year to visit my Italian family. It was the first time I was there and it is clear that my blood relatives still have this influence on me.

In North-Eastern Sardegna, the most known place is Olbia, a lovely, vivid city that connects the small island Sardegna to the outside world.

Further away from the city, you will cross Maiorca. Basically, Maiorca’s nightlife is of another level. It’s not so much about the clubbing and going out, but more about the social and outside life that is highlighted in this authentic area. The biggest public street is closed down every night just so people can put up their market stalls and walk in peace during the whole evening and night. Restaurants, bars, stores, ice cream shops: everything is open until late night.

In the morning, be sure to get up early and get in your car or jump on your bike, because it is time to explore the most beautiful beach, or – as my Italian grandfather calls it – the Maldives of Europe: Budoni.

Budoni is a hidden pearl, only known to the locals of this small yet charming village. Not only is the water as blue as a lagoon and as clear as the cloudless sky, the sand is extremely soft and a walk on the beach will relax you in the deepest ways. The tropical vibes will hit you while you’re being surrounded by hammocks, sandbanks, little stalls at the beach and, not to forget: coconuts.

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If you ever get tired of swimming in the Mediterranean ocean and laying in the hot Italian sun (it’s hard to believe but at some point, you will) you can take a break and walk to one of the local fresh seafood restaurants. Since we’re at the Italian coast, be sure to try the best of the best in this region, which is: any combination of pasta and fish.

At night, you can eat some more of the Italian “la dolce far niente” and take a stroll in the crowded promenade in the center of mesmerizing Maiorca.

Make the Jump: Go Solo Female Travel!

Solo female travelers have seen a lot of revolutionary changes the past years. It is now more accessible and more acceptable to travel alone as a woman, even if it is at the other end of our dear world. Something that used to be not done, is now a must do in every woman’s life.

But what is so special and fulfilling about traveling by yourself as a woman?

Maybe it is the courage and strength you show yourself and others in your close environment. Maybe it is the connections you make, the unforgettable experiences you go through, or the realization how much this world has to offer. I find this Spanish saying summarizing solo female travel perfectly: “Todo lo bueno en la vida nace de un salto al vácio.” All the good things in life are born out of a jump in the unknown.

Going on a solo trip is the most terrifying, liberating and eye-opening experience anybody can ever have. Why? Because the best, wildest and most beautiful version of you comes out during this time. You have that “je m’en fou” attitude and you take more risks than you normally would. You can do what you want, not what your friend of family member wants to do. This is time for yourself. Time to ignite your soul and make the jump.

The most used reason to not go on a solo trip as a woman probably is the following: because it is not safe.

Of course, a very important aspect of a solo female trip is to do research. What country do you want to go to? What city? Which neighborhood will you stay in? Be careful and always be safe. Also: respect the local rules and norms. Make connections, talk to people and hear what they have to say about where not to go (alone) or how to act/ dress in certain areas.

If you did proper research and you don’t go looking up danger, or entering a church wearing just a bikini, you should be totally fine.

So go on. Make that jump, accept that frightening challenge, take your salto al vácio. Because I, together with all other solo female travelers, promise you: it is worth it.

The Best Way to Book Your Budget Holiday

That deep state of relaxation, that immense thrill of expanding your boundaries, that exciting feeling of strolling around in unknown streets and that spontaneous, wild version of you being outside your comfort zone and away from the daily life; going on a holiday is something we all cherish. It has become an essential part of our lives. But how do you book your dream holiday while being on a budget?

Personally, 2018 and 2019 – so far – were two years full of traveling and adventures. Some were unplanned, some were solo, some were in another continent, some ended in me celebrating my seventh month of being an expat in a foreign on this day.

One question I frequently hear is: “Where do you get all the money from for your travels?”

Prioritise your dream holiday

Let me make one thing clear. If you want something, really want something, you make it a priority. This is applicable on all things in life. With traveling, it’s the same. There is no magical, hidden treasure for people who want to go on holiday – unfortunately. You make money for it, like you make time for it.

However, I have one golden rule when it comes to planning and booking a holiday, and that is the following:

Set up a budget.

Wherever you want to go on holiday to, whenever you want to go, with whomever you want to go; you will need to set a budget for all your costs and keep some “emergency money” extra. Because while you’re traveling, anything can happen – don’t be scared, I’m not talking about medical emergencies, I’m talking about ordering too many of those delicious cocktails, planning another trip in your trip,… life happens, you know?

A for Effort

Next up is the planning part. My best experience is putting a trip together by yourself. That means you have to do all the work, like: checking multiple websites, OTA’s, apps, and online searching tools. It sounds exhausting and you probably want to click away this tab and look for package deals, but trust me, it is worth the effort.

Here are some tools I recommend: Skyscanner and Google Flights helped me out a lot during my quests to the best flights with my preferred airlines and dates. Google Flights even lets you choose your stop (which airport, how many hours, etc). Booking.com has a Genius reward program which allows you to get extra benefits out of your booking. And lastly, websites of hostels always guarantee you the lowest price.

Here’s a tip for when you have no clue where in this beautiful world you want to go to: on Skyscanner, you can put as destination ‘anywhere’ and they will provide you the cheapest flights for periods of whole months. That rule applies as well for known destinations: just click on ‘entire month’ when selecting the date.

When you have set your budget, you can start filtering on this, the date you had in mind for your ideal holiday, and/or the destination. The more information you possess, the merrier; it will be a lot easier to find your perfect holiday combination.

Sidenote: are you still doubting about certain flights? Create a price alarm so you get a notification you when there has been a price change in your selected flights. On some websites you can also reserve your flights: KLM lets you reserve your flight prices for €15.

So you already have your flights reserved or booked. Now it is time to book your accommodation before the prices go up – the disadvantage of checking everything by yourself (make sure to always clean up your cookies too).

Another important detail to remember is your included luggage when booking a light. For example, Lufthansa included my checked-in luggage in the flight prices, while Turkish Airlines didn’t, and my flight prices went up with €140. It may seen unimportant and just a small detail you can ‘arrange later’, but it is an essential part to not get caught in the flight deals. Always read the conditions of the flight fares.

Booking your stay on a certain location is more a question of personal preferences. Some would prefer the budget hotel, others see themselves being in a surf hostel, you may prefer an Airbnb: the cost may be the same, but of course, you aren’t the same as your fellow travellers.

If it is the first time you are using Booking.com, Airbnb, or another OTA, make sure to use your leverage as being part of the late majority and get extra discounts on your very first booking.

Livin’ la vida loca

Finally, you got your flights and accommodation all set up. Next up is planning your activities and discovering the city or country you will visit. My personal favourite guide is Lonely Planet’s “Guides”. They have offline city guides for a collection of cities worldwide. You can filter on different categories like food, attractions, etc. and within those categories you can filter on degree of popularity, price, etc. Culture Trip offers you a wide variation of blogs about different fields of interests for your next destination.

To summarise my collection of tips: always set up a budget, use the right sources to check your flights and accommodation options, use those online advantages such as discounts and never forget to read the small letters. Hopefully, these tips will facilitate the booking of your next holiday so you can enjoy it even more. I wish you happy travels and lots of eye-opening adventures.

A 4-Day Glimpse of Magical Morocco

Are you going to Marrakech? Cool! Oh wait… Alone? Why? Are you sure? What are you doing to do there? Aren’t you afraid something might happen?

These reactions might seem familiar to some solo (female) travellers. I can’t really say my friends and family were happy with my decision of going on a holiday to Marrakech by myself. However, this is your life and you should do whatever it is that you want. Of course, a basic thing to do before a trip is research in the culture and ways of the country. So, my message to you is: seas the day, go for it. And so I went. And I didn’t regret it at all. 

Marrakech City 

I only spent four days in Morocco and luckily, I had arranged everything through the Riad I was staying at. I booked three full day tours with them for a bargain (in total €110).

On day 1, I stepped into my first adventure one: a tour by a local through the old centre of Marrakech. This 5- hour tour was completely private and I was accompanied by an old, local tour guide who explained me everything about the palaces, tombs and traditions of Marrakech. The perfect way to start discovering Marrakech.

If I should describe Morocco, and more specifically Marrakech, in a one word, it would be: authentic. I was surprised by how the locals called this city “touristy” since there wasn’t a single shop there where the products weren’t handcrafted.

I don’t think any traveler in modern history has successfully went to Marrakesh without buying anything in one of these original shops. You just can resist them! Handmade jewellery, bags, shoes, lamps, carpets,… In the beginning, you don’t think you need these stuff. You are wrong.

Camel ride

One of the things that was definitely on my to-do list when in Morocco was experiencing a camel ride. My dream would be to ride on a camel trough the Sahara desert, but unfortunately, due to my short citytrip, that location got adapted to the palmtree forest just outside Marrakech.

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Essaouira 

If you feel like escaping the crowded Marrakech, you can get a glimpse of the real Morocco by taking a day trip to Essaouira, a picturesque, little town located at the West coast of Morocco. 

During the three-hour car ride to Essaouira, it’s common that you have two stops on the way. The first stop is at an argan oil “factory”, where lovely ladies are handcrafting argan oil and you can buy lots of argan oil based products. 

Fun fact: these ladies can explain you everything in English, French, Italian, Arabic, … Moroccan people are very multilingual and, for some reason, this is a quite unknown fact to others. In Morocco, you can learn up to 8 languages during your school career.

The second stop on your way to Essaouira is at argan berry trees. This was the most funniest thing I’ve ever seen. The tradition is all about goats. Goats are literally standing in the trees, on the tranches, and chewing on the berries of the trees. Then, they spit out the berries, and the people collect them and process them in the argan oil. This is what makes argan oil the GOAT of all oil products. – Get it, the goat?

Essaouira basically consists out of a cozy centre with small, crowded, beautiful ornamented streets full of decorated shops. Don’t expect any factory made products: everything is hand crafted; clothing, shoes, cosmetic products, medicines, musical instruments, etc. 

When traveling alone, it’s important to be open to meet new people and hang out with them. It makes your journey so special and fun! Don’t get me wrong, you need your time alone as well. But it’s fun to travel in groups now and then and experience new things. Thats what traveling is all about. New places, new feelings, new people, new experiences. 

Ouzoud waterfalls 

The most memorable thing of my trip to Morocco was definitely visiting the Ouzoud waterfalls. Be prepared for a three to four hour hike through the Atlas mountains, starting from the top of the waterfalls, going to the bottom and ending back at the top. Don’t stress out: you will have some time to rest in between and have a local, freshly prepared tangine with some delicious, sweet moroccan tea.

You’ll also bump into some monkeys on the way. Fear not, they are harmless and won’t do you any harm. Be sure to hide your food, as they are not ashamed to take your morning croissant right out of your hand.

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The views of the waterfalls are absolutely amazing. I had the privilege to witness a rainbow covering these waterfalls. It was stunning.  

Tip: Book your tours and trips through your hostel, hotel or riad. They can arrange everything for you and often make a good deal when you buy everything from them. Pick-up at your room, a (private) guide, transport, sometimes even meals are included. That way, you are sure of your booked tour.

I can definitely recommend visiting Morocco or certainly Marrakech. If you want to experience another culture than Europe, but don’t want to take your trip too far way, this North-African destination is a perfect choice.

Malta, a Ravishing Island of African & Italian Influences

Malta, you stole my heart. With its charming streets, tropical islands and romantic architecture, Mediterranean Malta really is a stunning island. Their mixed influences, as an ex-British colony and located between Italy and Africa, resolve in an original and unique style throughout the whole island. 

First day – Wandering In Valletta

What I recommend you to do – if you ever go to Valletta – is to book a stay in the centre, get up early, and just walk. Wander. Explore. Get lost. Throw away that map, Google Maps, whatever. This city is made to explore impulsively.

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I had no idea where I was going. I walked through small alleys, managed to survive very steep streets and took time-outs to enjoy peaceful ocean views. Their beautiful architectural style can be described as Baroque with an Italian touch and British influences – the Maltese Baroque style, one of its kind.

Upper Barrakka Gardens

The most stunning place was the Upper Barrakka Gardens. Because it is built on a high point in Valletta, it offers a lookout over the whole city. You can even see the The Cities (Birgu, Senglea and Bormla), which are three medieval, fortified cities, located next to each other.

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Lower Barrakka Gardens

Afterwards, I stumbled onto the Lower Barrakka Gardens – this is comparable to the Upper Barrakka Gardens, expect for the views and the location – as the name suggests, these gardens are located more lower than the Upper Barrakka Gardens. Again, these natural gardens with an influence of old Greek architecture had many feasts for the eye.

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At night, I stumbled upon a huge building, and when I entered, I found food heaven. This place was featuring the best restaurants in Malta, each representing a different culture and offering fresh food. A Maltese friend told me that this used to be an old market and that they recently turned it into a modern “market”. It’s called Is-Suq tal-Belt, remember this name, fellow foodies!

Talking about food: when in Malta, you should definitely try pastizzi -inspired by the Greek (thero)pita – and ftira – inspired by the Italian focaccia.

There is also a museum of armoury, so filled with soldiers costumes and weapons, very interesting. And also, talking about soldiers: you can witness the soldiers’ salute every day.

Second day – City life in St Julian’s

St Julian’s is not far away from Valletta, but this city is very different from the capital town. St Julian’s offers beautiful harbour views, a lot of restaurants clubs and beach bays where you can chill out. It’s called the Vegas of Malta for a reason. You will notice a big change in social life and the population- St Julians has a lot more younger people, bars and parties in the city than Valletta.

What you can do best in St Julians, is walk at the coastline all the way to Sliema. This way, you’ve seen all the best spots at seaside.

Tips for St Julians are eating in The Avenue (mediterranean food), Vecchia Napoli (Italian food) and Gululu (Maltese food).

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Third day – listening to the sound of silence in Mdina, The Silent City

Mdina is a small village where time (and noise) are unknown. Walking around in Mdina is like walking around in a fairytale; it’s so calm, so silent and so unreal. The buildings are so cute and of beautiful architecture.

When in Mdina, try the chocolate cake at La Fontanella – you won’t regret it. Also, there are two palaces in Mdina open for the public. Here, you can go upstairs and enjoy the views.

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Fourth day – Views from the Blue Grotto 

My trip was going as planned, everything was going perfectly. I fell in love with Valletta, experienced the nightlife in St Julians and sought out silence in Mdina.

In my case, that means something has to go wrong. That’s just how my life works: yin and yang. Gotta stay in balance, you know.

Full of energy and positivity, I hopped on a bus to take me to the Blue Grotto the next day. The trip to the Blue Grotto, which is in the south of the island, was my furthest trip.

When I finally arrived after a bus ride of two and a half hours, I enjoyed the views from the cliffs before heading down to do some diving, a boat tour through the Blue Grotto, etc.

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Once I succeeded to walk down to the coast, I was eager to find out which boat would take me on a tour and how this diving thing works. But all I saw was one paper with “CLOSED- call this number for support”. Turns out they were closed – unforeseen – because of the windy weather.

Well, now at least my life has come back to a healthy balance now.

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Fifth day – Mini-island life in Gozo

Close to Malta, you can find Gozo. Gozo is a small paradise with only a few hotels and attractions. 

The trip to the ferry station is long, but easy. There is a direct bus ride from Valletta to Cirkewwa ferry station that lasts almost two hours.

Once you have arrived at the ferry station,  you just get on board for free. When returning from Gozo, you have to buy your ticket for €4,60. Ridiculously cheap for two boat trips of half an hour.

When I arrived at Gozo, I saw everybody walking to the buses for hop-on hop-off tours, but honestly, never in my life have I done such a tour and never will I ever do. Why sit all day in a bus and drive past everything when you can experience it completely different?

So, as usual, I walked in the opposite direction of the other tourists and wandered through the island. It was a wonderful experience. Although, again, the transport was a bit of a bummer. In Gozo, you have beautiful spots at the other side of the island. The harbour and the village itself were so calm and beautiful.

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Sixth day – The Three Cities

My next and final stay was in Senglea, one of “The Three Cities”. I stayed at the loveliest guesthouse and really felt like a local.

I’ll be honest with you guys: it seemed that there was no sign of life anywhere in Senglea. The weather wasn’t very nice, but there was literally no one outside and everything was closed, even though it was Carnaval and it was a Monday.

I explored Senglea and despite these circumstances, I didn’t regret visiting Senglea at all. It’s a small part of land and crossing the village only takes a ten minute-walk. In other words: you have sea side and charming  harbour views everywhere.

Just say “garden” and I’ll be there

Besides the Barakka Gardens in Valletta, another must-visit are the Gardjola Gardens in Senglea. It’s is much smaller than the Barrakka gardens, but equally beautiful.

The other two cities are like Senglea: charming, small and full of beautiful Maltese buildings. I do recommend you to visit these three cities in one day, because my two-night stay in Senglea was a bit long, especially because of the lack of life in town.

Seventh day – Valletta Carnival 

The second last day of my stay, I decided to visit Valletta once again. Today was the fourth day of carnival, and the Maltese people were still going strong. I’m not really a fan of carnaval and my attempts to avoid it succeeded very well until this day. The main streets in Valletta were blocked because of the carnaval parade and there was way too loud music, but the atmosphere was nice.

Maltese people really celebrate carnaval.

I left the city centre. It was time for some Valletta- wandering. I discovered new hidden gems in Valletta, unfortunately I cannot tell you where exactly of how I got there. When in Valletta, take a day or two to wander in the city, walk in streets nobody else walks in, and explore hidden places.

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I left a piece of my heart in Malta. I’ll definitely visit this island again. I really felt the vibe, it was amazing. The locals were welcoming, warm and really friendly. As you have read, I also had typical ups-and-downs moments, but that’s part of travel (and life), right? Yin and yang.