Highs and Lows

Trip Start Jun 22, 2012
Trip End Jul 30, 2012

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Where I stayed
Palazzo Sant Ursula Valletta
Read my review - 3/5 stars

Flag of Malta  , Island of Malta,
Friday, July 27, 2012

No place is perfect, and though it's easy to see only the good, look long enough and you'll eventually also find the bad.  So far, Malta has been much better than anticipated, perhaps a product of having had such low expectations prior to arriving.  Sure, it's overrun with tourists in areas, but there really are some beautiful and worthwhile places to visit.  While there have been some things we haven't cared for, I can't say that we've found anything truly bad here, at least, not until today, when we set foot in Sliema ...

It's known for its concentration of bars, cafes, and restaurants - as such, it's popular with both locals and tourists, since it's where all the action is.  Sliema is rather soulless, lacking any real charm, though it does score points for its buzz factor.  Strolling around, it feels like a dime-a-dozen type of place, with no distinguishing characteristics that would lead you to believe you were even in Malta.  But I still wouldn't classify that as being bad ...

In fact, I wouldn't say that we found anything bad today, because what we discovered was horrific - it's difficult for me to even write about what we found, because I was so traumatized.  Today, we found ... shopping!!!  Oh, the horror!!!  And it just wasn't any kind of shopping, but the absolute worst kind - shoe shopping!!!!!!  NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!  How could this have happened??!!!?!??  But then, it all made sense ...

Benita had been complaining that her flip flops were giving her problems - uncomfortable, with the straps giving her blisters.  Supposedly, they were also beginning to fall apart, as had already happened to her fancier pair of sandals.  Quite the coincidence, no?  Just before arriving in the best shopping spot in all of Malta, both pairs of sandals had given out?  How convenient! 

It was all a ruse, all part of a plan to trick me into an afternoon of shoe shopping!  All those nights I had fallen asleep and Benita was up late, supposedly playing on her iPad - I'm willing to bet that she was slowly sabotaging her sandals, little by little, all so that she could later play on my sympathies, pointing to her injured feet, all so that we would shop for some new shoes.  Positively diabolical!!  Being tricked in that manner was the lowest of lows ...

But luckily, balance in the Universe was restored, as we ascended from a low to the highest of highs in Malta - the walled city of Mdina.  Quite often, the quality of a traveler's experience is a matter of luck and timing, two things we were fortunate to have tonight, arriving close to 8 PM, after all the day trippers had deserted the tiny city.  There isn't much space in Mdina, which is probably only about 200 m by 200 m, so I could imagine it being absolutely suffocating during the middle of the day, when it is completely packed with tourists. 

For a short time, Mdina was magical, wonderfully quiet and free of people - as we strolled in search of dinner, there were times where it was just us, with not a single other soul in view.  Travelers are always in search of that next "Wow" moment, and we had the fortune of experiencing one tonight here in Mdina.  It's not a feeling you have very often while traveling, and it is even rarer to find yourself nearly alone in such a beautiful spot - definitely not something we will soon forget ...
Gelato Withdrawal Symptoms:  It's been four days since we've sampled any fine Italian gelato, just getting by on some lesser forms of the stuff during the past few days in Malta, and the symptoms are worsening, leaving us with headaches and mild nausea.  But one way of dealing with pain is by subjecting yourself to even more pain - the horrors of gelato withdrawal pale in comparison to the horrors of shoe shopping!      
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shoe-holic on

shoe shopping is the best experience in the world for Patrick- especially when he sees the big smile light up his girlfriend's beautiful face when she finds the right pair.

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