Snapshots of Home: Thoughts of Malta

Spring Greets Manhattan: Time to Plan Your Summer Vacation

Bright orange, purple, yellow and pink blossoms bring cheer to an always-hectic city that wore its winter darks during the last few months. And hopefully, even the busiest Manhattanite rushing from one meeting to another has had a moment to notice that the once-bare trees lining urban streets are now dressed in pinks, whites and other complementary shades to barks and branches of dark brown.

Yes, it’s spring in the Big Apple and for many folks—the season brings with it, among other things, the exciting task of planning those summer vacation itineraries. And with so many options, this job may prove to be a bit overwhelming.

Beguiling Dancers From Sri Lanka

Readers who’ve perused through our previous posts regarding our three days at The New York Times Travel Show commented that our time at the Javits Center very much resembled a mini vacation. Indeed, we concur. With cultural shows ranging from precise Asian martial arts numbers, to Sri Lanka’s beguiling dance routines, to live cooking demos from chef Telepan (with a delicious sample to boot), to wine and food tastings, to carnival-clad ladies and so much more—traversing the exhibitor floor really left everyone exhilarated and wide-eyed with the possibilities.

To help you decide where to go for that much-needed respite, here’s one of the delightful stories that inspired our Snapshots of Home series.

Malta: “Truly the Gem of the Mediterranean” – Valerie Jobst

Surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea, the archipelago known as Malta boasts an array of temples, about 500 churches, medieval castles, inlets, coves and limestone coastline cliffs.

Photo courtesy of karita

Photo courtesy of karpati

Made up of the three habitable islands—Gozo, Comino and the biggest one—Malta, the 500,000 people living in this beautiful getaway speak Maltese—the official national language, plus English—its second official language, and Italian.

Valerie Jobst, business unit executive of Air Malta

Born and raised in Malta, Valerie Jobst, the business unit executive for Air Malta shares some insight about her homeland. “It wasn’t very well known among Americans. However, a lot of people go on cruises and once they get to Malta, they fall in love with Malta and then they come back again.”

With comfortable year-round temperatures ranging from 54 to 88 deg F (12 to 31 deg C), it’s no wonder visitors head back. After all, there are so many activities to enjoy, such as leisurely strolls on the beaches, hiking, bicycling, rock climbing, diving, kayaking and swimming. Ms. Jobst notes “July and August are the hottest months,” with normal daytime temperatures of 86 to over 95 deg F (30 to 35 deg C). But, “it’s not humid like in Florida because Malta is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea.”

Photo courtesy of karpati

Photo courtesy of karpati

And these cobalt waters bring a bounty of fresh seafood, which is one of Ms. Jobst’s favorite foods. “The way they cook fish for you is a la carte. Mostly it’s whole fish,” says Ms. Jobst, adding that her other favorite dish is “rabbit stew. It’s so good with pasta, spaghetti or with potatoes and vegetables.”

Photo courtesy of karpati

Once considered an extension of Sicily, which is just a ferry ride away, she explains that Malta’s Mediterranean cuisine shows a lot of Italian influence, such as pasta, plus flavors from Morocco and Spain.

For dessert lovers, she highly recommends the popular pastry—pastizzi (not sweet), “which is filo dough stuffed with ricotta. Everyone who goes to Malta and tries these things fall in love with them. They’re really good.”

As I joked that perhaps you can’t have just one pastizzi, she agreed, “They’re addicting.” As a matter of fact, she shares that her daughter said, “I have to stop eating all these things. They’re fattening!” Ms. Jobst says, “She fell in love with them.”

Photo courtesy of edouardo

Photo courtesy of edouardo

The Maltese enjoy parties, so if you do, too—make sure you’re there for the fiestas held throughout the year, including many Christian ones due to its rich Catholic heritage. She notes that the biggest is Santa Marija (the Assumption of Our Lady), celebrated on August 15 with street processions, great food and fantastic fireworks.

Photo courtesy of karpati

Photo courtesy of karpati

With hospitable people, historic weathered architecture, inexpensive food and accommodations (40 EUR or $53 USD per night for a 4-star hotel with breakfast), plus public transportation throughout Malta (no need to rent a car)—Malta promises to be an interesting, scenic and affordable destination for solo travelers, groups and families.

Perhaps that’s why one of the visitors to Ms. Jobst’s tradeshow booth said, “I wish you weren’t promoting Malta that much. More people will be going.”

That booth visitor’s sentiments is shared by many others. Ms. Jobst says, “I’ve done seven shows now since October [2011]. I’ve had not one negative [comment] about Malta.” Instead, she hears, “I love Malta. I want to go back.”

Photo courtesy of berolina

What about you, do you hear Malta calling?

In case you want to answer its call, check out these links for more details: Air Malta and Visit Malta.

Should you wish to contact Valerie Jobst for more information, email her at valerie.jobst@aviationonline.eu

In the meantime, stay tuned as Editorial Creatives brings more posts on what could possibly be your next travel destination.

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