Day 378: Across to MaltaFebruary 27 in Malta
Time for a long day of travel. Checked out of our Airbnb around 10:30am, and drove the hour or so south to Catania airport. Dropped the car off with no issues and walked into the terminal. Check-in process was fairly quick and easy, long line at security but we got through with still about 45 minutes before boarding.
Had some arancini and a coffee for lunch before boarding our plane. Only a handful of people boarded and it looked to be a super empty flight, until we actually got on and realised it had come from somewhere else and was already mostly full!
Our seats were a couple of rows from the back, and we had a group of three to ourselves which was nice. Schnitzel sat in his bag underneath the seat in front of me and didn't make a sound - probably a bit scared. The flight was extremely short, only about 35 minutes or so. We were still over Sicily when the captain throttled back for descent which I found quite funny.
Landed on the ground no dramas, and we were both very relieved that Schnitzel had behaved himself. I think because he's in his bag and crammed under a seat he has no idea what's going on - when he's been on the floor of trains and buses there's usually more people moving around which in turn makes him bark a bit more.
Bus to the terminal and then a wait for our bags, as we were met by the animal control officer. He checked through Schnitzel's paperwork then strongly advised we register him at the nearest vet office in case he got out or otherwise escaped. Turns out he mis-heard "eight nights" as "eight months" and thought we were staying much longer!! No need to register for 8 nights, obviously.
Decided to get a shuttle bus service to our apartment since taxis here are a rip-off and the buses are comically unreliable. Didn't have the greatest first impression since the traffic was very heavy and our driver was quite aggressive. It's the typical story of a dense population with tiny historic streets and way too many cars for the system to handle. That and people have a real third-world style of driving, just stopping and putting hazard lights on whenever they need to.
Our apartment's in a neighbourhood called Sliema, an expat enclave across the harbour from the capital Valletta. Typical mid-90s crumbling concrete apartment building, though it's been renovated and is fairly nice. Will be comfortable here for 8 nights, and I have no complaints!
Spent a couple of hours unwinding before heading out for a drink and some dinner at a nearby bistro. Decided to have a burger while Shandos had a chicken salad. Still a bit spun out that I can understand others' conversations, and I can't help but eavesdrop on the banalities of life.
Back home to mull over things - it's an odd place so far! It really feels north African, like Morocco or Tunisia - very different from Sicily and Italy, that's for sure. Will see how things pan out over the week!Read more