Guest Bloggers Adam McCulloch and Emma Sloley are married travel writers based in New York. Originally from Australia, they moved to the U.S. in 2004. They have traveled to over 60 countries and written for a wide range of publications, including Travel + Leisure, Condé Nast Traveler, New York magazine, Gotham, Gourmet Traveller, Coastal Living, Reader’s Digest and Outside. Adam and Emma are sending us stories and pictures daily from their 14-day voyage aboard Seabourn Odyssey between Rome and Venice. Come by and read their blogs often.
Today we swapped the Odyssey (population: 452) for a slightly smaller vessel, Jake (capacity: 22) after arriving just post-dawn in Valletta, Malta, a stunning port lined with steep sandstone cliffs. Jake the power boat took us on a high-speed, slightly bumpy journey past the high-rise shores of Malta and across to a neighboring island called Gozo, a small but flamboyantly beautiful speck in the ocean full of stately sandstone houses and churches, with a classic Mediterranean backdrop of terraced hillsides dotted with prickly pear cacti, olives and fig trees.
While Gozo and Comino (another comely part of the archipelago, whose claim to fame is a channel of psychedelically blue water called The Blue Lagoon) seem dwarfed by the hulking bulk of the main island, in reality Malta only covers around 122 square miles, making it one of the world’s smallest states.
Malta might be diminutive but it’s not the smallest – in fact, it doesn’t even make it in the top ten of the world’s smallest countries. Among that illustrious, if teensy, company are the Maldives, Monaco, Nauru, Liechtenstein and everyone’s favorite country-within-a-city, Vatican City. (All roads on this blog really do seem to lead to Rome.)
We were going to bang on for another few paragraphs about the beauty of small places, but in keeping with the theme, let’s keep it short and sweet.
“On a small island you have to be faithful to your wife. Otherwise she’ll find out by the time you get home.”
A waiter bearing poolside refreshments is one of the world’s most perfect sights, but we were a little skeptical about the combination of kiwi sorbet and champagne ours was proffering this afternoon. Until we tried it and realized that the French and the New Zealanders should have got together earlier. Consider us converted.
What the Heck is That?
Just when you thought it was safe to go back out on the pool deck, we found another oddity there: this pint-sized pelagic predator sits atop the umbrellas. Is it meant to scare off cheeky seagulls or does it serve a more prosaic function?