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Malta-“Every Day is Like a Holiday” By Barbara Bode
Could Americans find happiness on Malta and Gozo¸ the two major islands of the Maltese archipelago in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea? Those who love history¸ sunshine¸ serene sailing and crashing waves along rocky shores certainly can.
Communication here is easy. Some 200 years of British rule taught most to speak English and it’s required in most schools.
I lived on Malta for several years and grew to love the lifestyle¸ food and quality of life. Although very different¸ both islands are welcoming and safe. Gozo’s 28¸000 souls live in small villages. Primarily agricultural¸ that lifestyle creates a neighborly atmosphere.
For a change of pace¸ take the ferry to Malta where transportation waits.
About 500¸000 Maltese live on this much larger¸ more sophisticated island. Most have a lively urban life. Many more travel abroad and enjoy sharing experiences. Modern homes and apartments attract an international set as do refurbished harbors and five-star hotels.
Intriguing for visitors are the prehistoric sites on both islands¸ the temples¸ the underground Hypogeum¸ and Gozo’s Ggantija¸ the oldest freestanding structure in the world¸ for example. Imagine the thousands of years of changes that led to the arrival of the Knights who drove away invading Turks. To enhance their own protection and display their treasures¸ the Knights¸ now called “of Malta¸” caused the 16th-century medieval capital of Valletta to be built. The Pope provided the architects and Emperor Charles V gave them all Malta for the fee of one falcon a year.
Bargains like that aren’t found anymore. Real estate is pricey. Upscale stores carry what you want but also highly priced. You can save money and make new friends by shopping at the green grocers and butchers early in the morning.
Sunny¸ hot summers are marked by fireworks announcing Saints’ Day festivals of music¸ dancing¸ and food celebrating each village’s saint. Every day is like a holiday.
Malta-For Love or Money?
By Liz Ayling
I am a long-time expat in Malta¸ having moved to the Islands in the early ‘90s. I came because I married a British-Maltese who decided that a decade under London’s grey¸ cold skies was more than enough¸ excellent career or not. In short¸ the main reason to move was probably longings for warmth¸ outdoor living and a more sociable lifestyle. We’d seen our Maltese friends living in huge old stone houses clad in picture-postcard bougainvillea. Our reasons were more emotional than rationale.
We hadn’t really thought through the career-job issues. Salaries locally are still around two-thirds what they are back in the U.K. That said¸ I don’t think we feel worse off. I am now in that large stone house¸ with no mortgage¸ and contemplating putting in a pool. I have U.K. friends still on long commutes with large mortgages and more expensive but smaller houses.
Since EU membership in 2004¸ Malta seems to have found a new confidence¸ it’s more buoyant¸ it’s got broadband¸ and you can buy a Philippe Starck bathroom without massive tariffs slapped on. I