A Three Hour Tour

Luther’s Malta and the Mediterranean Program, currently in its 26th year, offers students the opportunity to spend a semester exploring Malta's rich history and traveling to other countries in the Mediterranean region. Coursework includes Paideia II: Ethical Issues in the Mediterranean, a Service Learning class, where program participants teach English to recent immigrants to Malta, Maltese History and Culture and additional classes taken at the University of Malta.

To learn more about the program, visit the Malta Semester website.

On Sunday I hopped on the X2 bus to the airport. I made sure to leave extra early so I could greet my visitors right after they collected their items from the baggage claim. After their 8-hour international flight from Chicago to Amsterdam and 2-hour flight to Malta, I expected to see three very tired travelers.

My eyes stayed glued to the monitor as I watched to see the "landed" label pop up next to their AirMalta flight. Time seemed to stand still as I waited to see three familiar faces walk through the gate. After giving my mom, grandma and grandpa the biggest hugs, I paid for a taxi back to their hotel. They were impressed with my confidence in booking the taxi (I never told them that was my first time doing it).

The last few days have been such a whirlwind! On Monday we were planning to take a cruise to Gozo and Camino Island. We eventually discovered that those boats only travel across to Gozo on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.

Lesson #1: Be flexible when traveling abroad

At the time, I thought that our schedule wouldn't allow for us to go on the cruise at all since we originally had plans on the available days. (Spoiler alert- we were able to take the boat tour on Tuesday.) Instead we bought tickets for a hop on, hop off tour bus. The bus took us from Balluta Bay (where our flat is) to the entire Southern region of Malta. Although I've seen most of the places the bus took us, it was so fun to see this beautiful country from the top of the double decker bus!

We got off in Marsaxlokk, a small fishing village on the southern coast. I immediatly spotted Costa Coffee, easily my favorite place to get coffee in Malta! After eating chocolate croissants and drinking Americanos (Europe's version of drip coffee), we loaded the top deck of the bus and braced ourselves for a windy journey back to Balluta Bay.

Little did we know that we were just minutes from the Blue Grotto. The Blue Grotto is a sea cave along the rocky southern coast of Malta. Each day I experience a distinct moment where I find myself falling even more in love with Malta...but I felt that during the entirety of the tour. Without a doubt I plan to visit that must-see destination again!

On Tuesday I got to show off even more of the country. We finally took a boat tour over to Gozo with a quick stop on Camino Island. This tour included yet another hop on, hop off bus — a three hour tour on Gozo. We wandered in Victoria for an hour and a half and ate at a quaint piazza cafe. My mom and I hiked up to see the Citadel and were in awe of the view! We could see all of Gozo from the top!

By far my favorite part of Tuesday's adventure was seeing The Blue Lagoon in Camino Island. I did not even think it was possible for water to be so blue! Although it was only 60 degrees, I would have loved to take a dip in the crystal clear water!

It's hard to believe that their time here is halfway over! Although trying to bridge the cultural gap for three visitors is exhausting, I've loved getting to share this beautiful country with them. I hope that by the end of this week they grow to love Malta as much as I do!

With my grandma and mom in Marsaxlokk
My mom and I in Marsaxlokk
Near the Blue Grotto
The Citadel in Victoria.
Blue Lagoon