Week 1: Bloody Lost Luggage And Strange Connections in Malta

Welcome back. Sorry it’s been a while, I had a busy week before leaving.  Also sorry for the length of this entry, i get writing and it just balloons.
Departure from Liverpool was smooth except for one thing.  I Got off my coach having just napped, got a bloody nose but stemmed the flow and walked out to take the picture you see below.  As I held up the camera I thought to myself wow this new osprey pack sure does feel light.  Then it hit me, I had my day pack and had left my big one in the luggage compartment of my coach.  A frantic sprint back to the departing bus and the driver stopped.  Out of breath I explained.  He looked scared and opened the luggage compartment and thankfully I got my bag.  Oh he looked scared because I had blood running down my face from the sprint and the still very much bleeding nose.  So a good start, 1 hour into the trip and I terrified a bus driver and almost lost all my clothes.  I have always thought about becoming a nudist, but i must say, it’s nice to have the choice.
That moment before utter panic and blood loss.
So I am just about one week in to my travels and I have discovered a few things. 
First discovery, I don’t need to move around too much.  I spent a whirlwind two nights in St Julians in Malta, which while beautiful, was very crowded and hectic.  Some good times were definitely had: Loitering in the shopping mall for A.C. , some nice bench soccer by the waterfront, and lots of friendly kitties, but all in all it just felt too crowded and too short a time to really be home.   (‘For me travelling is largely about feeling at home in wild new places) That and the sudden adjustment to the heat also took its toll.  Going from the U.K.’s balmy 18 degrees to Malta’s terrifying highs of 38 definitely left me easily tired out.
The true highlight of my stay in St Julian’s was the social life at Boho hostel, a place ideally set up for meeting strangers and enjoying good conversation.  I even got to practice my French and Spanish a bit.  That said sleeping without a fan on the top bunk wasn’t the best and always makes me worry for the person under me. 
From St Julian’s we got out and came to a place I already know I love:  Gozo, Malta’s second island.  This is where I have been for the past five days and where I have to force myself to leave tomorrow.  Were I going anywhere else it’d be tragic but the next destination is Taormina Italy, a town with a special place in my heart and an absolutely awesome hostel.  (I’m already looking at extending my stay there)
The Entry Hall of St.  Josephs Home Hostel.
So back to Gozo, we arrived in the mid afternoon and after a bit of an uphill trek with our backpacks, (I have to ditch some stuff) we found our hostel, a crazy and very enjoyable old boys residence for some sort of Catholic school.  If you’re ever in Malta in the summer I recommend St Joseph’s Home Hostel highly, in the winter you can get resort quality hotels cheap as chips (Borrowed U.K. expression because I’m totally English now.  Innnit!)  Anyway, the place is full of crazy artifacts, odd paintings, religious relics and even has it’s own chapel, and it’s own orchard.  It also boasts some astounding views of the sea, which are perfect for sitting and writing.

My room is a closet and I did have to kill a get rid of a spider on my bed before I could claim it as my own, but with my own fan and window I’m sleeping well even If I have been plagued with crazy early morning dreams.
That first evening in Gozo I went out to the Azure window on my own and climbed up top and settled in for some writing.  It was a bizarrely rough day for the sea which made the added unstable cliffs sign a little more concerning. Sitting in my writing nook when the bigger waves crashed you could feel the whole thing shake a bit.  But hey, I’m still here. 
Rough Seas Under the Window.
Writing has been progressing well if more slowly since I am travelling with a buddy, but I finally have a vision of the climax for this book and am getting closer and closer to getting to write it. I’m proud of this book (Tentatively titled Disappearing Eyes) it’s different than other things I’ve written.  Briefer, shorter and intended for young adults.  It’s also the first major work I’ve written where a good part of it is set in some version of the real world, so writing about places I actually know has been a neat challenge.  I think its much more publisher friendly and will probably be the book I send out first.  Of course it will need rewrites and edits but hey I’ve got nothing but time for the next two years.
Gozo in general has been fantastic, beaches, snorkelling, fantastic pizza and pasta (I’m ready Italy) and again some more excellent bench soccer.  Two more little stories from Gozo and then I will rap this up (not a typo)
First, we live in a world that is both tiny and huge.  So many different corners and places to see, so many different cultures, landscapes and histories.  As I researched this trip I realized how little two years would let me see.  But it’s tiny too, and I’ve noticed that for two reasons.  First the basic cliché, looking up at the sky one night and having a friend point out that the light from a lot of those stars took millions of years to get here, and for a lot of the dots, those stars no longer existed.  Crazy.
The second oddity that reminded me of how small a world we live in came just last night, when a new guest showed up and no one was here to check him in, so we got talking along with another guy who’d been here a few days.  The exchange went something like this,.
New guest:  So where are you guys from?
Other guest:  I’m Canadian.
Me:  Me too.
New guest:  Cool, what part?
Other guest:  Ontario.
Me:  Me too.
New Guest:  So what brings you to Malta?
Other guest:  Well I’ve been teaching English in the U.K. for the past year.
Me:  (utter disbelief)  Me too!
Other Guest:  Weird.  Do you know Zohra?
Me:  Um she taught at my school and lived with me for a brief period.
Other guest:  Cool, she’s my friend from back home.
So yeah, weird.  Small world.  Zohra, if you read this I met Kevin we went out for some food and drink and had some cool talks about life and school.  I still find it weird that I leave with no connection to back there, no one from there with me, and randomly encounter people like this.
The Azure Window viewed from above on the cliffs between
Xlendi and Dwerja!
The second story is also from yesterday, probably the best day of my travels so far.  I set off to Victoria (the main town of Gozo)  with no plan in my head.  Looked at a map when I got there and said hmm..  I wonder if I can walk from Xlendi to Dwerja.  I figured it couldn’t be that hard as I just had to follow the Sea.  It turned in to quite an adventurous 4 hour hike, climbing up these crazy cliffs, going by countless hunting shelters, and not seeing another human being the whole time.  I was exhausted and way too hot.  Choosing to start at noon was just awful.   But I had a lot of fun climbing over the cliffs and eventually getting to staggering views of the Azure window, and finding a somewhat hidden cove for some awesome and relaxing snorkelling.  The best days come when you push yourself, ignore uncertainty (to a point)  and try new and unknown things.  It was tons of fun.
The Best Rapper Alive.
So as promised I will rap this up.
Week one is done, yeah it’s been tons of fun
And I just sit here wondering what’s to come
Nothing can’t be done, I got all the doors open
Will I enjoy Sicily well here’s to hoping
Last night in Gozo got me thinking like oh no
But bright things lie ahead, like Italian fro yo
Flight tomorrow might bring sorrow,
But brings so much joy, look to my feet and follow.
Also I find music so inspiring and key to both travel and writing so for each entry Im going to pick a song that I’ve enjoyed since the last one.  Beware I do have some strange and hated tastes, but this one is a safe bet for most.
Travel Song number 1:  Easily by The Red Hot Chilli Peppers.

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