As you know we have only been traveling to countries where applying for a visa for Ahmed is straight forward. The application was really quick and easy from what I recall. We applied by filling in an application form and sending it to the embassy in London. It came back within a few weeks. Obviously thanks to Corona, I don’t know where things stand at present.
To be honest, I didn’t really think about how it would be to travel with a 4 month old Nael at the time. I was just too excited to get on a plane and out of the country after almost a year. I didn’t really think about the weather or the obstacles of travelling with a small baby. And in hindsight I think it was a good thing as I just took it in my stride.
The plane journey itself was absolutely fine Alhamdulillah. Nael either sept or fed throughout so it was a breeze, contrary to how he was throughout the trip. He screamed and cried all night, waking up every 30 mins or so wanting a feed. I think he was going through some crazy sleep regression. On top of that he was going through a phase where he refused to drink from a bottle which meant Ahmed couldn’t help. According to Ahmed, Nael was perfectly fine during the trip…. isn’t it amazing how deluded they can be when they don’t do the feeding!!
But we got through it and we now have these amazing memories and stories we can look back on and that is exactly why I love to travel and want to show Nael as much as we can.
We stayed in Radisson Blu Resort which was basic but met all our needs and had a really nice breakfast. Due high winds and rain, their pool areas were flooded, but that didnt really affect our trip as we didn’t intend on going anyway. Heres the link for those of you who may be interested:
We also hired a car for three days through the hotel. It was reasonably priced and hassle free! They even provided a car seat for Nael.
As always I had an itinerary ready! I knew roughly where we would be going each day and had saved the route in my google maps. But for the first time in our travels, we had to make major alterations to our itinerary. Nael was only 4 months but he HATED the car seat and screamed like never before. It was HORRENDOUS. To the point where Ahmed and I were really perplexed as to what we should do and considered going back to the hotel.
We had intended on going to Valetta, the main city in Malta. But the parking situation, WOW, just WOW. It was intense. So instead of spending a lifetime trying to fit into a 2 metre parking space, we decided to scrap our itinerary and go to the cities we intended on going on the second day.
This place reminded me so so much of Qatar, I almost felt homesick!
With a number of interesting attractions, lovely architecture, and a wonderful cafe culture, one can easily spend a leisurely day exploring this unique place. But because of its small size, there aren’t a lot of things to do in Rabat and it can easily be combined with its neighbouring town of Mdina.
We spent some time roaming around and just admiring the architecture that felt so familiar.
I was SO excited to go to the Popeye Village that I didn’t really realise that Mdina is right opposite Rabat… oooops. To be honest I have no regrets as when we went to the Popeye village it was crazy windy and there were hardly any people around.
Popeye village, as you can tell by the name was a film set built in the 1980’s. Those of you who are old enough to remember the film Popeye, Robin Williams played the hilarious character of Popeye.
Enter a world where fantasy meets reality: 20 structures that make up this authentic wooden village.
We strolled around this gorgeous set completely mesmerised as our inner child was desperate to come out. Due to the weather and the time of the year, there were hardly any tourists and most of the places were shut. I can only imagine how lively and fun this place would have been if it was peak season.
Popeye Village is a reason alone to visit Malta as it is something i have never seen anywhere else before. From the scenic views, the architecture and most importantly the fun element is immersed in all corners of this small village tucked by the sea.
The main attraction in this area of Malta is medieval Mdina. Mdina, or The Silent City, is one of the most popular day trip spots in Malta and it’s easy to see why. This majestic walled city was the capital of Malta for thousands of years. By the time we got to Mdina, everything was closed and the alleyways were completely deserted.
We managed to see so much on day two, it was almost as though we were beginning to get a hang of travelling with a baby. I was no longer paranoid, anxious and nervous about feeding Nael. I’d wait for him to give me some cues and we would take a break to relax and feed him. Perks of breastfeeding meant we didn’t have to worry about bottles. I was always there to feed him!
We started off by visiting Valletta, Malta’s capital city! It is a city like no other. The whole city of Valletta has been awarded UNESCO World Heritage Status and it’s easy to see why. Located on a steep hill, just getting a parking space felt like a complete exam! Luckily I wasn’t the one driving, Ahmed was. lol!
Valletta is known for museums, palaces and grand churches. The Baroque landmarks include St. John’s Co-Cathedral; painted in gold and covered in gorgeous marble, it was gorgeous! Luckily for me Nael was asleep in the baby carrier so I really was able to take it all in.
A stone’s throw away is the Upper Barrakka Gardens, perched on the bastions overlooking the sparkling expanse of the Grand Harbour, one of the world’s great maritime sanctuaries and the heart of Maltese history.
After spending a good few hours of exploring Valletta, we decided to head over to Marsaxlokk. Not going to lie, i knew nothing about this place, except from seeing really pretty photos! But I started to research and found that Marsaxlokk is a small, traditional fishing village in the South Eastern Region of Malta. It has a harbour, and is a tourist attraction known for its views, fishermen and history.
When we went it was completely quiet with hardly any tourists and most of the restaurants were also closed. But one of my favourite memories from this place was going into the only restaurant that was open. I was nursing Nael in a little corner and when I looked up, another mama was sat across the room nursing her little one too. We got chatting and they said they were visiting from the Netherlands and had been in Malta for a few days now. We made a small talk, but that moment felt really quite special, especially since we had babies the same age and were finding some space for nursing our little ones while our partners were fussing over us!
Straight from Marsaxlokk, we quickly headed over the Peters Pool as I had heard/read about how gorgeous this ‘natural swimming pool’ was. It sure didn’t let us down! Located not too far from Marsaxlokk, there is no public transport to take you there so the only options are to hire a car like we did, taking a taxi or walking!
We went back to the St Julian’s area for some foodcompletely and utterly knackered but fulfilled. We could not find any halal places at the time, but it wasn’t until i came back someone said there are tonnes of halal food places. It’s something you’d have to look into as I personally am always happy to have Veggie and Seafood when I am on holiday.
Lets be real, whoever hears about Malta immediately starts to visualise the clear blue waters and pretty landscapes! Well this is it. A short Ferry ride away from Malta gets you to the picturesque Gozo Island. As we had hired a car, we just took the car onto the Ferry! Nael’s first Ferry trip too. Woop!
I didn’t necessarily have much of a plan for Gozo, except from Azure Window, also known as the Dwejra Window, was a 28-metre-tall natural arch. Sadly just a couple of years before our visit, the natural ‘window’ collapsed due to severe weather conditions. Nonetheless, so many of us went to see this beautiful place and I am glad we did.
We also randomly found the following places that came up on google maps! These are the places we found and took a little break to see:
Tal-Mixta Cave, See Ta’Pinu Basilica & Wied il-Ghasri.
We then went to the Cathedral of Gozo towards the end of the day. The Cittadella has a breathtaking 360-degree panorama of Gozo’s hills, valleys, villages and Churches as well as the views accross to Malta. As soon as we arrived we realised why there was so much mayhem and so many people all over the city. We found out that the entire place will be lit up for the evening for a festival of lights called ‘Lejl Imkebbes (Mediterranean Diwali). There was a wonderful, magical atmosphere and the quaint narrow streets were illuminated by more than 30,000 candles of all forms.
Overall I think Malta was the perfect holiday get away as a family of three and new parents. The country is small, accessible and the people were super friendly. If you have any questions, let me know and I would love to answer.