Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Go to Malta

Rome and Florence were too cold for me in October.  It wasn't terribly cold, but I just needed to lay on a beach and get tan while I was on this side of the world.  I have a friend from Malta and on a last minute whim, we hopped a flight to the little island south of Sicily, where I knew it would be warm…

I told our ride from the Malta airport the wrong arrival time so when we landed we had a few hours to kill.  I'm not sure how many people you know who have walked away from an airport, but I don't know any.  At any rate, we decided to do just that.  We left our bags with security, picked a direction and just walked.  After about 10 minutes we found ourselves in a totally deserted part of town.  Homes and apartments everywhere, all some version of beige color, mixed with the various erection of a worn, white statue of Jesus or the Madonna or a saint.  It was a total ghost town.  We wandered down the middle of multiple streets at 12 o clock in the afternoon and NO ONE was around.  Like a twilight zone episode.  Eventually we found a small.. space.  Thats the best word I can find to describe it, since it wasn't a "proper" restaurant or bar of any kind.  Anyway, we found this space with a flickering tv and 6 people inside.  We sat down, ordered a beer and a bag of Salt & Vinegar chips and talked with the bartender who informed us that it was so desolate because it was lunchtime and everyone was inside eating and sleeping.  Sounded like exactly what we wanted to be doing after a few long days of excursions in Rome.

Finally it was time to catch our ride so we walked back to the airport and met our new friends who gave us a drive-by tour of the island before we reached our hotel.  Its the most unique mixture of desert and sea that I've seen in person.  All the buildings remain unpainted and retain their beige limestone color because paint deteriorates the limestone, exposing it strengthens the stone through the elements.  So, all the architecture is built with the idea of complimenting nature instead of competing with it.  The October weather was warm with a reliable sea breeze and the views from every direction were instant peace.

Malta is a small island with the most lovely, inviting people, proud of their rich heritage and excited to share their country with visitors.  While on holiday there I swam in the warm mediterranean sea (which boasts the softest sand I've stepped on… like baby powder), ate incredible fresh food, was hosted by beautiful, friendly locals, and explored Hagar Quim the oldest known man-made structure in the world dating back to the Neo-lithic period.  

There were countless more activities we could have engaged had we more time, like the St. Julius bustling nightlife with some of the best DJs in the world who choose the Maltese club scene to throw down their beats (as does MTV, yearly, throw a FREE concert featuring people like Lady Gaga and Katy Perry), or visiting movie sets from Gladiator (the colosseum as it would have originally looked!) and Popeye village, or spots from World War Z and Munich.  There is a huge marine community here, as well (visit the aquarium -- for grown ups and kids alike, or go diving, snorkeling, kayaking or fishing), or for history buffs there is a Cathedral where in WWII a bomb came right through the ceiling during an air raid while mass was in session and, miraculously, didn't explode… and is still there today.  Actually, particularly if you are Catholic or Christian, there is a rich heritage for your faith here.  You can nourish your brain and soul, AND soak in the Sea air & island life at the same time.  The history here goes way back… like 5,000+ years back.  There's even a statue on St. Paul's island dedicated to  St. Paul who was shipwrecked here as is recorded in the Bible in Acts.  This place is OLD, ya'll.   You want to see places where civilization began?  Don't go to the Atlantis resort in the Bahamas.  Go where people say Atlantis REALLY was… Go to Malta.  

A few of my favorite spots…

Cafe Del Mar attached to the Malta National Aquarium (order the Pina Colada mussels-- actually, order a Pina Colada too!  Made with all FRESH ingredients)
Hagar Quim
Maritim Hotel Penthouse Suite (worth it to go in on with friends… has its own pool overlooking a cathedral and the Sea)
Mdina "the silent city"
The beach by the Sea Break resort for laying out on soft sand and dipping in the Mediterranean Sea.  I didn't stay at this hotel but it looked beautiful and great for kids, too.

Bon Voyage!  Xx BJL

My friend Natasha's restaurant, where her brother, Tonio, cooks! 
At the Malta National Aquarium


  1. Thank you so much for sharing this!!!!!!!!!! I love you so much Joy, you are my inspiration, my hero, my role model... I'm glad you had such a great time in Italy. I wish you came to Spain someday. @LidiaLS85

  2. Hey joy! Glad to hear that u enjoy your trip in Europe! Thanks for all advices for a future trip to Malta:) you should visit Corsica its amazing! Cant wait for a concert in france! Enjoy the end of your trip, send you all my love, alexia

  3. Dear Joy,
    Thank you for sharing. Malta seems to be amazing. See you in 3 days in Paris :)
    Be careful it's cold in France <3

  4. Hey Joy !! this is so good to see you blogging again !! i miss your blog so much !! thanks for sharing your trip to Malta with us it seems like a beautiful island ! maybe you'll do another blogpost about your italian trip ! can't wait to see you in Paris in a couple of days !!
    sending you all my love

  5. Hi Joy,
    A real pleasure to see a new article on your blog. Thank you for sharing. Your trip looks beautiful, I live in France but I never had the opportunity to go to Malta. Sorry because in France it's cold. See you soon in Paris for the convention "From Wilmington To Paris" :)
    Xoxo. Nathalie

  6. Hi Joy! The trip seems to have been wonderful! Miss your updates! Thanks for sharing your trip.
    Ps: I'm so sad I couldn't come to Paris

  7. Hi. Joy

    I'm so glad you about your blog and the entry being about your recent travels made it more excited for me. It sounds like you are having a lovely relaxing holiday, getting to explore all these beautiful places at the same time.

    Thank you for sharing some of the stories of your holiday with us. The places you had suggested to visit all sound great. I have never been to Malta, my sister has and it sounds great. Also I love your pictures, you are always fab at taking good pictures.

    I hope you have fun when you get to France. It just as cold here in Northern Ireland.

    Thanks for sharing with us.


  8. So amazing journey! Your photo from the Malta National Aquarium is so cute.
    Malta is beautiful and I hope that you had great time there with your friends. Next time on your holiday you need to come to Poland to Cracow , it's a magical and beautiful city!
    xo Natalia

  9. Hey Joy,

    thanks for sharing your pictures and storys about Malta with us.
    It seems like you had a great time with your friends and enjoyed your trip :)

    xo Joyce

  10. Awesome!! Thanks for sharing!! What a gorgeous, gorgeous vacay!

  11. I wanna go there now :3

  12. I also visited Malta 5 years ago ... it has beautiful beaches and wonderful places where walking come here in Italy :P


  13. In Modena to eat GOOOOOD foooood not in Florence!! (beautiful city)

  14. Hi Joy!
    Thank you for sharing with us your visits in Italy and Malt. Great pictures and countries, fish...
    I'm so sad that I will not here in Paris this weekend to see you and OTH' family!
    I wish you "un agréable séjour" in France soon. Welcome!


  15. Malta sounds amazing! Thanks for sharing this with us. I would love to go there and see all the history, culture and beautiful sights. Please keep us updated, love to hear about your adventures:)


  16. I loved this post! Thanks for detailing your trip thus far, and I love the pictures and tidbits about the culture and history. Looks like you're having a fantastic time! And you look so happy. :) Enjoy the rest of your trip and it's so great to hear from you! We've missed your posts!

  17. Really great to enjoy your new blogpost :-)
    Thanks for sharing your little adventure with us and I really hope you did enjoy your holiday :-)
    Unfortunately I can't come to the OTH convention, but I am really looking forward to hearing your new songs and reading more of your holiday :-)

    Greetings from Leipzig

  18. I actually live here in Malta :) I'm glad you loved my country & thanks for all the good cooments about it in your blog-post xxxxxxxxxx

  19. In Florence?! you were in the beautiful Florence?! i can't believe it! i could have met you in my city!!! what a bad luck! anyways i hope you really enjoyed both Rome and Florence, even with their temperature! come back soon! Laura

  20. Joy! I'm a huuuuge fan of oth and yourself and I'm also Maltese as it happens. I was so so so ecstatic when I found out you were in Malta. It would have been a dream come true to meet you in real life :( I'm so glad that you had a wonderful time here in Malta. You seem like such a lovely woman, ugh I guess I'll just have to wait till the next time you visit to meet you haha x

  21. Hi :) :) I am glad to read that you enjoyed your holiday in Malta. I am Maltese myself and I am a huge fan of your acting talent AND your beautiful voice Miss Haley James Scott. Your character on One Tree Hill always inspires me. I'm still watching Season 7 as I started it this year - I'd never seen it before. But I am really enjoying it, and I have to say that Haley has always been the female role model on that show. She is a great mother, a great friend, a great wife, and a great singer and teacher of English. (I am studying English lit at University at a Masters Level and I teach English to foreign students as well, so I identify with that role, and I also like to sing in my spare time.) Anyway, thank you for sharing your talent with us on-screen. You are a very talented person. And I am glad you enjoyed Malta :)


  22. Hi!! I don't know if you'll be reading this but it's worth a try. I'm really glad to you enjoyed this small little island. I'm Maltese and really I really got a shock when I heard that you were here. It was really a big surprise. I just want to say that you;re an awesome actress, I really miss you on OTH and you're also an amazing singer, Flying Machine is my favourite.

    Lots of love from me and Malta,


  23. Hey Joy, I wished for this article and I have it, yay happy time! You seems to had a great time there ! Wow Malta is a beautiful island. As an European I know where Malta is but except that I know nothing about this island. So I just discovered that Malta is a really beautiful island with great historical spots. I definitely add Malta on my "Place to visit" list , haha. Love from France, xo. Emeline @FanBJoyLenz

  24. Lovely post -- makes me want to visit!! (I also wanted to say that Catholics are Christians so you saying "particularly if you are Catholic or Christian" seemed kind of offensive; even if you didn't mean to separate them, it sounds like you did.)

  25. Hi Joy, I am Suzi and I am from Brazil and I'm here to say I'm a huge fan of One Tree Hill and yourself so I wanted to thank you for changing my life in so many ways with your music! You are one of those amazing persons in the world who deserve all the best things! My dream is to meet you and I know one day I'll be able to travel and make it happen! So that's all! Love you so much ♥

  26. Hi, I 'm Lucie from South West of France. This is funny 'cause I'm going to Malta tomorrow for a one month internship. So, this is such a nice surprise for me to read your post ! Thank you for your tips. I'm sure I m going to love discovering this country. Best wishes from France

  27. I wish i could go there! And i love your blog! What happened to your instagram?! You havent posted in forever! Id love it if you started posting again and so would the 40K other people who love you! ��

  28. Hi Joy! I'm curious to know if you've heard about what is happening in the Mediterranean Sea (I refer to the recent tragedies of immigrants)... Noemi

  29. BETHANY JOY! You are just such an incredible human being. I'm sure you get sick of reading about all that is/was One Tree Hill, and I remember awhile back you wrote something to the notion of "you just felt stuck." And that is completely understandable. I have watched the whole series over and over again, in and out of order, but I have never been able to watch the finale. It just seems so heart wrenching. Call me crazy because "it's just a show." But it was so real to SO MANY! I guess I just find myself wondering if any of you, ever felt like it was real. I know you're all famous actors and actresses, so I'm sure you know the difference. Its funny, I'm 19 and my husband is stationed at Camp Lejeune, here in North Carolina. Not even an hour from where you spent a huge chunk of your life in Wilmington. You have no idea how bitter it is that I moved here after OTH had come to a close! I wish it would've been possible for me to go to Paris and meet you all! I'm sure Paris is so much more beautiful and adventurous than good old North Carolina, but it would be life changing for so many people, adults, teenagers, children, for you to come visit North Carolina for one of your many conventions. There is only One Tree Hill and its your home!

    xoxo, Maranda

  30. I couldn't read this before because I was..with you in Paris but I'm really happy that you enjoyed Italy. You need to visit Rome in's the best time for weather and tourism. I am from Rome!
    Love u

  31. Hi Joy!
    I'm Sophia from Germany. In the next year me and some people of my school will visit Malta .After reading your report i am pleased all the more to got to Malta.It really seems to be a beautiful place. I hope we will visit the aquarium. Apart from this i want to tell you that you a great singer and actrice. I love all your songs but my favorite songs are Elsewhere ,Blue sky ,Devil Archerist and We belong.I hope you are doing well !
    A lot of greetings from Sophia

  32. So nice to hear from you! Sad I haven't checked your blog recently but glad I thought to check before sleep! Sounds like fun -- great pictures, too!

  33. thank you for sharing Joy!
    I'm so glad you blog and share your stories.
    I'm a guy from Sweden and will soon travel to the U.S. for the first time, completely alone, and reading your blog makes me feel so fearless and just itching to get out and see the world.
    Take care. And like everyone else says, you are a great role model, never forget that!

  34. Hey!
    Your article makes me dream! Malta seams to be a little heaven!
    If you appreciate the beautiful architecture, the good food et the good wine I advice to you to go in Bordeaux in France if you've not already been there!

  35. hey!
    Your article makes me dream!
    If you like the beautiful architecture, the good food and the good wine, I advice to you to go in Bordeaux in france if you've not already been there!

  36. Hey Joy..thanks for the lovely comments about our islands :) i was so thrilled reading the lovely comments and details about Malta..i am glad you enjoyed your stay..and please do come visit us soon again :)

  37. Ah, I was in Malta in 2006, and lived in St. Julian, and even though I was just 16, I remember those crazy night clubs with foam and glow sticks and looud music! Another beautiful place we went to was the small island Gozo - the scenery was amazing. Dried out corals and turquoise water. It was so cool.

    I hope I'll run into you someday(I moved out to LA from Norway a year and a half ago) You are so beautiful and an inspiring person! I hope you had a wonderful thanksgiving with your family.

    Love - Henriette

  38. I really miss you Haley! I mean Bethany! I'm from Philippines, My name is Resty! And Im a big fan of One Tree Hill! :)

  39. Love this account of Malta! We visted once a few years back, and it was an absolutely magical place!

    Thank you for sharing your travels with us! You are an inspiration to many!