The Hawaii of Europe

The UK immigration officer scoffed at me when I repeated a slogan I had seen a few hours before, when departing Malta. I had just spent 12 days in the tiny island country. What kind of scorn could he have for Malta? Or why did he think so highly of Hawaii? Having now been to both places, I couldn’t really say which one was better. They are, for me, completely different.

At first glance, Malta seems desolate. The land is one color. The buildings blend into the rock they are built on. There is little to differentiate the natural spaces from the man-made ones. You can tell right away that fresh water is at a premium.

Grand Harbour from Valletta

Grand Harbour from Valletta

Hawaii on the other hand is lush. There is greenery and flowers and moisture on every surface. Even on the driest parts of the islands, there is plenty of natural life. You have a sense of plenty.

These are postcard images we carry around with us. A synopsis of a place is not reality. You don’t know much until you spend some time with your eyes open. Sipping umbrella drinks poolside, (which I enjoy thoroughly), is not the way to get the sense of a place. You have to get out of the deck chair and explore. Talk to some people, experience the lifestyle a bit.

As with all my posts, I am only going to focus on the good of a topic. Malta was my last trip and there are many good things to report, including:

  • Warmth – the weather is very pleasant and the water is perfect for spending quite some time in.
  • Historical – Malta has played a significant role throughout the ages and boasts some of the oldest man-made structures in the world.
  • Diversity – so many people have walked in your steps before, from around the world, they have left a mark on the land and in the residents.
  • Charm – friendly and welcoming, where are you from? Are you having a nice time? Do you like Malta? It is like a code of conduct from a bygone era.
  • Beauty – fantastic vistas, neon colored blue water and skies, impressive architecture, people with a quick smile that light up your day.

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Hawaii has its own list of attributes, good qualities that make it a special place. But it is different from Malta. I think when the comparison is made it is for how you feel when you visit. You get a desire that you want to move there. Surely these people are living a better life than you do back home, if for nothing else than the wonderful weather. Then you quickly realize that your boss won’t have it, snap back to reality, you live somewhere else for a whole other set of good reasons. So the dream of the next vacation starts all over again…you’ll be back.

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