The British Invasion (….in Malta)

I can’t believe we’ve made it to Malta.  Finishing up this trip means that we only have one small jaunt left before we move back to the States.  It’s really starting to sink in.  Malta is a small island a hop, skip, and a jump away from Italy, sitting just south of Sicily in the Mediterranean Sea.  As the title of this blog suggests, it is crawling with Brits, which I don’t mind because it means I’m not the whitest person by the pool.  :)  In all seriousness, though, the people of Malta are the best English speakers I have heard outside of an English-speaking country.  (They speak Italian pretty well too!) I guess it’s probably because they didn’t gain independence from the UK until 1964 and as one of the hotel’s waitresses put it, it’s mandatory to learn the language in school.  (I might add that it’s mandatory to learn a lot of things in school, but Malta must really take the English-learnin’ seriously.)… [Read More]

Southern Italy Road Trip

Hotel beach in Castellabate

Today marks our three month mark from leaving Italy.  I cannot believe it!  Last week, Bobby and I took our final road trip to southern Italy, where we visited Bobby’s sister Eva and caught some rays on the beach.  Okay, to be honest, it was several beaches.  :)  Even though the southern regions of Puglia, Basilicata, Calabria, and Campania aren’t the most visited in Italy, they are certainly among our favorites.  The people are open, generous, and (generally) love getting to know us, a welcome change to some of the colder responses we’ve received in the north.

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Welcome to the Wild Wild West: Sardegna

Cala Goloritz

Ok, so Sardegna doesn’t have saloons or cowboys, but it is technically located to the west of Italy’s mainland, has tons of wild animals that love to roam the streets, and could be from a picture book of Arizona (well, I guess if the state had any water to speak of).  For the past week, Bobby and I have been spending time in Sardegna (English spelling: Sardinia), the Mediterranean’s second largest island (behind Italy’s other island, Sicilia).  Linguistically, Sardegna is interesting because they have their own language, Sardo.  Even though it is recognized as a completely different language from Italian (i.e. it is not considered a dialect), Sardo has not made a jump into mainstream Italian culture.  Some believe this is because Italian is required to obtain most jobs (on and off the island).  Sardo is, however, considered the official language on the island.  In northern Sardegna, a French influence is found with the Corsa language (coming from Corsica to the north) and in Alghero, some still speak Catalan (a brother to Spanish).

Geographically speaking, we were completely surprised by what we found.  There are large mountains and equally vast valleys, some of which hold lush vineyards and others that have scrubby-brush-like tumbleweeds.  I’m telling you, that part really looks like Arizona, minus 15-20 degrees in the summer.  The mountains often drop off in steep cliffs (some of which scientists believe are up to 500 million years old!) into the sea, whereas other parts have sandy beaches that stretch for miles and miles.  Some of Europe’s best beaches are said to be in Sardegna, with white sand and crystal clear turquoise water.  … [Read More]