I'm thinking of sitting-out the grim Brit winter by going to Malta, instead.
Budget's on the thin side so is wild-camping feasible, please?
Malta's winter weather is remarkably good, compared to Britain's. However, the first time I ever went there, they'd just been covered by 2cm of hail, and the big power station 'Enemalta' had cranked up a record-breaking output as everyone rushed home and put the heating on! Normally, the only thing you have to worry about is where you go for a walk just after it rains. Tucked away between Malta's layers of limestone is something truly horrible when it gets wet - the 'Blue Clay'. This stuff is incredibly sticky and forms heavy clods on your footwear. If you don't get rid of it all, then it sets like concrete.
As for wild camping, that's a no-no. In fact, let's say that in capital letters and in bold... it's a NO-NO! Then again, I remember talking to a guy who'd rented out an apartment at Marsalforn, on Gozo, to an English couple for the winter. They'd beaten him down on price over and over again, pleading poverty and really turning on the tears, grief and anguish. In the end he let them have it for, in his own words, 'less than the cost of hiring a bicycle!'
There are lots of bleak and barren places around Malta and Gozo, but it's also a very built-up place, so if you tried to pitch, someone would spot you. That said, many of the little bird-shooting huts you see dotted around have been constructed illegally on land that doesn't belong to the guys who built them! There is a campsite on Malta, but it's pretty expensive. If you have any really good scouting contacts, I wonder if you might get permission to use the securely-fenced scout site. Maybe if you offered to be the night watchman?
Thank you so much. (Please excuse my brevity but I am not well.)
That's a good idea, offering to be watchman.
I do appreciate your sharing your knowledge and experience. I'll post again when I've charted my future course.
went to malta years ago on a geography field trip. Not quite sure what you're expecting (maybe you visit there often) but I was not impressed and 10 days was plenty.
It's about the only place in Europe with a higher population density with the UK, has pretty much no 'wild' space at all and the extensive urban areas are not particularly exciting. As paddy says, wild camping not really on.
If I had a week to kill, I'd go somewhere else. If I had a winter.....
All personal opinions of course, so spare me any abuse !!
People, and especially Brits, go to Malta for dozens of reasons. Although I've written a walking guide to the islands, I'd be the first to say that only a tiny minority of visitors would choose Malta for a walking holiday. On the other hand, a very large proportion of visitors, for whatever reason they choose for visiting Malta, find themselves going for a walk at some point. Yes... it's densely populated. Yes... it's environmentally degraded in many places. But... there are some great cliff walks and plenty of incredibly interesting historical sites.
AllFumbs sounds like he's just looking for a warm, sunny place where he can lie low on a budget for a while, and in that respect, he might be heading in the right direction.
Thank you, 'pendodave'; and Paddy Dillon, again.
Paddy, your surmise is right: I am indeed 'just looking for a warm, sunny place where [ I ] can lie low on a budget for a while'. Do you suggest, however, that like the English poverty-pleaders on Gozo I should rent a modest place? I have no prior experience of Malta or Gozo and genuinely did not know that wild-camping was out. To rent a modest place I would not be averse to haggling but crocodile tears are not my style.
'pendodave', let's say you had a winter to get through on a bootstring budget and that you'd prefer to stay somewhere warmer than Britain, with a tradition of tolerance towards the foreigner and respect for the elder, but without any tendency to strict religious fundamentalism. (I suppose that might narrow things a bit.)
Where might you stay? This is a genuine inquiry as I am neither well-travelled nor -heeled.
Based on my recent trip to Malta, if you keep searching accommodation websites, every so often you can find a budget hotel looking to fill its rooms and offering B&B for as little as £25 per night. I'm sure you could haggle for even lower rates.
On the other hand, if you're prepared to look elsewhere, you might try WWOOFing! Have a look at the WWOOFsite and see if it's for you. Never tried it myself, but friends of mine often go WWOOFing on their world travels, as they get a week's free accommodation and food, in return for fairly basic work on organic farms. If your health is up to a bit of light work, then it might be worth looking into. One Christmas in Australia, the 'farm work' they did was just putting up Christmas decorations!
It's a fair cop AF and Paddy, my (dim) memories of the place and upcoming trip ticklists are not necessarily filtered through your particular requirements ! However, I do think that quite a lot of people think that it'll be a bit more interesting than it actually turns out to be, and most tourist info does little to discourage this point of view. The prehistoric sites all over the place are great.
My only alternative suggestion might be somewhere a bit greek. Though the mainland/northern islands of the country are subject to quite a bit of 'real' winter. Crete perhaps, or the Southern Coast of Turkey (though not too far east given current geopolitics) ??
fwiw, I remember Gozo as more pleasant on the eye than the main island. Another grudge I bear is that almost all the water out of a tap on the big island was salty and made the most appalling cups of tea....this may well have changed by now (it was 25 years ago).....
Some Maltese ground water is now so salty that if you water plants with it... they'll die. They now have 'reverse osmosis' plants, desalinating sea-water, for domestic supplied. It's still not the best tap-water I've drunk, but it's OK, and it's fine for making tea with these days!
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