sunrise in germany // sunset in malta

we made the trek through the graffiti-soaked streets in the black of night, just before sunrise. i was so glad to see berlin becoming a blur in the rearview mirrors on that long, quiet bus ride to the airport. but i couldn't tell if i was disappointed by berlin, or just too excited about the destination on my boarding pass to give it much of a chance.

noelle and i had a layover in milan (the only taste of italy i'd receive this summer). we went to a cafe where i drank tea to soothe yet another sore throat. noelle napped peacefully beside me despite the swarm of italian voices around us. 

on the flight to malta, i sat next to a handsome young australian guy who had maltese relatives on both sides of his family. he'd been to malta before and was going again this time to finish off a 6 week tour of europe with his mates. and he knew enough fascinating facts about the 7,000-year-old culture to give us an hour long history lesson in the air.

i am forever enchanted by all there is to learn in this world. college taught me a good bit, but there's nothing quite like a traveling classroom. i've learned more in these quick couple months than i did my entire senior year of university. 

when we got to malta, the hot air hit us like a wave. our limbs penetrated, immediately. berlin was fairly hot, but malta was HOT. dry hot. vegas hot. in that way, it felt a bit like home. and in other ways, i felt like i'd stepped on another planet.  

it was the first time i'd be on an island since i moved away from st thomas. so that felt a little familiar, too. but my virgin islands are green, mountainous little things.  malta is a big, flat slab of limestone. 

on the ride from the airport to the apartment where we'd be staying for the next couple weeks, i stared out the windows in a quiet awe at what was racing past. dusty brown buildings all made of limestone, jagged along the winding road like crooked teeth. colors and shapes and terrain that i'd never seen before. 

this isn't like europe at all. this is what northern africa looks like. holy shit, am i that close to africa?   

malta felt so inexplicably foreign. not like spain or france or holland or germany. like AFRICA! but not quite. like africa, with hints of italy. and dear god, was it breathtaking.

we watched the sun set on that long day of travel with red wine in hand. and we gave thanks for the unbelievable variety that this life affords.