I know Mellieha is located on the most Northern tip of Malta. I learnt that back in 2012, whilst excitedly searching for the “best beaches on the island”
I know Mellieha means “salt” in Arabic. And now I can wrap my brain (and roll my tongue) around the word and pronounce Mell-ie-ha (almost) like a local.
I know the regal and majestic Mellieha Parish church bejewelled in its royal finery and placed 150m high upon its throne, was built between 1881 and 1898. If you close your eyes you can picture the locals peasants, walking back from the quarry with a spring in their step ready to begin building a dream.
I know Selmun, the “secret garden” of the Knights of Malta. I know the (now brilliant) red bastion jutting out of Mellieha Bay fluffy looking landscape is St Agathas Tower. Built in 1649 it’s another story waiting to be told about the 250 year reign of the Knights of Malta. A tale of Europe’s guards defending Christendom from nefarious characters slithering into the realm via blue silk-like waters.
Walking on what often feels like a golden soft carpet, I have come to love Ghadira Bay. I know whether gnarly or gentle, the waves are calming and offer solace for so many unknown, unseen things. Dipping my toes in refreshing azure blue waters, I know salty air is a natural cure for soaring heartbeats and racing minds.
Today is a gorgeous sunny November day, and I’m extremely mindful of the fact we are returning to life as it was when a new era emerged. A time where life ground to an almighty halt sending shockwaves around the world. Many feel pressure to keep the wheels turning… even if the frenetic beat we mindlessly danced to, is no longer sustainable. I’m in no rush.
Two weeks after the borders closed back in March, rather than feel oppressed, another world magically revealed itself. Suddenly I noticed melodious sounds of a chorus of birds. Although I couldn’t see them, their song alerted me to their presence – and to mine. Every day I languidly walked out of the door, down streets void of the usual hullabaloo and cacophony of everyday life.
“How long had that golden yellow flowerbed at the bottom of the steps in (Main Street Mellieha) been there?” I wondered
“Or that big beautiful orange house at the end of the street?”
“What else have I missed?”
And that’s how it begun. My getting to know Mellieha. Day by day. One tiny step at a time, deeper and deeper I go. Truth be told, if you have read one or two of my posts, you’ll know I’ve always had a fondness for the village. Primarily stemming from my love of the sea and the main tourist attractions, my love has fledged into something quite profound.
Mellieha is the setting for my own love story. I have laughed, cried and experienced loss here and it’s where I have learnt to feel most at home. Slow unfamiliar walks visiting familiar places I had seen before in a hazy blur of crystal clear waters, leathery brown bodies and a large patchwork blanket of greens and oranges. Places I either made mental notes to visit and forgotten or hadn’t quite got around to.
Between Zoom calls, emails and Slack chats, I made it work. Slipping in and out of this newfound magical world at the end of my back garden. The closing of my laptop was like my excited waltz out of the office on a sunny Friday afternoon. “Happy Hour” spent meandering through Mellieha up to L’Ahrax, drinking in views of the wetlands.
Fun Fact for you: This spot right here is how L-Ghadira gained its name – it literally translates to “The Lake” I’m wondering now whether or not I mentioned this area also houses the Birdlife Natural Reserve. (come to think of it…the latter seems more likely)
Mellieha is diverse in nature and is much more than 50 shades of crystal clear waters. There are vast stretches of woodlands such as in the L’Ahrax where many barefooted and nature loving families camp during weekends.
At the height of the pandemic there were days when the tautness in my tummy grew from the constant circulating news of death, and the ever increasing debate on whether someone who looked like me mattered… My partner and I went for a walk. A long walk. We walked until we wound up between the coastal areas of Golden Bay and ix- Xagħra l-Ħamra and it is where I discovered the Majjistral Nature and History Park.
Majjistral Nature and History Park
Majjistral Nature and History Park. A natural, rural place with far reaching views and reddish earth that seem to go on and on for miles. The wildness of the nature blends in with “little stone houses” and typical Maltese stone walls. I don’t have the words to describe the feeling, experienced seeing such a natural beauty but it’s somewhere between weak(ish) knees, and dumbfoundedly mouthing “wow” over and over again!
I felt my anxiety melt away into the Maltese countryside and the beautiful euphony of sounds of Mother Nature. I left that day feeling more connected to Mellieha and the world at large (and certainly light hearted than I had when I had arrived).
Three years on!
It has been three years since I moved here. My dream. My leap of faith. My “what if” the place where curiosity eventually got the better of me. Mellieha has reiterated that life really is an adventure, because forget fancy IG posts you’re simply living. Who would have thought that a once-in-a-
lifetime-century pandemic would serve as a reminder.
That and the resounding honk from the rickety rackety truck on Tuesday mornings from the man selling liquid gas.. But one of the best things about Mellieha (other than the natural beauties) has to be the inescapable community. Rigid grunts have melted into hearty “good mornings”, “How do you do’s?” and briefs stops flow freely into: “what a beautiful day”
Nowadays, I seem to stop and have a chat with everyone these from the petite English lady in the Stationary at the corner Triq Il-Kbira (Main Street) in Mellieha. There’s Sarah and Gary from across the road at Mookies, a bright funky boho shop who other than the gorgeous colourful vintage items on sale, currently sell an array of material masks in different designs and sizes!
Doreen from Georges Bakery, who is just the sweetest and we often have a quick exchange about the latest happenings in life. (Mind you, can you actually imagine a baker who isn’t kind and sweet? I can’t imagine anyone selling such delicious rainbow cakes as being anything but!) Fred in the Grocers (and his trusty assistant), whom I practise the handful of Maltese words I have learnt (or rather memorised) and finally Javon from well – Javons.
I understand the pace of life will not remain as it is. But. A spell has been cast now and its one of the reasons, I’ve changed my blog to “Girl in Malta” There’s magic in knowing there is a world waiting for me just outside. It’s fair to say three years on… I’m enjoying getting to know Mellieha (and Malta as a whole).