TOP 10 Adventures In 2020

What a year it has been! Many of us can’t wait for 2021 hoping that it will make up for everything that happened in 2020. But as we all know, every cloud has a silver lining.

I’m sure we all have some happy memories to cherish from this year. I can definitely say that it’s been a fruitful adventure year and I would like to share my TEN favourite moments of 2020.

1. Passing through the Infamous Hook

Have you ever noticed the strange looking metal hook located on the corner of Merchant Street and St. John Street (Triq San Gwann) in Valletta? It is surrounded by many legends and stories and no one really knows what was its original function.

My favourite version of the possible use of this hook is that it was known as the Lord Nelsonโ€™s hook and all junior officers that came to Malta were told to wiggle though the hook if they wanted to gain quick promotion. You can read the full story here.

valletta hook

2. Swimming in Pixxina Naturalli

There were many treks in 2020 to remember, but this one had a special highlight. Swimming in a well hidden gem, a little inland pool called Pixxina Naturalli. This small pool is connected with the sea though a underwater tunnel, so if you’re a free diver, this is a real treat for you. ๐Ÿ™‚

I visited with few friends and none of us planned to swim. No no swimwear or a towel, but spontaneous adventures are the best and we jumped in anyway. If you go, just be mindful of the cliffs above you as there were some ‘freshly fallen’ rocks in the water. Apart from that the experience is amazing!

Pixxina Naturali Malta

3. Discovering Villa Frere‘s beautiful gardens

In 2020 I’ve discovered a beautiful and indeed very mysterious garden ‘hiding’ in Pieta. For many years I had no idea it existed! It’s Villa Frere’s garden and every first Saturday of the month general public can visit the premises.. The entrance fee is 5eur, which goes towards the restorations of Villa Frere and its gardens.

I walked through the garden with a guided tour and the history of this place is amazing! Friends of Villa Frere have been working tirelessly to bring the garden to its former glory and they have done an amazing job! It’s a continuous project and I’m sure they would be very happy to welcome new volunteers if you’re interested to pick up gardening as your new hobby for 2021. ๐Ÿ™‚

villa frere garden

4. Counting seashells on the Seashell House

Have you heard about the Seashell House? The author of this unusual and very unique facade is Indri Dimech. He often worked as a sailor and decorated his house with seashells collected from local and foreign beaches. The stunning ornaments date back to 1898!

This rare and pretty fascinating house named Id-Dar tal-Bebbux (The House of the Snails) is located in St Mary Street, just a few metres away from Hal Ghaxaqโ€™s parish church. Next time you’re in the area don’t forget to stop by!

5. Mesmerizing Wied Babu

Welcome to one of the lushest valleys in Malta with a gorgeous inlet at the bottom! Wied Babu is yet another great adventure. It also includes abseiling on a fixed rope and some ‘mountain goat climbing’ to get to the point where this photo was taken.

Wied Babu is located in between Zurrieq and Blue Grotto. There seem to be a few ways to enter the valley, but we opted for climbing over the promenade’s railingย  and going down a ladder. I’m telling you, it’s a great adventure from a very start! Should definitely be on your list of must-see places for 2021.

wied babu zurrieq

6. Daring exploration of Ghar Hasan Cave

This was a good one! I’m terrible with unknown, dark places that are surrounded by legends! So I was like a chicken unsure if I want to go deeper in the cave. It took me three tries, group of friends and many portable lights to have a good look around.

When I published the blog earlier on this year, many readers asked if it’s not closed. Well, there is a fence with a huge hole in it and we’ve met quite a few people when visiting, so I think it’s open with caution. Be mindful of the railings as they are not stable at all (at the time of my visit), otherwise the cave seemed safe and we had great fun!

maltatina exploring ghar hasan malta

7. Pushing my personal limits in Blata tal-Melh

This was the most extreme trek Iโ€™ve done in 2020. I had to push myself on so many levels during this trip. Starting from walking on the very edge of high cliffs. Half way there one friend decided to turn back as he was not comfortable, which added more doubt and second thoughts. Crossing from one side of Blata tal-Melh to the order I had a panic attack as none of the options were in my favour and I really struggled.

Challenges and getting out of our comfort zone makes us stronger so I’m very happy and proud I managed. Blata tal-Melh still remains one of my most favourite places in Malta. It’s a bit challenging to reach, but worth the effort!

blata tal-melh malta

8. Falling in love with Mystique

Oh Mystique! This was my biggest article of 2020. I truly enjoyed the research, the interviews, the mystery surrounding this magical place. I truly wish that one day Mystique will get the attention it deserves and will be turned into an artistic hub as its creator originally intended.

Never heard of Mystique in Madliena? Marquis Joseph John Scicluna the 4th Marquis Scicluna, known by most as Joe, wanted to build a dream, a fantasy sculpture and going against a fairly restrictive upbringing, he was determined to express his more artistic and fluid personality through architecture. The construction of Mystique started in the early-1960s and it was never completely finished.

Mytique was created from pieces of stone, beautiful arches and various ornaments that were collected from the remains of the Maltese houses that were destroyed during World War II. Reclaiming them and giving them new life in his design. But that’s only the beginning, the teaser, you got to read the full story.

Mystique Madliena Malta

9. Going back in time at Rinella Movie Park

Can you believe that this was, once upon a time, one of the most popular attractions in Malta? An amusement park that had two themed restaurants (Jumanji, Western Saloon), a carousel, a puppet theater, a train that would take visitors around several movie sets, props on display from various movies shot in Malta as well as live shows all day long. During the festive season, there was a snow machine that would snow at the end of the Christmas show.

It seemed to have everything for everyone, yet Rinella Movie Park closed its doors in 2000. I’ve never seen it open as I moved to Malta in 2007, but many of you will surely remember it. Please share with me (us) your happy memories from this park!

10. Exploring Ghar il-Kbir Cave Complex

Welcome to (well hidden) Misrah Ghar il-Kbir โ€“ a large cave complex. It has been documented since the 15th century and inhabited till 1835.

In the 17th century the community was visited by Athanasius Kircher, who actually left a description of his visit. He wrote that those people were healthy, they did not eat meat, they produced cheese and had a well-organised system. This community attracted a lot of interest of various visitors to Malta. Apparently even the Grand Masters usually suggested that their visitors should pay a visit to this location.

In 1835, the British authorities relocated the last inhabitants for health reasons to nearby Siggiewi.

Ghar il-Kbir cave complex

Bonus: 11. Harq Hammiem Cave

No, I didn’t write a blog about Harq Hammiem cave in St Julian’s. Maybe I should have as it was one of the most liked and share photos of mine in 2020. It’s a truly magical place.

The cave has been scheduled at Grade 1 degree of protection. It is covered in complete darkness, the water is so clear that when we walked down the steps leading to the cave a friend actually stepped in the water thinking it’s still land.

The height is neck-breaking, but the depth is even more mind blowing. Apparently the end of the cave could not be found, because the divers couldn’t go beyond the recorder depth of 52 metres below sea level as it was too dangerous.

Harq Hammiem cave in St Julian's

Wishing you all a super adventurous year 2021!

Also don’t forget about my Maltatina Memory Game Vol. 1 and Vol. 2! By purchasing this original game featuring my photography you directly support my efforts to keep these photo blogs coming! You can purchase them here.