For a nation with little outdoor space, the Maltese are ingenious about using what there is. We’ve a lot of flat dwellers in Malta as buildings go high-rise, and most people with terraced houses have only a small backyard big enough for gas bottles and a lemon tree. So balconies, roofs, the front door step and whatever other patch of concrete can be pressed into action is used to the hilt in the hot summer months to serve as a social space to meet friends in and a place to cool off on.
When Maltese urbanites get a whiff of real space – mostly early morning or late evening on the beach at this time of year – then we’ll take nearly everything but the kitchen sink to ensure we stake our claim on a patch of earth to last the whole day or night. Having spent quite a few hours at Golden Bay this summer, I’ve noticed some amazing apparatus disgorged from car boots and lugged beachwards. I’ve seen what looked like mini marquees erected with much familial bickering. And at Ghajn Tuffieha, I’ve witnessed a procession of cool boxes and BBQ sets being carried by families ressembling armies of ants crawling down those steps. I don’t think the aim is to travel light. People in Malta try their hardest to get a parking space right where they need to be, so the volume of gear probably doesn’t won’t worry them on arrival.
Now these little tents in the photo above, seen on Golden Bay mid morning last weekend, are those of the summer species of young, overnight camper. A Liddl bag of goodies, a BBQ, a simple frame tent, and a 20-minute drive to your destination and you’re all set up for a real outward-bound camping experience Malta style. If the BBQ fails, then there are quite conveniently four restaurants five minutes away. So don’t worry if someone forgets the firelighters or matches.
We’d really like to have more excitement, hardship and roughing it, really we would, but Malta has limited outdoors to camp out in. We’ve far too much rocky garrigue around for tent pegs to go in. The beach is a soft alternative, in more ways than one. And who can blame us? We like our home comforts…when we’re in our homeland. But that’s not to say we’re not intrepid travelers and adventurers elsewhere. See our posts on ‘Three men and a mountain‘, and ‘the Maltese are everywhere‘ for some evidence of that.