It’s amazing to experience, however many years you live here. Autumn is Malta’s second spring and real treat after several months of parched, dust-bowl landscape.
On my first visit to Malta 20 years back, I flew in at the beginning of September. Looking down as the plane came into land, I saw only gaping stony holes – the quarries near the airport, shimmering white in the heat. All seemed barren; only hardy trees like Aleppo pines and carob gave a hint of green. By the time I left two weeks later, Malta had had its first real storms to break the summer heat. Immediately, greenery had dusted itself down and sprung to life, and flowers were back in business after their summer dormancy.
The Maltese Islands are at their best right now. The searing heat has passed for good, the air is fresher and the sky is a deep cobalt. Summer’s warmth now tempered makes an ideal climate for outdoor activities – cycling, walking, tennis and golf are all back on the agenda big time. The sea is wonderfully warm still and you can enjoy the beaches now without the masses. Yachtsmen rejoice as the autumn brings some of the best, if at times unpredictable weather for racing and pleasure sailing. The upcoming Rolex Middle Sea Race has seen everything from mill-pond conditions to hail and ‘force goodness knows what’ in past years!
For most islanders autumn is a brief interlude to relish. The Mediterranean really has only two seasons – summer and winter – with a few fleeting weeks of spring and spring’s second coming in autumn. My humble patio garden suddenly leaps into life come autumn, providing some seasonal surprises – the huge flowers of the cactus above come out at night, only to die by sunrise the next day. Get out and about to catch the best of autumn while you can. It’ll be over all too soon.