This past break, Rachel and I traveled to the beautiful islands of Malta. Malta is without a doubt one of the most amazing places I’ve ever been to in my life. This is for several reasons, one of them being the rich blend of cultures. The island is situated almost dead center in the Mediterranean Sea, making it a hot spot for trade and transport. This led to it being repeatedly conquered by several powers throughout history, including the Ottomans, Romans, French and English. They speak a dialect of Arabic, use an alphabet much like ours, and have a Mediterranean accent. Most of them spoke perfect English, and the influence of England in their culture was apparent, as most signs and text were in English.
There were several examples of placemaking in Malta, one example being children’s involvement in the act. I found a sign clearly illustrated by a child, right on the water in the fishing village of Marsaxlokk. It reminded me of the pictures made by the kids from the elementary school of the terrace. This area was a waterfront vista with several benches, a perfect place made for locals and tourists alike to view the harbor and possibly dine by the water. An unconventional example of placemaking was the people hanging out at the salt pans in Marsascala. These salt pans are for tide water collection, which evaporates and becomes a supply of sea salt that can be collected. In this gorgeous, eye-pleasing place, people were fishing, relaxing and some had even brought a whole picnic set up. Malta helped me remember how beautiful the coast and the ocean can be. I grew up on an island and can confidently say I took that blessing for granted.