"Somewhere with history, but small and isolated. We don't have to feel obligated to see anything."
My wife and I chose Malta for our honeymoon, mid-February. After months of the stresses of planning, she caught a flu or a virus on the first day abroad and spent most of the trip resting. "Go, go. Take the photos you couldn't take if we were out together. Let me see it that way."
So I walked for hours and days through the island, both joyful for my new future but lonely and missing the woman I wanted to spend the time with. As I wandered the metropolis of urban Malta, a city that spreads out from the fortress city of Valletta into dense villages, I realized it was quite a strange place. Whole towns and neighborhoods were abandoned. Maybe a seasonal livelihood? I don't know. But historic places, and areas with the full city-feeling sense, could be walked without seeing a single person. Stamp-maker shops boarded up, pigeon fanciers locked, red-domed churches quiet...
The suburbs of Valletta, the capital, sprawls out across the country about the size of Staten Island, but it's the ancient town of Mdina who carries the name "The Silent City." Maybe that is the heart of the place.
I remember a quiet moment of my own, late in the trip. Victoria is sitting on the yellow stone crags of Dwejra. Waves are gently crashing. She is tired and resting from the trip here, still getting over the illness. She is looking into the Azure Window. It is a natural archway over the Mediterranean. I am watching her watch it, understanding the vastness of a peaceful, comfortable silence.