Historic city of Valletta
Yarg! I wanted to do this post months ago but I get distracted. Some reason I never get around to posting what I intend on sharing, so here is my lazy solution. I'm going to be doing a number of photo dumps which include most of my trips taken throughout 2015.

Without further ado, I present to you my favorite island of all time.

Malta is a small island located off the coast of Sicily. I had the pleasure of visiting there in January 2015. The reason I most enjoyed this island is that it is a melting pot of all sorts of cultures creating a rich history and the views were spectacular. I spent 15 days exploring this island in the low tourist season and I hope to get the chance to return in the summer months when the waters are calm and the weather is a bit warmer.

I plan on writing more about specific adventures I had while there but for now I just wanted to give you a small taste of the island.

I had the pleasure of staying in a town called Sliema. From there I joined up with some students where were learning English and explored the island. They showed me places I would have never have found on my own such as this little cat sanctuary that keeps the kitties warm and has a vet attend every day.
Kitty Haven
Using the public bus system we easily self toured the island. On the southeastern end of Malta near Marsaxlokk you can find a large outdoor market and some very colorful boats filling the bay. As well as a plethora of restaurants.
Marsaxlokk Bay
Local Bakery

If you go exploring on the northern end of the island you might find the familiar site of Popeye's Village. There is a public bus that makes its way down a narrow road that goes to this secluded bay. We made the last bus out there and unfortunately didn't have the opportunity to enter into the park but I was able to grab a quick photo before running back to the bus before it left.

Popeye's Village

If you are a history buff this place is for you. There are plenty of artifacts and temple ruins dating to prehistoric times, medieval villages, and plenty of information about knights. This small little island has been a part of many different countries at one time or another and each one has left something behind creating a magnificent and unique little country. I highly recommend reserving your tickets to visit Hypogeum. As well as check out some of the temple ruins and a museum or two.

Sleeping Lady is thought to be a representation of a Goddess. 

Azure Window in Gozo, an even smaller neighboring island, was one of the most awe inspiring places I have ever visited. This and the historical sites were by far my favorite parts of my journey to Malta and Gozo.

This location might look familiar if you watch Game of Thrones. This natural arch was featured in one of the episodes. I visited during a season that the water was very rough and impossible to swim in but that did not take away from the beauty and we stayed there an hour just watching the waves crash into the cliffs. During the summer months the water is super calm and you can find boats that will drive under the arch and people swimming and scuba diving.

Azure Window

A view from the top. 

Lastly, I would like to introduce to the guy who has me traveling all over the place to see him. This is Alberto. We met when I was working in Venezuela and have been doing the long distance thing for awhile now. One of the hazards of traveling and living abroad is the possibility of a long distance relationship evolving. Our next stop, Spain.
Selfie is a must. 

Slowly but surely I am getting this thing rolling again. I'm learning how to fancify my site and trying to keep content relevant. I initially wanted to start writing about my travels as a way to bring people important information about the different places. Looking back at my previous posts I realized that I have yet to bring together basic information about these spectacular locations. Today I will start my random fun facts post with Venezuela and in the future bring you similar lists on other places. 

Without further ado, I present the most common questions I received while living in this sexy South American country and basking in the Caribbean sun. 

Where is Venezuela? 
Assuming you know where South America is, Venezuela is the north eastern   most country bordered by Guyana, Brazil, Colombia.... Notable neighbors
include Aruba and Trinidad and Tobago.

"LocationVenezuela" by Mandavi - Original by User:Vardion, Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Why is there a weird shaded part on the Map? 
This 159,500 km² of land is called Guayana Esequiba or Zona en Reclamación. It is a territorial dispute between Guyana and Venezuela that was inherited from the colonial days when the border was not clearly defined between the Spanish, Dutch and British. 

Guayana Esequiba in Venezuela
By TUBS [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

How is it living below the Equator? 
Well, I can't really say. Venezuela is fully above the equator, however it is close enough to enjoy consistently warm temperatures year round. 

What language is spoken there? 
Spanish is the local language of choice. Learn the word Chamo/a (friend/buddy/pal) and you will get a chuckle from the locals and a warm smile. 

Is the food spicy like Mexican food?
No, in fact much of the food in Venezuela has very little spice and nor are burritos and tacos common place. The major food staples of Venezuela include meat, products made from corn flour, and natural fruit juices. 

What is the capital?

Are there light skin tones there? 
Venezuelans are a diverse people with many heritages. For this reason it is not completely uncommon to find all tone of skin colors. 

Chavez is president right? 
Chavez died in March of 2013. Nicolas Mudro is the current president. 

Who is Simon Bolivar?
He is the figure deeply ingrained into several south american countries history. He was a key figure in the liberation of about half of South America. As for Venezuela, Hugo Chavez made sure that his name became integrated into everything. He even went so far as to rename the country in honor of Simon Bolivar. 

"Hw-bolivar" by unknown. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

What is the offical name of Venezuela? 
Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

Isn't that waterfall from the movie UP in that country? 
Why, yes it is. It is called Angel Falls or Salto De Angel and it is the tallest free falling waterfall in the world is located there. It is pretty awesome and should be on everyone's bucket list. 

Salto Ángel.
By Joseph Ascanio (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Are there any questions you have for a foreigner who lived in Venezuela? 

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Grand Grand Canyon

I read something somewhere on the interwebs that spoke to me. I ran across right after I had repatriated and it embodies some of the most difficult parts of living somewhere unknown.  

"Start slow, go to a new place. Alone. Go to a city by yourself. Go on a vacation, alone. Throw yourself out there. Your own sink or swim. When you begin to panic and want to go home that is when your fight or flight will kick in. That true inner strength will shine through. You will fight it out and you will thank yourself later." - Rachel Rae

 I threw myself out there not knowing what to expect, and I was gobbled up and spit out as new person. I did not know panicking and wanting to go home was part of the deal, but at some point and time you are bound to feel it as a first time expat. I learned more things about myself than I ever knew and I conquered my fears. Every day will have its battle as an expat in a strange and foreign land. Finding new safety bubbles and new comfort zones where achieving small tasks will be monumental achievements. After awhile the panic and the overwhelming desire to go home will subside and you will begin to feel comfortable in your new home. 

Moving to Venezuela with only two bags, no Spanish, and no friends or family was the most terrifying experience of my life. It was also the most rewarding. 

Entrance of Colonia Tovar from Caracas

Not too long ago I checked off the last must see item on my list of things to do in Venezuela. I traveled to the little town of Colonia Tovar. This is a small quite weekend destination located in the mountains near Caracas. The whole area is ripe with with a German flare that came from the founders and survived the centuries due to the remoteness of the town.

The currency of Venezuela is called the Bolivar and it is magical. There are four different exchange rates and countries such as the USA will not exchange Bolivar for Dollars. That is correct, Bolivares are just colorful pieces of paper once you cross the border. There are three government regulated exchange rates and a fourth free market exchange rate. This makes for a very interesting situation when trying to exchange money and determine the actual cost of items if you are from out of town.