So after 6 months of island paradise in the Pacifc, i got my 5 days of winter in Svalbard. Im much more of a summer person, so 5 days of snowy, frigid winter was plenty enough for me. I flew back through Oslo and had to overnight for my next flight, and a snowstorm hit the next morning. Mike got out to Stockholm on his 7 am flight, but by 11 all air traffic had been stopped. The airport was still open, and airlines were still checking people in, so with no departing flights, the Oslo international airport slowly filled to the brim. You couldnt walk, eat, piss or sit without waiting in a line or getting through what felt like a pack of sardines. Eventually the flights just started to get cancelled, and then i waited in a 12 hour line to rebook myself out of Oslo.
That didn’t go so well, and I was grumpy and tired, but I got the last hotel room in all of Oslo I think, so that was an upper. The next day I got on the first plane to London (Norwegian air added an extra flight), got stuck there for a night, and then flew to Malta. I had arrived back in the sun, and also summer, and I could shed my snowboots for some flipflops.
Malta is a fascinating, tiny island filled with a mix of Mediterranean and Arabic influences. Sometimes I felt as if I was in Rome, othertimes Morocco, and the people living there were even more mixed up. There are more people living on this tiny 300 sq. km island than in Iceland, and the most memorable people I met there were unexpectedly a Russian travel agent and an Irish couple. All of the restaurants served cheap and delicious sea food caught by their colourful, traditional Maltese boats. There was wine, wine, so much wine, and the coast was never more than a few kilometres away. A ferry ride over to Gozo island completed my visit there, but I’ll have to return to visit Comino island to finish visitng all of Valetta.