Both Malta and Greece stand as proud bastions of the true meaning of Mediterranean life. Good food, good booze, good company and good naps. Despite our similarities, it’s also good to acknowledge our differences and see what we can learn from our neighbours.
1. Good lighting on monuments is so important
There’s no shortage of impressive sites here in Malta, there is however a massive shortage in impressive lighting of said sites. If a building looks washed out, badly lit you’re not doing it any favours.
If you’re looking for some photon-inspiration, check out the Acropolis at night.
2. House wine shouldn’t taste like ass
Almost every restaurant in Athens serves house wine, and while it’s not gonna win any awards for taste, to those looking to enjoy a glass of wine with their meal without breaking the bank, it’s a godsend.
3. And water should be given out free
Every time you sit down at a coffee shop, bar, restaurant, or even kebab place you’re given a glass of water (for free). You can order a bottle if you want more, but there’s nothing quite as hospitable as being given a drink to sip on before you start panic-scanning the all-Greek menu.
4. Making roads pedestrian-only works
Certain parts of the city were closed off to traffic, cobbled and turned into pedestrian walkways – and guess what, the drivers survived. All they had to do was find an alternative route, and the wonders it did for foot-traffic and the overall feel of the city are huge.
We’ve seen it work in places like Bizazza Street, Sliema, and should really push for it to become a thing on a much bigger scale.
5. Cheap cabs mean safer roads
When a ride home at 3:00am costs €6, there’s literally no reason to drive anywhere. This was the rough fare in Athens. If local cab fares were more reasonable, there would be far fewer drunk (or tired) drivers on our streets.
6. We need to stop hating on the English language
People in Athens have embraced speaking in English, and almost everyone has a good command of the language. They understand its importance and make the effort to learn it. Here we grow up with the language and have the opportunity to learn it with no extra effort, and yet so many people hate it just because of their own misconceptions.
7. Cafes that turn into bars need to become a thing
In the morning they’re cosy, uniquely styled cafes (and no, a cute coffee shop doesn’t have to look like Pintrest puked all over the pastel and chalkboard-covered walls), but after 7:00pm the lights dim, the music is turned up and the whole space is now a cool bar.
They still serve coffees and food, but the nocturnal transformation means every locality will have a go-to bar that isn’t a plastic-chaired kazin.