A Babymoon Adventure in Malta

“So, twins, huh? I have a set of twins! Of course, they’re all grown now.”  

I had just sat on a bench to catch my breath. My head turned to the gentleman sitting next to me, as we overlooked the sparkling ocean from Hastings Garden.  It was our first full day in Valletta, Malta and I knew immediately that had just met my new friend.  

Gary and I soaking up the sun

Gary, as I quickly came to find out, was 83 years old, from Ireland, had four children (two of whom were the aforementioned twins – a shock in the 1960’s when the second one came a few minutes after the first!) and was a retired doctor.  His beloved wife had passed a few years prior, but he still had life to live and places to see.  His children were more apt to accept him traveling alone if they knew he had the safety and support of a Local Leader, fellow travelers to enjoy and a set itinerary to follow (he’s prone to wandering).   

I couldn’t have been in a more different place. I was 36 years old, from the United States, 19 weeks pregnant with twins, trying to sneak in one last adventure with my husband before our lives changed forever. At the Welcome Meeting the night before, I introduced myself to the group and reveled in the sharp collective intake of breath when I added the fun fact that I was currently expecting a boy…and a girl.  

With the shocking news of twins coming soon, I had finally accepted that – for now – paused were the days of crossing the Drake Passage, horseback riding in the Andes, and eating fermented shark in Iceland.

But I still craved the feeling of wandering aimlessly around a new city, learning about a lesser-known destination and meeting like-minded travelers. So, I scoured Club Adventures’ offerings for the perfect babymoon destination to explore. 

My husband and I’s official babymoon photo op

The Highlights of Malta and Gozo was the ideal itinerary (if not just for the Instagram-worthy Babymoon caption that we were having ‘Malta-ple babies’). Seven days and two hotel stays provided the perfect amount of time to see all the sites of this tiny island nation but still include time at leisure that would give me the liberty to decide how much energy I felt like exerting that day. The more research I did, the more excited I got. Malta packs a punch of beautiful gardens, easy-to-navigate historical cities, friendly people and picturesque fishing villages.  

Our Local Leader, Sergio

But it wasn’t just the itinerary I was looking forward to. It was meeting new people in our small group adventure and knowing that I would have the support and knowledge of a Local Leader – Sergio. He was just what my new friend Gary and I needed. When The Old Man and The Pregnant Woman (as we were lovingly dubbed by the group) started to fall back during some walks, Sergio slowed his pace to join us and keep us entertained with stories of Malta.  

When we were meandering a road wrapped by the ocean in Gozo on the way to meet a family who has been harvesting salt pans for 160 years, I overhead Sergio calling ahead to advise that he needed two chairs ready for some of his passengers. Gary and I joked with him that we were capable of standing during the activity, but when we arrived, boy were we glad there were chairs waiting for us. Sergio knew our needs before we even did, and it was a welcome relief.  

My husband and I enjoying the beautiful coastline

So, over the course of the week, Malta provided the perfect mix of culture, relaxation and support. Exactly what my husband and I needed as we prepared to embark on the biggest adventure of our lives. The last night, over a final dinner together, the group made up of Americans, Irish, Australians, Portuguese and Spanish travelers all toasted to our growing family.  And a few months later, the group WhatsApp chat was a flurry of elation when we announced the safe arrival of our son and daughter.  

We are in the throes of twin parenthood now, with sleepless nights and busy days. But I always look back on our Malta Babymoon, and Gary, with a smile on my face – a comforting reminder that this journey of life that we’re on is the greatest adventure of them all.