It happened really fast. The temperature plummeted 10 degrees in 5 minutes and the clouds erupted with hail– golf ball sized hail! My girlfriend and I were caught totally by surprise, as were a handful of others. We beelined it for a little awning of rock that provided the only refuge in the formally idyllic St. Peter’s Pool in Malta. It was chaos as we watched a man still in the water get pummelled by the ice. He managed to make it out, but I’m sure he had a headache that night.
We would be caught there for about 15 minutes, unable to move before having to climb out of the now swamped gulley. St. Peter’s Pool is surrounded by open farmland with no protection, and we worried that the hail would start up again and we’d be caught out in the open. Hitch-hiking was our best option.
As luck would have it, a single pickup truck passed us on the dirt road. We waved him down and were greeted by a local Maltese man with no English. He understood our situation and let us in. We made it…. or so we thought. The inside of his truck was filled with numerous cages. But for what?
Curiosity took the better of me and I took a peek. BATS! They were filled with dozens and dozens of bats. We had hitched a ride with the local Maltese bat catcher, to escape a hail storm in the middle of nowhere.
He let us out near on a fork in the road overlooking the town of Marsaxlokk. The sky began clearing up and a giant vivd rainbow appeared before us bending over the town. All we could do was laugh.
This is why I travel. It’s experiences like this that make unique, interesting travel stories and lasting memories.
This particular memory would never have happened without… *dumroll* Instagram.
Of all of the social media platforms currently available, Instagram still remains my favourite. Besides the odd cat photo (for good measure), my feed consists of a constant stream of incredible, inspiring, and uplifting travel destination photos.
In fact, I can’t think of a better place to suss out a potential travel destination that Instagram. There are some mind-blowingly talented photographers out there, all openly sharing their favourite/secret nooks in a given destination.
If you actually take the time to hunt down these spots, you’ll open an entire world that you won’t find in the guidebooks.
My story above, although a little dramatic, actually started out from a single Instagram post. Late last year I visited Malta for 10 days with my girlfriend. Malta is an incredible destination rife with history, good sailing, and crystal clear waters– I would highly recommend it.
We were looking for some cool things to do on our trip, so we searched hashtags with #Malta in it. Instantly we had a highlight reel of all the best aspects of the country, to which we cherry picked some of the best. This photo in particular is what started it all:
The spot is none other than ”St. Peters Pool’. This was a little known local’s spot that is not advertised around Malta to tourists. After seeing this photo, we knew we had to find it.
After bussing across the island, discovering the cute little seaside town of Marsaxlokk, following a dirt road through farm fields and a goat track into a gulley… we arrived in one of the most secluded, beautiful, and memorable swimming spots of our entire trip. #cliffjumping
We spent hours cliff jumping, swimming and enjoying before the weather violently flipped on us. It was truly one of the best moments of our trip.
Utilize Instagram to scope out your destination ahead of time.
You’ll be surprised at what you find! There’s a gold mine of adventures and travel ideas there, and you may just find a memorable spot like ours… hopefully with less hail!