The horse, the track, and the shortcuts
I remember from my Uni years, or actually from the very beginning, that if I actually wanted to get somewhere, I should never take a shortcut in the unknown. My department was in the other side of the town, and I had never been there before. The first time I went there, I walked to downtown from the central bus station (around 30 minute walk), and then took a bus to the Uni. Well, 10 minutes later I was back at the bus station, it turned out I had taken the right bus, but taken the bus from the wrong side of the road. The same year, I decided to walk to finance department, but take a shortcut. Around thirty minutes later I turned back, walked to the initial spot, and took the known road. Because I had managed to get lost again.
You would think I would learn from that experience, right?
The first time I went to Malta, a few years back, I again decided to take a shortcut from where I was, Sliema, to Valletta. Should be around 7km max. Me, being there for the first time, never checking the map and assuming the bus always takes the longest route, decided to take a shortcut. Two hours later, after finding a horse track, hippodrome, on my way, I knew I was totally lost. Because the track should have been nowhere on my way (as I learned later on). However, as I was not in a hurry, I didn't mind getting lost, and it was nice to see the horses, the jockeys running around on the track, as well as on the roads nearby (a man's got to eat, right, and of course you take your horse with you!). If there had actually been an event there that day, I might have gone in maybe, just maybe even learned a bit about the sport and bet one race.
Horse racing has been with us for a long time, it's actually considered one of the most ancient sports. As a professional sport in the UK it goes back to at least 12th century. Besides the random encounter in Malta, I have to admit I've never been to the track myself, but I would sure love to do it one day. Don't really know why, maybe it's the movies that tend to make it look cool. Or maybe it actually is cool. Couldn't comment on it before actually enjoying myself on the track one day.
To be honest, I didn't even know Malta had a race track. Especially considering it's a country just 316 square kilometers big. Then again, I knew nothing about Malta at all when I first went there.
So two hours in, I was sure I was lost. But by then I had decided that no matter what, I will not take an easy eay out, I will NOT try to catch a bus, not even a horse, an I will just try to get to Valletta my own way. And, well, I did. The initial 7 kilometers only took me around four and a half hours. And based on my walking speed, it definitely wasn't 7km but most likely around 25.