Country number: 28
Territory number: 30
When? August 1985
Who? With Don
‘He who waits is rewarded’
Malta is a very cheap package trip- we’re hard up, after having been skiing twice this year. In fact, the deal seems too good to be true. I find out why when we arrive at our apartment in the Bugibba area of St Paul’s Bay. It’s grim. It’s tiny, made of concrete (painted white a long time ago), looks to be in need of a good clean and the cooker doesn’t work. Maybe the location will compensate? Well no, it seems we’re in the middle of a giant building site. There’s no beach, just rocks and very little shade. The August sun is blistering – it’s averaging 90 degrees.
I‘m suggesting we request to move to another hotel, but Don doesn’t want the hassle. He’s training for the marathon and he’s declared it’s much too hot to run during the day (he’s not wrong). So,we spend nearly all our time sitting round a tiny crammed pool in another ugly and decrepit complex that’s called the sister hotel. He goes out to run when it’s cooler, about seven. We’re off in search of dinner, when he returns, which is usually about nine.
We take a bus trip out to the capital of Malta, Valletta, a fortified and walled city perched on the edge of a peninsula that juts out into the Mediterranean Sea. It’s picturesque with its, winding streets, and imposing castles. There’s also an informative harbour tour where the story of world war two, especially comes to life. And at least it’s cool, in the breeze, on the water.
We’ve got another trip booked to the famous Blue Grotto, but it’s cancelled, due to rough seas. And Don refuses to participate in any more outings after that. He says we can’t afford it, he’s not travelling on any hot stuffy coaches and he’s not hiring a car. So Gozo is off the list.
I’ve realised that the guy I’ve been chatting to, on the sunbed next to me, is Eric Richard, who played the desk sergeant on The Bill. (He can’t have been paid much). And that’s the highlight of my trip. As you’ll have gathered it’s not my best holiday.
Malta is an archipelago in the central Mediterranean between Sicily and the North African coast. It’s a nation known for historic sites related to a succession of rulers including the Romans, Moors, Knights of Saint John, French and British. It has numerous fortresses, megalithic temples
Malta is one of the world’s smallest countries, it is the smallest country in the European Union. However, it is the eighth most densely populated country in the world
The Republic of Malta is a group of seven islands: Malta itself, Gozo, the tiny island of Comino in between Malta and Gozo and four uninhabited islands.
Malta is home to some of the oldest man-made structures in the world, ancient Megalithic Temples and the Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum, a subterranean complex of halls and burial chambers dating to circa 4000 B.C.
The United Kingdom awarded the George Cross to Malta in 1942 as a recognition of the country’s bravery during the Second World War when it came under heavy attack by Italian and Nazi bombers. Malta became independent from the UK on 21st September 1964 but their flag still features the George Cross in its top left hand corner
A citizen of Malta is a Maltese, not a Malteser.
Malta has two official languages: Maltese and English.