I didn't know what to expect in Malta, apart from it being hugely important in WW2, plus people talked about it as a good place to get some sun. We had decided to go because A's grandfather was there from 1942 to 1944 as a radar technician. Back then, radar was top secret tech. The Germans didn't have it and he was issued a cyanide pill in case of capture; it was serious stuff. He'd been seconded to the British Navy, but we didn't have much more information than three old photos and his service number.
Flights from Rome were cheap and spending a few days exploring family history should be interesting. We planned to overnight in Rome from Vancouver instead of connecting through and just as well: by the time we got to Rome we were toast. Not even fresh toast. I don't usually get jet lag but this time we were both hammered flat. We scoffed some simple but delicious food and slept for fourteen hours.
Next morning, the hotel shuttle driver's rampant disregard for anything resembling safety woke us up smartly. He had two fingers on the wheel whilst reading a printout, texting and checking emails, all while attempting to drive up the arse of the car in front at 140km/h. What a jerk.
Malta from the air was a complete contrast to the fresh, shimmering seas we saw in all the pictures. It looked like a largely flat but rocky terrain covered with dusty, sprawling towns and sparse vegetation.
We'd booked an AirBnB and our host graciously met us at the airport. We stayed on St. Christopher Street in Valletta near the water, an easy walking distance to most places. It was clean, well set up, and comfortably cool in the day.
The streets of Valletta were narrow and cobbled, but straight and easy to navigate. We found a food market for supplies, then retreated to eat and sleep. It's not like we'd been running any marathons but we were tired! We awoke after dark and walked down to the waterfront, then headed back for another snooze.
We made some rookie mistakes on our first full day. Firstly, by the time we'd got up, decided what to do and headed out, the sun was baking down. Our plans changed anyway when we got to the first town square. It was filled with at least fifty concourse-level classic cars, including a lineup of old Minis. Our 1977 Mini is quietly gathering dust and cobwebs in storage back home and this was a great reminder for how fun they are. There were many Jaguar E-Types too, plus Chevy trucks, a Ferrari, a mint Mk1 Ford Escort, an Aston Martin and a couple of Jensen Healeys, all demanding a good look around. One enthusiast even had a DeLorean.