I hope you don’t feel too neglected. We’ve been off in Malta for a week. TL was giving a speech, and I was along for the ride, but ended up doing tons of work by accident. In the last couple of days, we hurtled around doing the sightseeing thing and rather loved the place. Malta’s an odd mix, having been fought over for thousands of years as the mid-point between Europe and the Ottoman Empire. As a result, it’s bristling with forts and city walls in a lovely shade of sandy digestive-biscuit stone. Against a blue sky and the sparkling teal of the Mediterranean, it’s an irresistible sight.

Legend has it that the Knights of St John, who arrived there in the 16th century, had to speak eight languages – one for each point on the Maltese cross. There are still many languages spoken here, which is a relief as Maltese seems quite different from anything I know.

The whole island of Malta was famously awarded the George Cross in 1942 by George VI for holding up against the German and Italian onslaught. It still seems a plucky place and home of survivors – I was rather amazed to see a branch of British Home Stores which has certainly expired ignominiously in the UK. We didn’t have enough time to see everything, but we’ll be back one day.

Loved the sign to the left of the door of this bar
Firework competition in a fishing village on the south side of the island
Windy streets in Vittoriosa
Carpet of flowers in one of the main squares of Valletta
Napoleon designed the back of this dagger…
…which was given to Jean de Vallette by Philip II of Spain and pinched by Napoleon two centuries later

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