I’ve been doing some research. According to wikipedia, Malta is a 300 sq.m minuscule chunk of rock, or more accurately several rocks because it consists of four islands in total, with no hills and no rivers. Sandwiched between Sicily, Libya Gibraltar, Alexandria and Istanbul, it is a speck of great importance nonetheless. It’s strategic position in the middle of a landlocked sea meant that throughout history someone always wanted to either claim it, or bomb it. Other less interesting facts include some megalithic temples, reputed to be the oldest freestanding manmade structures on the planet, a love for fried rabbit, fireworks and festivals, and the most recent attraction, ‘bendy buses!!’
This one I have to admit provoked my curiosity, so I looked up some news reports to find out more. I discovered it is only a few years since the antiquated, diesel spluttering leyland buses which had ferried locals and tourists around the island for decades, were replaced by extra long, concertina style buses from Britain. Deemed unsuitable for narrow streets, the British were only too glad to see the back of them. Now it appears they are doing more damage on this tiny island than World War II, tearing up footpaths and knocking sides off ancient historical buildings.
Still, I was dissatisfied with this mundane geographical and historical account of Malta, so I decided to look elsewhere for some further information on the more important aspects of travel, such as nightlife, beachlife, food and drink.
So later today I called into to a local travel agency, one of the few that have managed to survive cyber extinction, and picked up some brochures. Under the pretence of booking a package holiday I casually mentioned Malta to the agent. Strangely she didn’t seem all that enthusiastic about what the brochure claimed is a ‘charming jewel in the Mediterranean.’ She commented that it was a bit ‘mature’ for me, meaning it’s more like a giant retirement home in the sun. Apparently a lot of Brits migrate there for winter or retire there permanently. Not only is it warmer but I assume the cost of living is considerably cheaper than the UK , especially once you take into account the savings on heating, cough syrup, flu injections and thermal underwear.
It may sound ungrateful but you would think my friends could have picked a more interesting place to inherit property. I’m already having second thoughts.