When I was planning to visit Malta earlier this year, I thought of it as a place that old people visit. I knew that the entire island had been awarded the George Cross by King George VI during World War II (for the bravery of its people). And I knew of its long association with Christianity and with the Order of St John. I even knew how to make a Maltese Cross (you stamp on his toe)!
Moving swiftly on …. what I wasn’t prepared for was the raw power of nature. As an island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, it seems to get battered on all sides by the sea. Camera tricks with water are one of the first things most people learn with an SLR, and I still love the fun of capturing droplets frozen in motion with one frame, misty longer exposures with the next.
When I was a kid we used to go to Portland, on the south coast of England on Boxing Day. It was my parents’ way of blowing out the cobwebs after the excess of Christmas Day, although many a year we would simply sit in the car and have a picnic as the weather seemed to precipitate Armageddon outside.
We spent a whole day meandering along the coast of Malta last January, watching the waves crashing into the rocks, a superb demonstration of why the Maltese have been so god-fearing all these years. If it hadn’t been for the warm sun, this might have been one of those visits to Portland.
And as for being a place that old people visit, despite being the most densely populated country in the EU, it’s a strangely peaceful place. With great views and superb diving. A secret hideaway that takes a lifetime to discover.