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This bite-size country is easy to devour in one fell swoop. And you’ll want to, it’s delicious. Malta does mean ‘honey’ after all...

I must be hungry. I can tell because every intro I am coming up with involves a food analogy: Malta is like tangy cheese/fresh fish/salty ham. It’s not, but that’s all I can think about. And it’s all Malta’s fault. Its food is amazing; but more of that later. I’ve had my lunch now, so I will focus on another focal point of this country: its history.

This diminutive country has a history so jam-packed, so varied, that it’s a wonder it hasn’t sunk under the weight of it all.

The red phoneboxes and right-hand-drive cars remind us that Malta has only been independent of the British Empire since 1964; the guttural sounds of the Maltese language are due to the Arab rule; this was preceded by the Romans, who established the Roman Catholic Church still so prevalent; and this is yet to mention the influences from the Phoenicians before them, the stint of the Knights of Malta and even Napoleon, who hung out there for six days, capturing it on his way to Egypt, as you do.

Malta’s chequered history is down to its somewhat unfortunate position: the three small islands of which it consists (Malta, Gozo and Comino) are mere dots in the Mediterranean Sea between Italy, Tunisia and Libya. This caused it to, quite literally, get caught in the crossfire whenever there was some sort of battle going on, be it Napoleon’s mission, the Crimean War or World War II (in which Malta was near flattened). But the Maltese quite rightly wear their strong little country’s past as a badge of honour, and the historical hotchpotch that has formed its current culture is all part of its appeal, bringing in plane-loads of tourists every year.

Lured by the premise of a ‘girly holiday’ I recently hopped on an AirMalta flight myself. I can report it is indeed a great girly getaway, but I also don’t know many men who would turn their nose up at the chance to eat awesome food, drink bucket-loads of booze, enjoy crazy nights out and stay in a mod-conned pad with a bunch of mates... you?


Talkback


Travel experience: Malta in your mouth
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