Travel-Visit Valletta (Malta) for Valentines. Fort St Elmo’s

Where does one go for a brief weekend away and Valentines is the perfect excuse? May I suggest Valletta. It is very accessible in several meanings of the word.
First you can follow the younger Easy Jet Generation and get there in 3 hours. Secondly it is on very practical scale and with a very friendly approach to tourists. Finally the city of Valletta has a wide range of attractions all within an easy walking distance.

That first hurdle of getting from the airport to Valletta is easy. There is a good bus service from the airport and it is competitively priced at Euro3.00 for 2.

It was raining when we arrived- and as we had been through snow in the UK so the weather was not that unkind. This did however give a very striking first view of the city as we entered past the Triton Fountain. The walls also gave some hint of the fortifications which were part of the second day

The parliament building is nearby and in the best traditions of politics there was a good cafe restaurant nearby.

Malta has been under the rule of many different regimes since times before Christianity. The St Elmo’s War museum gives a very good version of this complex history as the regimes came and went. It is worth having a look at Wikepedia which gives more details.

Not only can you see the fortifications built up over centuries it also gives a clear sense of history and the repeating yet differing cycles of invasion and civilisations over those times. 

Located overlooking the harbour it illustrates the defences that were built and needed to repel the various invasions right back to the times in BC.  The views are spectacular and if one imagines trying to invade then it shows what a challenge there was to overcome.

It was surprising to learn that the island was a gift from Charles 1 of Spain to the Order of Knights of St John of Jerusalem in 1530. 

The museum gives prominent coverage to the Knights of St John who were in charge from 1530 to 1798 when the islands were invaded by the French First Republic. Apparently the Maltese rebelled and the French were expelled by a coalition of British, Neapolitan and Portuguese forces. This was after a total blockade of the island by Lord Nelson in 1799.

A brief consideration will show that inter country turmoil in Europe is nothing new.

The museum also vividly shows the island’s role as a hospital for the wounded was critical during WW1 and the assault on Gallipoli.

Equally important was the siege of the island during WW2 from 1940 to 1942.  There was a particularly telling piece where the attempt to break the blockade was shown in detail.  Please see the next post about the commemoration of the Siege of Malta 

So having retired you now have that chance to travel. I would recommend Malta for the warmth of the welcome we experienced and the range of things to visit and see. There is also that time to look at the history and see that nothing is ever entirely for the first time. Its just that the parties involved are subtly different and the reasons behind the actions considered reasonable in that era.

May we have the time to learn and hopefully influence events from being repeated. Enjoy your retirement.

useful weblinks

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