Fate occasionally leads travellers to places they had never planned to visit. Into this category, for me, fell Malta. I went to Valletta to see my sister, who was at a nursing conference. I wasn’t expecting a wild party; the island has a reputation for being fairly dry compared with its Mediterranean sisters. Yet for a certain type of traveller, with sturdy shoes and an interest in military history, Malta is a matchless trove. I plotted my campaign around the island’s key martial landmarks carefully. Time spent on reconnaissance is seldom wasted. My sister, inexplicably, made her excuses.
Valletta is still dominated by reminders of the Knights Hospitaller, the crusading order that relocated there after being booted out of the Holy Land by the Ottoman Turks.