FolkestoneJack's Tracks

First impressions of Malta

Posted in Malta, Valletta by folkestonejack on March 20, 2014

After a planned trip to see some of the last surviving steam in China fell through, a considerably less stressful long weekend in Malta was formulated as a Plan B.

The Maltese Cross

The Maltese Cross on a lantern at St John’s Co-Cathedral

On the Air Malta flight from London we were struck by the incredible demand from passengers for a drink called Kinnie which had the cabin crew scrambling to get every last drop out of the few bottles they had on their trolleys. As we had a bit of a wait for our luggage at the other end I thought it was a good time to find out what the fuss was about. The bitter flavour was something of a surprise, but quite appealing once I had gotten over the shock!

The unlikely secret ingredients that give Kinnie it’s edge are bitter oranges, vanilla, rhubarb, ginseng, anise and liquorice which should have given me a clue to its peculiar taste. It certainly doesn’t appeal to everyone (there’s a rather good post from The Man who went to Malta blog that persuasively sets out the counter argument!).

Arriving late in the day did not allow much time to appreciate Malta, but the bus ride from the airport and the short walk to our hotel in Valletta gave some teasing first glimpses of a wonderful landscape of sandstone buildings and fortifications. I have heard it said that Malta is like marmite – you either love it or hate it, but even these brief glimpses left us with little doubt that we would fall into the first category.

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