20.05.2015 - 22.05.2015 24 °C
After a long flight we finally arrived in Rome and made our way to the hotel. I'd booked something in walking distance and had checked the route before I left home, but being tired and my usual confused self, when we came out of the airport I didn't recognise any of the landmarks I needed so we asked directions and were pointed in the totally wrong direction! So after a lap or two of the airport we finally found our hotel room and crashed.
The next morning it was off on the last leg to Malta. All went smoothly and we arrived at our apartment in Floriana about 2pm. We then headed staight out to look around Valletta. We were staying in a fantastic location within a 10min walk to the old city, and on that first afternoon we thought we could spend all our time there and not venture any further on the island.
Our first stop was the Information centre where they seemed very helpful and were very good at answering questions - you just needed to know exactly what to ask! So, in fact not very informative!
After negotiating the info centre we decided we needed refreshment - it was very sunny, and we were on holiday so we thought G&T were the go. They serve them here like they do in Spain - half a glass of gin over ice then a splash of tonic! They went down well!
We were in Malta to find Trev's Great Uncle's last resting place, so when we found The Knights Hospitallers we were pleased. We figured this would have been where James Reginald would have been looked after during his last days. It was an amazing place - we were able to wander through what was the Sacra Infermia which had operated as a hospital from the Crusades to the Great Seige, the Plague and then more recently the World Wars. This was the first place they used silver for implements to ensure cleanliness, and some of their treatments have evolved into current modern medicine.
The next day we walked away from Valletta to Pieta where there is a Commonwealth War Cemetary. As we approached Pieta we saw a large stone wall which looked very old (as does most stuff in Malta!) with palms and garden to be seen behind. We found a gateway and realised this was the site of the usual well kept Commonwealth graves, and so we made our way in. We found rows and rows of graves, mainly of the flat rectangles of concrete with military insignia and names engraved. Of course we hadn't checked the records to know where to look, so it was just a matter of finding the appropriate period and reading all the names. I f course we were helped by the Rising Sun standing out to lead us to the Aust headstones. After about half an hour or so we found the headstone for James Reginald Lindley - his was a single cross with no military insignia, so we almost missed it! Possibly his parents had arranged for a headstone for him after the war - we'll have to investigate later. It was quite moving, seeing not only James's grave, but also so many others who died after serving and getting ill or injured at Gallipoli. It certainly gives you pause to think.
So, two days in Malta, and a very satisfying stay for us!