After a pleasant afternoon wandering along the promenade and sampling a couple of local beers, attention turns to the nightlife. This is one of the few evenings when – possibly – I’m not likely to be overwhelmed by all things Eurovision, since the Malta Song final is a couple of days away.
And yet, the apartment is filled with the sound of a laptop, and – wait for it – a whole radio station dedicated to Eurovision. I’m not entirely sure why I should be surprised by this.
One thing that does surprise me is Malta’s public transport system. Before this trip, friends and relatives joked and warned about the quirky old vehicles on the islands, each owned by its driver, which would precariously weave around the coast and inland. These were real classics. Unfortunately, we’re a couple of years too late.
Because a recent restructuring saw the whole of Malta’s bus system taken over by the clones from Arriva.
But although we may have missed the nostalgia, the newcomers have made the transport here efficient and cheap. €2.20 buys an easy journey to the picturesque St Julians area.
I should point out that I nicked this shot from Google, as (a) I’d left my camera at the apartment and (b) in January St Julians and neighbouring Paceville looks nothing like this. Inland, a collection of theme bars and a shopping centre echo to the sounds of loud music and few customers. You can see this place being packed with tourists in the summer, but out of season it’s something of a ghost town. Which is just as well, as a local girl is murdering a couple of songs at an Irish karaoke bar.
The evening ends with a rather nice discovery of a cosy bar just a few doors down from the apartment. It has old British newspapers on the ceiling – a nod to Malta’s colonial past, and French posters on the walls – a nod to the fact that wherever you go in the world, you can’t avoid the French.