Since the relations between Turkey and Israel started to deteriorate in the past few months, many Israelis have been looking for alternative holiday destinations (Antalya was a favourite of the Israeli masses). Greece has become a strong contender, but one minor contender for the holiday crown is Malta, a small island in the western Mediterranean. This is not the reason why we are in Malta.
My father's brother was killed here during the Second World War (1941), while he was serving on a minesweeper cleaning the entrance to the Maltese Grand Harbour. My parents visited Malta 35 years ago, but did not find any form of memorial, so my father initiated correspondence with the British Ministry of Defence, in order to set the record straight. Eventually he was sent a letter stating the events of his brother's death, along with a photograph of the listing.
A few months ago, my father got into his head that he wanted to visit Malta again while he is still capable of doing so (he is 88 and somewhat limited physically). I began correspondence with a few war museums in Malta but didn't get a conclusive answer as to where I might find a memorial for my father's brother (I have to call him that and not uncle as he was dead long before I was born). Once we decided to go to Malta, I saw that there were no direct flights to Israel which is why we 'stopped off for a week' in Prague on the way.
Anyway, today was our first real day in Malta. I suggested that we start our search for the elusive memorial in the War Museum, which was very interesting but not what we were looking for. At the very end I saw a reference to a Royal Navy memorial so I suggested that we go there. Whilst waiting for a taxi, my father began chatting to the Museum guard, and she suggested speaking to the museum curator. In the curator's office, we found a book of remembrance which did in fact list my father's brother.
My father was overwhelmed with emotion! We then 'held' an impromptu memorial session with my father reciting the Mourner's Kaddish.
Even though we had found what we were looking for, we went with the taxi driver to what we thought would be the Royal Navy memorial. We weren't able to find what we were looking for, so we abandoned the search. From there, the taxi driver to us to the old settlement of Medina, which was the most attractive part of Malta which we have seen yet.
After spending a few hours here (including lunch), we telephoned our friendly taxi driver who took us back to Valetta. He was unable to take us back to our hotel as he couldn't find the way although he tried; the back streets of Valetta are like a warren, and he was running back and forward in a brave attempt to find the right entrance to the maze. This included going the wrong way down several one way streets. In the end, he gave up and dropped us off in a pedestrian precinct which actually was not far from the hotel.
Here ends today's adventures.