Walking round anywhere in Malta and you’ll see constant reminders of the fact the country was once ruled by the British for a considerable period of history.
When you come to plug in your phone charger or hair dryer, and realise you don’t need that European travel adaptor… you know – that one you rather annoyingly forgot so you bought a new one at the airport at an extortionate price. I was rather bemused to find the plug sockets are those very same type we have back home!
Also, the Maltese drive on the left and ‘correct’ side of the road. Only after a terrifyingly fast ride in a taxi from the airport will you realise this when you’ve spent 20 minutes trying to figure out what’s feeling a tad wrong when you look out the window. It funny how the brain is tricked so easily: taking a while to figure out what is actually the norm when you’ve been expecting something else and it doesn’t come.
Then no matter where you go for a drink or a meal out, you’ll always find tea a feature of the menu and often many varieties too. You’ll never find yourself missing out on your favourite cup of Tetley’s or PG Tips when travelling in Malta as you would around the rest of Europe.
But nothing displays the legacy of the British rule quite so much as the adoption of the British red phone and pillar boxes. They are literally everywhere!
As an avid postcard writer (and collector) and fan of personal ‘snail mail’, I am always seeking out a post box in Britain… not so much the phone box though, although I do remember a lake district holiday many many years ago before the age of mobile phones where our cottage in the middle of nowhere had no landline even for incoming calls; so to make a nightly phone call to a family member, we walked to the local village phone box (sometimes in the pouring rain) to use the facility. You never see them used these days though I love it when I see an innovative use for them, such as a community library or modern art space, or in one case a shelter for a couple of sheep! I wish I’d had a camera on me for that moment.
There’s no denying that in Britain however, the red phone box holds a certain iconic status, particularly in London where you see queues of people waiting to have their photo taken in them, especially the ones at Westminster with the view of Big Ben in the background. (Hey I’ve done it before too – well not queued for the pleasure, but have posed in front of one) Tourists….lol…!
Never before have I been as fascinated by these little specks of red in the landscape as I was in Malta, finding myself inexplicably drawn to them.
But out on this little island country in the Mediterranean, set against the traditional sandy coloured architecture, there’s something all the more regal and romantic about these little specks of red! Taking photos of post and phone boxes became my new favourite pastime on the trip, and here are some of my favourite ones!
And now, when I see the humble post box back home, I smile inwardly as my mind flashes back to those distant cousins in Malta and I realise I have a renewed appreciation for our very own little specks of red just down the road!
What fascinates you the most when you’re travelling? Do you have a ‘thing’ that grabs your attention, that you just have to snap a piccie of?
I’m getting quite obsessed with quirky windows and doors… I blame Instagram for that particular fetish. Expect future posts focusing just on these…
For further reading on Malta, read my previous post: Impressions of Malta and if you’re going any time soon, have a fabulous trip!