I was bitten by the Old Places bug back in 1987, when I first visited Ħaġar Qim in Malta. Up until then, my holidays had been all about sunbathing, eating and drinking. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but Malta showed me that some sunny countries had amazing histories worth exploring too. Maltese history stretches back a very long way because it was invaded many times by different cultures.
Back in 1987, I’d just finished reading The Lord of the Rings, and I was convinced that Malta was the inspiration behind the Dwarvish language and culture. I’d also just moved to Yorkshire, and I was also convinced that I was now living amongst Hobbits too.
Ħaġar Qim is an old temple on the coast of Malta, predating other cool old places, like the Pyramids, Stonehenge and Knossos. Malta exceeds at oldness. In the museum at Rabat, you can see examples of some of the oldest writing recorded.
So, ever since the late 80s, I like to visit places with old stuff. Yes, I want the sea, sand, food and drink too, but I’m not roasting alive unless I’m also walking through ruins or well-preserved ancient cities!
The Maltese government have since decided that I shouldn’t be roasted alive during a visit to Ħaġar Qim, and they’ve erected a tent over it. It seems that age (and fans of old stuff) has started to take its toll on this Dwarvish relic.