This might ring a bell for you then.I found the architecture and history of Valletta fascinating. Few cities can boast as spectacular a setting. But the people. There's a sense of a hidden network of family and political rivalries, and when you try to get anything done there you blunder into it.
I was there on an official assignment, and had an itinerary planned for me by a government department. It was all on paper. Every time I turned up at the designated location at the designated time, there were problems. Supervisors had to be called; phone calls had to be made. I've never encountered that anywhere else in the world - at least to such an extent.
I later found out that when Anthony Burgess, the great writer, lived there, every book that was sent to him through the post was impounded. He was trying to supplement his income by reviewing books for the UK newspapers. You can't to that if the editors can't get the books through to you. His departing opinion of Malta was pretty much the same as mine: good riddance.
''It was the afternoon of my eighty-first birthday, and I was in bed with my catamite when Ali announced that the archbishop had come to see me.''
The opening lines from my favourite novel.
No wonder he was so scathing about the place.