Wednesday, 28 November 2012

What I Saw In Kalkara

Fort Rinella (€10.00), by far the most overpriced place I visited, value for money wise. 

Now The Understanding was that at 2.30 pm every day (except Mondays when The Fort is closed) there is the ‘main’ or ‘extended’ tour, which costs an extra €5.00, but has historical re-enactments and demonstrations of Morse code, firing of live artillery and period weaponry.  This was The Only Reason for going to The Fort.  So when I arrived at 2pm and asked for a ticket for The 2.30 Tour, I was a bit surprised when the lady at the ticket office stared at me blankly.  After repeating my request a few times, to increased ‘I don’t understand English’ reactions, and then describing the tour I wanted, she finally admitted she knew what I was talking about, and that usually they do have this daily tour, in fact, they have it daily, surprisingly enough, but not today, as instead there was some weekend horse show.  Since I was already there, I stayed.

This was the ‘Equus Display – The War Horse Through History’.  Unfortunately, since the show started at 2, everyone who knew about it was already there and there were no seats left.  I had to stand at the edge, so The View was slightly obscured and this did not help The Backache that I’d contracted the day before, but the show was awesome, so that made up for it quite a bit. 

The narrator was an English guy in World War I uniform, on a horse,
and the show consisted of various soldiers (Ancient Egyptian, Greek, Roman,
Medieval and Renaissance,
Napoleonic and Victorian)

coming back from The Dead and trying to get a reaction from The Somewhat Rubbish Audience.  Then in groups of three they would show off how they rode their horses in battle. 

There was great emphasis on and admiration for how these horses had been carefully trained to do these things they had never done before and how amazing they were for not being disturbed by the ‘scary clanky men’. 

The uniforms and saddles (or lack of saddles) were all carefully authentic (apparently).  The riders variously shot arrows

and threw spears at targets, rammed lances into that wooden spinny thing that blocked nearly all The Photos (so hard that one rider broke his fingers),

stabbed cabbages (heads) with swords,

speared tent pegs from the ground

and knocked hoops from poles with swords while riding very fast. 

And a woman showed how to ride fast on sidesaddle.
The end of the show was a bit weird, as Death (plus minions) turned up to reclaim the dead soldiers and they all had a big fight because they didn’t want to go back to being dead.

Too fast for me... He's upside down.

All The Riders were English (which was another one of those lovely ‘piece of home’ moments hearing an English accent that wasn’t coming out of a moronic tourist)
and several were quite fanciable, while they clearly had great respect for their Maltese horses, and the stunts were the stuff you only see in films, so it was a very worthwhile watch. 
After this, there was the basic fort tour, which involved a rather boring film, unfortunately overcrowded, and then two tours, one in Malti and one in English, where we got to see the 100-ton pink gun. 

Bit where they shoot people attacking The Fort in the moat:
View of some boats from The Fort:
There’s no way this tour is worth the €10 it costs.  While detailed, it is very short, and all you see of The Fort is the gun, and then a room under the gun.  Without the ‘extended’ bit they weren’t doing, I can’t see the appeal.  Thank goodness for The Horse Show Of Awesome.

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