Each November, we pack our bags full of swords, smile sheepishly as the friendly folk at Gatwick Airport put them through the X-Ray, and board a plane to Malta. Malta is the improbable rock in the middle of the Mediterranean that changed military history – and home to the unforgettable Malta Historical Fencing Association International Event.
∴ Home Away From Home ∴
This prestigious event is one we attend every year, rain or shine – or in this year’s case, in the middle of an unprecedented sea storm. Held on the majestic Fort St Angelo in Birgu, a key defence in the siege of 1565, it never fails to make us feel like we’re in the middle of a fantasy film.
From running up and down limestone steps with swords swinging at our sides, to duelling on the top tower with the Three Cities and Valletta spread out around us like a snapshot from a time long past, this is the stuff of dreams.
For us, after five (in my case) and seven (in Chris’s) years of attending, the first glimpse of the fort across the water as our taxi raced across the Valletta waterfront was no less breathtaking than the first time – yet this year it was countered with a swell of fond familiarity – a homecoming of sorts.
This feeling was only increased when we met our hosts and fellow attendees, many of whom have been attending as long as we have, if not longer. Reuniting with familiar faces from around the globe over a pint of Cisk and slipping straight back into conversation is a huge part of this event’s enduring appeal – as is bringing new wide-eyed enthusiasts into the fold.Continue reading