With a day and half to spend in Malta before continuing their journey towards Greece, Animalcouriers set about exploring the island. Couriers M and J both have connections to Malta — courier M was born there and left as a baby, and courier J went there on holiday as a child.

One must-see sight on Malta is Mdina, a wonderfully preserved hilltop fortified town that was once the capital. It boasts a fine cathedral, a nunnery and dramatic battlements — and some great places to eat.

Before leaving Malta we caught up with a friend of ours, Trevor, who’s spent several months as part of a team renovating an oil rig that will be used by an Italian company in the Libyan oil fields.

Trevor and his wife Ann are great animal-lovers and have created a haven in Ireland for cats and dogs, many of whom are blind or have other disabilities. Trevor has been doing his bit for animal welfare in Malta, feeding groups of feral cats living at the docks. At one of his feeding stations he came across a ginger tabby who was more interested in lavishing attention on Trevor than in eating. Inevitably, such a strong bond developed between Trevor and this intelligent cat (soon named Milo), that Trevor couldn’t leave him behind.

So he found a safe foster home for Milo, organised a pet passport for him, and asked us if we could arrange his transport from Malta. The timing worked out perfectly and Milo is leaving with us today. He’s such a poised and civilised cat it’s hard to believe he ever lived rough!

St Paul's Cathedral in Mdina

St Paul’s Cathedral in Mdina

Entrance to the town over a moat

Entrance to the town over a moat

Many street corners are adorned with effigies of saints or of the Madonna

Many street corners are adorned with effigies of saints or of the Madonna

Maltese falcon

Maltese falcon

Maltese cross

Maltese cross

Maltese knights

Maltese knights

These flights of steps have shallow risers, supposedly to make it easier for knights in full armour to run up them. Presumably enemy knights could run up them equally easily!

These flights of steps have shallow risers, supposedly to make it easier for knights in full armour to run up them. Presumably enemy knights could run up them equally easily!

We took a boat trip around Malta's famous Valetta harbour, flanked by castles built by the Knights Templars in the 1500s

We took a boat trip around Malta’s famous Valetta harbour, flanked by castles built by the Knights Templars in the 1500s

Knowing we would pass Trevor's oil rig on the tour, we arranged to call him so he could give us the royal wave

Knowing we would pass Trevor’s oil rig on the tour, we arranged to call him so he could give us the royal wave

A former Templar hospital dating from the 1500s

A former Templar hospital dating from the 1500s

More amazing Templar architecture along the water's edge

More amazing Templar architecture along the water’s edge

Trevor tells us a certain Mr and Mrs Beckham once hired this floating gin palace

Trevor tells us a certain Mr and Mrs Beckham once hired this floating gin palace

Trevor trying out Milo's new scratching board

Trevor trying out Milo’s new scratching board

Milo the Maltese Moggy all tucked up for the journey

Milo the Maltese Moggy all tucked up for the journey