One of the nice things about being an Aussie traveller is that no matter where I go in the world I usually come across someone who has relatives living in Australia.

It’s a great conversation starter. And I’ve got to say, it’s opened more than a few doors.

Like the time I got an Afghani visa because the consul’s brother lived in Sydney. Or the free bottle of Marsala I got in Sicily because the guy’s uncle lived in Melbourne and was the first person to import the stuff into Australia.

Malta was no different.

There are a lot of Maltese in Australia, especially in Horsely Park, a suburb in Sydney, not far from where I grew up.

And everywhere I went in Malta – the harbour in Marsaxlokk, the bars of Valetta or the little pastizz shop just outside the walls of Mdina – I’d meet someone who had an uncle or a brother, an aunty or a sister who live in Oz.

I stumbled upon this little shop tucked away in the backstreets of Bormla.

In London it would have stocked Twisties and Cherry Ripes and cartons of VB.

Here it was just a normal corner store selling groceries and washing powder.

The only thing Aussie about it was the money that the owner’s uncle had sent to support the family back home.

When she found out I was Australian she gave me my bottle of Coke Zero on the house.