IT'S LYNNY KANSAS
DON'T LET THE RUBY SLIPPERS,
OR THE DOROTHY INSPIRED NICKNAME
FOOL YOU., THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME,
BUT TRAVELING IS FUN.
A trip long dreamed of came to fruition for our family this summer. To go on a Safari holiday, and to go as a family was truly a very special experience. We never dreamed that we would get so close to some amazing animals in the wild.
When it came down to booking this trip, I felt totally overwhelmed. There are so many different Countries, itineraries and scenarios to choose from, I knew I needed help. As I was planning this trip from Singapore, I chose, on the recommendation of a friend, to work with Destinations Africa, who are Australian based, although John is a South African with amazing experience in booking Safari vacations. Whilst I can share my rough itinerary with you in this post, I would encourage you to seek a reputable agent to guide you, as there are so many wonderful options. As far as our family was concerned, we had some basic criteria for this trip. We knew we needed to go in July, we wanted to see the so called "Big 5", (Elephant, Lion, Rhino, Leopard & Cape Buffalo), and we wanted smaller, more intimate lodges where our party of 5 could be together in one truck on the game drives.. With all this in mind, John put together a fantastic trip for us which encompassed two private reserves Thornybush and The Sabi Sand that bordered the Kruger National Park in South Africa.
Yes, this is me, way back in 1973, sitting near the harbour in St. Pauls Bay, facing the Gillieru Hotel. My family visited Malta on holidays many times from the late 1960's through the 1970's. I have so many happy memories of my time there.
So, my return in 2016, some 40 years after the last time I visited, was a remarkable experience for me, and I loved every minute of it. I had a brilliant time reconnecting with the places I remembered, as well as a couple of very special ladies who were a massive part of making our holidays to Malta so wonderful.
The tiny Island of Malta, just 316 km2 (122 sq mi) sits in the Mediterranean sea, like an exclamation mark thrown from Sicily, which is itself an afterthought tossed from the toe of Italy. In fact Sicily is a mere two and a half hour ferry ride from this archipelago. For a tiny island, Malta has experienced much in the way of history, fought over many times resulting in differing cultures leaving their mark on the Island.
Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Moors, Normans, Sicilians and Spanish all conquered here. By far the biggest impact though must be The Knights of St. John who ruled from 1530 to 1798, and of course The British, from whom Malta gained Independence in 1964, and whose King, George V awarded the Island The George Cross in recognition of their amazing bravery whilst under siege during World War II. The Grand Harbour of Valetta, a large natural harbour, has many historic tales to tell and the area surrounding it is the most highly populated area on the island.
If you are looking for lush green sweeping vistas and beautiful landscapes, Malta may not be for you. Although beauty is of course in the eye of the beholder. The landscape is usually dry and arid with more stone walls and accompanying cacti than you can shake a stick at. There are rocky outcrops, cliffs, the odd green patch of grape vines and olive tree groves to break the fairly flat brown vistas. Contrast this though with amazing blue skies and azure blue waters that will provide jaw dropping backdrops to your photos, it's hard not to fall in love with Malta. If you are interested in ancient walled cities with quaint narrow streets, underground burial sights, beautiful churches and squares, tranquil fishing villages with colourful boats, a craft village, the odd secluded beach, a Grand Harbour and amazing capital City, then Malta is most definitely for you. The people are the friendliest too! Of course there are also lively towns with bars, great restaurants and nightlife as well. Something for everyone.
Today, although being British by birth, my naturalised American self got to celebrate this holiday of Independence in the Town that I have called home for the last 16 years. The wonderful Town of Leesburg, in Loudoun County Virginia, is a lovely place to be. To celebrate with a parade is a quintessential and integral part of life here, as I am sure it is also in many Towns and of course Cities throughout America on this special day in their history. A reminder too I think of how far we have come, and that if we really try we can work together. At least that is my hope.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA!!
You may also like:
JUST under a 4 hour flight from Singapore, Hong Kong has been on my "go to" list for the last five years of living in Singapore. Finally, prompted by a visit from our daughter, who was then routing back to the USA via Hong Kong, we decided to make a long weekend of it. Hubby has been to HK many times on business trips, but that does not necessarily equate to seeing a place. We were all looking forward to playing tourist for 3 days.