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.
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.
Western Australia and it's famed Margaret River wine region, sits a mere three and a half hour drive South West of it's capital Perth. Of course the wineries are the main focus of the area, where you can find some major players, big names like Leeuwin, Voyager and Cape Mantelle to name a few. There are also some lovely boutique wineries here as well. The Peninsula from Busselton in the North to Augusta in the South can be driven in just over an hour if you stick to the main highway, or take your time and drive leisurely down Caves Road. To add to the draw of this lovely neck of the woods is the coastline. It is a surfers paradise, with lovely beaches and coves which are also ideal for the less energetic to laze on. The rocky coastlines are fun to explore, throw in some caves, a couple of lighthouses and gourmet food shops - you will have much to see and do.
If you love Antiques, and you love Christmas decor, a visit to The Old Lucketts Store in Lucketts, Virginia, during their Holiday Open House is a must. There is so much to see in this sprawling compound of old houses and out buildings, which all year round has interesting stuff and interior design ideas to look at. Add to that some great Christmas items from various vendors, and you have yourself a wonderful few hours of browsing. Although this years Design Holiday Open house may be over, they do have Open Houses and flea markets throughout the year, so check their website regularly for updates.
The main design house has every room on both floors decorated in holiday style. Lots of ideas and decor for purchase.
The long, narrow, but sophisticated shophouse setting in Tiong Bahru was perfect for a nice chatty lunch with a friend. I have always loved the decor here, and being tucked away down Yong Siak Street in Tiong Bahru, a little bit quieter than say a bustling weekday CBD lunch. That does not necessarily mean however that you shouldn't make a reservation in advance. If you are heading to ODP at the weekend, you will, most assuredly require a reservation. You can also opt for a counter seat, if you want to watch the chefs at work behind the glass screen.