Sincerely, Loree is a lifestyle blog that focuses on travel, books, culture, fashion and slow living on the small Mediterranean island of Malta.

Monday, 17 June 2019

A stroll around central Valletta

A couple of weeks ago I had some time to kill while waiting to pick up my son so I drove to Valletta and decided to stroll around for a bit. Our capital city has changed drastically in the last 3-4 years. A number of small shops and boutiques have closed down and been replaced by restaurants, cafeterias and wine bars; and old residences and palazzos that were vacant for decades have been spruced up and are now enjoying a new lease of life as boutique hotels.
Old Treasury Street, Valletta
But in spite of the many changes, face-lifts and renovations, there is much that, thankfully, has remained the same. There is still age and patina and I enjoy seeking it out and pressing the shutter button of my camera, clicking my way around the grid-like streets that, at the time Valletta was built, were completely in contrast to the winding thoroughfares that characterised all medieval towns and villages. But with its birth date in 1566, Valletta is ‘modern’ compared to some of the more ancient areas of this island.
So let’s take a stroll around some of my favourite spots in the central part of Valletta.

Old Treasury Street
I love the arcaded portion of this narrow street that seem to draw the eyes upward towards its carved ceiling. 
Old Treasury Street, Valletta
To the left hand side is the magnificent building housing the Bibliotheca – the National Library of Malta – and to the right is Republic Square, formerly Piazza Regina.
From here, the Grand Master’s Palace would be right behind me. I will share more about the palace in some other post.

Piazza Regina
I am still old enough to remember the old name for this square and I hardly ever call it by its new name (Republic Square).  Piazza Regina (Queen’s Square) obviously sounds more regal than Republic Square and I prefer it that way. This tree-lined square got its name from the imposing statue of Queen Victoria that sits at its rear. Piazza Regina is now used as an extra outdoor seating area for two restaurants. So it's possible to dine al fresco under the watchful eye of Queen Victoria – as long as you’re on your best behaviour. Piazza Regina is right next door to the Grand Master’s Palace .
Piazza Regina, Valletta
Right opposite this square is Caffe Cordina – one of the oldest and best-loved cafeterias in Valletta; and one of my favourite places to grab an ice-cream or a delicious pastry.

The Main Guard & St George’s Square
The Main Guard is directly opposite the Grand Master’s Palace and was built in 1603 as a guardhouse for the Grand Master’s personal guards. The Neoclassical portico was added by the British in 1814. Right outside the Main Guard is St George’s square. At the rear of each end of the square are two fountains and the sound of their tinkling water is a very pleasant sound during the stiflingly hot summer months. A number of benches are scattered around St George’s square and it is a favourite spot to take a rest with both Maltese and tourists, especially since free Wifi is available here.
The Main Guard, Valletta
A playful, modern, fountain at the front of the square shoots water out of the ground to a random, computer-generated sequence that is very fascinating for young children, who love running through it during its down time but always with the added thrill that it could turn back on at any time and give them a good soaking. I’m speaking from experience here as my son did his best to get soaked every time we would go to St George’s Square for an evening walk. I really miss those days.
St George's Square
The Grand Master's Palace from St. George's Square

Old Theatre Street
To one side of St George's Square is Old  Theatre Street, the upper part of which is strewn with shops and restaurants and is completely pedestrianised. Many of the eateries use this to their advantage by having tables on the street.
Some shops on Old  Theatre Street: Marks & Spencer, Bata, Karen Millen, Kyoto, Kenjo.
Old Theatre Street, Valletta
Restaurants on Old Theatre Street (to mention just a few): StrEat Cafe, City Lounge, Taproom, Theobroma Raw Cacao Collective.

Strait Street
Cutting across Old Theatre Street, and just minutes away from the Grand Master's Palace, is Strait Street, which used to be notorious as Valletta’s red light district. Nowadays it’s more quirky than sinful, but what I love most about it are the glimpses of its less-than-salubrious past and the rust and  patina that have still not been cleared away and replaced.
Strait Street, Valletta
Strait Street is the site of the infamous hotel that was known as The Splendid together with numerous bars and dance halls. Some of these have now been converted into restaurants. Despite its notoriety, various small palazzos adorn this very narrow street (it is the narrowest in Valletta) and one of them now houses one of our favourite restaurants: Palazzo Preca.
Strait Street is really a photographer’s dream and I plan to share more about it in the future.

I hope you enjoyed this short stroll around the centre of Valletta. When I’m without my camera, 15 minutes is all it takes to walk around all the areas I have mentioned today but, whenever I take my camera for a walk, it could take me a couple of hours or more. I have many more photos to share it you're interested in seeing other areas of the smallest capital city in Europe. Just let me know in the comments.

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

May round-up and faves

As from this month, I’ve decided to include a short round-up about what I’ve been up to together with my list of favourite links.

Life lately
May has been pretty quiet on a social level. We didn’t really do much and spent most of our free time at home, doing some gardening and some minor projects around the house.
The highlight of the month was probably Mother’s Day. I was given a beautiful mauve-coloured hydrangea by my husband and son to mark the day. I have planted it next to my fuchsia one which hasn’t flowered yet as it has been cooler than usual this spring. Hydrangeas are fast becoming by favourite flowers on account of the size and longevity of their blooms.

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Malta off the beaten trail: Il-Karraba

Malta Off the Beaten Trail is a series of articles about the less accessible areas of the island for which a sturdy pair of walking shoes and a degree of physical fitness is usually necessary.
Ghajn Tuffieha Bay, Malta

Il-Karraba is the name given to the the narrow strip of blue clay slopes that separate two bays on the western coastline of Malta: Ghajn Tuffieha (commonly called Riviera Bay) and Gnejna. The easiest way to reach il-Karraba is from Ghajn Tuffieha bay by taking the path that runs parallel to the beach and is sheltered by African tamarisk trees.

Sunday, 19 May 2019

A note on commenting

As I still have not yet taken a final decision about transferring by blog to Wordpress, I have tried my best to make it easier for my readers to comment. I have switched my blog to https which should make commenting more secure and I have also noted that there is a trick to by-pass the matchy-matchy photos that are driving some people crazy.

When you comment, do not tick the ‘I am not a robot’ box. If you don’t tick this box, you will be able to leave a comment without having to match the photos. It has worked for me on several blogs without any problems. I hope this is a work-around until I figure out what to do next.

If all else fails, contact me on Instagram here or drop me an email at stories(dot)scribbles(@)gmail(dot)com

Have a wonderful week. You’ll probably hear more from me in the coming days.

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Random thoughts

Can anybody else believe it’s already mid-May? Seriously, the only two months that don’t seem to fly by before one can say ‘whoosh’ are January and  February. Which is odd, as daylight hours are shorter so, technically, the days should seem like they are passing quicker. Anyhow, mid-May it is and it has been startlingly cool this year. Of course, I am immensely happy. We’ve had rain, cloudy days and strong winds. We woke up to a heavy downpour this morning that washed our plants (and our patio) and made everything look bright and clean again. I know it won’t last so I am making the most of it and snuggling into my fleece blanket every time I watch TV. Fleece blankets! In May! In Malta! It’s generally unheard of but everything is possible with climate change – which does not mean, as some people seem to think, that everyone will get Maldives-like weather the whole year round.

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