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

Thursday, 3 January 2019

2018: My year in pictures

Instead of the usual annual soliloquy that has characterised my end of year posts, this time round I decided it might be more  fun to share some of the highlights of 2018 by using more pictures than words.
In January I started this blog with much high hopes and expectations that I didn’t live up to as well as I should have. Let’s say work got in the way. Hopefully I will do better this year.
After another very mild winter, spring came early this past year with the almond trees blossoming in January. This is probably the earliest I have seen them blossom – which is probably a sign of the times.
Almond blossoms
January is also my birth month and I was lucky to celebrate another birthday. Growing older is not easy but many people tell me that it’s better than the alternative. As always, my birthday was a low-key affair: my husband and I went out to dinner at the Bacchus restaurant in nearby Mdina and then took a walk through the dark, mysterious streets of Malta’s old capital city.
During the winter months we made the most of the cooler weather to take a few hikes, always making sure to stay on the road less travelled. On a drizzly day in February we explored the Victoria Lines at Bingemma, an area that is dotted with caves that were used as dwellings during the Bronze Age and whose landscape is dominated by the Chapel of Our Lady of Itria.
Bingemma and Victoria Lines (10)
Later on in the month we walked from Dingli cliffs to Fawwara – probably one of Malta’s most unspoiled and scenic spots.
Fawwara (5)Fawwara (11)
On a warm day in early March we hiked the blue clay hills known as Il-Karraba – an experience that verged on the surreal due to the unusual nature of the terrain. Blue clay is one of the 5 geological layers that comprise the Maltese islands but it is usually hidden under two other layers and is only exposed on the western coast of Malta.
During the week prior to Easter we visited my beloved Rome for 5 days. We walked all over the city re-experiencing the magic of familiar spots and discovering new ones such as Trastevere and the Jewish Ghetto. Needless to say, we threw some coins into Rome’s most famous fountain to make sure that we would return (not that I need much prompting).
Piazza Navona
April, May and June were very low-key. As is usual with me, I start to hibernate as the days get warmer. My husband and I celebrated our fifteenth anniversary on June 15th by taking the day off work and running some errands which were rather urgent. We did enjoy a great lunch together though.
In July we saw the total eclipse of the blood moon from Fort St Elmo, an evening organised by the Astronomical Society of Malta. It was an awesome experience that we shared with several hundred people from the ramparts of this 500 year-old fort that now houses Malta’s National War Museum. (Fort St Elmo was the first place to be bombed during World War 2 and it was where the first casualties of the war were recorded).
Eclipse of the blood moon 072018
The end of August and beginning of September were memorable because we visited Scotland for the first time and I fell in love with another beautiful country. We did quite a lot during our one-week visit and explored most of Edinburgh and a bit of the Highlands. Perhaps my most lasting memory will remain the haunting clootie well at Munlochy. I definitely hope we will return to Scotland, maybe during the winter months when we can hire a cosy cottage in some forgotten glen in the Highlands.
Scottish Highlands
October and November were also rather blah months with not much going on except, of course, Thanksgiving at the end of November.
Apple spice cake
As always, December was a hectic month. This past December was one of the worst. I couldn’t seem to get to grips with the fact that Christmas was just a few weeks away and left a lot of things till the last minute. In  between the baking, the shopping, the wrapping and the office parties, we managed to find time to visit the Natalis Notabilis Christmas market that is held in the nearby town of  Rabat. The market is in its third year and has become one of the best of its kind in Malta.
Natalis Notabilis (29)
The day after Christmas, or Boxing Day as the British call it, we took a long hike from Gnejna Bay, skirted Pilgrim’s Head and stopped our trek on the high ground from where we could see Fomm ir-Rih. It was an exhilarating, uphill walk that we enjoyed even more on account of a cool breeze that made the overly sunny day tolerable. Viewing the world ‘from up there’, with the silence only broken by the cries of birds and nobody for company except ourselves, is truly as close to peace as you can get on this crowded little island.
Ras il-Pellegrin
On the last Friday of the year the Mischief-maker and I visited the Roman Domus in Rabat. This dwelling that dates back to the 1st Century BC was once within the walls of Mdina and most likely was one of many townhouses in the city. Today its remains are just outside the old city walls but, although it must have once been quite an imposing edifice, not much is left for us to admire.
Mosaic - Roman Domus, Rabat
We spent the evening at MADC’s pantomime production. This year’s chosen fairy-tale was Jack and the Beanstalk and the cast, especially the dame, Lady Frakassat, played by Michael  Mangion, provided plenty of amusement for the young and not-so-young members of the audience.
And that, my dear readers, just about sums up my past year. It seems like it has more words than I expected. I wanted to publish this on the last day of 2018 but things got a bit busy. I hope that you’ve had a relaxing Christmas and are all settling into the new year. I promise I’ll keep in touch a bit better during 2019.


Salty Pumpkin Art said...

Happy Birthday!
Happy Anniversary!
Thank you for sharing your beautiful year

Mary said...

Loved reading of your adventuresome year Loree - and the photos are beautiful.
Hope this new year will be full of more joyful overseas travel and local hikes. Good health and prosperity to you and your family.
Look forward to reading your upcoming posts.
Hugs - Mary



Loree said...

It's an apple spice cake with cinnamon frosting

Loree said...

Thank you, Mary. Wishing you and your family all the best.

Loree said...

Thanks. Getting older and wiser :)

Debbie Nolan said...

Dear Loree - first happy birthday friend. I so enjoyed looking back over your 2018 in photos. Your trip to Scotland was such a delight. I certainly loved seeing this beautiful country through your eyes. May your new year bring you much love, joy, and peace. Hugs!

Loree said...

Thank you Debbie. I hope you have a wonderful year too.

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