Photo taken from www.maltainsideout.com
Photo taken from www.ottsworld.com
A rare visit to Valletta - a place I have not visited very often lately. The increased amount of traffic on this island has put me off any journey (no matter how small) unless it is totally necessary. A couple of days ago I had no option and at 7.45am felt very happy the occasion was forced upon me.
As I walked through the city gate I examined the progress being made on the new contraversial parliament building. My initial impression after I saw the original plans a few years ago was confirmed - a total monstrosity to greet you as you enter the city ''Built by gentlemen for gentlemen''. Enough said about that!
I walked down Republic Street (I still refer to it as King's Way) and through various other streets...St. John's, Merchant's Street, Zachary Street, Melita Street (formerly Britannia Street) etc. with a sense of pride for our beautiful capital city - shame at myself realising I no longer knew this wonderful place. So many renovations, conservation projects, aesthetic improvements - what a city! No wonder so many of my guests make it a point of spending a couple of nights or more here during their holidays to be able to explore in great depth and breath in the culture, history and atmosphere in the air. I need to do the same!
I had some time to spare so I headed over to PREGO. How can one visit Valletta and not go into PREGO? One of the last remaining original cafes. The decor has not changed in the last 50 years. I have been going there since I was around 7 or 8 years old and I have watched the brothers get older the same way they have watched me grow up from a child into middle age! I wonder what will happen when they retire. It doesn't look like family will be taking over - please don't let this be another future modern cafe project. Keep the old tiles, wood panelled glass cases displaying the various whiskies, brandies, vermouths etc, the same padded benches and old chairs - please don't change all that.
I left the cafe with an aim - come back soon camera in hand on a journey of rediscovery.