This Sporting Weekend… Andy Murray

It’s not surprising that Andy Murray has had to have his body reconstructed from spare parts.

Because it’s not easy carrying the sporting hopes of an entire nation, Scotland, on your back.

And yes, we know he’s also British.

But, of course us Scots love to joke that the English media call him British when he’s winning.

But Scottish when he loses.

Or golf

To us Scots though he’s always a winner, and we will miss him not playing at the US Open in Flushing Meadow which starts this weekend.

He won the title here, the first of his three grand slams, in 2012.

I had the pleasure of spending some quality time with Andy’s mum, Judy, the world-renowned tennis coach.

And Strictly Come Dancing sensation.

Judy was giving a group of British and Irish journalists a coaching class at The Campus sports complex in Quinto da Lago in Portugal.

Or cycling

Of course it was a great privilege although there is always a class joker who has to be brought to heel.

Coaching schools are increasingly popular holiday packages for the whole family.

And as well as Judy’s classes, The Campus offers the best in golf technique and expertise at the Paul McGinley Academy.

And beautiful courses.

If it’s cycling you like then this part of the Algarve is unspoiled, quiet.

Or yoga

And for this cyclist whose bike is in the shed because it’s so hilly around Co. Wicklow in Ireland, Quinto most importantly is flat.

Portugal has become a great favourite for sports fans with golf holidays long established.

But if your game is of the crazy variety then you might prefer a kick about instead.

Even if you’re not Premier League standard, and top English teams go to The Campus on training camps, then there are plenty of other football courts around.

A daily five-a-side game was something I got up looking forward to in Cabanas.

Or football

With Duffers, Ray and the local Portuguese kids.

The banter was great between Manchester United fan and Paul Scholes lookalike Terry and Leeds United fan Ray.

Terry still had the skills that saw him have trials at Chelsea although age had caught up with him.

While your diarist got to sport his green and white hooped Sporting Lisbon top although no Cristiano Ronaldo me.

All major airlines fly to Portugal.

And visit And

Here’s my Quinta piece where Judy Murray set me up… http://SPORTUGAL.

Extra time

A toast to the cricket: In Barbados

Just a little extra for the weekend that’s in it.

Because sport has a way of grabbing our attention and diverting us from whatever it is we were doing.

And also as a rejoinder to the naysayers who scoff at Test cricket for the length of the match and that five days of play can end in a draw.

So Ben Stokes and England take a bow for their victory over Australia and the most thrilling sport of the weekend.

Which keeps the Ashes alive.


And here are a couple of islands where they love their cricket…. and

Holiday Snaps – Biarritz

Right, the world’s leaders aren’t going to stay in a caravan park but I do heartily agree with the G7’s choice of Biarritz.

In a former life, and former newspaper, when I had to compete with others (the cheek of it!) to be picked to go on a travel trip, I landed Biarritz.

The newspaper’s system, as far as I could figure it out, was that the first one to reply was rewarded, though I suspect that quality control came into play too.

It went down though like a fart at a funeral among the women in the office that I was being sent to a Thalassotherapy Centre for some water-based spa pampering.

Water everywhere: At the Sofitel

The Hotel Spa Biarritz Le Miramar – Sofitel is where you should go when you’re in town.

And I fancy that The Donald, The Boris, the Emmanuel and The Justin all like a pandering.

I’ve also got a soft spot for The Angela and have been concerned to see her shaking, so she certainly deserves some spoiling.

You too can avail of some treats, and God knows, you deserve it.

Jump in: The Sofitel, Biarritz

I can still feel the seaweed wraps and a shiver goes down my back thinking back on the water hosing I got from the assistant.

The previous time I’d been hosed down was by a life guard in a swimming baths in Glasgow for messing about.

Biarritz by the sea with its iconic lighthouse, and at the gateway to the Pyrenees, is from €208 per night with an Energy Vitality Stopover.

Ryanair flies to Biarritz one-way from €19.99.

I doubt The Donald is on board. But I dare say that if he is and got the winning scratch card that he would share the winnings.

Or not.

Biarritz is in the Basque Country and it is worth heading further afield to see its charms. I did, taking in Lourdes as well

Turkish pipes of prace

At the crossroads: The Bosphorus in Istanbul

There are some things that will scar your kids… seeing their Dad smoking a Shisha pipe is one.

It’s not as if they put any drugs in it, or at least I think they didn’t, more of a sweet-smelling tobacco. Still impressionable seven-year-old minds and all that.

Bodrum in Turkey was perhaps my favourite of our family holidays, possibly on account of the Turks making a fuss of our Ally (like Ali, they said).

And our Laurie befriending Shannon.

And me taking second place in the talent contest, doing a Highland jig in my kilt.

Click&Go has half-board Turkey holidays among a clutch of great offers.

A seven-night stay at the 4* Ambrosia Hotel from €399pps. Travel in October. With return flights from Dublin to Bodrum.

And if you’re looking for another Turkish treat my Istanbul trip this summer is in today’s Irish Sun.

While I’ve also got another version on the site here

A walk in Kerry

Plush: The Rose Hotel

I do hope the PR woman who was taking her first media group on what was then the inaugural Swansea-Cork Ferries trip was not put off by us all getting sea-sick.

And continued with her career.

It proved a thoroughly enjoyable introduction for another tyro, me, into the world of travel and Press groups.

Not least because it also included the use of Citroen cars for a spin around the Ring of Kerry and the Dingle Peninsula.

These days, mainly because The Scary One has taken the wheel. I prefer to walk.

And that’s not because she throws me out of the car.

I’m off to Tenerife next month and am also trekking in Austria.

The beautiful Dingle Peninsula

And that means I won’t be able to avail of this intriguing walk in Kerry.

Courtesy of The Rose Hotel in Tralee this is a Walking Weekend organised for September 27 and 28.

Check in on the Friday evening and on Saturday guests will join Wild Water Adventures on a guided walk with a choice of three routes.

The Dingle Way (Easy 2.5 hours), Loch a Duin Valley (Moderate 4.5 hours) or Mount Brandon (Strenuous 6 hours).

The Walking Weekend package costs €160pp.

It includes two nights accommodation with dinner on one evening, guided walk, packed lunch and transport.

To book or for further enquires please contact The Rose Hotel visit

A little bit of sunny Scotland

Scotland, Barbados: Dwayne and I

I love finding Scotland abroad… in the world’s place names.

Here I am in sunny Scotland (obviously not the original) in Barbados.

Equally I have travelled in other lands where my Scottish forbears have gone before.

The Deep South of the US has a rich Scottish history with Ben Lomond and Banff revealing its Caledonian links.

But you can be deceived. Nevis in the Caribbean has no connection with Britain’s tallest mountain, Ben Nevis.

The Caribs first tried out Ouailie (Land Of Beautiful Water) while the early British settlers called the island Dulcina (Sweet Island).

Until they settled on Nevis from the Spanish Nuestra Senora de las Nievas (Our Lady of the Snows).

Does it even snow there though?

Tropical Sky has savings of up to €1,200pp on seven-night stays at the 5* Nisbet Plantation Beach Club.

For travel completed before December 19, if booked before August 31.

The holiday now costs from €1,899pp. Includes return flight from Dublin.

Irie, let’s reprise some Caribbean adventures… and

It’s Scary… Halloween hooks

Exotic: Thailand. Photo by Oleksandr Pidvalnyi on

You wouldn’t immediately associate Thailand with Halloween, it’s just that our holiday providers like to link dates and places.

In fact it isn’t Buddhist and Halloween is a Christian festival, but being Buddhist they do channel the spirits.

And go for miniature spirit houses outside their homes and businesses where they present gifts to their forefathers.

Emirates Holidays is offering a ‘fangtastic’ (their words) seven nights at the 4* Santhiya, Koh Yao Yai from €3,729 per family.

That’s two adults, two children (under 11 sharing).

Including return flights from Dublin. Depart October 26.

Me, I’m a practising Boozist!

Malta pleasers

In neighbouring Gozo

It’s getting around to that time of year again when I made the besotted Miss F the happiest woman in the world.

I bent down to tie my shoelaces in Malta and she shrieked YES.

My pal, the multi-award winning Travel blogger Tom Sweeney, advises slip-ons.

Budget Travel has seven-night holidays in 4* accommodation with flights from Dublin and Cork with prices from €419pp.

Depart October. And for a refresher on all that Malta has to offer read my

Surfing the seas in Barcelona

Only one man walks on water in Barcelona. He’s everywhere – in every shop window, on the backs of every family of tourists.

Or parading his skills before 100,000 worshippers at the cathedral of football, the Camp Nou.

Only on the day I visited the Spanish city, he’s not.

Messi and Murty: On Oasis of the Seas

The ubiquitous Lionel Messi is back in his native South America on international duty playing for Argentina rather than curling in free-kicks for his adopted Barca.

Barcelona has a vacancy for a sporting hero then… and I’m thinking that if I nail it I might just my name off the back of the football top that fluffy bear is wearing.

He’s sitting in a sports car in the shopping area of a cruise ship in port at the bottom of La Rambla. Such are the trappings of fame, and I want some of it.

And I have the chance.

To walk on water on Royal Caribbean International’s Oasis of the Seas’ surf simulator FlowRider.

And I only have the best in the business to get me up to speed, Irish surfing superstar Geared McDaid.

That’s Gearoid, not me

We’re lucky to have Geared here, his feet rarely touch the ground.

Geared is not long back from a couple of months surfing in Chile, was in Indonesia before that and is on his way to Portugal.

Geared is not what I expect though, no man bun, goatee beard, beard, tattoo sleeve.

Just a regular Sligo boy, although he is pals with Kia Egan!

Thankfully there is one Fifty-something who keeps up appearances with his bandana and windswept beard.

That is me

But boy can he surf. Gearoid, that is.

The simulator is on the 15th deck of the €1.4bn Oasis of the Seas cruise ship which is on it way to Majorca, France and then Italy with 6,300 passengers.

Each enjoying five pools and numerous bars, restaurants and shows. And a park. ‘Central Park’, you’ll forget you’re at sea.

Keep your shorts on: With Kai, my instructor

But alas without us who will have to get off kicking and screaming before sail time.

If they can’t find us hiding away down in the staff quarters.

The idea of the simulator which is 40ft long, is that a rush of water shoots out to build up the swell which you then surf against.

It’s all in the knees, back and arms – and the trick is to sway and not panic.

I’m not the only one who is bushy: In Central Park on Oasis of the Seas

Too late, the road went that way and the bandana and everything under it the other way.

It’s official. I don’t walk on water (but my family could tell you that!)

Maybe I’ll have better luck on my knees.

Eureka or ‘goooooal.’ as Lionel Messi might shout. I manage to master those waves in the prayer position on a boogie board with more than a little help from Mauritian teacher Kai.

Zip slidin’ away: And I’m off zip lining

Suddenly I feel indestructible. And here I was worried that I’d be caught with my shorts down, and quite literally I almost was at half mast.

I hadn’t pulled the cord tightly enough before the surfing class and the waves carried me away.

To be avoided – particularly if you’ve booked up for my next challenge, the 82ft zipline

No-obe nine deck below on the Boardwarl want to have Stars and Stripes board trunks land on them, believe me, when they’re out there shopping.

Or having an early-afternoon drink or are on their way to lunch.

Cocktail hour: And a photobomb

Thankfully, I can’t do much damage in the Spanish restaurant, other than embarrass myself and my party by getting my maracas out (steady!).

Well, once in we weighted into the plats of tapas and a big jug of sangria (when in Spain).

That sangria is’t going to last long

Fuelled with patatas and shrimp al ajillo we swagger off the ship.

Only taking time to pas by an eight-year-old boy twisting and turning on the other simulator and onto Barcelona’s famous La Rambla shopping and market thoroughfare.

Christopher Columbus is still there where I remember him from the last time I visited Barcelona 15 years ago and drew back the curtains of my balcony cabin.

He is proudly guarding the city and pointing out to sea.

To be fair, the arm is right, though I’d maybe bend the elbow and those legs are way too straight.

Sorry, Chris, but you’d be no use on a surfboard either.

Travel facts

Oasis of the Seas: Sail the Western Mediterranean for seven nights on Oasis of the Seas from €1,049pp based on two sharing. Departing Barcelona. Visit Palma, Marseille, Florence/Pisa, Rome (Civitavecchia), Naples and arrive back at Barcelona. See Flights not included.

How to get there: Aer Lingus and Ryanair both fly to Barcelona.

Where to stay in Barcelona: Hotel Concordia is a central hub and has a rooftop pool that will tempt you to linger. Pride was on when we visited and the neighbourhood was jumping. €135 per night.

You want more cruise fun… what about these adventures

This article was first published in the Irish Daily Star

Countdown to Japan: Monkeys

There will be Pumas and Wallabies, Springboks and Bears and Eagles… it’s the Rugby World Cup in Japan.

The Bears are the Russians but you’d probably work that out with my help.

And the Eagles the Americans. Again, that’s self-evident.

But what of the host nation, the Japanese?

Well, no, they don’t take their name from their indigenous animals but their flower, the Cherry Blossom.

But if you get the chance then you’ll want to see some wildlife when you’re there.

And like these monkeys they do come up pretty close.

Flyin’. Photo by Ivandrei Pretorius on

Craic with a macaque

Yes, to give them their Sunday names they are macaques.

But we know them better as snow monkeys.

Travel to Jigokudani Monkey Park in Nagano Prefecture and you’ll see the hot spring bathing wild monkeys in their natural habitat.

You’ll need to be around in December to see them surrounded by snow… who knows you may decide to stay, or even come back?

But you’ll not miss out in the Autumn either.

Whooper Swans

Stick your neck out

There will be plenty of whoops in the rugby but these guys are whooping all the time.

Or why else would they get their names?

These fellas live further north in Hokkaido and are one of the heaviest flying birds weighing an average of eight to eleven kilogrammes.

They migrate to Japan in the winter settling in the Hokkaido Prefecture.

Where they spend most of their time in the water as their legs can’t support their weight.

Steller’s Sea Eagles

Swooping in

The Americans won’t like it because we all know that everything is bigger and better in the Oo Es of A.

But these fellas are the largest eagles in the world with a 2.5m wing span.

If they swoop down by you you’ll get a closer look at their white and chocolate brown livery and yellow beaks.

Or you might have turned tail by then.

Each winter they gather on the north coast travelling to the Nemuro Peninsula in Hokkaido to hunt for Pacific cod.

We’re advised to take an ice drift cruise from Nemuro or the fishing village of Rausa.

Again it’s probably the wrong time with you being there for the World Cup.

January and February is better so put it in your calendar.

Red-crowned Crane

Something to say

Over half of the world’s red-crowed cranes call Hokkaido home with just 3,300 wild cranes across the planet.

The Japanese believe they are lucky and bring happiness, longevity and peace.

Though from the looks of them they appear to be making a lot of noise.

They can be found in Japanese folk tales, paintings, prints and decorated sliding doors called fusuma.

Kushiro City, Tsurui village and Akan village are three major feeding sites.

Again the best sightings are between November and March.

So maybe it’s best just to book your return trip to Japan to see its natural wild life.

And in the meantime celebrate the menagerie of rugby players grunting and running around the field.

Japan National Tourism Organisation promotes Japan. Visit,,

And I’ve been keeping you up to date with other aspects of Japan and deals out there…,,


Flyday Friday – Ryanair

‘If only I’d known being nice would be good for business I’d have done it earlier.’

Michael O’Leary’s much-vaunted volte-face (remember the picture with the golden labrador) was either just for our benefit…

Or it failed.

Stormy times: For Ryanair

Ryanair has come last of 100 brands for customer service in a Which? survey.

Now it is unapologetically no-frills, and why should it be?

So is the onus back on us to get it right, read the small (and even larger) print before you book.

And you may have to swallow it if you get hit by a surcharge at the airport.

Yes, that’s easy to say if you’re not the one with squealing kids.

But to bring a little light relief to proceedings…

A story.

Lining up in Barcelona Airport, a little girl asked their mother if they were priority…

And if not why were they standing in that queue.

Out of the mouths of babes.

This survey, of course, comes at a rotten time for Ryanair, what with the pilots’ 48-hour strike.

Check for the latest developments and latest low-frills and low-price deals.

When September comes

Glamorous: Gran Canaria

Sorry for dropping in a random Green Day song… it’s just they’re The Scary One’s favourite band.

And I’ll tell you what else she likes… getting away.

So I’ve been a bit sheepish as I’m scuttling around the house, and she knows I’m off to the Canaries next month.

You can too courtesy of Aer Lingus

It’s offering 20% off a 5* Gran Canaria getaway, staying at the Radisson Blu Resort & Spa Morgan, as part of their September sale.

The cost of the holiday is €654pp and that includes return fares from Dublin.

Use the promo code SUNHOLIDAY.

Homage to Christ

Rio by the sea-o: Christ the Redeemer in Rio

Some things confuse me (heck, most things do). I mean the New World is supposed to be new and the Old World old.

But this threw me. In Lisbon there stands a statue of Christ with his arms outstretched, just like in Rio.

The Rio statue, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, all 98ft of it on a 26ft pedestal with 28ft outstretched arms was put up in 1931.

The Lisbon story

Lisbon followed suit in 1959 in gratitude for being spared the worst effects of the Second World War.

They were neutral.

The Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon, we are told, had been so moved by his visit to Rio as to suggest a statue in Lisbon.

The Portuguese one is a lot more pedestal in truth, 269ft, with Christ 92ft.

All stuff of which brings me to TAP Air Portugal’s new connection from Dublin to Rio, via Lisbon from €767.

With the option of a five-day stop-off in Lisbon at no extra cost.

And here’s a taster of Portugal Secret Portugal.


Jocktails – the Sazerac

Now we all know that Cocktail Hour is 6 o’clock but did they stipulate that it had to be 6pm.

So picture the scene: the Preservation Hall Jazz Band of New Orleans are belting out the tunes.

Before they lead us into the hall, naturally playing When The Saints.

They’ve got gumbo and jambalaya on the tables in front of us.

And there are bartenders fixing Sazeracs.

There is orange juice, coke, water and coffee.

But I’m not having that.

Hustle and bustle of New Orleans. Photo by kendall hoopes on

So a little bit about the Sazerac.

It’s reputed to be the oldest cocktail in the world.

And it is a variation of the Sazerac de Forge et Fils brand of cognac brandy that was its original main ingredient.

These days it’s usually made with rye.

Golden vision: Rye Photo by Prem Pal Singh on

The history bit

The Sazerac Coffee House proprietor Aaron Bird and drinks importer Sewell Taylor are credited with inventing the cocktail in the 1850s.

Our friend Bird made it with Sazerac cognac imported by Taylor.

It was allegedly made with bitters from the local apothecary, Antoine Amedie Peychaud.

The primary ingredient changed from cognac to rye whiskey in the 1870s.

Because there had been a phylloxera  epidemic (to do with grapes) in Europe that devastated the vineyards of France.

Absinthe was banned in the US in 1912… perhaps they had seen what Vincent Van Gogh had done after drinking it.

And it was replaced by various anise-flavored liqueurs, most notably the locally produced Herbsaint.

So you want to see how you make it? Thought you might.

Sweet stuff. Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on

How to make it

You’ll need 2 1/2 oz. of rye whisky

One  sugar cube

Two dashes of bitters

A dash of Angostura bitters

Herbsaint (or ask at your off-licence).

lemon peel.

A garnish. Photo by on


Muddle the sugar cube with a few drops of water in an old-fashioned glass.

Add several small ice cubes and then the rye whiskey and bitters.

Stir well.

Then roll the Herbsaint around a second chilled Old-Fashioned glass until its inside it is thoroughly coated. Pour off the excess.

Strain the contents of the first glass into the second. Garnish with a twist of lemon peel.

It’ll have you singing and dancing.

Visit the Museum of the American Cocktail in New Orleans. and And

And for a trip down the Old South then may I recommend my series The King of Kings on Tennessee and Mississippi http://The King of Kings.

Just a reminder – your weekly food column too….

And how Sazerac will get you into the New Orleans spirit…

Hurry up – sale is in the Cannes

The weather’s lousy here… well, the rain is what makes Ireland so green, I guess.

But I bet it’s nicer down on the French Riviera. In fact I know it is.

Cannes watersports

Travel Department has a flash winter sun sale for customers booking select seven-night holidays until tomorrow.

You’ll get €40pp off the cost of your holiday using the code VP-SUN40.

Let’s pick out Cannes and the Cote d’Azur for you.

In the iconic Fiat 500

But there’s also:


Highlights of Andalucia,

Costa De La Luz & Seville,


Grenada & Costa del Sol,

Estoril & the Lisbon Coast,

Algarve Coast & Country,

Ancient Greece

And Highlights of Sicily.

What’s on offer

The French Riviera was the first foreign holiday I had on my own with my pals, after school.

And thankfully the gendarme were looking the other way when I returned in style when I became a Travel Editor.

And didn’t remember me holding up la rue in St Raphael 30 years earlier.

Mais oui!

Your Travel Department Cannes trip will include excursions to Monaco and Monte Carlo with entrance to Rothschild Villa & Gardens.

Le Jardin: Rothschild Villa & Gardens

Another day trip will bring you to the medieval town of Grasse, which is the perfume capital of France & the painters’ village of St. Paul-de-Vence.

You will also visit Antibes & Nice, a one-day excursion which includes the Old Town of Antibes, Millionaire’s Quay and the magnificent Nice Promenade.

And there will be some time left to just relax and enjoy the laid-back Riviera life.

History all around you: On the French Riviera

For departures until March 31.

And read all about my adventures in Cannes.

Prices start from €749pp for 7 nights including return flights, 4* B&B hotel accommodation, transfers and excursions with an expert local guide, departing September and October 2019

For more information or to book, call 01-6371600 or click HERE.

The debate – Greenland

Maybe Donald Trump has a spare half a trillion down the back of his White House couch to buy Greenland.

But wouldn’t that just pay the interest on the $22 trillion national debt?

But amid all that incredulity that a country could just buy another country, or land, then frankly…

And the Americans only wanted New Orleans

They don’t know the history of the USA.

The 49th State, Alaska, bought from Russia for $7.2million in 1867 ($109m today) was considered a huge white elephant by many Americans.

There’s ice in Greenland

The Russians had been looking to get rid of it after running up big costs in the fruitless Crimean War and had first sounded out the British.

Who thought it a wilderness too.

It wasn’t… there was gold in them thar swamps and oil in the fields.

And before that there was the Louisiana Purchase from the French of 828,000sq miles which doubled the size of the country,

Now Louisiana was a great bit bigger than New Orleans and the bayou back in 1804.

Welcome to Denver, Colorado

It stretched from the Gulf of Mexico and swallowed up part of 15 modern-day US states.

Including Colorado where there’s still a French influence and much more besides. Read my review in Go West.

And the Louisiana Purchase even included slithers of two Canadian provinces.

Not bad value for $15m ($220m in today’s money).

And again it was a case of its owners, in this instance France, and Napoleon, needing money.

In his case to wage war with Britain.

Then there was Florida, a swamp back in 1819 for $5m ($90m). About the price of a row of houses on South Beach now.

But is there oil too in Greenland?

Now not playing Trump’s game, and we live in very different times now…

But if Greenland is a $700m a year drain of a dominion on Denmark as he says…?

Then with all his powers of persuasions in completing the deal.

It’s a deal: Aw, hell, I’ve just sold Scotland

Now there couldn’t possibly be oil there, could there?

So you want to see how you can get to Greenland…?

A cruise is probably best. Check out Or And

And if you want to know a bit more about Donald Trump’s fellow New Yorker and the original NY businessman Alexander Hamilton

Hungry and Thursday – Hamburgers

You know when you think you’re being clever and you discover someone has been there before you… Ich Bin Ein Hamburger.

It’s a headline I put on a review of Hamburg. And a play on John F. Kennedy’s solidarity with the Berliners ‘Ich Bin Ein Berliner’.

It transpires though that the clever Haguers of Den Haag, or The Hague, came up with the same idea for their restaurant.

Now this feature, Hungry and Thursday, will revisit the Netherlands, and Dutch/Middle Eastern fusion food next week.

The secret is in here

But for now I’ll look at burgers.

Again someone had the idea before me to seek out the origins of the hamburger.

My efforts were less successful.

Being the lost tourist that I am, and even with the help of The Scary One who knows how to get from A to B, I couldn’t find the restaurant I wanted.

It transpired as well that the place we’d identified to serve us our rundstuck would have been shut that day anyway.

Take your pick

The Hamburger, of course, is the world’s favourite takeaway food.

And it has the German emigrants to America to thank.

And now for the history bit

Who brought the rundstuck to America in the 19th Century.

Being good wholesome food it proved popular and a good source of nutrition for refuelling for manual workers.

And served in a bread bun it proved portable.

It has, of course, served the same purpose for future generations on the go.

Or just as a well-priced and quick alternative as a sit-down meal.

And of course Hamburg is famous for St Pauli and the nightlife

So what are the best burgers?

Well, they have expanded and you can get vegan, bison, chicken, you name it.

This is just a filler

And all manner of fillings… tomato and lettuce are staples.

I like mushrooms with everything but please, no gherkins.

And you can choose from a multitude of sauces.

For the best hamburger go to Hamburg. I can thoroughly recommend Dulf’s Burger and my review Ich bin ein Hamburger. And visit

I did say nightlife, didn’t I?

Where you’ll find what makes a hamburger a hamburger.

And it’s not ham which means ‘bend of the river’ or burger which means ‘inhabitant of a fort.

Time flies – Ryanair’s €9.99 UK sale

That’s the thing. If you sit still then you miss out on the big Ryanair sale.

Ryanair has a seat sale on for the UK with flights from €9.99.

Now bear in mind that a single coach trip from Aberdeen was twice that 30 years ago and it gives you an idea of what great value this is.

Heck, you don’t need a reference point. It just is.

He’s waiting for us. Photo by Samuel Wölfl on

The thing is you have to be quick. Because the sale runs out at midnight tonight, Wednesday August 28, or when the seats have been sold out.

I’d bank on it being the former.

Yes, London, obviously is in the destinations in the deal.

And I know a bit about it although you know me by now… I come at it from my own particular angle… And

But Ryanair flies to Liverpool too, the friendliest city in England. Heck, the most welcoming city anywhere.

I’ll gather my thoughts and my old photos and put together a Day in the Life on Liverpool. Hold me to it.

Evertoians, don’t shoot me. Photo by Tembela Bohle on

And, of course, Scotland is still part of the UK. At least until after Brexit.

So that means Glasgow and Edinburgh. And

Now you all know about Edinburgh although that won’t stop me sharing some random thoughts from time to time.

But you might not know as much about my native city, Glasgow. Here’s a good starting point http://I belong to Glasgow.

Glasgow is known for its murals

Ryanair knows that those of us who call Ireland home don’t all live in Dublin.

And so they have deals out of Cork, Kerry, Shannon and Knock too.

So what are you waiting for? Check in and get over to the UK.

And when you do, just mention my name.

They’ll either ask when am I coming back or plead with you on their knees to keep me here.

And because it’s good to share then read my fellow blogger’s culinary post on London gracethoroughgoodbeauty.