Adventure, America, Asia, Australasia, Canada, Countries, Deals, Europe

Working abroad revisited

Where do I start? In Boston singing Happy Birthday Ole, Happy Birthday from Harry’s, Happy Birthday Ole.

Is as good a place as any.

It’s the rite of passage for British and Irish university students to go and work in North America after finishing their degrees.

Beantown: Boston

For fear of spooking you I’ll maybe skip the story of me being chucked out of the YMCA after nicking the bed of a Colombian.

I think he was called Escobar.

USIT www.usit.ie are the people to go to for students, teachers and trainees.

San Fran

And here are the options:

•Camp USA or Canada and work as a counsellor anywhere from Calgary to California.

•Coaching soccer with the chance to work in Chicago, Atlanta or Boston.

•J1 Summer work in the USA in San Diego, Montauk or Myrtle Beach.

•Intern in New York or San Fransisco on a grad visa.

Once upon a time… in Copenhagen

•Interrail across Europe from Copenhagen to Bucharest in one adventure.

•Volunteer or travel to Vietnam, Thailand or Laos.

Our friends at USIT in 19 Aston Quay sent me a brochure of their wares, and seeing I’m a caring, sharing sort…

So let’s start in North America.

You’ll be looking for a one-year graduate USA visa which is the only option where you don’t need a job before travelling.

You’ll want to check out www.usavisa.ie and www.J1Online.ie.

I’ll turn you into Messi

And here’s one I’d do if I fell between the age range of 18-35, Coach Soccer USA.

After wowing them in The Campus in Quinto da Lago www.quintodalago.com.

For Canada it’s the two-year IEC Visa. Applications open but don’t hang about. Visit www.usit.ie.

Fancy a bit of opera

For Australia you can decide to stay on for another year.

And take up a third year visa you will need to do six months of regional work in your second year.

For New Zealand and a tip here. If you’ve used up your one-year working visa you can now apply for…

The New Zealand Skilled Visa.

And also check out the Land of the Long White Cloud for teaching jobs – they’re crying out for us.

The Rest of the World and try out volunteer jobs in:

Thailand, Nepal, India and Vietnam.

The Taj Mahal… no, not the restaurant

And again www.usit.ie is where to visit.

Now let’s talk Interrail… we did a thing called Transalpino after school, down to the French Riviera.

You can get a range of trips with USIT.

I’ve just got back from the Balkans so I’m pushing this:

The Balkans for Beginners: Ten days pass from €277.

You’ll take in Genoa up through Austria, down through Slovenia and Croatia and into Bosnia & Herzegovina.

And you’ll love Sarajevo and Dubrovnik. Visit www.interrail.ie.

Adventure, Canada, Countries, Culture, Deals

Meghan BC: British Columbia

Meghan ‘Before Crown’. Or Meghan BC ‘British Columbia’.

The Duchess of Sussex is going back to the future by setting up home again in Canada.

So why BC? Well, no doubt you’ve met someone who has been and says it is the best place on Earth.

Lose the stress

This is their boast… that time spent in nature can make us less stressed and that its majestic wild can improve short-term memory by 20% and boost creativity and problem-solving by 50%.

They call it the British Columbia Effect.

Breathe in the air

And so like Ms Markle we’ll let someone else do the work!

Find clarity in the mountains

Kootenay National Park celebrates 100 years in 2020. From grasslands and glaciers to narrow canyons and extensive mountain ridges, Kootenay National Park is a land of awe-inspiring contrasts.

Stay in an “oTENTik” (part tent, part cabin) visit Radium Hot Springs (part of theHot Springs Circle Route)

Or hike the 17.5km Kindersley-Sinclair trail; one of Kootenay’s most epic day hikes.

National Park admission is priced from £5.80 per adult.

The water of life

Retreat to the mountains with Mountain Trek’s health programs near Ainsworth Hot Springs.

Offering all-inclusive wellness retreats, guests will enjoy daily Nordic Hiking, detox in the on-site spa, take on a gourmet nutrition plan.

Mindfulness

And practise mindfulness. All-inclusive programs are priced from £4,162pp excluding flights and transfers.

Wide, wid rivers

Get your heart pumping with CHM Heli-Skiing and Summer Adventures new Alpine Heli Trail Running and Full Zillmer Canyon Via Ferrata trips, available from July 2020.

These heli-supported mountain adventures run from the Bugaboos Lodge and newly renovated Cariboos Lodge.

Previous mountaineering experience is not required to explore the Zillmer Canyon’s slots and waterfalls

Hit the trail

While trail-runners can expect to cover up to 25km per day across ridgelines, forest trails and mountaintop terrain.

Three-day trips are priced from £2,084 per person, excluding flights.

What a sunrise!

Go hut-to-hut on the Spearhead Traverse, Whistler.

The new Kees and Claire Hut at Russet Lake offers 38 bunks across six sleeping areas along the remote Spearhead Traverse.

With a further two brand new huts planned to open this year.

The 40 km route crosses 13 glaciers over 2,000 metres between Whistler and Blackcomb.

Hikers are able to stay for as little as £26 per night.

Chinatown: Vancouver’s Eastern flavour

Head North for BC’s first Northern Lights Festival in Fort Nelson, held 12-21 March.

Watch the Aurora Borealis dance across the sky and enjoy a series of cultural and musical events in BC’s Northern climbs.

A Full Festival Package includes access to all events.

It is an overnight trip to the Fort Nelson First Nations Lodge at Liard Hot Springs, a sled dog ride with Streeper Kennels and a snowmobiling adventure.

With Jag Adventures, priced from £706 per person excluding flights and transfers.

Bridge of highs: Vancouver

Wander in the Rainforest

Step into the wild with new operator Coastal Rainforest Safaris this spring.

Safari-style camping on the secluded Branham Island in the Great Bear Rainforest.

A whale of a time

Whale and bear watching and unique insights into the local Indigenous Kwakwaka’wakw culture.

Three-day safaris are priced from £2,292 per person based on double occupancy in a safari-style tent.

Including all meals and activities, excluding flights and transfers.

Beach life: British Columbia

Homalco Wildlife and Cultural Tours will continue to offer new Indigenous led wildlife and cultural experiences on the edge of the Great Bear Rainforest.

Join the Great Bears of Bute excursion and see some of BC’s most iconic predators.

Or the new full-day People Water Land excursion, running from June – August.

Showcasing Homalco culture in Bute Inlet. Prices to be confirmed.

A great stay

(Sleep…and) Be Soothed by the Sea

Re-connect with the North Shore at the new waterfront Seaside Hotel in Vancouver’s Lower Lonsdale neighbourhood.

The hotel’s design echoes the outside elements offering guests world-class comfort inspired by a unique waterfront ambiance.

Across 71 rooms and suites, the Seaside Provisions restaurant and The Waterfront Spa.

Room-only priced from £213 based on a mid-week May 2020 arrival.

Cool BC. Photo by B B on Pexels.com

Sunshine Coast

Disconnect in Desolation Sound at the newly reopened Lund Resort at Klah ah men.

The first, full-service Indigenous Resort on the Sunshine Coast.

The redesigned Back Eatery features a seasonal indigenous inspired menu.

And the new Sweet Shack coffee shop offers the Resort’s exclusive 13 Moons Coffee.

A spa is set to open onsite in late 2020. Standard Queen rooms are priced from £125 based on a mid-week May 2020 arrival.

Seaplanes, yes please. Photo by Vladislav Vasnetsov on Pexels.com

Island of dreams

Check in to the newly renovated Kingfisher Oceanside Resort & Spa on Vancouver Island.

As part of its $17 million renovations the resort has revealed 14 newly appointed Ocean Courtyard guestrooms.

With stunning views of the Georgia Strait.

Modern swish. Vancouver. Photo by James Wheeler on Pexels.com

Spa fun

The renovated Pacific Mist Spa is focused around the life-giving power of water.

The resort also offers two new restaurants; the AQUA Bistro & Wine Bar and Ocean 7.

Which use fresh ingredients from local purveyors and exercise sustainable practices in all menu creations.

Standard rooms are priced from £122 based on a mid-week May 2020 arrival.

For more information on The British Columbia Effect, visit: www.hellobc.com/the-british-columbia-effect-US

For more information on British Columbia, visit: www.hellobc.co.uk

And because I know you just love a seaplane… then come with me on this thrill https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/12/atoll-tale-the-maldives/.

Adventure, America, Countries, Deals

Holidos and don’ts – Rollercoasters

Every holiday has its ups and downs and rollercoaster holidays have more than most.

Of course you’re probably a big fan of the corkscrews otherwise you wouldn’t have booked this type of holiday.

Well, maybe, but then it could be a family holiday and Himself or Junior are the rollercoaster junkies.

Me, I’m a nervous rollercoaster but I will put myself forward.

Well, someone has to make a dent in it

But as tempting as it is may be you ought to miss out on the bacons, sausages, eggs, omelettes, pancakes and muffins.

Particularly if you’ve been down at the Irish duelling piano bar Pat O’Brien’s in Orlando https://www.universalorlando.com/web/en/us/things-to-do/dining/pat-o-briens.

And CityWalk’s Rising Star karaoke club. https://www.universalorlando.com/web/en/us/things-to-do/entertainment/rising-star-karaoke Doing giant Hurricane cocktails and shots.

Been there, done that

In my unforgettable trips Aaawlando… Orlando, the rollercoaster capital and Why I love The Donald with https://www.universalorlando.com/web/en/us and https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/en_GB/.

Don’t overdo the Duff at Moe’s

Motion sickness tablets: Right you get to the rollercoasters and your tummy starts doing somersaults.

You want to go on but you worry that you’ll bring up your breakfast over that cute excited little girl in front of you.

And that’s where motion sickness tablets come in handy.

Choose your rollercoaster: Don’t be a hero.

My old pal Colin is as tough a bloke as you’ll meet and will run through brick walls on a football field.

But he doesn’t like big dippers. That’s fine, there are plenty of attractions, funky characters and food… on the ground!

While some of us love a corkscrew or a loop the loop while others (me) like a vertical drop.

Harry’s game

And then there are those 4D carts like you get in Harry Potter which tilt and play with your senses.

To give the illusion that you are riding on your broomstick around Hogwarts Castle.

And playing quidditch with Ron Weasley.

The feeling of disorientation will pass, the memories never will.

 

All that was left were the glasses

For many of us (me) we feel safer if we have water to cushion the fall.

And so for me it was Wet ‘n Wild Orlando which alas closed in 2016.

Dropping down through a trap door down the chute and round some loops

Before thundering into the final splash was one of the most exhilarating rides of my life.

So, Wet ‘n Wild has gone, you’ve still got Aquatica.

And in California

Disneyland Park, Anaheim https://disneyland.disney.go.com/destinations/disneyland/?CMP=OKC-dlr_themeparks_gmap_38 has it all.

And now something else again which for you Star Wars fans is something else again… Stair Wars

The way to do any of these theme parks, of course, is priority booking.

And the people to do it with are Attraction Tickets www.attractiontickets.com.

MEET YOU ON THE BIG DIPPER

Adventure, Africa, America, Countries, Europe

My Sporting Weekend – Records

Talk Sport Radio has been a Godsend these past few months.

And my ears pricked up that little bit more with the latest cricket Test match.

Between England and South Africa coming from my old stomping ground of Port Elizabeth.

And they love their rugby in SA too

Now I’m not putting myself on the same level as Shoaib Akhtar or Brett Lee.

The pace aces bowled over 100mph there in the World Cup.

It’s just that the less-vaunted PE in South Africa is a city I fell in love with last year… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/homemyoffice/whats-new-pussycat/.

It got me thinking too about other destinations that have become tied in with world records.

You want a 401… call on Murty

Brian Lara, 400 not out, St John’s, Caribbean, 2004:

Any excuse to showcase the Caribbean I hear you say but there is a tale here about Lara and me.

My old university pal Jevan had taken me to Foreday Morning on my first visit to Barbados.

And introduced me to his old Trinidadian pal Brian.

I’m a Bajan: I don’t give a damn

He told me he was over for the cricket and I naively asked if he played.

I didn’t expect the greatest modern-day batsman would ever wear anything other than cricket whites or one-day burgundy!

Olympic champions

Stefan Kraft, Vikerssundbakken, Norway:

Now there are some sports we all do and those that are just death wishes.

Where’s the peloton?

Me, the Tour de France, 2019: Yes, here I am atop the 6,939ft Col du Tourmalet, the Tour de France’s most used climb.

And I’m not even out of breath. No wonder I needed some magic muscle-soothing water.

Climbing mountains is in the genes for Scots… I give you King of the Mountains Robert Millar.

Where’s the next record?

Me, white water rafting, Colorado:

The record for staying in the water tub long enough on the Poudre River… https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1Q7Z0dkvzUc&feature=youtu.be.

Of course British Columbian Hazel Amos puts me to shame as the oldest rafter in the world at 96.

And yes, it’s another from the Wild West, but hey, I was born to be a cowboy.

Waltzing to the next title

Samuel Groth, world’s fastest serve, Busan Open, 163.7mph:

No, nor me, but this is it… https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=uKeL-W7xft0.

Of course my on serve after being coached by Judy Murray at The Campus, Quinto da Lago wasn’t chronicled.

That’ll be then.

Michael Austin, world’s longest drive: At 515 yards that’s some power.

Mike gripped it and ripped it at the Winterwood Golf Course in Las Vegas in 1974.

Blasting it 65 yards past the flag on the par-four 5th hole.

Vegas, baby: And Murty hits it into the next state

Me, I drunk it and sunk it… that’s my pitcher of beer at Topgolf in Las Vegas https://topgolf.com/us/las-vegas/.

On my Vegas trip a couple of years ago… Strip… the light fantastic.

While I also showed them how to do it in Quinto…

And hopefully I’ll be back to break my own record at the American Travel Fair www.ipw.com.

MEET YOU ON THE PODIUM

Adventure, Europe

Here we snow – Crystal Ski deals

Growing up in Scotland snow became a plaything.

Like the time when I threw a snowball at a driving car (don’t).

Only for the motorist to then turn up at the door (karma).

And, no, my Mum didn’t buy my story that I was throwing it at a pal across the road and the car got in the way.

Or in my first year at university when Myself and Nutty Nigel (the clue is in the name) built a giant snowball.

Fun and games in the Pyrenees

And blocked the entrance to the door of our block of flats.

Replace headmaster, angry parent with Halls of Residence manager.

And then there was the time during a week away with my then-girlfriend and her pals…

When I careened into her on the nursery slopes and soon became an ex.

But this is just for the cameras

Which is why with one brief return to the slopes with the (still) First Mrs M Soll Mates with www.topflight.ie I have hung up my skis.

Choose from these countries

The start of the year is fine enough time for booking your ski holiday.

Flying by the seat of my pants

With Crystal Ski offering €100 off your March deals.

Including: seven nights Andorra, departing March 15, staying at the 4* Hotel Canaro, Soldeu/El Tarter. Half-board. From €775pps.

Austria: Depart on March 7, stay at the 3* Haus Edelweiss, Zel Am See, B&B from €579pps.

Italy: Depart on March 15. Stay at the 3* Hotel Martin, Sauze D’oiux, half-board, from €795pp.

France: Depart on March 21: Stay. At the 3* Plagne Lauze Apartments, La Plagne. S/C from €975pps (four share).

From €375pps. Visit www.crystalski.ie

So I’ll maybe leave the Franz Klammer (I’m showing my age) and Lindsey Vonn stuff to my old pal and multi award-winning ski writer Murphski and Co.

Adventure, Culture, Pilgrimage

Give us this Day: the day Jesus was baptised

You’d be glad of a cool down in the 30C heat of a Jordan May. but Jesus wasn’t complaining.

Today is designated the sacred day when we commemorate The Baptism of the Lord.

It is in truth a little cooler in Jordan than when I went, at 11C but I can’t imagine the Lord was shivering.

So for the day that’s in it let’s take a deeper look into baptisms.

The first question is: where exactly was Jesus baptised.

The Jordanians claimed that he was doused further inland at Al-Maghtas.

Here in ‘Bethany beyond the Jordan’ in what is modern-day Jordan.

The Israelis for their part believe that he was baptised on their banks.

https://videopress.com/v/IQjZxU7W?controls=false&preloadContent=metadata

And this is where the Russian Orthodox Christians believe there are healing waters and they go full immersion.

The Jordanians claim Jesus was baptised here

All of which I learned on my G Adventures trip to Jordan last year…. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/culture/petra-jordan-jesus-and-the-sands-of-time/, http://www.visitjordan.com, http://www.gadventures.com.

While decide for yourself which you think it is…. or like me just soak it all up and maybe sneak some holy water… http://www.baptismsite.com

So for us Gentiles it’s worth reflecting that of course John, Jesus and all those who were being baptised were all Jews.

And that John though the most famous baptist would not have been the first.

Today at Mass

Ritual immersion had been part and parcel of Jewish culture, or mikvehs for some time.

Jews would ritually immerse themselves for spiritual purity before worshipping.

Washing is, of course, central to the daily and spiritual life of Muslims.

Water of Islam

As I have found out on my trips to Marrakech www.visitmarrakech.com and Morocco www.visitmorocco.com.

And more recently in Istanbul www.visitistanbul.com and Turkey www.goturkeytourism.com.

And Sarajevo in Bosnia & Herzegovina www.visitsarajevo.ba

The boys in the Blue Mosque

It is, of course, a primal act to wash as well as being hygienic.

And you can find it in Sikhism through Amrit Sanskar.

While in Hinduism they like to immerse statues of Durga and Ganesh during the final stages of the festivals Durga Puja and Ganesh Charturthi.

Water of death

And purification is as much part of death as it is a spiritual birth.

A ritual bath in pure water is performed for the dead in many religions including Judaism and Islam.

For more on this pilgrim’s progress… read https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/culture/petra-jordan-jesus-and-the-sands-of-time/ https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/pilgrimage/camino-a-pilgrims-prayer/, https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/small-roads-lead-to-rome/ https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-lourdes-prayer-pyrenees/ and Fatima in https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/secret-portugal-classy-centro/

Adventure, Countries, Europe

My Sporting Weekend – Olympic year

It’s not the best start to Olympic year with two-time London Marathon champion Wilson Kipsang provisionally banned for anti-doping breeches.

Which beggars the question now: can we have faith any more in the Games?

Or will every gold medal come with the suspicion that it has been artificially enhanced?

Today’s Marathon has share of walkers

Now it wasn’t squeaky clean when I were a lad and running around the tracks, fields and roads of the UK.

But it wasn’t Tour de France proportions.

Mind you a trawl back to the Greek Games suggests they were at it too.

It must be that scrotum I ate

According to 1st Century BC physician Aretaeus of Cappadocia animal hearts and testicles were the anabolic steroids of the day.

Now I enjoyed my meat and two veg well enough when I visited Athens https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/09/21/acropolis-later/ last September… https://athensattica.com.

Don’t worry, I won’t eat your heart

But to the best of my knowledge…

Although I did sprint up those hills of the Attica island of Kythera https://visitkythera.com and swim like a fish in the Aegean Sea.

While I leapt with joy higher than any high jumper when I finally got to see the Parthenon.

You can sit anywhere

And ne’er a fungus, bread with opium, or Galen’s recommendation, the boiled hooves of an Abyssynian ass, in my system.

We’d passed by the stadium which had been used for the 1896 Games, the first of the modern era.

And all along the way there were signposts to Marathon.

Phillipedes, as we all know, covered the 26 miles and 385 yards, back in 490BC.

To convey the news that the Athenians had beaten the Persians.

 

Built to last: On the Acropolis

Now, of course we’ve got TV, the net and social media.

But will they last as long as Pericles’ great legacy.

And here’s a leaving thought: when will the Games return to its spiritual home?

With Tokyo this year, Paris in 2024 and LA in 2028 then 2032 is the earliest Greece could host it.

 

What’s in that potion?

And Seoul is likely to get that.

And Seoul athletics fans will recall was where seven out of the eight finalists in the100m…

At various points in their career to violate the rules over drugs.

And a PS here… I know I called it wrong when I said it was New England Patriots’ year again This Sporting Weekend – Touchdown Vegas in American Football.

What else am I getting wrong… let me know!

MEET YOU ON THE ROADS

Adventure, Ireland, UK

Puppy New Year… Northern Ireland for your doggies

Now this is animal magic… dog-friendly destinations, with Northern Ireland leading the way.

Our friends in the North have given us a nudge about their pet-friendly hotels, bars, restaurants and walking (or should that be walkies) locations.

So here is the pick of the pooch-friendly places to go:

Lusty Beg Island Hotel, County Fermanagh: Lusty Beg boasts Northern Ireland’s fist GOLD Paw Grading from Dog Friendly NI’s PAW Grading Programme. Woof, woof!

There are two areas where owners and dogs can dine together, they offer solo traveller assistance for people visiting on their own with their pets.

What are you waiting for? At Lusty Beg Island Hotel

And there’s even a dog wash for muckie mutts. Visit http://www.lustybegisland.com/en/dog-friendly/

The Inn on the Coast, Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coastal Route: Between the harbour towns of Portrush and Portstewart in County Antrim.

You’ll find dedicated pet-friendly rooms on the ground floor for up to two dogs.

Back home late: At the Inn on the Coast

And your best friend is welcome at the seating area of the foyer and in the reception where you can relax and enjoy a drink or meal.

The Inn even awards a Good Behaviour Certificate and a treat for your furry friend to check out. Visit http://www.innonthecoastportrush.com/all-rooms/pet-friendly-rooms.

Red carpet treatment

The Dirty Onion, Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter: Your doggie’s favourite pub in the capital. With a Doggie Dock which serves complimentary water and doggie treats.

And there is a huge beer garden to stretch the legs and a peat fire to slumber in front of… that’s for the dogs obvs. Visit http://www.thedirtyonion.com/about/

Walkies

Slievenaslat Walk Trail, Castlewellan, Co. Down: Climb through the frost to the summit of Silevenaslat (272m) where you’ll have fantastic views of the Mourne Mountains. Visit http://www.walkni.com/mourne-mountains/castlewellan-forest-park-slievenaslat-walk

The Divis Ridge Trail: Now the Son and Heir is all over Belfast, though whisper it he’s more of a cat fan than a dog fan.

But he does like a walk and often needs walkies… even though he’s 24.

The Divis Ridge Trail is a 4.2 circular route located in the scenic Belfast Hills.

With spectacular views over the great old city and the Mourne Mountains, my own Bonnie Scotland and the Isle of Man.

Your dog will be ahead of you, of course, and get to the 478m high point first.Visit http://www.walkni.com/walks/murlough-national-nature-reserrve/

And tell me where you’ve gone with your dog and liked.

Here are some doggie-related thoughts on the subject… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/03/holiday-snaps-surf-dog-huntington-beach/ and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/11/20/poochie-poochie-coo-its-florida-keys/ and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/10/26/holiday-snaps-halloween-in-new-york/.

I must confess that the Americans strike me as the doggie-daftest people on Dog’s (sorry, God’s) Earth but you might think differently.

And, of course, you know how much I love Northern Ireland so make sure you go… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/culture/belfastvanmorrison/, https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/07/21/and-the-champion-golfer-of-the-year-is-2/.

And check out their website… http://www.discovernorthernireland.com.

Adventure, Deals, Europe

Fairytale deals to Copenhagen

Once upon a time there was an airline carrier which offered wonderful deals to Scandinavia.

But guess what we still live happily ever after with these deals from Scandinavia Airlines http://www.sas.com.

They offer Stockholm from €41, Copenhagen from €44 and Oslo from €37.

Our ship down there: MSC in Norway

We got our first taste of Scandinavia https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-call-of-the-fjords/ when we cruised around Denmark and Norway and got a tantalising look at Sweden on our MSC tour of the fjords… http://www.msccruises.ie and http://www.msccruises.co.uk.

Where we also popped in an old friend in Copenhagen … well, yes him. But him as well, my old university mucker American Tom.

Fairytale story: With Tom and The Scary One

It was invaluable having local knowledge for that day trip with Tom being able to show us where you can buy a coffee for under a tenner.

And also tell us which rides to go on and which not in the Tivoli Gardens http://www.tivoli.dk which we all know Walt Disney used as his inspiration for his Disney theme parks http://www.disneyparks.disney.go.com.

BTW I’m up there somewhere and did get a fabulous view of the whole of Copenhagen http://www.visitcopenhagen.com and our ship.

Tom knew all the cool parts, Vesterbro (you’re very welcome).

Dance away: In Copenhagen

Where local artists use industrial holders to play out their modern interpretative dance moves.

And yes Bandanaman was throwing some shapes from the back of the crowd too.

Sweden is tantalisingly close when you sail off from Copenhagen on your way to Norway.

And when you do visit Stockholm http://www.visitstockholm.com you will, of course, hit the dance floor at the ABBA The Museum http://www.abbathemuseum.com.

Munch break: In Bergen

And I will also catch up with my old friend Agnetha… though again not that one. A long story which I’ll return too. And a salutary lesson too!

But while we only dipped our toes into Denmark and barely at all Sweden we did jump in head first into the Norwegian fjords. And will be back.

Dahl boy: Norwegian landscape painting

And this time having sampled the art of Munch and the drama of Ibsen it’ll be full sail for Oslo… http://www.visitoslo.com.

Cruising in the fjords became popular in the 19th century through the works of Hans Dahl and there began an influx of tourists there on the back of it.

Mind you they would have got there quicker and cheaper with SAS.

Adventure, Africa, Culture

This plant can save the world

Raggy Charters https://www.raggycharters.co.za isn’t your normal dolphin-watching boat company.

You see owner Lloyd Edwards and manager Jake Keeton are putting back what they are using in carbon emissions whey they are whizzing their boat around Algoa Bay, the bottlenose dolphin capital of the world.

Fins are looking up: Algoa Bay

I have come to Port Elizabeth on South Africa’s Eastern Cape to find out more.

And to meet the locals…Human, dolphin and pussycat https://www.visiteasterncape.co.za www.southafrica.net and What’s new pussycat?.

Lead the way

Raggy Charters’ Lloyd and Jake (and Sahara their Jack Russell) have a mini-jungle of plants around their jetty.

And they plant a new spekboom plant every time they take the boat out.. it acts as a succulent. And here’s where you can find out a lot more… https://www.samara.co.za/blog/five-things-didnt-know-spekboom/.

Cuttings to the chase

The spekboom project which originated in the Eastern Cape is the idea of Aidan Lawrence, of SATSA Eastern Cape, who handed out 600 spekboom cuttings to delegates.

Our boat comes in

This is SA’s response to the carbon emissions problem.

Flying shame

And the flygskam (flying shame) campaign championed by Greta Thumberg among others.

All of which salves my conscience a little as I am acutely aware of how many air miles I have been chalking up.spekboom-planting-agents-samara-conservation-karoo-south-africa-marnus-ochse-980x560You see the humble speksboom only stores solar energy to perform photosynthesis at night.

And it is ten times more effective per hectare than any tropical rainforest.And I’ve seen how valuable our rainforests are this year, in Tobago, www.visittobsgo.gov.tt and It’s Robinson Crusoe’s very own Tobago.

In the Tobago rainforest

While we doff our hats to what the South Africans are doing on the ground it is worth mentioning that global airlines and cruise liners continue to explore ways they can address carbon emissions.

 

Pppppick up a penguin

And British Airways www.ba.com are leading the way.

From the start of this year BA is now offsetting carbon emissions on all flights within the UK.And it is investing money in green projects around the world.

The challenge ahead

The challenge remains huge.

With a study from 1st Move International https://www.shipit.co.uk/blog/other-articles/cost-of-carbon highlighting the 20 top destinations for travellers from the UK.

Not to depress you but a return trip from London to Mallorca will cost the planet six trees.

Walking in Tenerife, the eco way to go

I feel a little less guilty because my flights to Tenerife www.hellocanaryislands.com and https://www.visitingtenerife.com.

And A walk through the ages… Tenerife Tenerife was five trees.

And I took me in some rainforest there too.

Plant those trees

The 15.62 average UK visitors to Spain would each owe 43,237,500 trees, about 3017 football pitches.

But who knew that Nature may just hold the answer in this little plant, the spekboom?