Adventure, Asia, Countries, Europe

You make your bed… now lie in it

There’s someone sleeping in my bed… yes, a dozen pillows.

So as I sit precariously on the edge of the bed in my new chilly billet waiting to get in… here are my fave places I’ve laid down my head.

Never getting up again

I’ll be here for some time

Castara Retreats, Tobago https://castararetreats.com And a hammock on your balcony.

Remember to light your anti-mosquito candle.

Alternatively just sleep out in the open as Robinson Crusoe on the beaches… you won’t go cold.

Visit www.visittobagogov.tt and here’s some mud adventures… On your marks, get set, GOAT in Tobago.

City beach

Sleeping the beer off

Hamburg, Germany: This was made for me.

No long walks home or trying to hail a taxi in the cold.

Just sleep off your hamburger and beer in The Strand Pauli Beach Bar https://www.strandpauli.de.

And relive it in Hamburgers and ships.

Uncle Jim’s Cabin

With a seaview, obvs

MSC Preziosa, the Norwegian fjords: And as you can see I’ve got the pillows off... out of picture, on The Scary One’s side.

Get yourself an infinity cabin for extra space where the balcony door disappears into the sides to give you more room.

So you can smell and see the sea. Visit www.msccruises.ie/www.msccruises.co.uk.

Lie back and think of Jordan

In from the desert

Aqaba: Yes, you’ll go flat on your back on the Dead Sea.

And flat on your tummy, snorkelling in the Red Sea.

So after your Shisha pipe snd Turkish tea, and maybe a game of chess or backgammon with a local, it’s time for…

A triple rollover on this comfy bed in Aqaba. Visit www.visitjordan.com and www.gadventures.com.

No drama on Kythera

I’ll make the bed later

El Sol Hotel, Kythera, Greece: Now you’ll not need many covers on your bed in your island of Kythera bedroom in sunny Greece.

The family-run El Sol hotel is a million miles away from the big multinational hotels.

And it has breathtaking views and a swimming pool you can almost into from your room.

Visit http://elsolhotel.gr/en/, https://athensattica.com and https://visitkythera.com. And read on… My Greek odyssey.

MEET YOU ON… WELL, ON SECOND THOUGHTS

Adventure, America, Asia, Countries, Cruising

My Sporting Weekend – Olympic ‘sports’

It might have escaped your attention but Swedish pole vaulter Armand Duplantis broke the world record this week.

Which beggars the question: what’s the point apart from the bit at the end of the stick?

I mean who pole vaults anyway, or shot putts, or throws discuses?

Bending over backwards. www.wikipedia.com

Field of screams

Javelins have their place… partly because of bonkers Tessa Sanderson who I interviewed in my first job and the force of nature that is Fatima Whitbread.

They could make it even better if they were to time it to when the long-distance runners were on the track.

Long jump? Nothing exciting has happened since Bob Beamon jumped out of the pit.

And high jump? Since Dick Fosbury flopped over the bar in the Sixties.

Give it a hurl www.wikipedia.com

Home run

Baseball: I’m surprised it isn’t in the Games already but it hasn’t been since 2002.

But seeing that the Japanese are pretty good at it..,

Anyway, because I’ve got some game from the Washington Nationals… if the UK team want a Joe DiMurtio.

And check out my Washington adventures Easy DC.

Capital: Slugger Murty

Chairman of the board

For flip’s sake www.wikipedia.com

Skateboarding: Born out of the old outdoor swimming pool in Venice Beach, it should remain there.

Venice Beach life should be experienced though https://www.venicebeach.com as should Muscles Beach https://www.musclebeachvenice.com but they wouldn’t introduce body-building, would they?

Aw, hell, I’ve only gone and given the IOCC ideas.

And also check out www.visitcalifornia.com.

Kicking on

Karate kid

Karate: I’m only surprised it isn’t.

I never got near the oul’ Martial Arts other than having a dressing gown which was dangerously close to a Del Boy fashion item.

Hardly a spectator sport

Get your rocks off

Sport climbing: I don’t even know how they judge this.

But I do know a crowd who do… the Coloradans who spend their days climbing the Rockies.

And their evenings getting stoned at their craft beer and organic restaurants… Go West and www.colorado.com.

Everybody’s gone surfin’

Surfing: And here’s another newbie that I’m pitching myself for.

After roadtesting the Royal Caribbean Flow Rider in Barcelona.

And then throwing some shapes at Surf City USA, Huntington Beach https://www.surfcityusa.com.

I’m only surprised the Japanese haven’t tried to get sumo wrestling included… I’d watch that.

Visit https://www.japan.travel/en/uk/ and https://tokyo2020.org/en/.

MEET YOU AT THE GAMES

Adventure, Africa, Countries, Europe, Food, Food & Wine

Holiday Snaps – Gardaland, Marrakech, Dubrovnik

For those of us who have Irish blood running through our veins Lake Gardaland sounds like a police theme park (ask an Irish relative).

Pigtales: Peppa. www.peppapig.co.uk

For everyone who books one of their Lake Garda family properties for the summer season.

Souk it up

Souk it up

They say that if you fall off a horse (or camel) you should just hop back on.

Well, maybe after 17 years it’s time for me to climb aboard again in Morocco.

My trip to Marrakech and the Atlas Mountains brought a new meaning to ‘ill-fated’.

And I’ll need a stiff drink to relay it but it definitely does fall into the category of ‘accidental tourist’.

Better leave it to the professionals… www.inspiringtravelcompany.co.uk.

They are flagging up a week in the Royal Mansour Marrakech from £5995 two+two family (kids under 12).

There’s all kind of luxury: riads, hamams, fine dining.

As well as lots for the adventurous sort such as dune surfing, horse and carriage ride through the city, riding camels.

And a Bedouin tented dinner under the stars. Oh, yes, I know that one all right!!!

Dubrovnik – to do list

Balkan beauty

And I should have seen all this with my own eyes.

Only I had my old passport on me with my US visa in it rather than my new one sitting back in my Medjugorje hostel.

So I had to get off the bus before the border and head back to Medjugorje.

So I have to get back to do it, and when I do it will be with Croatia Tours https://croatia.ie/croatiaspecials.asp?emailID=5061F645-D5EC-4D7C-9F71-90EB3B944A4A through Mostar which will run in July and August on Wednesdays.

Seven nights to the lushly forested Mljet Island and Dubrovnik, staying at a 3* on June 18, with flights from Dublin from €887.

Adventure, America, Countries, Culture, Europe

Bananaman meets Bandanaman

Happy Birthday Bananaman, 40 years old on Saturday, although his alter ego, Eric Wimp still retains his schoolboy looks.

The Bash Street pupil who like all comic characters is condemned to be stuck in time and never grow up first appeared in ‘Nutty’.

Man of peel. Bananaman. www.wikipedia.com

Before going onto become a star of the Beano and Dandy.

Enough Banananaman already… here’s Bandanaman around the world…

Dublin and Portugal

I didn’t need asked twice to promote a barbers in Dublin who would green me up one Christmas…

Me and Cami with the long blonde hair

Cami liked my bushy bear while l stroked her luscious hair.

As we danced on the floor at Carnaval Court off the Strip in Las Vegas.

Visit www.lvcva.com and Strip… the light fantastic.

Towelled down in DC

We might not get tomorrow

Tonight, give me everything tonight.

And I did, grabbing R&B star Ne-Yo’s sweat towel at the American Travel Fair in Washington DC.

And we DID get tomorrow. Easy DC & https://washington.org/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIyNz25NbO5wIVjbTtCh0y-Aj4EAAYAiAAEgLDx_D_BwE.

Maldives and a sarong

Sarong but oh, so right

I made sure that The Scary One didn’t send the sarong to the charity shop when we were moving.

What do you mean that nobody else would be seen dead…

Visit https://island-marketing.business.site and www.visitmaldives.com.

Trolls in the fjords

Norway would: On the MSC cruise

The wind was blowing in my beardie but not my bandana.

But I reckoned I looked full Viking on my MSC cruise www.msccruises.co.uk and The call of the fjords.

South Africa’s rand plan

Voting Line in Port Elizabeth, South Africa

They like their headdresses in Africa.

So I was right at home, particularly as my new friend Siseko chanelled his inner Bandanaman on a return visit last month for Holiday World,

Visit https://www.southafrica.net/uk/en/ and when I had to lie down in a thicket… What’s new pussycat?

Lie back and think of Jordan

So what else would you do in the Dead Sea!

Although you do get salt everywhere and it’s a divil to get the bandana on and off. And…

Read The water of life, Petra, and the sands of time and see www.visitjordan.com.

Adventure, Countries, Europe

Iceland – land of fire and skiing

Iceland, the land of fire and skiing? Because you’d never want to be skiing in a land of fire and ice.

We don’t immediately associate Iceland with skiing despite there being great opportunities.

Our friends at Icelandair www.icelandair.com are always flagging up new sides to Iceland and thank Thor that they do.

Snow under your feet

And there’s also an internal carrier in Iceland (who knew?) www.airicelandconnect.com.

Iceland excels in off-piste skiing which I stumbled on…

When I accidentally veered into a black run in Austria… Soll Mates and www.topflight.ie.

The resorts’ names are as challenging and fun as the skiing itself.

The mountains to yourself

So, let’s try Iceland’s highest mountain, the 6,923ft Hvannadalshnjúkur, for the experienced skier.

Or visit Eskifjordur in the ‘Alps of the East Fjords’ where sits Oddsskarð. It is known for its Easter Festival.

And you can enjoy Reykjavik before hitting the two resorts that lie less than a half-hour drive from the capital.

And attract snow-loving city-dwellers.

Blajfjoll is the larger option, Skalafell is also popular.

Now I’ve got you in the mood for quirky ski destination let’s return to an old fave, Colorado… Go West and https://www.colorado.com.

On the right tracks

Winter Park Express at Winter Park, Colorado:

This is the only ski train in the USA, taking passengers direct from Denver Union Station direct to the slopes of Winter Park in just two hours.

Running on select dates until March 29, the Winter Park Express features ski and snowboard storage.

As well as a lounge car for those wanting to start the apres early.

www.winterparkresort.com.

Adventure, Asia, Countries, Culture, Deals, Food, Food & Wine

Oscar bravo to Korea

It’s the pinnacle of your Korea as an actor. OK that’s enough puns (he lied).

South Korea is on everyone’s lips after Parasite’s sensational Oscar triumph yesterday in Hollywood.

And it gave me a little thrill to see Hollywood in all its glamour after visiting last year… https://www.discoverlosangeles.com/things-to-do/the-beginners-guide-to-hollywood and www.visitcalifornia.com.

All the colours of Seoul

So Chughahabrida to Korea and it. may again hold the world’s attention…

If they are successful in their joint-bid with the North to hold the 2032 Olympic Games.

Seoul hosted a memorable 1988 Olympic Games which was attended by all after the boycotts of Moscow 1980 and LA 1984.

The South Koreans came a-visiting just last month at the Holiday World Show in Dublin.

And wowed us with their pitch.

You won’t need second helpings

For a country that boasts old Buddhist temples, hilly countryside, coastal fishing villages.

Traditional food (look out for the bibimbap with its distinctive raw egg and sliced beef on top).

Sub-tropical islands, the volcanic Jeju island, and high-tech cities such as Seoul, the world’s third largest island, of course.

While Busan City is the country’s second largest, with mountains, water, a super cool bridge, and the world-famous Jagalchi Fish market.

Neon glitz in Seoul

I’m reminded here of my two brushes, indirectly, with the two Koreas.

My old Northern Irish flatmate who taught English as a foreign language to the public back in the Eighties.

I fear the poor souls will be going around saying ‘howabite ye?’ ‘yer man’ and a ‘wee fry.’

While my Orlando www.visitorlando.com and Why I love The Donald host Cory relayed us with tales from her year there where she was warmly welcomed.

By a nation where more than 90% of the population is indigenous.

Blooming marvellous

The South Koreans http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/index.kto want us to come to learn more about their culture and we theirs.

G Adventures www.gadventures.com has eight days ‘the Best of South Korea’ from €1399, down from €1749.

This trip embraces, rather than skirts, Korea’s troubled history with an excursion to the Demilitaised Zone separating the two Koreas.

Temple culture

You’ll visit spectacular Seoul, folk villages, temples and the bustling markets of Busan.

G Adventures can help point you in the direction of flights…

This offer is for departure date on March 13, and also March 20.

While there are 15% reductions for April 17 and March 30-June 7.

I can recommend first hand how interactive and how immersed in the local culture G Holidays are.

Shopping heaven: Traditional markets

With the best hosts… take a bow Zuhair.

From my visit to Jordan… The water of life, Petra, and the sands of time and www.visitjordan.com.

So maybe this year your G Adventures trip will be to Korea… better start practising your Gangnam Style.

Adventure, Countries, Culture, Food, Food & Wine

On your marks, get set, GOAT in Tobago

You’d easily miss the ‘No Squatting’ sign on Englishman’s Beach on the Caribbean island of Tobago. Robinson Crusoe did.

Convenient that, a seafarer remaining abandoned on this idyll for 28 years!

Daniel Defoe’s castaway has become the source of enduring fascination these past 300 years.

A modern-day Robinson Crusoe

Defoe, who drew on many shipwreck tales of the time tells us that his vessel sank within ‘sight of the great island of Trinidad’.

Which can only be its sister island of Tobago.

Oh, that… and also because of the goats. More of which later.

Which their government opportunistically renamed Isla Robinson Crusoe in 1966.

So would Crusoe recognise Tobago now?

The Englishman’s first challenge, of course, after making shore in 1719, would have been to find food.

With Attenborough’s pal William Trim

And through good fortune, or good judgment, he managed to avoid the poisonous yellow berries on the beach which our hosts warn us about.

Instead he shook the trees for coconuts and bananas and picked the mango groves.

And gladly lived off the other fruits of the land and the sea.

Which we, a party of five, who are guests of the Tobago Tourism Agency enjoy at a range of restaurants.

The Argyle Falls: And I won’t let my dye wash

Where the fish are close enough to jump out of the sea and onto your plate.

And where owners are friendly enough for you to call them ‘Auntie’ Alison and ‘Uncle’ Kenneth.

Tobago has been settled 32 times including randomly by Latvians.

Me…. I belong to Glasgow as the old music hall song goes but I’ve never been to a Glasgow bar like this.

Glasgow boys: Karl and I

It overlooks Parlatuvier Bay, every bit as beautiful as it sounds, and run by local Karl Glasgow.

Who, alas, has never been to Scotland, although his bar is bedecked with Scotland flags.

In an island just 12km wide and our three authentic billets allowed us either breathtaking views or close access.

For golfers Mount Bay Resort has its own course, while for those whose favourite hole is the 19th, it has the best rum punches on the island.

With Jeanelle and Porridge at Castara

Castara Retreats is a hidden-away gem.

And with its hammock on the balcony, and kitchen, buzzing village and bonfire party on the beach, it’s an indulgence worth rewarding you with.

And for convenience Kariwak Holistic Haven is ‘just around the corner’ from the airport, the Strip (with its bars, restaurants and a casino.)

And Sunday worship where you can repent those sins and ‘praise the Lord’ with the locals.

In search of more locals we head for the rain forest and the bird and animal sanctuaries.

Where the colourful hummingbirds, mockingbirds, black hawks and woodpeckers are in good voice.

Today’s intrepid explorer has rainforest expert William Trim who counts David Attenborough as an admirer.

Bird expert Ean Mackay and animal conservationists Ian Wright and Roy Corbin all there to reveal to us more of Tobago’s natural secrets.

I bet you Crusoe did the same.

And a cure for flu.

Which Crusoe would have experienced.

The barebacked turtles crawling out of the sea to lay their eggs on the beaches.

You’ll go limin’ (pre-drinking), jumpin’ and chippin’ (dancing on the stone chips).

No trip to Tobago would be complete either without a trip to Sunday School in Buccoo on the south of the island.

No, not that type of Sunday School, but a steel pan and Soca (Soul of Calypso) celebration.

Where the whole of the island comes out to drink and dance to the wee small hours (rum punch is the libation du jour).

Although Christmas feels more measured than back home possibly because it’s too warm out here for Christmas jumpers.

Here in Tobago amid the 30C temperatures don’t be surprised if you find Santa in a Christmas T-shirt on the beach.

But they are in fact racing goats who are in training for the Buccoo Festival at Easter..

And I bent over backwards at yoga too

And jockey Levi who shows me the ropes and how to handle my giddy goat Bandanaman… who comes with loose-fitting chord around his neck.

Before the starter cuts to the quick and shouts ‘Ready, Steady, Goat’, or at least I do.

I’m a natural, letting Bandanaman lead me 100 metres up the grass track by the football pitch.

Bonfire party

Today though it is his former mentor Terry Williams holding fort, tiring his young son Elijah out by having him run up a wind to help fly his kite.

It looks hard work in this heat and after my own exertions with the goats I welcome the prospect of a cool down.

On another day it’s the Nylon Pool in the middle of the Caribbean on a boat and snorkelling trip.

Princess Margaret would be proud

It is here that Princess Margaret honeymooned and was so taken by the waters that she described them as being as clear as her stockings (nylon).

Nylon Pool also has the added advantage of being a raised sand bank amid deeper water.

So you can have a bit of fun by standing around in the sea for some afternoon drinks.

And I started a party at Nylon Pool

No Man’s  Land, a small sandy island, is where we drop anchor for our own bespoke Christmas party. 

And where I suspend belief and indulge in rum punch instead of sherry, and mahi-mahi (like swordfish) instead of turkey. 

Party boy Brendan brings a festive feel to proceedings in his Santa hat.

And he listens to my Christmas wish list although I’ve got everything I’ve ever wanted here anyway.

It’s my hammock

Between Lover’s Bay, Pirate’s Bay and Crown Point’s Store Bay Beach where the Trinis (Trinidadians) will pop over on a 20-minute flight for the afternoon.

All of which we try, for research purposes you understand, in case Crusoe had ventured this way.

It is on Pirate’s Bay Beach where we meet a German party who emerge almost Crusoe-like from the thickets.

What a picture: I captured the island on canvas

And a clearing having walked the width of the island from its biggest town Scarborough.

My last day I spend as Crusoe would have done, in reverence to the Divine Creator.

And the sun sets on our Tobago break

And while Crusoe’s most solemn wish would have been to be rescued..,

Mine’s is that my big bird never arrives to fly me off my fantasy island.

The lowdown

Tobago Airport: It’s tiny

British Airways (www.ba.com) flies from Gatwick from £475pp (€560) return; Virgin Atlantic flies from Gatwick from £496pp (€586) return. All major airlines fly into London from Ireland.

Drivers and guides can easily be arranged at hotels to get you around Tobago. Car rental starts at around £44 (€51) per day.

WHERE TO STAY

Mount Irvine Bay Resort (www.mtirvine.com), A week with BA Holidays in January 2020 from £965pp (€1135) for a week’s B&B and return flights from Gatwick. Based on two sharing.

Holistic Heaven: But still time to have a cocktail

Kariwak Holistic Haven (www.kariwak.com):  A week with BA Holidays in January 2020 is priced from £1,195 (€1,405) per person for a week’s accommodation on B&B basis including free daily yoga, and return flights from Gatwick.  Based on two people sharing.

WHAT TO DO

The boat that rocks

Waterholics: Take a boat ride out to Princess Margaret’s honeymoon swimming spot, Nylon Pool, a sand bank deep in the sea, where you can also stand up in the sea, She said the waters were as clear as her nylon stockings. Visit www.ilovetobagott.com for information and prices.

The boat ride Jim did was $120pp. Waterholics do exactly what they say on the tin… coastline tours, glass bottom boat tours, dolphin watching, fishing trips, booze cruise for small trips et al.

Their mantra is ‘just add water’.

WHERE TO EAT

Macaroni and cheese with everything

Jemma’s Tree House, Charlotteville-L’Anse, Fourmi Rd, Hermitage. https://m.facebook.com/pages/Jemmas-Tree-House-Restaurant-Speyside-Tobago/352296588174092

Jemma’s Treehouse: Naturally there are birds

You’ll need to get used to sharing your table space with the hummingbirds but I suppose that comes from eating in a treehouse.

How much fun is that?

The ice cream: Rum’n’raisin naturally

Order mahi-mahi, a type of swordfish, and so good they named it twice.

IMPORTANT WEBSITE

For more information: (https://www.visittobago.gov.tt).

Adenture Farm and Nature Reserve Adventure: For the best bird-watching (and a villa to stay over in and wake up to the sound of hummingbirds and mockingbirds) https://adventure-ecovillas.com

Cannon fodder: At Fort King George

Fort King George and Museum http://nationaltrust.tt/location/fort-king-george-tobago/

Tobago Cocoa Estate: https://www.tobagococoa.com

Corbin Local Wildlife: http://www.tobagowildlife.com

And if you want more Caribbean fun see Let’s rumba in Barbados and My kiss with Rihanna.

Adventure, America, Countries, Europe

Thirteen years an Irishman – My Sporting Weekend Five

There’s a symmetry to my long farewell arriving at the Aviva today and Ireland v Scotland in the Six Nations Rugby Championship.

And here’s me full-throated and fully tanked getting into the spirit of it… https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=7LM0FaU5rDw&feature=youtu.be

Scotland and Ireland are, of course, the two countries that are in my blood.

I’ve developed it as a mantra on my travels to go where the locals play and pray.

I’ll do the praying bit tomorrow… well it is Sunday, but today it’s five of the best of Bandanaman at play.

Judy’s a smasher

Murray and Murty in Portugal

Quinto da Lago, Portugal: Tennis (and dancing) lessons with Judy Murray, and padel, the squash-tennis hybrid beloved of John Terry and Max Evans.

Paul McGinley’s Golf Academy where I knocked it into the next country.

And getting my name emblazoned on my back at The Campus, the hi-tech training camp used by Premier League and international teams.

And visit https://www.quintadolagocc.com/en/special-offer-winter?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIgOuMk7-t5wIVx7HtCh1z6wW-EAAYAiAAEgLkYPD_BwE.

Get your skis on

Franz Klammer, eat your heart out

Austria: Trudging down the black run in Soll after getting off the gondola.

And hammer and nail games in the Whisky Muhle bar https://www.wilderkaiser.info/en/soell/info/whiskey-muehle.html. Soll Mates.

And tearing the arse out of my trousers sledding In Ehrwald with Topflight https://topflightforschools.ie.

Racing with goats

Tobago: As you do… it’s their Cheltenham, and my goat is Bandanaman, obviously.

And racing (well, crawling) with crabs, the animal that is, not the ailment.

And swimming under the waterfalls. https://www.visittobago.gov.tt/go-experience

Meet you at the ball park

America: In the batting pen at the Washington Nationals https://washington.org/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIvqm8-cet5wIVmKztCh36xg_8EAAYASAAEgLLX_D_BwE, Easy DC,

Inside the Colorado Rockies stadium in Denver https://washington.org/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIvqm8-cet5wIVmKztCh36xg_8EAAYASAAEgLLX_D_BwE and at the game at the Los Angeles Angels https://visitanaheim.org.

With my cheerleaders at the Denver Broncos Go West and with Wildwing (don’t ever call him Donald) at the Anaheim Ducks.

Get on your bike (or car)

Bring on the Tour

Cycling up the most used route on the Tour de France!!

On my trip to Lourdes (I’ll get onto the praying tomorrow) and the Pyrenees https://visitpyrenees.com.au and The Lourdes prayer.

MEET YOU AT THE GAME

Adventure, Africa, Asia, Australasia, Countries, Deals, Europe, Flying, Ireland, UK

Flyday Friday – Holiday World

Must fly… I’m scooting around the 30th Holiday World.

The annual Travel Extra fair which has moved onto Dublin from Belfast and Limerick.

And I’m catching up with a fleet of Travel providers if that’s the right collective noun.

So that’s me with Colombia Charges D’Affaires Patricia Cortez Ortiz.

Colombia hat

In my Colombia hat. And you thought it was a Panama Hat.

Well Panama used to be a part of Colombia so it really should be called a Panama hat.

There are various ways to get to Colombia with a stop-off.

I’d recommend through Amsterdam with my old pals at KLM… www.klm.com,

And maybe stop the night… Pictures of Amsterdam and George Clooney and Amal’s Amsterdam hotel.

Free coffee: With Ethiopian’s charmingly named Free at Ethiopian Airlines’ stand

While, of course, here’s Free, my new Ethiopian pal.

Ethiopia and other destinations

And here’s some really good offers which are as good as free.

Ethiopian Airlines www.ethiopianairlines.com has a these destinations from Dublin…

Its capital Addis Ababa: From €501.

Victoria Falls: From €552.

Sao Paolo: From €804.

Kilimanjaro: From €519.

I got a headstart for this weekend of Travel networking at the Wendy Wu lunch Hungry and Thursday – Chinese Wu Year and www.wendywutours.ie yesterday.

Where I talked all things up in the sky and down on the ground.

All the world: Finnair & El Al, Wendy
Wu, Bandanaman. Emirates

With Wendy’s flight partners Emirates www.emirates.com and www.elal.com.

Emirates sale

Just a reminder that the Emirates sale ends January 26 which, through this funk of drink, I know is Sunday.

So Emirates has these round trip deals:

Bangkok from €519.

Dubai from €549.

Kuala Lumpur from €569.

Phuket from €679.

Perth from €1119.

Sydney from €1119.

The Promised Land

El Al of a country

The big news at El Al http://www.elal.com is the three non-stop flights from Dublin to Tel Aviv from May 26 from €326.

Now I’ve seen Israel from the Red Sea and the Dead Sea… and right up close with www.gadventures.com.

And personal, across the River Jordan The water of life, Petra, and the sands of time where the Israelis say John the Baptist baptised Jesus.

Although the Jordanians say it was further into their country.

And yes I’ve seen it too from atop Mount Nebo where Moses saw the Promised Land.

Next stop Israel

But couldn’t get in because he’d fallen out with God.

I’m making sure I’m staying on HIS right side as a Eucharistic Minister.

dQQQQÀ

So that I can fulfil a lifelong ambition to visit Israel https://www.touristisrael.com/visit-israel/.

Maybe this year, God willing, whoever He or She may be.

MEET YOU IN THE SKIES

Adventure, America, Canada, Countries, UK

My Sporting Weekend – go transatlantic

It wasn’t just from another country, it was from another century.

Of cloth-capped flat beer-swilling coal-miners and weavers who you couldn’t understand.

And who liked putting ferrets down each other’s trousers – Rugby League.

It was only played in the north of England and in Australia.

Tackling head on

And maybe New Zealand but only by those who weren’t good enough to be All Blacks.

But then someone had the bright idea of spreading the word to London and setting up a team there.

And then changing the season to Spring-Autumn.

In fairness they were one of the first sports to tap into regular screening of matches.

A real man’s game

And the dulcet tones of Eddie Waring waxing lyrical about ‘up and unders’ could be heard every Saturday from our living room.

So there you have it, Rugby League has always led while others followed.

From the days they broke away from rugby union and demanded players get paid to the dawn of transatlantic sport.

Ready to go to war

Now American Football has been dipping their toe in the UK for decades with the odd game held in London.

Rugby League www.rugby-league.com though has dunked itself right in with the admission of super franchise Toronto Wolfpack.

I predict that this will be a hugely successful union, sorry marriage.

Sports city: Toronto

Toronto has a recent history of launching teams who have gone on to take home the silver.

Both with the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team and last year’s NBA champions the Toronto Raptors.

One of the arguments used against trans-atlantic sport is the distance.

But it’s only seven hours from England-Toronto.

Springboks everywhere

And whisper it around the north of England but their 15-a-side union cousins in Europe assimilated the South African club sides.

And London-Cape Town is 11-and-a-half hours.

No transatlantic sport is the next big thing… long-haul travel is pitched at an accessible price now for you and me.

And we’ll love checking out Canada (and New York) which is being slated to jump on the bandwagon.

A PS here and a shout-out to Irish Gaelic Games www.gaa.ie who have been crossing the pond for years.

North Americans love their sports as much as we do.

Sometimes they’re the same sports, sometimes they’re different.

I always make a point in my travels of checking out where people play and pray.

And here’s a sample of where… Easy DC, Go West,