Africa, America, Caribbean, Countries, Europe, Food, Ireland

Pie are squared and round

Excuse the grammar but the gag doesn’t work otherwise so on today’s National Pie Day let’s say Pie are squared and round.

And we’ll pick out six pies from around the world.

All because we’re an island here of pie lovers in Britain, and Scots up and down the country have grown up on Scotch pies and beans.

Then long before American fast food pork pies were the go-to snack in England, and not just for ploughmen.

Mr American Pie

Eat your heart out Prue Leith: In Colorado

Apple Pie: National Pie Day was started in the mid-1970s by a nuclear engineer, brewer and teacher (talented man) Charlie Papazian.

It was then that he declared his own birthday, January 23, to be National Pie Day and it took on.

So now fast forward to a Can’t Bake, Won’t Bake visitor to Ginger & Bake in nearby Fort Collins under the watchful eye of the ever-patient Deb.

Say it loud and say it stout

More please: Jamie Oliver’s Steak & Guinness Pie

Beef and Guinness Pie: If you’re like me (and the Irish) and feel that drink is the food of life then read on.

You see this variation on the British steak and ale pie in Ireland naturally is enriched with Guinness and bacon and onions.

And it s on every bar menu in Ireland… and inevitably in the ubiquitous Jamie Oliver’s cookbook.

Custard with that?

Bobotie on the menu: In South Africa

Bobotie pie: It’s a different world in the one-track town of Cradock in the Eastern Cape In South Africa.

That’s where the owner of the Die Tuishuise & Victoria Manor has put on a buffet of Karoo food that fuses easy.

So let me give you Bobotie pie, a curried raisin-infused Shepherd’s Pie with a savoury custard topping.

Pie Irie

Ruby, Ruby, Ruby: Cooking and baking in Barbados

Macaroni pie: And something from the Old World embraced by the new in the Caribbean.

It is known there just as pie or Bajan Pie in Barbados this is island comfort food.

This tubed pasta with creamy cheese sauce is served either as a main dish in Bim.

Or more likely to the side of their favourite chicken and fish. Irie?

Pizza and understanding

Slice of life: Pizza pie

Pizza pie: So when we first got a taste for the Italian staple on this island we would call it pizza pie.

The best pizzas which we know are in Pizza City, Naples.

But a tip here for those who might otherwise be stung dining out near the Spanish Steps or Pantheon in Rome.

Instead pick up the long miniature pezzos from stores scattered through the Eternal City.

Sweet pie

The Key to good living: Key Lime Pie

Key Lime Pie: Now just as many pies are sweet as are savoury.

And in the land of American pie there are as many variations as there are numbers after 3.14.

But as it’s darn tasty and the Florida Keys are on the radar.

For a long rescheduled road trip it’s Lime Key Pie for me.

And so whatever your pick it’s good to know pie are squared and round and make the world go round.

Africa, Australasia, Central America, Countries, South America

Today 190 years ago Darwin set out

It’s all a globetrotter can do these days… watch Around the World in Eighty Days on TV which is timely as today 190 years Darwin ago set out on his own global journey.

Took him a bit longer to get around Earth (five years) than oul’ Phileas Fogg.

And barring stopping the assassination of the French President and saving a podgy Italian kid’s life (OK, I’ve only finished the first episode) it just seems to be jolly japes.

Darwin, for his part, unveiled the Evolution of the Species.

Tortoises and slow tourism

And met the Giant Tortoises of the Galapagos.

Now you can be doing without spending five years on the choppy high seas aboard the Beagle (and yes we know it has long since been scrapped although the site of its last home in Rochford is marked).

Instead get on a G Adventures trip to the islands off the western coast of South America.

Where our pals tell us that there is a nine-day trip from Ecuador from £1,499 which is a saving of £500.

And furthermore they’ll take care of your flight bookings in and out of Quito — with the cheapest flight cost possible. 

In the pink with the flamingoes 

Bird’s eye view: In Tampa

You’ll get to see the flamingoes… and believe me you’ll be in the pink as I was in Busch Gardens  in Tampa.

Hike up Sierra Negra volcano… tick, again done in Tenerife, but there’s always more.

Like Tenerife Galapagos boasts black beaches.

I’m reminded too of my pal from my Greek Odyssey, Gullaume Le Roux who only stayed overnight in the crater of a volcano!

What’s special about G Adventures is how much they put back into the local community.

As I saw fist hand in Jordan.

And here you’ll get to put something back in the supported community guesthouse in Floreana

In the slow lane

Horsing around: The giant tortoises

The highlight of your stay will be on Day Six.

Firstly, you’ll view breeding white-tip reef sharks, marine iguanas, blue-footed boobies, rays, and penguins.

And that’ll prepare you for a unique experience, a visit to the Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre.

Darwin’s odyssey

And here is a rundown of Charlie Boy’s five-year journey…

Chapter I: St. JagoCape de Verde Islands (St. Paul’s RocksFernando Noronha, 20 Feb.., Bahia, or San Salvador, Brazil, 29 Feb..)

II: Rio de Janeiro

III: Maldonado

IV: Río Negro to Bahia Blanca

V: Bahía Blanca

VI: Bahia Blanca to Buenos Aires

VII: Buenos Aires to St. Fe

VIII: Banda Oriental

IX: Patagonia

And there’s more

Hero in a half-shell: And Tahiti has its stars too

X: Santa Cruz–Patagonia

XI: Tierra del Fuego

XII: The Falkland Islands

XIII: Strait of Magellan

XIV: Central Chile

XV: Chiloe and Chonos Islands

XVI: Chiloe and Concepcion

XVII: Passage of Cordillera

XVIII: Northern Chile and Peru

XIX: Galapagos Archipelago

XX: Tahiti and New Zealand

XXI: Australia (Van Diemen’s Land)

XXII: Coral Formations (Keeling or Cocos Islands)

XXIII: Mauritius to England

 

Africa, Countries

I’m proud of my Desmond

Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s most enduring legacy will surely be that his name has become part of our lexicon… and, like many a graduate, I’m proud of my Desmond.

Desmond, who has passed away at 90, was very visible in the Eighties and especially among the student community.

And while student buildings across the UK were renamed after Nelson Mandela his great friend Desmond was honoured at graduation ceremonies.

Where a 2:2 was (and still is) a Second Class Honours Second Grade.

Graduate with honours

Me and my Desmond: My 2:2

The third of four pass grades your Tutu student mixes work, pleasure, uni societies and politics.

The name caught on too in the world of soccer where naturally it has become shorthand for a 2-2 scoreline.

The anti-Apartheid icon’s passing will be marked by national mourning across South Africa.

And particularly in Johannesburg, the next nearest big city to his hometown of Klerksdorp in the Western Transvaal where was Bishop.

Where, of course, you can visit the Apartheid Museum, and learn what life was really like then in South Africa.

And Cape Town where he became Archbishop.

Freedom fighters

Standing proud: The Apartheid Museum

Tutu’s South African brothers and sisters will turn his memorial into a carnival.

But he and Mandela were the first to admit the debt they owe to the men and women freedom fighters on the Long Road to Freedom.

Men such as Amos who works as a waiter in Cradock grandee Lisa’s hotel Die Tuishuise & Victoria Manor in the Eastern Cape.

But who fought the good cause.

And did jail time and suffered under the yolk of the police.

But who humbly declared: ‘We weren’t afraid to die as long as we died in the struggle.’

The township

Xhanti and Co: Our gang in the township

Or Xhanti, who was South Africa’s Birdman of Alcatraz in solitary confinement.

But who now chases birdies on golf courses when he’s not showing tourists around the New Brighton township outside Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape.

And the most challenged part of it, Red Location.

And, of course, it was Port Elizabeth when we visited but has now been Africanised as Gqberha (pronounced Kberha).

Of course that doesn’t do it nearly enough justice as it’s Xhosa, the Eastern Cape’s distinctive clicking language.

And a tongue our old friend and guide Seseko treated us all to on our travels throughout the Eastern Cape.

And which Mandela himself spoke.

The angel Mandela

And then there were three: With Siseko and Madiba

Madiba will have been the first angel to greet Desmond at the gates of heaven.

They were great pals… they just clicked.

Rest in Peace, Archbishop. I’m proud of my Desmond.

 

 

Africa, Countries, Skiing

Snow in Africa this Christmastime

Sorry, Midge Ure, I love your humanitarianism and New Wave/electro-sound but there will be snow in Africa this Christmastime.

Yes, I know I’m coming over all Self-Righteous Brother, but Paul Whitehouse makes a good point about Africa’s diversity.

I know from experience about the Atlas Mountains where Moroccans and Morocannophile skiers go to fly down the mountains

It wasn’t snow though that was coming down the Atlas Mountains when I visited but the mud from the sides of the slopes.

Rocky road to the Sahara

 

It was Ramadan and our driver was bravely skirting the narrow cliffside roads to get us to the Sahara Desert.

In truth, that was the least of my problems as a tajin did for me and I ended up being sick in the sand.

And had to retrace our steps the next day to the rendezvous point, on my camel Larsson.

Abdullah, to be fair, did his best around the roads the next day with me dry heaving at every corner.

Enough already, you want to know more about the skiing.

And I do too, like when are the French borders reopening? I only have a well-deserved trip to Val d’Isere with Ski France waiting on me.

Morocco on the slopes

Camel ye faithful: Back on the camel in Jordan

My passport is jumping up and down in my drawer because of the lack of love I’ve shown her this year.

Yes, I personalise my passport, and its holder, particularly as it was given to me by my old friends Hayes & Jarvis during my time in Ireland

H&J are your go-to people for just the thing in Morocco.

They have a seven-day £2,199pp Luxury Sahara Desert Tour from Marrakech.

But H&J are all about the bespoke so contact them and they’ll look into a package for you.

While My Chalet Finder have the skinny on everything you need to know on the Moroccan mountains.

Riad R&R

Moroccan life: A rich culture

The resort of Oukaimeden, 65km south of Marrakesh, is Morocco’s best ski resort and is home to Africa’s highest ski lift at 3258m and second highest peak, Jebel Toubkal at 4167m, after Kilimanjaro.

There is a large variety of accommodation to choose from in and around Marrakech from 5-star beach hotels, mountain hotels, B&Bs and camping to the traditional riads, ranging from budget to boutique luxury. 

Keep your feet: In Morocco

Most people who go skiing in Morocco either stay in Marrakech and make the short journey to the base lift (around an hour’s drive) or split their holiday spending some of the time in Marrakech and the rest in the ski resort of Oukaimeden.

Yes there is Snow in Africa this Christmastime.

 

Africa, Countries, Sustainable Tourism

Ellen and Rwanda

What do you get the woman who has everything… yes, that’s my Scary One, but I’m talking here about Ellen and Rwanda.

With Herself about to celebrate a landmark I’ve been racking my brain about what to get her.

Fine dining: Bisate

Not that I can stretch to Portia De Rossi’s largesse.

In establishing The Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund in Rwanda for her wife.

Ellen’s pad

Birthday surprise: Portia and Ellen

And as I’m wanting to celebrate my own birthday a few days later than The Scary One, I’m not suggesting She is turning 60.

The Ellen Campus is going from strength to strength and is the focus of our growing interest in Eco and Nature tourism.

Now the best recommendation for where to stay surely comes from the Hollywood golden couple.

Lodge with us

Peak time: Bisate Lodge

And that would be Bisate Lodge.

Now I do like a hotel with an oul volcano view.

And I experienced just that in Mount in Tenerife in my walk through the ages.

And, of course Tenerife is more Western African landscape than Iberian Peninsula.

So when you’re in Rwanda, do like the locals, of which Ellen and Portia are now among the number.

And base yourself around the volcanoes.

Craters and lazy craters

Good hair day: The gorillas

Bisate Lodge is 5 star (obvs) and you will look out over the extinct (aaaw!) Bisoke and Karisimbi volcanoes.

This is where Fossey ran her research station Karisoke, dedicated to saving mountain goats from extinction.

Hike through the rainforest, up to nearly 3,000 metres, to visit Karisoke’s haunting ruins and Fossey’s grave, next to her beloved gorilla, Digit.

And my Scary One doesn’t know it yet, but she’ll rest for eternity with this hairy Scots gorilla!

On a roll: The big fella

Rwandan gorillas, now numbering more than 1000 throughout the Virunga massif, await you.

Bisate Lodge for March-May is $1750pps.

Who to fly with

The pioneer: Dian Fossey

And I will, of course, always flag up my friend Meseret and Ethiopian Airways as the guys to fly with.

And when you so get out to see Ellen and Rwanda be sure to tell them this Scottish gorilla says hi.

 

Africa, America, Asia, Australasia, Canada, Caribbean, Central America, Countries, South America, Sustainable Tourism

Where to drink the water

And all the focus on COP26 just along the road in Glasgow has got us all thinking about water, the source of life… and prompting us to bring you Holidos and don’ts where to drink the water.

And particularly when we think back on how we were always warned against drinking the water when we were abroad (mostly in those days, Spain).

Sup up: And something to clench your thirst

The fact though is that Spain is safe to drink from the tap and so there is no need to buy plastic bottled water from the supermercato.

Even better, of course, is to find yourself a stream in the country, and better still if you can stumble upon a Camino along the way and follow it through the Santiago.

Water of Rome

Flask resort: Flasks are always better

The same applies incidentally in Italy where you’ll find crystal clear streams on your Via Francigena into Rome.

La Citta Eterna, of course, prides itself on its water.

The fountains which are around every corner and in every piazza.

But also the beautifully adorned taps with carvings of Romulus and Remus and their wolf mother which proliferate around the city.

Wolf down the water: With La Famiglia underneath the wolf and Romulus and Remus

In the cloying humidity of a Rome heatwave you’ll be glad of a tap to fill up your flask.

And didn’t Silvio Berlusconi just know it when our guide told us that he wanted to start charging the locals for the water… something not even Benito Mussolini dared try.

Back to our friends at Globehunters and they reflect that the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Northern and Western Europe, the US and Japan have the best water.

All of which means that you need to take more care in south-eastern Europe, much of Asia, Africa, Central America and South America and it pains me to say the Caribbean (although ‘rum is mi only medicine’ there).

Holy water

Water of life: In the Pyrenees

There are, of course, parts of the world, those where Our Lady has visited, where the water is straight from Heaven.

And yes, I know, that all water comes from the heavens, although a politician in Ireland when I was living there didn’t.

When he railed against the idea of water charges by saying just that ‘that it was’t as if water fell from the heavens’.

The Maryest of Marian sites is, of course, Lourdes, where the Pyrenees water in Cauterets is among the purest and spirited of anywhere.

So be sure to sup from the streams and the waterfalls.

Your own water

Wait for it: Guinness and its magic Irish water

It was always a matter of great pride that your own country had the best water.

And this has always been credited as the magic ingredient of Ireland’s famous Guinness stout.

And Scotch and Irish whisk(e)y.

So now we’re all back out on the road then look out for the taps in towns, and the streams and waterfalls in the country.

And fill up your flasks.

Ditch the plastic

Heat map: Of where is best to drink your water

It also tastes better when it’s not out of a plastic bottle.

And the fishies in the seas, my old pal Mother Turtle Vanessa in the Maldives, and our future generations will thank you.

Be warned too that now we’re all travelling again I’m hardly going to stop here with Holidos and don’ts where to drink the water.

And I’ll back with more Holidos and don’ts… in the blog that’s not all blah, blah, blah.

Well, at least, not the type of blah that will destroy our beautiful blue planet.

 

 

Africa, America, Countries, Culture, Music, South America, UK

Paul Simon, 80 years young today

I often think I was born out of my time… not ahead of it, more behind it, which is why when my peers were expressing their angst through Joy Division I was finding meaning through Paul Simon, 80 years young today.

As the youngest of three boys with a five and eight year gap between us my early influences were The Beatles, The Stones, Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Pink Floyd, Heavy Metal… and Simon & Garfunkel.

And as a gangly shy adolescent I find solace in the longing, introverted, wanderer music of Paul Simon… I still do.

The man: Paul Simon

Now there have been rockier, wilder concerts (The Killers, The Proclaimers), equally as iconic singers (David Bowie). and more celebrated venues (OneRepublic in Red Rocks, Colorado) but there have been no more rewarding gigs than Paul Simon on his farewell tour which touched down in Dublin.

So how does your favourite Travel blog mark the 80th birthday of the Poet Laureate of Pop?

Well, by shining a light on the places Rhymin’ Simon loved the most and whose musical influences burst out in his timeless songs.

Apple of his eye

Remember him: ‘The Donald’ in New York

New York: A proud son of Queen’s borough, Simon’s songs about New York are some of the most recognisable about the Big Apple.

The Boxer is a plaintive exploration of down on your luck New York life which includes a reference to the ‘whores on 7th Avenue’.

Simon told the story at a concert of a fan who told him she would sing the song to her child only she changed the words to ‘toy stores’.

There’s something quite playful too about the 59th Street Bridge Song and I referenced it too on my route to the RDS for that 2019 concert.

You’ll find, in truth. New York references in numerous Simon and Simon & Garfunkel songs, some with NY in the title as in The Only Living Boy In New York and the Statue of Liberty in my own favourite, American Tune.

Rainbow Simon

Cool for cats… in the Eastern Cape, South Africa

South Africa: Now, how many of us, hand on heart can say that they knew much South African music before Paul Simon introduced it to a Western audience with his seminal album Graceland.

And, before we get to that, let’s just reference the titular song Graceland, a tribute to Elvis, which Simon revealed was his favourite piece of song-writing (few arguments here).

Of course none of us outside of South Africa knew of Ladysmith Black Mombasa either… but once heard never forgotten.

Simon also opened up the joy of South Africa at a time when understandably we associated the country with injustice, bigotry and hopelessness.

But which lit a fire for many of us to go visit the Rainbow Nation. We give you Simon and the band’s Under African Skies.

Samba music

Get into the beat: In Brazil

Brazil: And once Simon had got on a roll (or a rock’n’roll if you like) he was off to South America.

Who can forget those huge drums on The Obvious Child. Nothing obvious though about the drummers’ talent or Simon’s songwriting.

And finally in an English train station

He was here: Widnes Railway Station plaque

Widnes, England: And, of course, unless you’re a Rugby League fan, you’ll never have been to Widnes in Merseyside.

Unless you’re a budding New York musician (Paul Simon) who was feeling homesick here and penned the classic Homeward Bound. There is a plaque there now.

Or if you’re another budding wordsmith, en route to Liverpool from Scotland (you have to wait here for the next connection) to take the next rung in his celebrated writing career.

But that’s another story.

Happy Birthday Paul Simon, 80 years young today.

 

Africa, Countries, Ireland, UK

A Kenyan tribal elder as a souvenir

Most of us make do with a fridge magnet but Siobhan Byrne Learat brought back a Kenyan tribal elder as a souvenir.

Now Ireland is a much different (and better) place than in 2007 when Kasao Learat first came to Ireland.

It was around the time I embarked on my own 13-year residency in Ireland.

Unforgettable: Elephants in Namibia

And I am reminded of a sign in a DART (or train) station which read..

‘The big problem with this country is too many pasty-faced people.’

A shared experience 

Our of Africa: With Kasao, and Meseret from Ethiopian Airlines

I was one of those pasty-faced people in the assembled group when I first met Siobhan and Kasao in Dublin.

And, of course, he stood out in his tribal garb.

But also for his warmth, wisdom and fun, although Siobhan will be happy to know I wasn’t checking out his bum!

You couldn’t help inspecting Kim Kardashian’s, the influencer boasting the most famous derrière in the world, either.

Back in the day when Kim and Kanye West were rumoured to be honeymooning in Ireland we searched for leads.

When we should have known that when it comes to high-end hospitality Siobhan and Kasao’s Adams & Butler are the go-to people.

Kim’s story

News hounds that we are, we did track down Kim and Kanye to £18,000 a night Ballyfin, Co. Westmeath.

Where my intrepid friend Emma Byrne happened to be staying with her then boyfriend Dan.

And had to wipe her eyes when Kim squeezed that rear into her chair next to her at breakfast.

People come in every shape, size and colour and you never know who you’ll discover (or bump into) and where.

Only that it will be a helluva ride.

I was offered an eye up to the keyhole of the window of the world Siobhan is offering… in Namibia.

But because of my own inadequacies with modern technology I missed out on Adams & Butler’s webinar on the South-West African country.

Welcome to Namibia

Mrs Fix-It: Siobhan

Mrs Fix-It to the rescue with this vid.

Now it would take all the time in the world, which we don’t have, to run through all the options Adams & Butler offers.

But both in the UK & Ireland and around the world you’ll get the best in experiential travel and interaction with the locals.

And a Kenyan tribal elder as a souvenir!

 

Africa, America, Asia, Canada, Countries, Europe, South America, UK

World Rivers Day and the flow of life

We can’t survive without it so it’s only right today to celebrate World Rivers Day and the flow of life.

With the publication of B-WELL CBD’s most loved European rivers on Instagram, we’re stretching it out to include the world too.

Of course you can’t ignore European waterways so I’ll dip my toe in them as well.

Top ten Euro rivers

On the Elbe, Dresden

The oils and cosmetic products company has tracked our habits and unsurprisingly namechecked this top ten.

1 Thames, 2 Danube, 3 Elbe, 4 Seine, 5 Ural, 6 Douro, 7 Loire, 8 Rhine, 9 Vistula, 10 Tiber.

Wading through it I’ll definitely sing the praises of London’s Old Father Thames, its towers, bridges and the country towns it dissects.

The Danube has remained just along the river if you will when I’ve visited Central Europe.

I’m pleasantly surprised to see the Elbe more popular than the Seine.

And I would recommend taking a river cruise in Dresden to see the fine riverbank houses and enjoy a fireworks display.

Wine and Rhine

Disney it look magical: The Disney castle in Neuschwanstein

I daresay if a dacha along the Ural is good enough for Russian communists and oil billionaires I should pay it a visit.

And I’ll confess I know more about the Tagus from Praia do Ribatejo in Portugal Centro than the Douro in Portugal and Spain.

The flow of the Loire is only bettered by the running wine from its vineyards.

But I confess a soft spot for the Rhine and its fairytale castles, especially The Wonderful World of Disney‘s opening title. Neuschwanstein. 

The Vistula in Poland is still a pleasure to enjoy as is Polska unless being hosted by the Embassy in Dublin counts which it does!

While just squeezing into the top ten (and I feel like DJ Alan Freeman here pop pickers) is a river I feel is a friend, the Tiber.

When in Rome

The holy of holies. At the end of the Francigena in Rome

Just walk the Via Francigena into Rome and your final long stretch to St Peter’s Square will be along the Tevere.

While staying in the bohemian Trastevere you’ll soon get to know the river well by taking wrong directions.

And the bridges of Rome stand comparison with anywhere in the world.

Particularly the Ponte Sant’Angelo, its statues on the railings and its centre point, the magnificent Castel Sant’Angelo,

A notable exception on the list was the Vltava through Prague with its magnificent Charles Bridge.

The World

Tis Grand: With Tara and Tryphavana at the Grand Canyon

Now I know I promised you the world.

So let me show you the river of rebirth, the Jordan between the country and Israel.

Where pilgrims go to be baptised where the Israelis claim John baptised Jesus.

It’s a different type of water activity along the Colorado river.

Take the bird’s eye view from a helicopter through the Grand Canyon.

Or do like the Americans and use it as your playground.

Water is our most precious commodity and America’s West survives and thrives because of one of my Modern Wonders of the World, the Hoover Dam.

Although, incredulously it has not been recognised as such on the official list.

Quality of Mersey

The boat comes in: The Mersey

So I’ll throw in another couple of favourite rivers which speak for themselves.

The Mississippi, with its Dolly Parton bridge in Memphis (think about it) and the Hudson and the Brooklyn Bridge in New York.

Of course the Amazon, the Nile, the Congo, the Ganges, the Yellow, the Makong and many others deserve our attention.

And so I’ll be patient in getting back out abroad.

And I will continue to enjoy the rivers and bridges where I am.

I spent the last week walking by and sailing on the Ferry Across the Mersey.

So a thought… where would we be without our waterways.

Let’s hear it for World Rivers Day and the flow of life.

 

 

 

 

Africa, Countries, Culture

Our return to Africa and the Middle East

They’re the cradles of civilisations our modern metropolises still aspire to… and we’re planning our return to Africa and the Middle East.

The grand old cities of Jerusalem and Petra.

Spanning across the ages, one a living museum, the other a Modern Wonder of the World, they have rightly been honoured.

Ten out of ten

Camel ye: To Petra

In Travel + Leisure’s 10 Best Cities in Africa and the Middle East.

Jerusalem I have seen longingly, like Moses, from atop Mount Nebo on my G Adventures odyssey.

Petra, I have stood up close to, by a camel, whose ancestor would have carried a Nabataean in days of yore.

With divining rods for water to trade for the jewels of the desert… the Nalbataean that is.

At the other end of the spectrum, Tel Aviv shows Israel’s modern face.

Now being of the male variety, and so a listaholic, most rolls of honour fall into my remit.

Heroes in Capes

I’d have to see more of Cape Town than just the airport as I did on the way to the Eastern Cape

And would have had Covid not popped its head up as we were puttImg the final touches  to our trip to Napoleon’s island, St Helena.

The old perennials naturally pop up on the list.

Marrakech, the Pink City, was my first port of entry into Africa. 

And, of course, you can’t hold a whole continent against one country for an experience.

Of getting mugged in the souks and food poisoning in the Sahara.

So that the best experience of Morocco was in the airport back in Fez.

Although the good readers of Travel +
Leisure also have a penchant for the Moroccan port of Essaouira.

I’ll take your word for it.

Gulf in class

Where as a memento I brought back a camel scene handbag for my Dear Old Mum which she flashed around her Bridge club.

The Gulf has also been on the radar with visits from Dubair and Muscat delegations during my time in Dublin.

And after they got in touch and we explored opportunities in Abu Dhabi

Of course, it is pure indulgence to sit around and grade a continent and a region’s cities.

But it does serve another, healthy purpose… to travel in our imagination.

To share experiences and knowledge and plan our return to Africa and the Middle East.

Now which are your favourite cities?