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

Africa, America, Asia, Countries, Deals, Europe, Ireland, UK

Flyday Friday – It’s Baltic

Quite why people from Chilly Jockoland (or Scotland to you or me) should tease Baltics people about the cold is anyone’s guess.

But tease them we do with every cold day referred to as ‘Baltic’.

I guess we’ll just have to find out for ourselves, particularly as Air Baltic have a fantastic sale on.

St Petersburg

How about Tallinn from €59 and Riga from €69?

Those cities will be familiar to us as being part of the Baltic States.

Stockholm

But that also applies, of course, to Scandinavia, and Stockholm and Helsinki are also pitched at the same price.

And to St Petersburg. From €85. And Moscow which is nowhere near the sea (but we’re not going to tell) from €89.

Helsinki

The sale finishes at 23:59 on Thursday. For travel until December 17. Visit www.airbaltic.com.

Hamburg

Now it’s where you kick off your Baltic cruises The call of the fjords.

And from where you’ll jump off en route to Hamburg Hamburgers and ships.

Camel ye to Abu Dhabi

And they’re off

Right, I’ve done the goat racing in Tobago. Now for the camel racing.

So that means Abu Dhabi although I might leave that to the experts as you can see.

I’m a bit shoogly on Humpy here in the Wadi Rum desert in Jordan The water of life, Petra, and the sands of time.

Etihad www.etihad.com has Abu Dhabi as your sole destination or as a stop-off.

Anyone betting on me?

Return tickets from €947.

And if you go further afield as part of a multi-city flight deal then Etihad will put you up in an Abu Fab premium hotel for free.

Sentimental journey

Hey, Lady

Aer Lingus www.aerlingus.com has been going on a sentimental journey of its own with its first new uniforms in 22 years.

So I guess that was what was behind the musical background for their January Sales deal.

It has 30% off Europe and North America from €188 as part of a return deal.

Planes or trains

I may be away for some time

I can’t, and won’t, as a Travel writer preach on flygskam ‘flying shame’.

But I will say that as a cruise fan that FlyBe www.flybe.com has always provided an invaluable route from Ireland to Southampton.

Amid the navel-gazing over FlyBe’s problems one thought: make trains cheaper!

Africa, America, Countries, Culture, Europe

Putting these statues on a pedestal

All joking aside about Zlatan ‘The Ego’ Ibramovich being cut down to size.

But is it right that the Sweden soccer superstar should befall the same fate as Lord Nelson here in Dublin and Saddam Hussein in Baghdad?

The fallen Zlatan

Now I’m all for sportspeople, celebrities, actors and even, and particularly, animals to be put on a pedestal.

Because haven’t the aristocracy and the war leaders had their day in our affection and deference?

So here are is my unscientific list of my favourite statues.

And please let me know who I’ve missed out.

Greyfriars Bobby, Edinburgh

Bobby’s boy: With Greyfriars Bobby in Edinburgh

Well, if Bobby’s tale was good enough for Walt Disney then it’s good enough for me.

Bobby is buried not far from here in Greyfriars Kirk next to his master John Gray on whose grave he slept every night.

And he was then awarded the Freedom of the City of Edinburgh.

You’re advised though not to kiss his nose for luck as many started doing… it’s not lucky for Bobby as it’s wearing away.

For more on Edinburgh and Scotland visit http://www.edinburgh.org and http://www.visitscotland.com.

And, of course, I always like to flag up ma wee hame country. And here’s a wee sample of what we eat and drink…

With https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/12/19/hungry-and-thursday-whisky-and-the-water-of-long-life/ and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/12/26/hungry-and-thursday-curried-christmas-turkey/

Fannie Lou Hamer, Ruleville, Mississippi

A little big woman: Fannie Lou Hamer in Mississippi

Sometimes it’s the design that catches you and stops you in your tracks.

And so it is with this remarkable little woman,

The President of the USA, Lydon Baines, Johnson took extraordinary measures in stopping her saying her piece at the Democratic Convention by having television change its schedule.

Fannie Lou Hamer’s life was extraordinary, born into a sharecropping family and picking cotton from the age of six, she was later forced out of her home, threatened with her very life and beaten.

All because she wanted to sign on on the voting register.

She summed up her struggle in the Civil Rights Movement thus, and of course nobody could say it better: ‘I got sick and tired of being sick and tired.’

Visit www.visitmississippi.org

And why not read my American Trilogy… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-promised-land-martin-luther-king/, https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-story-of-the-blues/ and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/elvispresley-the-king-of-kings/?

Anne Frank, Amsterdam

The flower of youth: Anne Frank in Amsterdam

Us journalists like to think of ourselves as hard-bitten but I had to choke back the tears walking through the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam…. http://www.annefrank.org.

The audio narrative dwelt on a passage in her diary where she mentions that she wants to become a journalist when she’s older.

And what a journalist she would have been… ethical (yes, some of us are), prying and fearless.

Amsterdam is one of the world’s great cities and Anne one of history’s greatest figures… http://www.iamsterdam.com.

And here is proof of that… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/pictures-of-amsterdam/ and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/george-and-amal-hotel/

Piss, Prague

Statues should be provocative and the Czechs have this one down to a T.

‘Piss’ is the good people of Prague’s commentary on the politicians who have urinated all over their country.

You’ll not see it here but once the water gets flowing they pee all over the map of the country.

The Czechs as well as being the world’s biggest lager drinkers, per population, with some of the world’s best beers, are wonderfully anti-establishmentarian.

Visit http://www.czechtourism.com and here’s some other musings on the Czech Republic https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/06/24/czech-it-out-2/

Phil Lynott, Dublin

The boys are back in town: With my old pal Al

There are statues to musical giants all over the world but while former Thin Lizzy lead singer Phil Lynott isn’t the best or most famous singer of them all, try telling that to Dubliners.

It is a tradition now for visitors to Dublin to have their photo taken outside Philo’s statue off the main Grafton Street shopping thoroughfare.

That other statue, the Tart with the Cart, Molly Malone? Well you can leave that to the uninitiated.

And seeing you’ll be in town here is where you want to stay… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-intercontinental-what-a-ledge/

And this site will point you in the direction of other goodies… http://www.visitdublin.com.

Nelson, Bridgetown, Barbados

You can stay: Nelson in Bridgetown

He’s obviously not the only Horatio or the biggest, and as I’ve alluded to already some not too far from here even blew him up.

But he was a survivor, except when he was killed obvs, and he lost an eye and an arm.

Death might even have been a better gig too as he was transported home in a vat of rum… a good way to go and one that the Bajans would have approved of.

Until, of course, his old shipmates drilled a hole in the vat and drunk the rum!

Statues are a controversial subject but my Bajan hosts were keen to tell me that Nelson was part of their story too.

And so ignore the white liberals who like to speak for black people, they’re glad to have him keeping his one eye open on what’s going on in Bim.

For more on Barbados see http://www.visitbarbados.org. And https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/rihanna-in-barbados/ and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/my-kiss-with-rihanna/

Martin Luther, Dresden

Closer to God: Martin Luther in Dresden

Some statues can withstand anything.

Martin Luther stood as a defiant symbol of Dresdeners refusal to see their city disappear after the Allies’ firebombing at the end of the Second World War.

The Dresdeners rebuilt the obliterated Frauenkirche sixty years later, after they had got rid of the Communists, using as the plans photographs they had asked the public to send in from their weddings.

Dresden was known as the Florence of the Elbe and it is one of the great architectural stories of our age, or any age, to see how the Dresdeners have rebuilt their city to the same grandeur of its renaissance days.

For more information on Dresden http://www.dresden.de and also take a trip through the ages with me with https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/dresdens-renaissance-martin-luther/

Hans Christian Andersen, Copenhagen

With Tom and My Little Princess in Copenhagen

Yes, the Little Mermaid is more visited, but personally I prefer the top-hatted Hans in the heart of Copenhagen.

Hans was an eccentric all right and once decamped on Charles Dickens, walked around the house in the starkers, and made it difficult for Charlie to show him the door.

Very Scandinavian and it just makes me want to revisit Denmark… http://www.visitingcopenhagen.com and digging out my Scandinavian wanderings https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-call-of-the-fjords/

Nelson Mandela Voting Line, Port Elizabeth, South Africa

March to Freedom: In Port Elizabeth

Statues shouldn’t just stand there. No, really. And this is a moving symbolic Voting Line which sums up South African democracy.

This is our host Sisseko and beside him a kid as he would have been back in 1995 when South Africa had its historic vote.

It is also immersive and you don’t have to climb up a plinth to get next to it as they do in Glasgow when they put police cones on the Duke of Wellington.

It is the way I should imagine that Nelson, a native of the Eastern Cape, would have wanted it.

And for more on South Africa’s Eastern Cape visit http://www.meetyoursouthafrica.net and http://www.southafrica.net. And this is how I tries to do it justice… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/homemyoffice/whats-new-pussycat/

Martin Luther King, Washington DC

Unfinished business: Martin Luther King in Washington DC

We’ll never stop building statues, of course, and I expect a Bandanaman up in my name when my Travelling days are done.

This statue of Dr Martin Luther King is never meant to be finished though.

Until the Civil Rights struggle has been finally met which, of course, it never will be, alas.

But what genius and how moving. For more on my favourite capital city visit http://Easy DC and http://www.washington.org.

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?