Central America, Countries, South America

Darien back on the tourist map

As tourist destinations go it didn’t catch on in the same way as say Blackpool or Ibiza but here’s Darien back on the tourist map.

Darien used to be a big thing in the 1690s after it had been identified by outsiders as a route from Atlantic to the Pacific.

Particularly those, like me, of a Scottish variety who, jealous of their English neighbours’ burgeoning empire, went after their own.

The blue blue sea: The Pacific

Only to find unsurprisingly that the locals, the neighbouring English and Dutch colonists and even God himself didn’t agree.

And cursed by plague, pestilence and penury in the jungle, their bid to establish a New Caledonia ended in bankrupting Scotland.

And why does this matter to you if you’re not of the Scottish variety?

Well the opportunistic English hotfooted it up to Scotland to buy them out and force a union on them, the United Kingdom.

Panama chat

If the hat fits: Panama

If I haven’t sold the Darien to you yet, then maybe I’m better passing the job over to our friends at Swan Hellenic cruises.

The SH Diana people who will take you around Panama and Peru.

And into the jungle to meet the indigenous Embera people of the Darien.

Where we’re expecting they’ll be more welcoming than 325 years ago.

And Swan Hellenic will be coming in good will to promote the Darien.

Graceful Swan

Peru for you: Lima

The SH Diana is brand new for 2024 from Lima to Panama City, along South America.

And, of course, you’ll get to meet the natives who were here before any of us, God’s other critters.

Nature including Humboldt Penguins and Southern Sea Lions on Isla Guanape.

Peruvian pelicans and Blue-Footed Boobies on Lobos de Tierra.

One hundred and thirty species of hummingbird on Puerto Bolivar.

And nested waved albatross on Isla de la Plata.

Deal us in

Luxury: Diana interior

Departing on March 18, the nine-night Cultures of Northern Peru and Biodiversity expedition cruise costs from £5,356 pps

Including return group transfers from the airport to the cruise port.

One pre-night cruise accommodation with breakfast in a four/five star hotel or onboard.

All meals on board, onboard accommodation in a stateroom selected category.

Twenty-four hour room service, drinks available all day, lecture programmes by experienced expedition team and guest speakers (phew)!

One selected short excursion per port of call, standard Wi-Fi, onboard gratuities and port taxes.

And maybe that’s where the Scottish navy went wrong.

And why they should have followed Swan Hellenic’s lead and why we have Darien back on the tourist map.


Countries, Deals, South America

We’re all Patagonian

If we are what we wear then we’re all Patagonian…

The outdoor clothing brand you can wear to give the illusion that you’re a Bear Grylls adventurer.

For the real Patagonia we rely, as we so often do when it comes to big adventures, on our friends at Hayes & Jarvis.

Patagonia, of course, is the variegated 400,000sq mile tip of South America, covering Argentina and Chile.

Where you can do everything from hiking up glaciers.

Journeying deep into Torres del Paine National Park and spotting orcas just off the coast.

Passport check

Horses for courses: The Patagonia plains

And so with our own personalised H&J passport holder and document eager to get out of the drawer…

Then our interest is piqued by H&J’s prompt for their Patagonian options.

And they remind us that we can combine an Antarctic Cruise with a Patagonian adventure.

Or add a few city breaks across Chile and Argentina.

As you can see it’s a £4,999pp 12-day trip of a lifetime.

Two to tango

Sway to go: Learn to tango

Well, it does take two to tango and that’s where you’ll start in the tango capital, Buenos Aires.

Where you’ll guided through your steps before rewarding yourself with Argentinian wine.

A rock and a cool place: On your H&J trip

Buenos Aires is a delight and you can take in the city’s architecture and cathedral on a tour of the capital.

Before you visit Plaza de Mayo and the river port of San Telmo.

Now seeing you’re in South America you’ll want to fly south like the birds.

Beautiful South

Splash of colour: Ushuaia

And H&J will oblige, taking you to Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world.

With its fascinating mix of museums and harbours.

And the Tierra del Fuego National Park which you can explore on foot.

Penguin suits on: And a special day out

They’ll ppppick up the pace and set sail next to Martillo Island.

For a rare close/up of the native Magellan and Gentoo penguin colonies, albatrosses and other birdlife.

Before setting out for El Calafate for a full day at the National Park Los Glaciares which is mint.

With its fantastic walking trails and cave paintings.

Puerto Natales is noted for its Biosphere Reserve.

The UNESCO National Park Torres del Paine, which boasts stunning waterfalls, mirror image lakes and herds of guanacos.

Chillin’ in Chile

Walk this way: In your Patagonia gear

And because Patagonia is a two-country experience you’ll want to get chillin’ in Chile.

Santiago will be our final stop wher you’ll have the opportunity to explore Chile’s capital city.

With a trip of the university and central markets.

Before you cross the Mapocho River to San Cristobal Hill for a stunning view over Santiago and the Andes.

And finish your tour as you began with some more wine tasting.

And a few glasses of the best Chilean wine and we’re all Patagonian.




Countries, Cruising, South America

Brazilliant brio and how we cruise

My first cruise captain would regale us with Brazilliant brio and how we all cruise.

He got to know our different nationalities well over steering the big ship and what we each want from a cruise.

An Italian by birth, he had become a naturalised Englishman but was like we all strive to be… a citizen of the world.

And he admitted he took it all on board and off it as his children would point out when he got home.

And he picked them up from school where they would point out his size, him putting on six stone while off on the type of long journey from the UK to Brazil.

Brazil pecs

Golden vision: Brazilians

Cap’n would tell us on our trip around the Western Med of his adventures on the high seas and the people he would meet.

Of the beauty of Santorini, his and many others’ favourite cruise stop, and of the pecadilloes of certain nationalities.

With Brazilians more image-conscious (his words).

And he would tell us that they would forgo the all-you-can-eat stations on board for the gym.

That you could always spot the Brazilians because they would be on deck posing, preening and pouting by the poolside.

And that was just the men!

A melting pot

Cruisey travellers: With the Scary One

It’s a similar story too with the Italians, as my old teacher would tell me with her male cousin taking his own vanity case around.

And spending more time in the bathroom than her.

The British and Irish would, of course, be at the buffet and the bar and partying into the night.

And I can vouch from my own experience with MSC in the fjords that the Eastern Europeans love a jostle at the buffet table.

We like the idea of sharing a ship with Brazilians who leave the bar and the buffet to us.

Rio by the sea-o

Ole Brazil: Christ the Redeemer

Particularly as they’re heading back to Brazil.

Which is where Travel EscapesStay are offering.

With 16 nights on board the MSC Grandiosa from €2,089pp, travelling from November 7 and 23 (the latter a very important date on the calendar).

Sail away

Barca bears: And Messi might even return

Like many a cruiser, and like Columbus himself, you’ll set out from beautiful Barcelona.

Your first port of call is Malaga on the Costa del Sol.

You then cruise into the Atlantic to Funchal on the Portuguese island of Madeira before continuing your Atlantic crossing, crossing the Equator before reaching the coast of Brazil.

Your Brazilian adventure begins with a stop in historic Maceio before you cruise on to Salvador.

It’s known for its Portuguese colonial architecture, Afro-Brazilian culture, and tropical coastline.

Your cruise comes to an end as you sail into the iconic bay of Rio de Janeiro, under the watchful gaze of the iconic Cristo Redentor statue

 So why not check out Rio by the sea-oh. And look out for Brazilliant brio and how we all cruise.


Countries, Cruising, Deals, South America

World Earth Day on the seas

It’s never been plain sailing but our cruise friends at Celebrity Cruises have led the way to make this a World Earth Day on the seas.

Fuel-guzzling cruise ships have always been an easy target for the Greta Thumbergs of this world.

And the fartygskam crew, the shipping equivalent of flygskam flying shame… no sniggering up the back!

Now the cruise industry has been taking leaps and strides to clean up the seas afterwards.

Getting the Edge

Fab Four: Celebrity Edge

Celebrity are rightly excited about the fifth ship in their Edge Series.

The ship will be equipped with a new engine model, along with storage and delivery systems.

And listen up here Greta, it will give unmatched fuel flexibility.

With the ability to use three types of fuel, including methanol.

Piping hot: Entertainment with Celebrity

Now we’ve seen, and heard, first hand on the maiden voyage of Celebrity Edge to the Bahamas how committed they are to sustainability.

The bottom line is that they are hell-bent on achieving zero waste across their fleet.

And through their ‘Green Hub’ waste vendor programme, 85 per cent of their waste is recycled.

That and the whole gamut of scientific and technological advances they’ve made certainly gives them the edge.

Message for Greetin’ Greta

Windbag: Greta Thumberg

Now what Greetin’ Greta and her groaners have to say about the World Wildlife Fund endorsing Celebrity, well…!

Among the bigger shared initiatives, with the sale of merchandise available on select cruises. 100% of the net proceeds will help support WWF’s ocean conservation work.

While you can also join the ‘Walk For Coral’ activity on your next cruise.

And I do owe Coral after standing on her from the Maldives to Barbados and Tobago.

Galapagos glory

Turtley blue: The Galapagos

All around the world our natural world and those who live in its seas and earth depend on us.

And very visibly in one of the most authentic islands on Earth, the Galapagos.

Aboard the Celebrity Xpedition, Xploration, and Celebrity Flora, Celebrity have planned their Celebrity Galapagos experience in conjunction with the Galapagos National Park.

They’ve also established the Galapagos Fund, an onboard conservation program that gives guests the chance to participate in the ongoing conservation of the islands.

Be a Celebrity

Love me tender: Celebrity Edge and its floating tender

The most popular of Celebrity’s packages is their 10/11 Galapagos & Quito deal from £7,649pp. 

Even before you leave for your seven nights cruise to the Galapagos.

You can enjoy two nights pre-cruise luxury accommodations at JW Marriott Quito and a full-day guided tour of the city.

There are round-trip flights between Ecuador and the Galapagos.

And then one or two-night post-cruise luxury accommodations at the Marriot or EB Hotel (depending on guest flight schedules and/or package length.

So, we’re in safe hands on World Earth Day on the seas.


Asia, Countries, Europe, South America, Sustainable Tourism

The Leading Hotels of the World

IT’S that reminder, not that you need it, that you’re in the plushest of pads… the Leading Hotels of the World book on your table.

As you look out from the Dylan Amsterdam over the Keizersgracht canal in Amsterdam just down the corridor from George and Amal… or whichever Leading Hotel you, or they, are reclining in.

All of which we were reminded of when our friends at LHW alerted us to the new intake of six hotels which have been added to their 400+ roster.

And yes for all the swish billets we’ve stayed in over the years we still have 399+ to visit…

O Flower of Amsterdam: The Dylan

But every journey starts with one step.

This season’s LHW collection includes four new hotel openings…

An ambitious city resort on Samarkand’s Silk Road, an architectural jewel in Milan, a mountaintop hideaway in Montafon and a vibrant dining destination in Montevideo.

And they are joined by two storied hotels…

A grand lakeside estate in Lausanne and a Roman hotspot with historical charm.

Get thee to a seminary

Water place: The Portrait for wellbeing

Portrait Milano (Milan, Italy) NEW OPENING December 2022: And there’s plenty of them in holy Italy.

LHW tell us that this is one of the oldest seminaries in Europe, dating back to the 16th century.

And only recently opened to the public for the first time.

They tell us Portrait embraces the lively Piazza del Quadrilatero.

With the elegant, vaulted colonnade animated by restaurants and bars, boutiques, a lush garden and a wellness centre.

There are 73 sophisticated rooms and suites and other accommodations will provide an oasis of privacy and peace, surrounding guests by timeless elegance.

Smooth as the Silk Road

Asian peace: And tranquility

Samarkand Regency Amir Temur (Samarkand, Republic of Uzbekistan) NEW OPENING Autumn 2022:  Billing itself as the crown jewel of the Silk Road.

Any viewer of Joanna Lumley’s excellent travelogue will know all about one of the world’s oldest trade routes.

The name pays tribute to Uzbekistan’s 15th Century national hero, who made Samarkand one of the most illustrious empires.

The 233-room hotel features charcoal-grilled dining at El Sabor, 20th floor Sky Bar.

With panoramic views, and the Nephrite Spa & Wellness offering beauty and wellbeing treatments from Valmont and Thalgo alongside a hammam and pool.

Surrounded by thousands of years of history and magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The hotel is located steps from a first-of-its kind Eternal City, an entertaining and immersive ‘model city’ which was designed and created by Uzbek artist Bobur Ismoilov to honour the artistry and tradition of Uzbekistan.

Nature’s ski lodge

Mountain high: In Austria

Falkensteiner Hotel Montafon (Montafon, Austria) NEW OPENING December 2022: And this being the mountains, then the focus is on sustainability.

The 123-room hotel is designed to blend into the surrounding mountains.

And the outdoor facilities have been harmoniously integrated into the surrounding skiing and hiking areas of the Erlebinsverg Golm.

The first certified, climate neutral ski area in Austria.

A dedicated ski shuttle connects to over 27 miles of scenic ski slopes, offering endless opportunities for skiing and winter sports.

Montevideo star

South American dream: In Uruguay

Hotel Montevideo (Montevideo, Uruguay) NEW OPENING December 2022:  Transforming an iconic corner of the city into an elegant destination for dining and design.

Hotel Montevideo taps into the vibrant energy of Uruguay’s bustling capital city.

Each room offers floor-to-ceiling windows and a private balcony to take in the city views.

At the hotel, savour authentic local fare created by renowned chef duo Ale Morales and Flor Coureges at Polo Bamba during the day.

And journey to the Sky Bar at Piso 10 for awe-inspiring sunsets that attract travellers and locals alike.

Out on a wing in Lausanne

Royal Savoy Hotel & Spa Lausanne (Lausanne, Switzerland): One of Switzerland’s grandest dames, opened in 1909.

It has been restored to fuse old-world charm with modern luxury.

The estate near Lac Léman is divided between the historic Savoy Wing and the contemporary Park Wing.

Each of the sumptuously outfitted 196 rooms and suites are punctuated with Art Nouveau influence.

The Sky Lounge boasts spectacular 360° views of Lausanne, Lake Geneva.

Eternal pleasure 

No place like Rome: And what a view

Hotel Splendide Royal Roma (Rome, Italy): Established within an historic estate dating back to the 1800s.

The recently renovated Hotel Splendide Royal Roma is situated in the heart of Rome’s most prestigious neighbourhood.

Steps away from the Via Veneto, and the extraordinary Villa Borghese Gardens, the hotel offers unparalleled access to the very best cultural, culinary and shopping experiences in Rome.

All of which you can do seamlessly and in budget.

Each of the 69 exquisitely-decorated rooms and suites effortlessly balance the old-world elegance of period furnishings, classical art, and historic details with the understated refinement of modern luxury.

Boasting award-winning dining at the signature Mirabelle Restaurant and breathtaking views at the rooftop lounge.

This is a city hot spot that is a favourite with visitors and locals alike.

All of which is leading up to you rewarding yourself by staying in one (or more) of the Leading Hotels of the World in the new year.


Africa, America, Asia, Countries, Cruising, Europe, Oceania, South America

Swanning about the world

So all we do is go swanning about the world. Wrong, we let somebody else pilot the ship.

And that somebody would be Swan Hellenic who will show you the Arctic, Antarctic and rest of the world – from Brazil to Papua New Guinea, Norway to New Zealand, Australia to Africa, and Madagascar to the Mediterranean.

Swan Hellenic are introducing a new lady to the fleet for next year with SH Diana joining SH Minerva and SH Vega from the past two years.

So as with all things cruise let’s see the numbers.

There are 192 guests across 96 staterooms and suites, many with balconies.

Diana rules the waves

Ice one: And total peace

Diana’s passengers features a multifunctional room next to the observation lounge, a private dining room and two tenders.

And so the polar class 6 ice-strengthened hull plus extra-large stabilisers make the journey as smooth as silk for you to enjoy the Arctic and Antarctic.

There are new itineraries too on the roster, such as New Zealand in Depth and immerse yourself in its Maori culture and its Long White Cloud.

Dip your toe in: Luxury on board

Then there’s Papua New Guinea with its active volcano and Eclectus parrots.

For Japanophiles then you can explore the Land of the Rising Sun further than ever before.

And its Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples and the forested island of Yakushima.

Of course, all these exotic destinations bill themselves as the Land of something or other.

Dance away: Maori culture

And that is no different with Iceland, the Land of Ice and Fire.

In Iceland in Depth you can cruise along the fjords, something we’d encourage anybody in the Nordic or Scandinavia, nations. 

And so to the Land of Carnival, the Spirit of Brazil will give you those rhythms, beats and buzzing cities.

But you’ll also get to see humpback whales in the Abrolhos Archipelago.

While if Africa is more your thing then you can check out their Unspoilt Wilds of Southwest Africa.

And talk to the animals… the elephants, buffalos, lowland gorillas and chimps. And you’ll feel good.

Before learning about the wonders of voodoo in Benin.

Deal us in

Antarctic explorers: Off to see  wildlife

Prices range from £2,500pps to £19,000pps depending on the length and location of the expedition cruise.

That includes return regional flights to the port of embarkation and/or disembarkation (where specified)…

Group return transfers from the airport to the cruise port, one night pre-cruise accommodation with breakfast in a four/five star hotel or onboard, all meals onboard, 24-hour room service, coffee, tea, soft drinks and selected alcoholic beverages available 24-hours per day.

There will be a lecture programmes by Swan Hellenic’s experienced expedition team and guest speakers, Wi-Fi, onboard gratuities and port taxes.

And one selected shore excursion/expedition activity per port of call, and branded Swan Hellenic expedition parkas and use of rubber boots in Polar Regions.

Phew. So get swanning about the world.


Countries, South America, Sport

World calling Ecuador

As Qatar kick off the Jules Rimet Trophy let’s remember there’s another team playing too so an invitation here… world calling Ecuador, world calling Ecuador.

Having sidestepped the Qatar issue with all the guile of a Luca Modric.

Let’s turn our attentions to South Americans Ecuador.

And you barely need any Spanish to work out that the country derives its name from the Equator.

That being the case time pretty much stands still in Ecuador.

With the sun always rising at 6am and setting at 6pm.

Now if you know anything about Ecuador beyond the Equator then full marks to you.

But, of course, there is a whole country above, below and beyond the dividing line.

Gallop to the Galapagos

Here tortoise: And aren’t they giant?

Most notably the Galapagos Islands where the locals move at a very slow island pace.

A thousand kilometres to the west the Islands are on G Adventures, Intrepid Travel… 

And mostly all of your adventure tours to this part of the world.

Because of their giant tortoises who live for hundreds of years, its iguana and penguin and a host of other attractions.

Darwin’s species 

The evolution: Darwin

Charles Darwin remains the Galapagos Islands’ most famous visitor until that is I get there.

And it was here that my fellow beardie formulated his theory of evolution.

From studying finches’ changing beaks.

It’s not just in the Galapagos Islands either that you’ll be bowled over by just how many species are on show.

Biodiversity rules

A whole different ball game: Ecuador

In fact Ecuador tops the world for the density of its biodiversity.

The Galapagos themselves have 38 endemic species.

But there are also 106 reptiles and 138 amphibians endemic to Ecuador.

And count them (well no need, someone has done it for us) there are tens of thousands of bird species alone.

In fact 15% of the world’s population.

The Ecuadorian capital, Quito, will get more than a mention or two.

Because it’s naturally the hub of Ecuadorian football.

And where because of the geographical advantage they have from being the second highest capital in the world.

After Peru’s La Paz they have a tidy home record.

Hitting the heights

Cat in the hat: Ecuador, home of the Panama

Of course, you’ll feel it yourself from being in a city 9,350ft above sea level (my highest is Mile High City Denver).

In the rarefied air that closer to God you are.

And that’s borne out too by the medieval churches.

Which UNESCO recognised Quito and Krakow as their first World Cultural Heritage sites in 1978.

You might hear too that Ecuador is the world’s biggest exporter of bananas.

And that it’s really where Panama Hats derive and you’ll be away.

Cheering Ecuador

Let’s call it Quitos: The locals

So that’s more than enough to be getting on with, and for the rest get out there.

We’ll try and keep you going as the tourney progresses but for now while the heat is on Qatar.

Here is where you’ll find the world calling Ecuador.

America, Asia, South America, UK

Baby, you’re a firework

Baby, you’re a firework, come on let your colours burst… as they might have sung back in 1605 to mark Guy Fawkes Day.

Well because we’re fortunate enough that Katy Perry lives in our age.

Then that’s what we all do when the sparklers, rockets, Catherine Wheels and Roman Candles fizz through the air.

In the UK in those areas where people don’t celebrate the burning of Catholic traitors or have got past 17th century history.

And just like a light show then today, Guy Fawkes Day, is a national fireworks spectacular.

Of course, not everybody, the passing of a queen apart, is obsessed with British history.

So we’re taking a look at where and when the world lets their colours burst.

Fire Eid

Sparkling: Eid

Eid, the Muslim world: And as you would expect in the land of the world’s biggest building, Burj Khalifa, Dubai reachest highest in the Muslim world for Eid.

There are also numerous shows and music concerts and the amusement parks go into overdrive.

Jewel of India

Light up: Diwali

Diwali, India: Now if we in Britain think that our skies are spectacular at this time of year.

Then it is nothing compared to India.

Diwali, the festival of light, has just been dimmed for another year.

But not before India lit up the heavens in style.

And the Indian diaspora around the world did the same as we’ve touched upon.

But we’re advised again that Amritsar and its golden temple shines brightest.

Disney lights

Da Mouse games: Disney

Disney (Orlando and Anaheim and around the world): Now while the cow is sacred in India, its Da Mouse who is the holiest of holy in Disney.

Fireworks are a staple at Disney where you can enjoy their nightly shows Four Seasons of the year…

Or whichever hotel you stay in.

Or when you stroll down Main Street USA you can sit on a grassy bank.

And take in Mickey in Da House or Potter magic.

And Christmas lights

Let there be light: Rio

South America: Now the party-loving Latin Americans aren’t the types prepared to wait for the new year to set off their fireworks.

It’s probably down to the weather which allows them to set off ‘little volcanoes’ firecrackers or sparklers known as ‘little stars’.

Fountains of light are also created in villages made of large collections of these ‘little stars’.

With Roman candles favourites over turkey sandwiches and pineapple juice in the evening.

Be a part of it

Let the ball drop: Times Square

New York’s New Year: And while we all have our traditions and claim ours is best.

And the Scots have their own name for New Year’s Eve.

Times Square, New York is the place to be for their famous Times Square Ball Drop.

We all have Adolph Ochs, owner of the New York Times, to thank.

And designer Artkraft Strauss (no, really).

Held annually on December 31 since 1907, and across a bunch of feelgood seasonal movies.

So, I think we can all agree, baby you’re a firework… all year around.


America, Canada, Countries, Europe, Food & Wine, South America, UK

Drink up Oktoberfest is over

Drink up Oktoberfest is over… and only three days into the 10th month of the year.

So you’re thinking it should be Septemberfest.

Well, nein… the first Oktoberfest was held to celebrate the wedding of Kronprinz Ludwig Ludwig to Princess Therese on October 10, 1810.

It’s just that it’s been slowly been moved back to accommodate the lighter nights.

And the 16/18 day festival now runs from mid or late September to the first Sunday in October.

Or all year round if you’re two Aussies on the run.

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie

Toast of Munich; The Top Deck crew

It’s a well-told story but my Top Deck double deck bus 10-day trip to the Munich Beer Festival and Austria stretched a little longer.

One year longer to be precise as Brownie and Smutley dropped in on me, if a casual visit describes a 543 mile trip north.

From London to Aberdeen.

Being Aussies, of course, they asked to stay for a weekend and left a year later.

But only after returning to the scenes of my crimes at the Lowenbrau and Hofbrau huises and Kirchberg in Austria.

The original, and still best Oktoberfest may have poured its last stein for 12 months.

But the party still goes on around the world.

Oktoberfest around the world

Embrafest: Oktoberfest in Princes Street

In Edinburgh this October 6, 7, 8 and 9, here where I initiated the neighbour in all things Helga and Hofbrau last year.

And in the greater German diaspora with Kitchener (formerly Berlin) in Ontario, Canada where 700,000 clink steins annually.

The Americans, naturally, would never want their neighbour to outdo them and Cincinatti and Denver run them close.

You might be surprised to know though that Blumenau in Brazil is only surpassed by Munich and Kitchener for visitors.

Lager Down Under

Kick up your heels: Oktoberfest in Munich

Of course Brownie and Smutley could have stayed where they were and enjoyed Oktoberfests in Perth in the Supreme Court Gardens.

Or any of the great Aussie cities.

Mind you as anyone who has been to Munich for Oktoberfest will tell you for those two weeks it is a little corner of Oz.

So the Munich celebrations have wound up when the last lederhosen-dressed Bavarian has called ‘Drink up Oktoberfest is over.‘

But that just means finding your next Oktoberfest bash wherever it is in the world.



Africa, America, Asia, Countries, South America, UK

Brasaleia and other sold countries

For the day that’s in it when The Dutch Republic sold New Holland to Portugal in 1661 here’s Brasaleia and other sold countries.

No, you didn’t know the Dutch took 63 tonnes of gold from Portugal for what would become Brazil.

They had run the north-east part of the country we now know as Sambaland for 31 years before cashing in after a war.

The Dutch were the great merchants of their day and dealmakers.

And the best dealmaker of our day, and most famous living New Yorker, Donald Trump, would have approved of another deal.

Manhattan transfer

The art of the deal: With The Donald in New York

Dutch governor Peter Minuit bought Manhattan from the native Americans in 1621 for trinkets to the value of $24.

And when the Dutch relinquished it in 1674 to the English who rechristened it New York they got the rich sugar and cotton territory of Suriname in South America in return.

Now you might remember Trump offering to buy Greenland a couple of years ago probably thinking we still deal this way.

United Stakes

The table is set: In Vegas

And in truth that is how America completed their manifest destiny.

Through most famously the Louisiana Purchase from France for $15m to help the Gauls fund the Napoleonic Wars.

And having got a taste that spending money is better than spending blood they went back 16 years later with $5m for Florida.

The growing US splashed out $18.25m to buy California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona from the Mexicans in 1848.

All of which would be a poor take on a weekend in a Las Vegas casino.

LA is my laddie: In Los Angeles

Ten million greenbacks got them southern Arizona and New Mexico from their neighbours five years later.

But they weren’t finished there and sealed the deal of all deals when they waved $7.2m under the Russian Bear’s nose in 1867 for Alaska.

And again that proved to be mere loose change compared with the oodles of money they’ve taken in oil since.

While the Americans have waved the chequebook more than anybody the British haven’t been slow in flashing cash either.

Rate Britain

Water island: Singapore

And at various stages they have bought bits of India and Africa from the Danes.

All of which makes you think Trump could have done a deal with them over Greenland.

While Singapore was purchased from Johor, a state in Malaysia, for $60,000 in 1824.

Scots bank it

Leg it to… the Isle of Man

Who would have thought too that the Scots were at it too long before any of them.

When they forked out 4,000 marks sterling and 100 mark annuity to the Norwegians for…

The Hebrides, Kintyre, islands off the Firth of Clyde and get this, the Isle of Man, from Norway in 1266.

It’s ironic then that the Scots were “bought and sold for English gold such a parcel of rogues in a nation” when they surrendered to the union with England which created Great Britain.

And which you can read all about in the excellent Price of Scotland from historian Douglas Watt.

All of which we’ll reflect on on this lazy Saturday afternoon… Brasaleia and other sold countries.