Canada, Countries, Culture, Europe, UK

Hey Willie, I’m On the Road Again

On the road again, I just can’t wait to get on the road again, the life I love is makin’ music with the my friends, and I can’t get wait to get on the road again.

Willie Nelson

And when I was asked by woman-of-many-trades (she asked me to write this) Aileen Eglington to pick my song for her Destinations Anywhere show on Dublin South FM I plumped for Willie Nelson’s classic to the Open Road.

And so continuing my top roads I’ve been on (or hope to trudge) which included the Appian Way, Rome. Beale Street, Memphis, The King’s Highway in Jordan, the Royal Mile, Edinburgh and Via Dolorosa, Jerusalem On the Road again… I give you five more.

The arc of angels

arche de triumph
There’s a golden sun. Photo by TravelingTart on Pexels.com

Avenue des Champs-Elysees, Paris: And, yes, you are taking your life into your own hands when you cross the road here.

The Arc de Triumph with its record of French victories is, of course, the centrepiece although there hasn’t been an inscription on it for many a year. Either in war or the Tour de France which passes through it. See https://en.parisinfo.com.

Aspiring Dublin

O’Connell Street, Dublin: And if you like your streets lined with historical statues then this is for you.

At one end is the Liberartor Daniel O’Connell, with bullet holes from the Easter Rising, and at the other ‘The King of Ireland’ Charles Stewart Parnell. There’s the modern-day Centennial Spire but my favourite is the statue of workers’ hero Jim Larkin. See http://www.visitdublin.com.

The long, long road

Yonge Street, Toronto: And why let the facts get in the way of a good story. The Guinness Book of Records tagged it as the longest in the world until it became clear that they were conflating the Downtown Street with Ontario Highway 11 to make it 1,896kms.

When it’s actually 56kms long. And this being Toronto it’s cleaner, safer and with a laid-back vibe than New York which it is often unfavourably compared to. See http://www.seetoronto.com and Canadian high.

It’s a Shambles

The Shambles, York, England: The Old York, as it’s never called, has something the New York has.

This has overhanging timber-framed buildings that date from the 14th century. And if you like your trains there’s also the National Railway Museum. See https://www.visityork.org.

A night on Der Town

Beatles history in Hamburg

And if it’s good enough for the Beatles then…

This is where the Beatles grew up and George Harrison got his first taste for mud-wrestling Germans. It’s the Reeperbahn in Hamburg. And let Stefanie Hempell who runs the best music tour you’ll find.

See http://www.hamburg.com http://www.hempels-musictour.de/en/ and Hamburgers and ships and The Beatles in Hamburg – With Stefanie Hempel and Why German trains always run on time.

America, Canada, Countries, Ireland, UK

Happy Fourth of July

Who’d have thought it? The Fourth of July today is as big a cause for celebration (if not more) here in the UK than it is in America.

I did, of course, tell you months ago that today would be the exact day that we would be coming out of lockdown in the UK (except for Scotland, doh!).

And not just in the last couple of weeks but as long ago as April 21 Wuhoo Wuhan.

Still, when all is said and done I would still prefer to be in the Oo Es of Eh today than anywhere else.

As big an Americanophile as I am I have never managed to time it so that I am there on the Fourth of July, nor for Thanksgiving either but I aim to put that right as soon as I can.

My Travel professional friends are projecting 2021 as the year when travel to America will have begun… and see what I’m doing there giving them the slogan…. We’ve Begun in ’21.

So have a nice day and my gift to you is these American dreams courtesy of our pals, the Travel providers:

American Holidays http://www.americanholidays.com has instilled some much needed confidence with their ‘Book with Confidence’ and ‘Travel with Confidence’ initiatives.

And they have backed that up with an expanded portfolio of itineraries to the West Coast, Deep South, Canada, Road Trips and Mexico.

Something for everyone

Now some say the West is Best http://www.visitcalifornia.com and https://disneyland.disney.go.com My Weekend With Marilyn and Stair Wars.

While others that it’s the Beautiful South https://www.deep-south-usa.com and The Promised Land, The Story of the Blues and The King of Kings – Jim Murty’s TravelTravelTravel.

And you can make a great Road Trip out of either and any number of zig-zags across the continent.

Canada has been in full flow all week as they celebrated July 1 with a virtual Canada Day and Irish landmarks went red in unison. And don’t think they’ve stopped because it’s now the American national holiday.

Deal me in!

American Holidays also bring you Mexico with a bit of Miami Fort Lauderdale and Miami – a tale of two sittings and https://www.miamiandbeaches.com thrown in which is always the best way.

Here’s something to get your teeth into for ’21:

Miami and Mexico, February 2021: Spend three nights in hip Miami, taking in Little Havana, South Beach and Miami Beach before kicking back and enjoying seven nights all-inclusive in Mexico. From €1849pp.

Attraction Tickets (http://www.attractiontickets.com): These are the guys to go with for Disney, either in Anaheim or in Orlando https://www.disneyworld.co.uk and http://www.visitorlando.com. Also see Aaawlando… Orlando, the rollercoaster capital and Why I love The Donald.

And they have a Disney and Universal Combo Ticket for £757 for adults and £727 for a child. And you’ll have a wizarding time too or you can Eat My Shorts… See off Voldemort, then for a beer at Moe’s and https://www.universalorlando.com/web/en/us.

For glitz-seekers America is all about New York www.nycvb.com and Las Vegas www.lvcva.com and Tour America know it. As well as all the other great offers they have they can give you.

Hit The Strip in Vegas, from Sunday, January 31-February 4 is from €435pp, based on two adults for four nights sharing one room at the Excalibur Hotel and Casino.

While they’re confident that they can get you over to New York before the year is out.

The Carvi Hotel is from €546pp, based on four adults for four nights, Tuesday, December 1-4.

See http://www.touramerica.ie and Strip… the light fantastic and Old New York: Hamilton.

Where is your favourite place in America? Let us know and we’ll share.

America, Canada, Countries, Culture, Food & Wine

Canada D’eh for Thousand Islands Dressing!

Isn’t it great when someone throws open their doors to an unexpected visitor… and that someone is Canada?

On this Canada Day I’m reminded of the good people of Ontario (and, of course the other nine provinces and three territories).

It’s just that the Ontarians gave home and hospitality to my Grandfather, uncle and brother at various times over the last 100 years… www.mytravelanimal.com.

All of which gained me entrance to their annual bash in Dublin which they were holding downstairs from the Adams & Butler Luxury Travel https:// www.adamsandbutler.com do.

Would you Adams and Eve it: Out of Africa at the Adams & Butler event

Liquor had emboldened me to ask entry.

And before I knew it I was telling my story to the Ontarians and taking part in a table quiz.

Most of the answers I’ve already forgotten.

But I do now know that Thousand Islands Dressing comes from the 1,864 islands.

They run up the St Lawrence along that 50 mile stretch of the Canadian and American border.

Legend has it that our favourite dressing was invented for George Boldt.

George, you’ll know as the Waldorf-Astoria https://waldorfastoria3.hilton.com/en/hotels/new-york/waldorf-astoria-new-york-NYCWAWA/index.html owner.

And the multi-millionaire happened to be out on a cruise.

With his wife off the coast of Boldt Castle which was the centrepiece of their heart-shaped island.

You wouldn’t want to be the chef then who forgot to bring dressing on board for the greens for the menu.

Luckily for him though he was inventive and whipped up a dressing from what was lying about…

Mayonnaise, ketchup, pickle relish, Worcestershire sauce and a hard-boiled egg.

Forget the mayo

The Canadian and New York link, the latter which was important too with the plethora of New York relatives which I have, wasn’t mentioned in Chez Murty when I was growing up.

Probably because it wasn’t known.

It was on the table because it was particularly popular in the Eighties.

We were broadening our tastes you see from Salad Cream and Mayonnaise.

So if you find yourself in a tizzy on your yacht or private cruise ship (although of course you’ll have people who stress out for you) here is how you put together a quick Thousand Island Dressing.

Of course this being Canada Day I trust too that you’ll have pancakes and maple syrup, catch of the day and salad, pecan pie and a Labatt Blue or Molson beer to ten to wash it all down.

Visit https://www.ontariotravel.net/en/home https://www.canada.travelCanadian high.

And check out American Holidays www.americanholidays.com and Tour America www.touramerica.com for the best deals.

So a Happy Canada Day and I’ll be delighted to hear again their favourite’eh’ refrain.

A case of Happy Canada D’eh, if you will.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup yellow onion, minced
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt.
    (http://www.simplyrecipes.com)

Africa, America, Asia, Australasia, Canada, Caribbean, Countries, Culture, Europe, Food & Wine, Ireland, UK

Green for go to these countries

And I’m already swotting up on New Zealand www.newzealand.com Thailand https://www.tourismthailand.org/landing and Vietnam https://vietnam.travel/home.

The UK is putting in a traffic light system for countries as we ease out of lockdown.

Greece is the answer to our prayers

And my favourites are all green-lighted for return:

Austria https://www.austria.info/en Barbados https://www.visitbarbados.org Croatia www.croatia.ie Germany https://www.germany.travel/en-mobile/index.html and Greece http://www.visitgreece.gr and https://athensattica.com are all go.

Out of quarantine

Translated that means returning travellers need not quarantine for 14 days.

I’m just glad Home Secretary Priti Patel finally listened to me.

Just swimmingly In Tenerife

You won’t have to be an amber gamblers either if you’re visiting a country on this list:

Australia, Belgium, Canada and Denmark France, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Portugal, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland and Spain.

Or cycling in the French Pyrenees

The hit list

And there’s been more than a sprinkling of love from most of them… https://visitbelgium.com, https://visit-canada.ca, https://www.visitdenmark.com, https://about-france.com/visit-france.htm, http://www.italia.it/en/home.html, https://www.holland.com/global/tourism.htm, www.visitportugal.com, www.myswitzerland.com and https://www.spain.info/en_GB/ https://www.spain.info/en/informacion-practica/oficinas-turismo-embajadas/turismo-exterior/oficina_de_turismo_en_dublin.html.

Bad luck though if you’re stopped at red:

Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Egypt, India, Israel, Mexico, Morocco, South Africa and the US.

With the last two turning my clown into a frown.

Having set in train all my trips this year around these countries I’m having to make do with North Berwick beach these past couple of months.

Barbados hotpots

You see I don’t fancy much being one of half a million on Bournemouth beach.

Give me one of Barbados’s beaches, and I’m reminded now of a tub of chicken stew and bottles of Banks beers in Bathsheba, St Joseph East… Let’s rumba in Barbados and My kiss with Rihanna.

Of course the beach is a Bajan’s dining room where the locals put up bars like we do brollies.

And where the flying fish jump out of the sea and onto your plate.

Fish of the day

There are many different varieties of cutters including liver, cheese, ham, egg and more.

Clubbing together: Club Barbados on the Platinum Coast

Or even easier are their fish cakes… do like a local and order a ‘bread and two’. On a bun.

The Bajans will be only too happy to show you how to cook up a treat…

And if you like it hot then here’s how they scare up a Pepper Pot… https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCUwplS8uhaieGiL_50XhJCg.

America, Canada, Countries, Culture, Europe

Get an eyeful of these high-rise buildings

My Uncle Eddie pointed up… that’s the World Trade Center? Where I asked?

Two cranes of the neck later and there it was, touching the clouds. I was dumbstruck.

As the French announce the reopening of the Eiffel Tower https://www.toureiffel.paris/en/news on June 25 here are my five top tall towers.

Highful Tower

Mais oui

The Eiffel Tower, Paris: The best things in life are worth waiting for.

And when the rigging was up around the Eiffel Tower when me and my buddies visited France post-school I missed out.

I never imagined that it would take another 30 years before I would get another chance.

It was made all the better because ma famille was with me. Bravo! See https://en.parisinfo.com.

Two for the price of one: The Twin Tower’s. www.history.com

Up, up and away

The Twin Towers, New York: You always remember your first time… an ear-popping experience at the top of the World Trade Center.

They say in NY that you can always tell who the tourists are because they’re the ones looking up.

True! But equally thrilling is looking down at the specks of people and the moving yellow taxis.

NY has an abundance of iconic buildings but the Twin Towers will always be magical.

Today you can visit One World Trade Center https://www.wtc.com/about/buildings/1-world-trade-center. And also check out www.nycvb.com and https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/28/old-new-york-hamilton/amp/.

Turn, turn, turn: The CN Tower

Canada high

The CN Tower, Toronto, Canada:

The CN https://www.cntower.ca/en-ca/home.html was taller though at the time.

And as luck would have it my brother was living up there at the time.

We didn’t get to eat at the revolving 360 restaurant but you always need to leave yourself with something to come back for.

See https://www.seetorontonow.com.

A positive sign: Prague

Clock this

Astronomical Clock, Prague: Not the tallest tower, of course, but the Astronomical Clock should also be seen from the inside too.

Where one American loudmouth kid got more than he bargained for.

As our guide shot back at him that her city had been bombed.

I love those sparky, big-drinking Czechs. See www.czechtourism.com and Hope springs eternal.

City of Brotherly Love

Philadelphia storey

One Liberty, Philadelphia: The cityscape of Philly reveals this buzzing metropolis in its best light.

But it is as much the story behind One Liberty that is as enthralling.

It revolves around the Curse of Billy Penn.

Which was placed on Philly’s Big Four Teams after One Liberty Hall was built, higher than the-then tallest building which houses a statue of the founder of Pennsylvania.

Only one thing for it, put Billy back in his rightful spot on a beam on the Comcast Building, higher than anybody in Philly.

He approved and the tams started winning again. And I saw all their achievements in an exhibition too.

See https://www.visitphilly.com/articles/philadelphia/must-see-attractions-philadelphia/ and Philadelphia Freedom

Canada, Countries, Deals, Europe, Ireland, UK

Holiday Snaps – Kids’ play in Tenerife

It was a baking hot day and we’d have loved to have cooled down in the cove only the waves were misbehaving.

A couple of the more determined members of our CanariaWays https://canariaways.com party braved it in an eddying pool.

And they got their second wind for the rocky, body-sapping climb up to Afur amd a Franco-based pub… but that’s another story.

By hook or by crook

This story is about the reviving qualities of water and specifically ready-made water slides which you can find too in Tenerife.

And which big, and small, kids love.

Tenerife has one of the best, Siam Park has a rubber boat water slide, Mekong Rapids, or try the Dragon, a vertical zero gravity funnel for up to four.

One-day tickets begin at €25 for a child and from €37 for adults. See www.siamparks.net.

Sunny all year round

And, of course, the answer to a sizzling day in Tenerife is a November day, and here is one Canaria Ways prepared earlier.

An eight-days, seven-night full-board half-board trip which I’ve already told you about in short A walk through the ages… Tenerife.

See the November 7 tour: 2020 Tenerife guided tour: (Prices from €1295 PPS).

Cyprus

Wear your mask

Our friends at Ryanair have made a career of low-price offers and punny pulls and marketing gimmicks to draw us in.

These are strange times then when they are pushing Cyprus with nary a piece of wordplay or Aphrodite word play.

Paphos from €39.99 from 1.000 flights a day on July 1. See www.ryanair.com.

Portugal’s clean break

Circle of trust

The Portuguese have shown a clean pair of heels ahead to the others with proactive action to get us back.

With their Clean & Safe stamp. And here is even more help on their official platform 

And you know how much I love Portugal www.visitportugal.com and Secret Portugal and https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/28/sportugal-2/amp/.

Canada’s Great Wilderness

Nobody here

Canada is spoiled for space and we all have images of the mountie with his ‘best gal by his side’… and sorry for sliding into Monty Python.

With all of us looking for destinations with nary another soul around then the Canadian Rockies, Great Parks and Vancouver is right up your open road.

Check out American Holidays and https://www.americanholidays.com/en-ie/holiday-deals/great-parks-west-fly-drive/ for 2021.

Happy Birthday Queenie

Can you bring me some cake please?

And as well as the obvious reasons the Queen’s birthday (whichever of the two) has special resonance.

As my Dear Old Dad would also be 95 this year.

Happy Birthday Your Maje even if it will be a quieter affair this year.

And here’s some thoughts on royalty and London www.visitlondon.com, www.visitengland.com and https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/29/carole-king-youre-beautiful-londonwestend-musical/amp/.

MEET YOU ON THE ROAD

Canada, Countries, Ireland

Where Canadians honeymoon? Ireland

A quarter of a million Canadians can’t be wrong about Ireland.

Which is why so many in Canada https://visit-canada.ca will tune into an episode of CTV Life Channel reality show Where to I Do tonight.

About a couple who search for the perfect venue for the wedding of their dreams.

Lutrellstown

Filming took place here last summer and was supported by Tourism Ireland www.tourismireland.com and Fáilte Ireland https://www.failteireland.ie.

Rock on Tommy

I don’t know him myself but my Canadian pals will be familiar with host Tommy Smyth who is taking his show outside North America for the first time.

Tommy will bring Josh and Andee to Luttrellstown Castle on the outskirts of Dublin www.visitdublin.com.

And a personal favourite, Kilruddery House & Gardens in Co. Wicklow https://killruddery.com.

And the Cliff at Lyons in Co. Kildare http://www.kildare.ie/tourism/

Kilruddery

Tourism Ireland in Toronto have been bysy flagging up the prog.

Party time

And hosted an online ‘watch party’ for Canadian influencers.

The online party included a Q&A session with the show’s host Timmy Smythe who chatted about his time filming in Ireland.

The Orangerie at The Cliff, Co. Kildare

And don’t I know it about Irish weddings with my Dear Old Dad and Mum marrying in Dublin’s port town of Dún Laoghaire.

Lost in France

Before heading for Europe on a road trip where Dad got them lost in Paris.

Wicklow’s vista

And the lesson here… honeymoon in Ireland.

America, Asia, Australasia, Canada, Countries, Culture, Europe, Flying, Ireland

Flyday Friday – Etihad and Emirates

Their colours are unmistakable – the superstars of the Etihad and Emirates.

Only I’m not talking about the footballers of Manchester City and Arsenal here but the staff.

And guess who only put the wrong picture on the wrong airline… I think I’d had too many shandies at a liquid lunch.

Of course plane spotters and frequent fliers know that it’s chocolate brown and purple for Etihad www.emirates.com.

And cream and red for Emirates www.etihad.com.

Emirates rates

Ready for take-off

But I’m not here to talk about airline uniforms, though there would be no harm in it, and I will get back to you on that.

More importantly these behemoths of the skies are only getting us flying again.

Emirates will begin flying to and from Dublin from June 15.

In the frame

Among 16 other cities to Dubai, the others being Bahrain, Manchester, Zurich, Vienna, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, New York JFK, Seoul, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Jakarta, Taipei, Hong Kong, Perth and Brisbane.

Check Emirates’ website for conditions and prices and keep updated on Ireland’s travel rules.

All’s well that ends well

Welcome on board

There are worse ways to spend an afternoon than aboard an Etihad airplane in Dublin Airport.

Getting the full VIP treatment and winning air miles. Only I haven’t cashed them in yet.

But I will when the Scary One lets me get travelling again… and, no it’s nothing to do with COVID.

I’m eating alone

There’s always a big welcome from our friends at Etihad and they have introduced Wellness Ambassadors to deal with your every flying need.

Aer Lingus, the model airline

I’m flying the flag

I’ve spent many a happy afternoon in the company of Ireland’s national airline carrier Aer Lingus https://www.aerlingus.com/html/home.html.

They showcased their own livery rebrand and new uniforms in the last couple of years.

And they continue to keep us occupied and enamoured with foreign destinations.

Virtually for now such as through Seattle and the Olympic National Park.

Green for go

And the brilliant blue water blue water at Lake Crescent and hiking routes through Hoh Rain Forest only make us more impatient to get on that flight out to Seattle.

See www.visitseattle.org and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/category/deals/.

Now back to my lockdown indulgence, my complete series of Frasier.

MEET YOU IN THE SKIES

Canada, Countries, Culture, Europe, Ireland, UK

Canadian high

Has Stay Alert or Stay at Home inspired you.

Or would you have been more enthused by say, the Canadians’ Caremongering call to arms?

Our Canadian friends have successfully positioned themselves as a chilled, right-on destination.

And that is no surprise to those of us whose links with the Land of the Maple Leaf run deep.

The sky is the limit

It helps if you can pass the first Canadian test… spotting that they’re not Americans.

You see Canadians say ‘Eh’ at the end of EVERY sentence.

And they don’t take themselves too seriously even branding it on their merchandise.

I’ll surely pick up a souvenir T-shirt then with ‘Toronto Eh’ on it.

When I pay a return to the city for the first time in more than 30 years.

Air Canada will be operating a four day a week service from Dublin to Toronto from July 2.

The CNN Tower

While passengers who had originally booked for Dublin-Montreal and Dublin-Vancouver will be offered interconnecting flights.

An Eh-1 service I think you’ll agree. Visit https://www.aircanada.com/ca/en/aco/home/book/travel-news-and-updates/2020/covid-19.html.

And here are some other thoughts on Canada

The freedom of Iceland

A riot of colours

I’t’s the quintessential experience of travelling through an airport, grabbing that sample shot of whisky.

Only in these COVID times you’d make do with a free test.

Which is just what the Icelanders are doing at Keflavik Airport.

The Icelanders, who were all over this virus before the rest, are planning to reopen their borders by June 10.

If it’s positive they will be asked to quarantine for 14 days.

If travellers can prove that they have already taken a coronavirus test, and are negative, they will be exempt.

Iceland like in the pictures

Everyone, however, will be asked to download Iceland’s contact tracing app, which tracks users movements 

So you’ll soon be off to Iceland… you lucky geysers.

And when you do, fly with Icelandair www.icelandair.com.

Africa, America, Asia, Australasia, Canada, Caribbean, Countries, Culture, Europe, Ireland, UK

VE Day – The unknown soldiers

They make easy targets for class warriors but on days of military commemoration, like today VE Day, the British Royal Family are entitled to raise their heads high.

Prince Philip was first lieutenant (second-in-command) on board the HMS Wallace during the Allied invasion of Sicily in 1942.

When the Luftwafffe began their bombardment of the waters.

 

Another war… but the same sacrifice

Yeoman Harry Hargreaves revealed back in 2003 how Philip duped the enemy and saved the ship and all on it.

By persuading his captain to drop a raft overboard, set it alight, and deceive them into bombing that instead.

And so as Prince Charles, whose own military career is distinguished, laid a wreath today at Balmoral to the Fallen, and the Queen spoke to the Nation…

It is well to remember that we wer all in the same fight in World War II. And now.

 

My Great-Uncle Willie

What we all do after we get out of this we’ll have to wait and see, and there will be a clamour for sun and sand.

My friends in the Caribbean take note.

While some will seek remote holidays, others adventure, while still others walking holidays.

And all are on my list.

But I will, as I’ve always done, continue to visit the places and commemorate those who fell in war around the world.

 

Cavernous destruction… in Flanders

Like I did when I was invited to lay the wreath at the daily Last Post commemoration at the Menin Gate in Ieper (Ypres).

Where my Great Uncle Willie lies in a graveyard of identically-sized crosses (no hierarchy in death).

And where I was the first of his relatives to see him, plant a wooden cross and say The Lord’s Prayer.

His brother Patrick has his name inscribed among the tens of thousands of missing on the arch at Thiepval.

 

Everyone a hero: Great-Uncle Pat and the Missing at Thiepval

I have been fortunate enough to trot the globe but I have never felt as moved.

Or deeply grateful than when I knelt before Great Uncle Willie’s grave.

And though I never knew him, or those he fought with or against, I commend them and those who care for their last resting places.

And not just today but every day of every year.

 

Trench warfare: At The Somme

I visited the World War I battlefields, Ieper and The Somme with GTI, the Group Travel Specialists https://gtitravel.ie and In Flanders fields.

And also visit www.visitflanders.com and https://www.visit-somme.com/great-war