Adventure, America, Canada, Countries, UK

My Sporting Weekend – go transatlantic

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

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

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

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

Tackling head on

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

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

And then changing the season to Spring-Autumn.

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

A real man’s game

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

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

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

Ready to go to war

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

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

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

Sports city: Toronto

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

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

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

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

Springboks everywhere

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

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

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

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

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

North Americans love their sports as much as we do.

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

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

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

Adventure, Canada, Countries, Culture, Deals

Meghan BC: British Columbia

Meghan ‘Before Crown’. Or Meghan BC ‘British Columbia’.

The Duchess of Sussex is going back to the future by setting up home again in Canada.

So why BC? Well, no doubt you’ve met someone who has been and says it is the best place on Earth.

Lose the stress

This is their boast… that time spent in nature can make us less stressed and that its majestic wild can improve short-term memory by 20% and boost creativity and problem-solving by 50%.

They call it the British Columbia Effect.

Breathe in the air

And so like Ms Markle we’ll let someone else do the work!

Find clarity in the mountains

Kootenay National Park celebrates 100 years in 2020. From grasslands and glaciers to narrow canyons and extensive mountain ridges, Kootenay National Park is a land of awe-inspiring contrasts.

Stay in an “oTENTik” (part tent, part cabin) visit Radium Hot Springs (part of theHot Springs Circle Route)

Or hike the 17.5km Kindersley-Sinclair trail; one of Kootenay’s most epic day hikes.

National Park admission is priced from £5.80 per adult.

The water of life

Retreat to the mountains with Mountain Trek’s health programs near Ainsworth Hot Springs.

Offering all-inclusive wellness retreats, guests will enjoy daily Nordic Hiking, detox in the on-site spa, take on a gourmet nutrition plan.

Mindfulness

And practise mindfulness. All-inclusive programs are priced from £4,162pp excluding flights and transfers.

Wide, wid rivers

Get your heart pumping with CHM Heli-Skiing and Summer Adventures new Alpine Heli Trail Running and Full Zillmer Canyon Via Ferrata trips, available from July 2020.

These heli-supported mountain adventures run from the Bugaboos Lodge and newly renovated Cariboos Lodge.

Previous mountaineering experience is not required to explore the Zillmer Canyon’s slots and waterfalls

Hit the trail

While trail-runners can expect to cover up to 25km per day across ridgelines, forest trails and mountaintop terrain.

Three-day trips are priced from £2,084 per person, excluding flights.

What a sunrise!

Go hut-to-hut on the Spearhead Traverse, Whistler.

The new Kees and Claire Hut at Russet Lake offers 38 bunks across six sleeping areas along the remote Spearhead Traverse.

With a further two brand new huts planned to open this year.

The 40 km route crosses 13 glaciers over 2,000 metres between Whistler and Blackcomb.

Hikers are able to stay for as little as £26 per night.

Chinatown: Vancouver’s Eastern flavour

Head North for BC’s first Northern Lights Festival in Fort Nelson, held 12-21 March.

Watch the Aurora Borealis dance across the sky and enjoy a series of cultural and musical events in BC’s Northern climbs.

A Full Festival Package includes access to all events.

It is an overnight trip to the Fort Nelson First Nations Lodge at Liard Hot Springs, a sled dog ride with Streeper Kennels and a snowmobiling adventure.

With Jag Adventures, priced from £706 per person excluding flights and transfers.

Bridge of highs: Vancouver

Wander in the Rainforest

Step into the wild with new operator Coastal Rainforest Safaris this spring.

Safari-style camping on the secluded Branham Island in the Great Bear Rainforest.

A whale of a time

Whale and bear watching and unique insights into the local Indigenous Kwakwaka’wakw culture.

Three-day safaris are priced from £2,292 per person based on double occupancy in a safari-style tent.

Including all meals and activities, excluding flights and transfers.

Beach life: British Columbia

Homalco Wildlife and Cultural Tours will continue to offer new Indigenous led wildlife and cultural experiences on the edge of the Great Bear Rainforest.

Join the Great Bears of Bute excursion and see some of BC’s most iconic predators.

Or the new full-day People Water Land excursion, running from June – August.

Showcasing Homalco culture in Bute Inlet. Prices to be confirmed.

A great stay

(Sleep…and) Be Soothed by the Sea

Re-connect with the North Shore at the new waterfront Seaside Hotel in Vancouver’s Lower Lonsdale neighbourhood.

The hotel’s design echoes the outside elements offering guests world-class comfort inspired by a unique waterfront ambiance.

Across 71 rooms and suites, the Seaside Provisions restaurant and The Waterfront Spa.

Room-only priced from £213 based on a mid-week May 2020 arrival.

Cool BC. Photo by B B on Pexels.com

Sunshine Coast

Disconnect in Desolation Sound at the newly reopened Lund Resort at Klah ah men.

The first, full-service Indigenous Resort on the Sunshine Coast.

The redesigned Back Eatery features a seasonal indigenous inspired menu.

And the new Sweet Shack coffee shop offers the Resort’s exclusive 13 Moons Coffee.

A spa is set to open onsite in late 2020. Standard Queen rooms are priced from £125 based on a mid-week May 2020 arrival.

Seaplanes, yes please. Photo by Vladislav Vasnetsov on Pexels.com

Island of dreams

Check in to the newly renovated Kingfisher Oceanside Resort & Spa on Vancouver Island.

As part of its $17 million renovations the resort has revealed 14 newly appointed Ocean Courtyard guestrooms.

With stunning views of the Georgia Strait.

Modern swish. Vancouver. Photo by James Wheeler on Pexels.com

Spa fun

The renovated Pacific Mist Spa is focused around the life-giving power of water.

The resort also offers two new restaurants; the AQUA Bistro & Wine Bar and Ocean 7.

Which use fresh ingredients from local purveyors and exercise sustainable practices in all menu creations.

Standard rooms are priced from £122 based on a mid-week May 2020 arrival.

For more information on The British Columbia Effect, visit: www.hellobc.com/the-british-columbia-effect-US

For more information on British Columbia, visit: www.hellobc.co.uk

And because I know you just love a seaplane… then come with me on this thrill https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/12/atoll-tale-the-maldives/.

America, Canada, Countries, Europe, Ireland

The model uniform… Aer Lingus and kiltie me

Somebody dropped a pen in front of us… had it been Victoria it would have been no trouble because she’s wearing Aer Lingus’s new rip-resistant, extra comfy cabin crew slacks.

Victoria tells me that she had a split when she bent down (it’s a regular part of the job on the cabin crew) when she was wearing the trousers of a previous airline.

Louise’s special touch

Aer Lingus http://www.aerllingus.com showcased their new uniforms yesterday at a glitzy event in Dublin.

It is the first uniform change in 22 years, but again it is designed by the Petra Pan of Irish fashion Louise Kennedy,

Behind the Madonna soundtrack and the crew putting on their vogue on the runway the most important thing is…

How comfortable the uniforms are for the staff.

And let’s be honest here lads, it’s really about how the lasses feel.

On the bridge: We’ll look after you

Of course the look is important – no self-respecting woman wants to go to work in something they don’t feel a million dollars in.

After gliding across the runway, Victoria shared with us her delight with the new uniform.

Particularly with the trousers which she said she could see herself wearing in both hot and colder climates.

There are 25 redesigned garments including those new trouser options for female with Kenmare Green.

Girl power: And there’s style and comfort

The turquoise/blue ‘Kenmare’ shade captures our national colour.

And ‘Midnight’ navy blue skirts and trousers a good choice if you’re handling food and all the other things you have to do on a flight.

The new uniforms will be rolled out by the 4,000 cabin and ground crew around the world from February 10.

They used to be brown!

It would be safe to say that the Aer Lingus uniforms have come a long way…

Since those Sybil Connolly military-style rich brown suits from 1945 – the green came in in 1948

So as they say it’s Kenmare Green for go.

Victoria, Oisin and me.. and that glass didn’t take my leg off but if it had they’d have helped out!

I’ve always found that Aer Lingus flies the flag with distinction.

And I’ve seen first-hand how the ground staff and cabin crew go about their business.

With a friendly smile while also solving any amount of problems in an unfussy and efficient manner…

Here’s https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/07/04/aers-and-stripes/ and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/11/13/grazie-aer-lingus-new-italy-and-more-usa/.

And here’s a shout-out too to those who sometimes get overlooked… the guys and gals back in the office. Take a bow!

MEET YOU IN THE SKIES

Canada, Countries, Culture, Europe, Food & Wine, Wine

Meghan’s choice: London v Toronto

Eh? As they like to say at the end of every sentence in Toronto.

But it’s not the no-brainer you might think for Meghan and Harry.

Here’s a quick-fire comparison between Ye Olde England’s jewel and Canada’s pride and joy.

One day, I’ll be a princess

Toronto A

Restaurants

London: So we dug out her Instagram for this one and Meg-watchers will recognise Bocca di Lupo www.boccadilupo.com for the Italianophile actress.

Bijou; Toronto

 

Where to live

London: Frogmore Cottage in Windsor isn’t your old-style two-bedroom English country cottage. Obvs.

But it, and its royal household, is the property of the Sussexes. And they can always stay in Buckingham Palace when they’re in London.

Toronto: Outlook magazine http://www.outlookmagazine.ca/finance/8-richest-neighbourhoods-in-toronto/ recommends the old traditional neighbourhood of York Mills with starting prices of C$3.5m.

Well, Harry and Meghan have said they’ll work for their suppers… anyone for a new series of Suits?

And for more on London and Toronto visit www.visitlondon.com and www.seetorontonow.com.

And Harry and Meghan know what I think of both cities… Carole King… you’re Beautiful and Flyday Friday – Canada, eh?.

Canada, Countries

Flyday Friday – Canada, eh?

We’ve been here before, flagging up Toronto and Canada and celebrating their favourite catchphrase. Eh!

I can’t say my brother returned from living for eight years in Toronto saying ‘Eh’ at the end of his sentences.

But he did talk about going for ‘errands’ and the ‘sidewalk’.

The great raconteur Peter Ustinov referred to Toronto https://www.seetorontonow.com and https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/visit-canada.html as ‘New York run by the Swiss’.

And, yes, Toronto doesn’t have the raw edge of NY, or graffiti, but it works for them and is still cool.

It’s a great sports city too.

And it has made its mark with two relatively new franchises in baseball and basketball.

We went to the ball park to watch the Blue Jays during the summer I worked in Boston in the Eighties.

And you could see that the Torontonians were taking to their new team.

Who went on to win back-to-back World Series, beating the best from across the border which went down quite well.

Star of the team was Dominican (he hailed from the Dominican Republic rather than being a monk) George Bell.

With the fans ringing a bell every time he stepped up to bat.

While this year the Raptors shocked everyone, and perhaps even themselves.

By beating the stellar Golden State Warriors, Steph Curry et al, to lift the NBA Championships.

All of the hoo-ha that greeted each victory Downtown Toronto I’m reliably informed is but a whisper.

Compared with how the ice-hockey daft Torontonians are when the Maple Leafs are on a run.

I’m just saying but I have game.

All of which is my usual tangental way of flagging up a Flyday Friday deal.

This time courtesy of Air Transat http://www.airtransat.com which has a St Stephen’s Day sale on.

With a round-trip from Dublin from €318 (April 14-20).

Montreal, Toronto’s great rival, with its Canadiens hockey team, is from €329 (April 14-20). Tres bien! Visit https://www.mtl.org/en and https://www.tourismvancouver.com

And Vancouver, who boast the Canucks, from €363 (April 28-May 17).

Book by December 31. No flights available from this month to March .

Three million New Year cheers

I’m up early for every deal (on your behalf).

And so are Aer Lingus who have a January sale just released at a minute past midnight earlier today.

Ireland’s national airline carrier has three million seats on sale.

With up to 30% off European travel and North America from €189 each way.

Valid for travel from March 1 to June 15.

While flights to North America are from just €189 each way, Travel valid between April 1 and June 15.

You know this is the blog to come to for America… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/21/old-new-york-hamilton/ https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/obama-washington-dc/ https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/philadelphia-freedom/

While also try https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/06/22/my-weekend-with-marilyn/ https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/disney-why-i-love-the-donald/

And all points in between.

Book by midnight, January 21. Visit http://www.aerlingus.com and http://www.visitusa.ie.

Januairy sales with Ryanair

Where Aer Lingus goes Ryanair follows although of course, they prefer to be out in front.

And the no-frills low-fares airline has up to 30% off too on return flights.

With 1 million seats to fit for travel between April and August.

Nice is from €24.99, Ibiza €28.99, Alicante €28.99, Faro €28.99, Malta €34.99 and Thessaloniki from €34.99.

Now let’s have a look at a couple of those from my visits there…

The French Riviera https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-boat-dazur/, Faro and the Algarve https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/06/12/sportugal/ and Greece https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/09/21/acropolis-later/.

And, yes, I know that that last post is on Athens but it’s just a teaser.

And on that trip to Athens, Kythera and the Attica region my colleague Dutch Bas flagged up what he thought was Greece’s best city, Thessaloniniki.

He obviously knows his stuff… it’s just I like to check these things out for myself.

Lauda and louder

I didn’t always turn the telly over when the Grand Prix came on… in the days of Nikki Lauda and James Hunt I did follow them around the chicanes (whatever the heck that is).

While, of course, the film Rush with Chris Hemsworth, also reminded us of the fantastic story of their rivalry and ultimate friendship.

I’m reliably informed by my female friends that Chris Hemsworth in a film greatly increases the enjoyment levels.

Nikki Lauda, who we lost this year remained a huge figure in Formula 1, broke into airplanes (and by that I mean launched his own livery rather than cracked the lock).

Ryanair’s fully owned Austria subsidiary Laudamotion is to increase frequency on its Vienna to Dublin route from daily to eleven times weekly from March 29-October 25.

And here’s a reminder of what Austria http://www.austria.info has to offer both in winter and in the spring, summer, autumn…

That’ll be https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/soll-mates/ and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/10/01/austrian-toilet-humour/ and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/10/03/__trashed/.

And seeing we’ve just put one election to bed in the UK and are preparing for an Irish election over here while the Americans also have it all to do next year too..,

How about? https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/11/25/moanday-morning-electioneering/

MEET YOU IN THE SKIES