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

Countries, Culture, Europe, Ireland

Five Irish beaches

There’s always a premium on sea views and we had the crack of one over Greystones, Co. Wicklow. Here are my five fave Irish beaches.

Bear with me

Walk like a Greystonian

Greystones, Co. Wicklow: And home for 13 years where the harbour expanded … and the promenade grew a Teddy Bear.

The Stones, as the young locals call it, will always be with me.

There’s a North and South Beach. If you climb up North you can take the scenic Bray Cliff Walk while walk south and you can get all the way to Wicklow.

Visit www.visitwicklow.com. And stay at Powerscourt Hotel https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/dubak-powerscourt-hotel-autograph-collection/?scid=bb1a189a-fec3-4d19-a255-54ba596febe2&y_source=1_MjU3ODIzOC03MTUtbG9jYXRpb24uZ29vZ2xlX3dlYnNpdGVfb3ZlcnJpZGU=. And Flowerscourt.

Ulster’s finest

An expanse of golden sand

Portnoo, Co. Donegal: Belfast Helen was my first girlfriend, if you don’t count Glasgow Helen who I think I proposed to in kindergarten.

But Tomboy Helen was just a pal who stayed in the guest house on the beach… we trawled the rock pools.

When the tide is out you can walk to an island where there is a graveyard. What’s not to love. See https://www.govisitdonegal.com.

The West is alive

Take a whirl: Salthill. www.guidetoconnemara.com

Salthill, Co. Galway: Summer holidays were spent in Ireland, and in my early teens in Salthill.

Which you might know from the Steve Earle song ‘Galway Girl’.

I never did ‘take a whirl round the Salthill Prom with a Galway Girl’ but I did enjoy the go-karts and the roller disco.

Visit www.galwaytourism.ie.

Tramore’s the merrier

Bump in the night. www.amusementrides.org.

Tramore, Co. Waterford: Fairgrounds were a bit of a backdrop to my childhood holidays.

And there was always a thrill in bumping an adult in a dodgem car.

My parents had more sense than to take me on but Mary, my Godmother’s neighbour indulged me. See https://tramore.ie

And Bono’s beach

Celeb central: Killiney Beach

Killiney, Co. Dublin: When we decided to dive in and live in Ireland we looked first at Killiney, Dublin’s Millionaire Row.

Where a young imp gave us directions to the rental house we were viewing.

‘Just down the road, turn left along the beach, past Bono’s house, go along a bit, turn left and you’re there.

Desiiiiiire!

And I’ll dig you out my thoughts on Killiney Castle Hotel https://www.fitzpatrickcastle.com/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI95ffj97o6QIVg7HtCh3mxAJvEAAYASAAEgIkYPD_BwE too so watch this space.

MEET YOU ON THE BEACH

Countries, Culture, Europe, Food & Wine

Hungry and Thursday – Schnapps

When it came to breakfast on our Oktoberfest booze bus in Munich https://www.muenchen.de/int/en/tourism.html it had to be schnapps.

We all had to take turns at cooking.

But Rambo, a New Zealander with a party trick of putting his false tooth in his beer when he went to the loo, was having none of it.

Put your hat on it

And he led a revolt of fellow heavy bevvy merchants… with this the result.

Slovenian life

All of which nostalgic meanderings are because of a Zoom meeting with Slovenia https://www.slovenia.info/en.

We were tempted by some culinary guides and one speaker who was extolling the virtues of all things pumpkin seed oil.

While one Slovenian with an unpronounceable name showed us hay lofts we could book.

A taste of Slovenia

But, of course, it was the booze experts who drew me in, the Pale Ales and sparkling wines.

And especially the man with the pear schnapps.

We’ll leave Slovenia there and thank them for making nary a mention of the most famous Slovenian of all, Melania Trump.

Schnapps ja

And return to Germany where the schnapps is drunk like water.

As chasers with beer.

An Austrian yodeller

And coming in all fruits and with whole apples and pears in bottles soaking up the alcohol what’s not to love.

Central Europe is home to the best schnapps so a shout-out to Switzerland and hiking in the hills www.myswitzerland.com and Swhisskey on the rocks.

Apres-ski

Or apres-ski in the Whiskey Mühle in Söll in Kaiser Welder https://www.wilderkaiser.info/en/soell/info/whiskey-muehle.html in Austria with www.topflight.ie Soll Mates.

A handle on schnapps

Schnapps bottles too are works of art.

And you can marvel at the designs in the Ehrwald in the Tyrol www.tyrol.com with Top Flight for Schools www.topflightforschools.ie.

Peachy: A fruity little number

Of course Austria specialises in eccentricities https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/10/01/austrian-toilet-humour/amp/ and https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/10/03/__trashed/amp/.

But it all starts with the food and drink and with water so damned expensive I’d always recommend the sausages, beer… and schnapps.

MEET YOU AT THE BAR

Countries, Culture, Europe, UK

Five British beaches

I’ve always lived on the edge, so following on from my five best world beaches here are my five top British beaches.

The A+ of beaches

Breathe it in

Aberdeen beach, Scotland: No, this is not the Caribbean, but I have swum here, in the frozen north-east of Scotland.

Miles and miles of sand stretching from the Brig o’ Balgownie to Footdee (Fittie) and its quaint fisherman’s cottages.

Aberdeen’s beachside and Queen’s Links have grown since I lived and worked here.

There’s now a cinema complex, but old fave Codona’s Amusement Park is still there. See www.visitabdn.com and Aberdeen – a light in the north.

Lush

Gang of four: Gavin and Stacey and Nessa and Smithy

Barry Island, Wales: And long before these guys washed up on our television screens I was down on Barry Island.

A favourite day out from Cardiff the beach is more compact than you might imagine but that gives it its intimacy.

Jackpot: Oh, try it out

Memories of a day out of my own after my old friend Whitey took me there when I’d failed an exam, and eating ice creams on the beach, come flooding back.

You can, of course, do a Gavin and Stacey tour www.visitwales.com.

Beach babes

Just standing around: Blundellsands

Blundellsands beach, Liverpool; Parents everywhere will appreciate a good long stretch of sand to take their toddlers.

They’ve put up these statues from Antony Gormley called ‘Another Place’ since we were building sandcastles with the Son and Heir.

And that just enhances the view. Like the statues I was looking over to Ireland, hoping that one day I would live there. Visit https://www.visitliverpool.com/things-to-do/another-place-by-antony-gormley-p160981.

Porty spice

Just what Porty types want

Portobello Beach, Edinburgh, Scotland: ‘Wall, huh! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing. Let’s say it again.’

With apologies to funkster Edwin Starr, this piece of graffiti embodies what Porty, where I spent ten years, is all about.

A city beach which also draws folks from across the Forth in Fife, and west from Glasgow, it boasts traditional swimming baths.

And Sean Connery was a lifeguard in the outdoor baths where the five-a-side pitches are now. Visit https://porty.org.uk/visit/ and https://edinburgh.org.

Brighton rocks

Train rides: On Brighton beach

Brighton, England: A pebble beach but you’ll get over that quickly because of the buzz around the place.

Although I have been worried about the throngs there at the moment.

A traditional day out for Londoners, you’ll recognise it from the Mods film Quadrophenia.

But for me it’s a day down there when I was living in Reading and hooked up with friends, and some Spanish exchange students, which live long in the memory.

See www.visitbrighton.com.

And Bitchin’ Beaches… five around the world.

MEET YOU ON THE BEACH

Adventure, Countries, Europe, Sport

World Cycling Day

This year’s cyclist is next year’s angry motorist but I’m willing to let them have their day today, World Bicycle Day.

Because I used to be one, a lycrad-up pedal-pumping moraliser.

Even when I got waterbombed and party paint-sprayed while riding through Edinburgh.

You see the Mammal look is never a good image.

It doesn’t mean though that you can’t fake it.

Tour de Murty

As I did at the top of the most climbed peak in the Tour de France during my tour through the Pyrenees https://www.hautespyrenees.fr/ and The Lourdes prayer here.

By persuading a real cycling climber to lend me her bike.

I prefer the flat road these days and did get my chance to rotate the legs at the Campus in Quinta do Lago www.quintadolago.com and SPORTUGAL in Portugal.

Only to overplay it and come off at a corner in the woods…

Earlier on my adventures, in Cannes, I toyed with e-bikes http://www.mandelieu.com and The Boat D’Azur.

And I didn’t get going on this either

Only to move on and stall a Fiat 500 and not even get out of the car park!

Mind you as is the way of things and as the old saying goes:

You wait ages for an e-bike and two come along at the same time.

Enter a couple of my old favourites Italy https://www.visititaly.eu and Switzerland www.myswitzerland.com.

If there’s an area of Italy not worth exploring I haven’t found it although I am prepared to extend my travels beyond Padova – city of frescoesSmall roads lead to Rome and Rome on €50.

image001-2

A taste of Lake Como

Lake Como has entranced visitors for centuries but have you tried it by bike, or e-bike?

The Lake Como Greenways snakes above picturesque villages.

While the Chilometro Della Conoscienza (open only on Sundays) allows explorers the chance to wander through the extraordinary gardens of Villa Olmo, Villa Sucota and Villa del Grumello.

Cyclists can enjoy various climbs that traverse tunnels left by the Italian army during the First World War. 

With Alpine views stretching to Switzerland.

Let the train take the strain

We’ll get onto Switzerland in a jiffy but you’ll be wanting to know where to stay in Lake Como.

The answer, if you don’t know George and Amal, is Grand Hotel Tremezzo.

It will reopen for the season on June 26th at a third capacity (30 out of 90 rooms).

As well as its five restaurants and three swimming pools looking out over the lake and natural park.

This year, the hotel team is launching the T Beach club – comprising a sandy beach with chic sun loungers and cocktail bar framing its floating swimming pool.

Rooms available from €550/approx. £497 per night + VAT; free cancellation up to eight days prior to arrival. For further enquires and bookings, visit www.grandhoteltremezzo.com.

Scoot. Trotti scooting in the Alps. www.grindelwaldbus.ch

Switzerland, you ask? 

We’ll your favourite Travel blogger will always flag up the joys and efficiency of the Swiss train.

From where you can hop on and off to indulge your interest, be that skiing, walking, boating or cycling.

Or Trotti scooters which you can take through the woods and then onto the main road and race with Koreans.

Just don’t take the corners too quickly!

MEET YOU ON THE ROAD

Caribbean, Countries, Europe

Bitchin’ Beaches… five around the world

The reopening of beaches in Europe has got us all talking about our own favourites.

And I guess I’m luckier than most in that I live on the coast – in North Berwick in Scotland.

And as we all slowly get back on the beaches here are my five faves on foreign shores.

Caribbean at last

Made it: Doing my best Robinson Crusoe

Englishman’s Bay, Tobago: The great thing about Tobago is, that all the beaches are public.

And its most famous adopted son Robinson Crusoe climbed up this very beach.

Before kindly leaving a hammock there for me.

See www.visittobago.gov.tt and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/02/09/on-your-marks-get-set-goat/.

Der beach

Strand Pauli, Hamburg: This is not what you expected, right?

In the heart of Hamburg, near the Rieperbahn, by the River Elbe they have put up a beach bar. Das ist Gut.

See www.hamburg.com, Hamburgers and ships and Why German trains always run on time.

Fort’s worth it

Fort Lauderdale, Florida: This is what jet lag is made for.

And the best time to get out on the palm tree-lined beach is early, early in the morning when it is deserted.

See https://www.fortlauderdale.gov/visitors and https://www.visitflorida.com/en-us.html. And https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/23/fort-lauderdale-and-miami-a-tale-of-two-sittings/amp/.

Sea plane

Kuramathi, The Maldives: The perfect place to fall asleep in a slumber when you’ve flown 18 hours by two planes and a seaplane www.turkishairlines.ie.

There is a smaller island still, 200m x 200m, Kandolhu.

Visit http://www.kuramathi.ie, and https://www.kandolhu.com. And https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/04/04/atoll-tale-the-maldives-2/amp/

Eau you beauty

Twirl power

Cannes, France: Where the Fast Set go but the pace is slow particularly in neighbouring Mandelieu La Napoule.

There you’ll see jet propellers and skiers and impossibly primped poodles. You belong!

See https://www.cannes-destination.com/discover, https://cotedazurfrance.fr/en/to-do/art-and-culture/visit-the-chateau-de-la-napoule-in-mandelieu/ and The Boat D’Azur.

Where is your favourite beach? Let me know and we’ll share a sandcastle.

MEET YOU ON THE BEACH

Countries, Deals, Europe, Flying, Ireland, UK

The beach to yourself in the Algarve

Beaches, like the skies and seas, are benefitting rom the lockdown and the Algarve has had the chance to breathe.

That’s because they are without the type of beachgoer who treat our beaches like a dumping ground… or worse.

The first beach holiday I had with the-then lovesick Miss F was in the Algarve https://www.visitalgarve.pt/en/Default.aspx where we met two brothers who are now our lifelong friends.

We played football on the courts, pool volleyball and even took to the stage to do our best theme from Raw Hide… complete with whip sounds.

In the interests of public disclosure that was me and Ray, not me and Miss F, although that doesn’t sound any better.

What a pane!

We thought about staying away from the Cabanas beach though as we had been warned that the approach was strewn with glass.

That didn’t stop us, though it took much of the enjoyment away from the experience, and I’m sure Ray lacerated his foot.

Now none of this is levelled at Cabanas , more those reckless visitors back in 1990.

Today’s Cabanas I imagine will be like a Caribbean beach because of a lack of litterbugs!

The beaches in the Algarve will reopen on Saturday.

There will be colour coded signage indicating the level of occupancy of the beach (low/medium/full).

And it will be updated in real time on the app ‘Info Praia’ (available in English) and APA website.

Just swimmingly

Visitors will be expected to keep 1.5m apart unless they are in the same household and parasols will be 3m apart.

And swimming, water sports and surfing will be permitted.

Of course, Portugal, and the Algarve, for many of us, holds many wonderful childhood and adult memories.

And check out www.visitportugal.comSecret Portugal and https://www.quintadolago.com/en/.

Now many of you reading this may be asking why we didn’t wear flip-flops when negotiating the Cabanas expert.

Well, the best I have us that that’s hard-earned booze money you’re talking about there.

Fly high

Now here’s what Ryanair www.ryanair.com is planning for us from June 21.

Ryanair – flights from Stansted, Dublin and Manchester.

EasyJet http://www.easyjet.com from June 16 from Belfast, four weekly frequencies from Luton from June 16.

British Airways http://www.ba.com – July.

MEET YOU ON THE BEACH

Caribbean, Countries, Cruising, Culture, Europe, Food, Food & Wine

Jocktails… the Strawberry Daiquiri

A sweltering hot summer in Boston after Aberdeen University, three jobs, and a thirst on me like a blindfolded man in the desert.

And a party of office workers unwinding in Quincy Market with a jug of Strawberry Daiquiri.

I was in… and from that moment the slushy, ruby-red rum cocktail has always ben my go-to.

It doesn’t have to be a cruise ship although here I am again…

I know where I’ll put this

I’ll bring you more Jocktails from around the world as I go but here’s the recipe.

And you might be surprised to hear that I’m the one who makes them around Casa Bandana while the Scary One is the one who devours them.

Strawberry Daiquiri

Zesty flavour

5 cracked ice cubes

1 measure of white rum

A half measure of strawberry liqueur.

A quarter measure of lime cordial

Garnish with a strawberry.

Jocktail tip: Stick some strawberries in the blender too for extra fruitiness.

Method: put the rum, strawbs and lime liqueur into the blender for 30 seconds. Pour into a margarita glass with the cracked ice in it and decorate with a slice of strawberry. Oh, go on, stick in a cocktail brolly and stick with a couple of maraschino cherries on it.

And because I’m writing about Boston visit http://www.visitbostonusa.com and http://www.visitusa.ie.

Want to know the best places to drink one. On a Royal Caribbean cruise… A Royal Party and www.royalcaribbean.co.uk.

Boston is well served by the major airlines from Ireland… look out for best deals in Flyday Friday.

And…

MEET YOU IN THE BAR

America, Countries, Culture

Rainy Days and Songdays – Dogg days in California

Sweet dreams are made of this… who am I to disagree? – Annie Lennox

And they love a dog… and a Dogg in the Southern Californian beach resort town of Huntington Beach.

Which I discovered in Dublin D4 eatery Roly’s Bistro and on the golden sands of California.

When the good people of Huntington Beach invited me out for breakfast in the Iriah capital.

To tell me about their new hotels, restaurants, bars.

All of which they have in abundance as I found out first hand when I eventually got out to Surf City USA https://www.surfcityusa.com

Including Girls Allowed Derry Girl Nadine Coyle’s bar diner.

But best of all they have a dog surfing competition there where the puparazzi gather.

And Garett McNamara and Brazilian labrador Bono lead (sorry) the way.

Although this Bono doesn’t wear shades.

Rapper DJ Snoop does though and he put on a party DJ set for delegates from the American Travel Fair www.ipw.com.

In Anaheim https://disneyland.disney.go.com and https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/23/stair-wars-4/amp/.

His own stuff and modern standards from the likes of Rihanna, will.i.am and Annie Lennox.

And, of course, this being California there was a make-up artist on hand if you wanted your beardie dyed.

Which got me an introduction to Natasha Bedingfield which is another story.

Which I will get back to again… and again and again.

Adventure, America, Countries, Flying

Space – the final travel fromtier

It sounds like a good idea just now – getting the hell off this planet.

So Godspeed Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken as they head off on Elon Musk’s 24-storey Falcon 9 rocket to the International Space Station.

Walking on air

Last year as we all know was the 50th anniversary of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walking on the Moon.

While next year will be 60 years since Yuri Gagarin.

Waste not, want not

How many years before I, you, and everyone’s gone to the moon in the words of all the song depends on how we feel after COVID.

Space cadet… the one on the left

Space watchers like to congregate around Cape Canaveral, Florida.

But because of COVID they only got to see the first take-off from American soil for space in nine years on the TV.

All of which meanderings around the galaxy before getting to the subject brings me to a special night in Dublin with a real astronaut…

My cosmonaut from The Kennedy Space Center who told us of the myriad sunsets he saw up there.

Lend me your goldfish bowl

And how he felt the presence of a Divine Being.

Before he turned to the Holy Grail of Space Travel… a trip to Mars.

With the biggest challenge not the myriad years spent in space but the need to recycle.

Kennedy’s Space legacy

So that the spacecraft isn’t too heavy and eats up fuel they don’t have.

And our astronaut means everything!

Meet you in space

Just the jobbie for an astronaut!

But seeing we’ll have to wait for our seats on the ship why not visit https://www.kennedyspacecenter.com.

Where you can dine with an astronaut.

And this comes highly recommended by the passenger I met on the way to Orlando www.visitorlando.com on my Aer Lingus www.aerlingus.com flight.

Quackers!

I was on my way to meet the Donald Why I love The Donald https://www.disneyworld.co.uk while he was off to see Buzz.

And at least one of these American icons is wired to the moon.