Countries, Culture, Deals, Europe, Uncategorized

Cruiseday Tuesday – Cruise year resolutions

This is the year you’ll go cruising… now you’ve said it there’s no going back.

It’s never been cheaper according to our friends at Click&Go www.clickandgo.com.

They reported a 23% increase in 2019 with prices down by €136pp year on year.

Most popular destinations are Barcelona, Copenhagen and Palma.IMG_4161All of which I know a thing or two about…

https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/23/surfing-the-seas-in-barcelona/ and The call of the fjords. The most popular month for cruising is October, followed by September and November. And seeing that our wedding anniversary is September and I only went and worked on our 25th then I probably owe her big!

Keepers of the Flam

35D95376-E141-409C-9808-6C9617E55E57.JPGMy father-in-law taught Casey Jones all he knew.

And then passed it onto his daughter, often at the end of a wind and rain-splattered platform.

Copying down train numbers.

Which is why we keep finding ourselves seeking out all manner of train-related nonsense when we’re away.

A lot of which is pretty good it must be said.

Such as Flam Railway in Norway on our MSC www.msccruises.ie trip up the fjords.fjord_boat.jpgOf course dipping our toes in the fjords only left us wanting to submerge ourselves in the whole country.

Travel Department will complete the odyssey with Oslo as well as Bergen which I’ll be only too happy to revisit.

So you’ll cruise (let’s make that we’ll) along the UNESCO World Heritage site of Naeroyfjord.

You’ll see the glaciers and waterfalls of the former Viking stomping ground of Hardangerfjord.

And stand on a mountain top to take in the Eidfjord.

Naeroyfjord.jpg

Before you enjoy the Flam Railway, one of the world’s most besutiful and steepest normal-gauge railway lines.

It was foggy when we went (it won’t be when you go) so we couldn’t see those mischievous trolls!

Prices start from €1569pp for seven nights including return flights.

B&B/half-board accommodation, guided excursions, a fjord cruise and a Flam railway journey.

Depart April-October 2020. Visit www.traveldepartment.ie.

Cruise with my first love

You’d think after 30 years she’d know me better.

That’ll be my first Travel love, TUI, whose newspaper branch I started this scribbling.

Or perhaps they know me too well with their list of five Travel New Year Resolutions they have set for me this year.

So they suggest that I do this:

Explore somewhere new. Tick.

Be more prepared. Mmmm… I thought that’s what you had people for!!!

Eliminate the stress. See above.

Pack smarter. Now, I am ahead of the eight-ball here having only taken on hand luggage, a rucksack, to go to Tobago.

Try it, you don’t need that DJ or cocktail dress, or full kilt.

Look your best. Again one change of clothes and the washing facilities of where you stay.

Or take something that you can leave and exchange for some clothes you buy,

11So we’re all prepared let’s go cruising.

TUI is offering a saving of €200 per booking for seven nights in an inside cabin with Spanish Delights from Cork to Majorca on the Marella Dream. 

From €1,079. Use code CRUISE200. For sailings from May-October 2020.

MEET YOU ON THE SEAS 

Africa, America, Countries, Culture, Europe

Putting these statues on a pedestal

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

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

The fallen Zlatan

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

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

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

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

Greyfriars Bobby, Edinburgh

Bobby’s boy: With Greyfriars Bobby in Edinburgh

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fannie Lou Hamer, Ruleville, Mississippi

A little big woman: Fannie Lou Hamer in Mississippi

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

And so it is with this remarkable little woman,

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

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

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

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

Visit www.visitmississippi.org

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

Anne Frank, Amsterdam

The flower of youth: Anne Frank in Amsterdam

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

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

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

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

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

Piss, Prague

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

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

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

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

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

Phil Lynott, Dublin

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nelson, Bridgetown, Barbados

You can stay: Nelson in Bridgetown

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Martin Luther, Dresden

Closer to God: Martin Luther in Dresden

Some statues can withstand anything.

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

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

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

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

Hans Christian Andersen, Copenhagen

With Tom and My Little Princess in Copenhagen

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

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

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

Nelson Mandela Voting Line, Port Elizabeth, South Africa

March to Freedom: In Port Elizabeth

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

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

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

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

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

Martin Luther King, Washington DC

Unfinished business: Martin Luther King in Washington DC

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

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

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

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

America, Countries, Culture

California, the Golden Globes State

My preening, diffident waiter at Vanderpump’s will be ignoring another customer because they aren’t Golden Globes royalty.

But such is reality in West Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Hollywood www.visitcalifornia.com.

Home of the worst waiters in the world where your order will be late and wrong if it comes at all.

Unless you’re Lady Gaga, a regular at Vanderpump’s who is known to fall out of the eaterie, which I must confess I’m not.

Hello, sailor: La Peer Hotel, West Hollywood

Lisa’s food though is worth waiting for and obviously she was in the night we visited.

When we were staying as guests of Attraction Tickets www.attractiontickets.com and my favourite boutique hotel chain Kimpton’s.

Peerless

And their West Hollywood base, La Peer Hotel https://www.lapeerhotel.com/?utm_source=Google%20My%20Business&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=GMB&utm_term=lapeer.

And you’ll be able to roll up at the bar and then into the pool which I might just have tried out.

Celebrity spotting is an everyday pastime in SoCal, Southern California.

And I was fortunate enough to see and meet a host of them at the American Travel Fair www.ipw.com which was being hosted by Anaheim www.visitanaheim.org.

Natasha Bedingfield, Jason Derulo, the Beach Boys, Snoop Dogg…

The biggest stars for me though in La La Land are the living legends, those who will never die.

Such as Marilyn Monroe who still parades the Walk of Fame near her star and hand prints…

Lying with Marilyn

I spent a weekend with Marilyn: in Venice Beach and at her last resting place in LA where a very unwelcome neighbour moved in.

And the Walt Disney family… http://www.disneyland.disney.go.comMickey, the Donald, Goofy et al.

Mickey and The Donald

All of whom will throw their giant furry hands and paws open for you when you visit the Happiest Place on Earth https://disneyland.disney.go.com/?CMP=OKC-dlr_lodging_gmap_25.

Pleased to see you

Lurking though when we arrived though were some inhospitable Storm Troopers…

It was all part of the schtick with the showcasing of the new Star Wars world at Disney…

As well done as it was though I still come to Disney for a cuddle.

But maybe Princess Leia was hiding?

My Star Wars pals at Disney

Aer Lingus www.aerlingus.com flies direct to LAX with pre-clearance from Dublin and Shannon.

The national airline carrier has a deal on for travel as part of a return trip between April 1 until June 15 from €249.61.

Book by January 21.

MEET YOU ON THE ROAD

Adventure, Countries, Culture

This Sporting Weekend – Touchdown Vegas

Celtic relocate to Dublin, Liverpool to London… what madness?

But not in the Oo Es of Eh http://www.visitusa.ie where sports franchises up and move across the continent at the drop of a helmet.

The Brooklyn Dodgers’ flit from New York http://www.nycvb.com and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/21/old-new-york-hamilton/ to LA in the Fifties will always remain the most controversial.

But who can blame them? Not me when I visited. http://www.visitcalifornia.com and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/06/22/my-weekend-with-marilyn/.

But sports teams have been relocating since as far back as 1902 when the Milwaukee Brewers moved to St Louis.

To become the St Lous Browns.

While American Sports’ most famous team, the New York Yankees, started life as the Baltimore Orioles, the original iteration in 1903.

High-rollers have been coming and going out of Washington DC much like politicians. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/obama-washington-dc/

Before the Nationals took on Montreal Expos’ place in 2005… and went on last year to win the World Series.

Visit http://www.washington.org.

Although the fans didn’t feel in the mood to hail the chief Donald Trump, preferring to give him a slow handclap.

The Redskins aren’t figuring at the business end of the NFL season with the play-off games coming up.

Of course Tom Brady and the New England Patriots will win the whole thing again this year.

But next year?

There is much excitement about Vegas getting football for next season.

Because they hit the ground, or ice, running.

The puck stops here

When the Las Vegas Golden Knights reached the Stanley Cup final in their inaugural season.https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/vegas-strip-the-light-fantastic/

Visit http://www.lvcva.com

Only to lose to the Washington Capitals.

And because you know that when I travel I go to where the locals play and pray then I’ve treated you to a few pics of me…

At Anaheim Angels’ ground where they like to get their Mickey out.Visit http://www.nhl.com.

With Elvis in Vegas,

Some thoroughbreds at Denver Broncos’s ground… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/go-west-denver-buffalo-bill/ and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/29/the-new-pioneers/

And http://www.denver.org.

Hitting it out of the park at the Washington Nationals’ stadium.

Icing with Wild Wing at the Anaheim Ducks’ Honda Arena,https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/07/03/stair-wars-3/

Visit http://www.visitanaheim.org

And getting ready to dunk it with the Memphis Grizzlies… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-promised-land-martin-luther-king/, https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-story-of-the-blues/ and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/elvispresley-the-king-of-kings/

Visit http://www.memphistravel.com.

MEET YOU AT THE GROUND

 

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