America, Caribbean, Countries, Cruising, Europe, Ireland

Fiveday Friday – dip your toe back in outdoor swimming pools

I’m not sure what the rules are for outdoor swimming pools in Scotland (probably because in the Frozen North nobody ever considered it a thing) but the English are dipping their toes back in today.

Swimming is one of the staples of many people’s holiday although I confess that I spend less time in a pool now than when I was a kid, preferring instead to sip cocktails by the bar.

In some places you can do both. Here are my five top pools on my travels.

Bim-ming pool

Swim up

Sandals, Barbados: The ultimate in luxury where you can drink your Strawberry Daiquiri in the middle of the pool.

And then swim up to the island pool and have another. OK, waddle over.

A game of volleyball with the ultra-competitive Americans becomes even more fun after all that. You try spiking a ball with a cocktail in your hand.

Visit Barbados, or Bim as the locals call it https://www.sandals.co.uk/sandals-barbados  http://www.visitbarbados.org and Let’s rumba in Barbados and My kiss with Rihanna.

To infinity and beyond

Kuramathi, Maldives: And you can’t beat an Infinity Pool where you feel you are swimming right into the Indian Ocean only for the end of the pool to stop you.

You’ll have to get out of the pool to get your cocktail though.

On a one-mile island surrounded by the Indian Ocean you would think you’d be in the sea all the time but I leave that to the fishes.

And instead dip into my own private pool which comes with my cabin and check out the restaurant pools. Where you’ll have company with the island’s herons.

See http://www.kuramathi.ie, https://island-marketing.business.site and Atoll tale – the Maldives.

Dive into Las Vegas

All to yourself. http://www.hotels.com

Palazzo, Las Vegas: For many Vegas is all about staying in and making your fortune but then you’d be missing out big time.

Head for the top of the Palazzo hotel on the Strip https://www.venetian.com/towers/the-palazzo.html and swim your little heart out before .

And look down below on the crazy city waking up. See http://www.lvcva.com and Strip… the light fantastic.

And if you see a pair of red-rimmed sunglasses there would you let me know please?

Swimming in the fjords

Stormer: In the fjords

MSC Preziosa, Norwegian fjords: How’s this for a bracing swim? The Norwegian fjords.

You didn’t think I’d be dipping my toe in the isthmus did you?

But still I was fairly pleased with myself at taking to the pool in the Nordic drizzle while everyone (my professional photographer wife among them) hanging over the side taking piccies.

I never tire of swimming in a pool in the middle of the ocean… surrounded by a metal hulk of a floating hotel https://www.msccruises.co.uk, http://www.royalcaribbean.com, http://www.celebritycruises.com. And The call of the fjords, A Royal Party, Messi around on the water and I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out To Here.

Tenerife trunk call

La Laguna Gran Hotel, Tenerife: And just what the oul’ limbs need after a hike through rainforests, volcanic parks, arid hills and church towers.

Word to the wise. Be sure that you have someone with you or leave a wedge in the door.

Otherwise you could find yourself not getting back out. On second thoughts you don’t have to be anywhere, so don’t bother.

See http://www.CanariaWays.com, http://www.visitingtenerife.com and A walk through the ages… Tenerife.

PS: The Irish Sssssea

And an honorary mention to the Forty Foot in Dun Laoghaire, Dublin’s port https://www.dlrtourism.ie which is mentioned in Ulysses.

I’d always admired the locals swimming away in its ripples.

And I dipped in on the hottest day of the year a few years ago and jumped out just as quickly,

MEET YOU IN THE POOL

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

Hungry and Thursday – the end of buffets?

Buffets are like marmite (and you can get that too) so the prospect of no buffets is just another thing to pile on our COVID tray.

First off, a history question? Who introduced the buffet?

Padova in north-west Italy actually.

I discovered this on a trip to the Veneto region… https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/04/11/padova-city-of-frescoes/amp/.

Boney’s Italian adventure

Napoleon, it transpires, was responsible for the introduction of the buffet when he held parties for his pals in the Italian grand casas.

Well you don’t think he got that girth from croissants do you? Visit http://www.turismopadova.it/en/basic-page/padua-24-or-48-hours.

Here’s where I’ve stood in line for my food asking for more. And there’s always more!

Carry on Cruising

Cruising: And one of the draws of a cruise for many is their food.

And you can eat around the world on a cruise, and go back and do it all over again!

Get there early for breakfast, lunch and dinners on MSC Cruises https://www.msccruises.ie/en-ie/Homepage.aspx and The call of the fjords

Particularly when the food-mad Italians are around!!!

Of course where you go on your cruise can inform your choice of foods.

And on the Celebrity Cruise Edge https://www.celebritycruises.ie/onboard/our-ships/celebrity-edge/ maiden voyage I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out To Here from Florida to the Bahamas they like to spice it up.

And that’s my five a day

If you want though a taste of home then Royal Caribbean are the cruise for you.

When you can visit an authentic British Fish and Chip Shop.

Authentic that is for being on the top deck with a cocktail in hand https://www.royalcaribbean.com and A Royal Party and https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/24/messi-around-on-the-water/amp/.

Caribbean cruising

Barbados: And seeing we’re talking about the Caribbean (and aren’t we always?) then a Caribbean buffet always has something special?

Yes, rum!

Because bread, cakes, pancakes, bacon, you name it they have it, and it will be on the hot plate in Barbados https://www.visitbarbados.org and Let’s rumba in Barbados and My kiss with Rihanna.

Der buffet

Dresden: And for Germans, eccentrics that they are, that means doing things differently.

And the Saxons in Dresden Dresden’s renaissance https://www.dresden.de/en/tourism/tourism.php at the German Travel Mart https://www.germany.travel/en/trade/gtm-germany-travel-mart/gtm/gtm_10.html put out all their meats at one side of the room and the veg at the other.

Guess which one I went for!

America’s a rollercoaster

Orlando: You’ll pay for it if you were overdoing the Hurricanes at Pat O’Brien’s https://www.universalorlando.com/web/en/us/things-to-do/dining/pat-o-briens.

Because in American hotels bigger is better.

And there will always be a chef waiting with a frying pan offering an anything you want omelette.

As well as the plethora of sweet treats.

But remember you have theme parks of loop the loops awaiting you.

And believe me you don’t want to make the Hulk angry. You won’t like him when he’s angry.

See https://www.visitorlando.com/en-ie, https://www.universalorlando.com/web/en/us. And Aaawlando… Orlando, the rollercoaster capital and See off Voldemort, then for a beer at Moe’s.

MEET YOU AT THE BUFFET- SOME TIME

Countries, Cruising, Culture, Europe, Ireland, UK

Brittany plain sailing again

Tunnels have their places and I’m reminded of the German we met on my cruise around the fjords The call of the fjords and http://www.msccruises.ie https://www.msccruises.co.uk who was a tunnel engineer.

But I guess he was coming up for air.

Now what they gain on practicality and speed they lose on aesthetics and the Channel Tunnel has certainly taken a lot of the romance out of travelling from the UK to Europe.

But thankfully I’m not alone in being a ferry fan and ferry travel has survived and thrived the sneers of those who said the Channel Tunnel would kill off routes to France and further afield.

Dublin’s ferry city

And much of that has been down to the ease, comfort and family entertainment on board Brittany Ferries’ ships https://www.brittany-ferries.co.uk which I know first hand from being shown around their ships in dock in Dublin.

But big softie that I am though I sent another family from the office to Brittany.

To sample their cider, culinary delights, culture and beaches… and everyone who goes raves about St Malo.

Minolta DSC

Brittany have confirmed that five ships will carry passengers when services resume from next Monday, June 29 with a further three ships reopening to passengers in July.

The routes

Mont St Michel, Portsmouth-Caen: 8.30am, June 29, departing Caen.
Cap Finistere, Portsmouth-Santander: 0:30, June 29, departing Portsmouth.
Armorique, Plymouth-Roscoff: 15:00, June 29, departing Roscoff.

Voiture – Caravane

Pont-Aven, Portsmouth-Santander, Plymouth-Roscoff: 17.45, 30 June, departing Portsmouth.

Pont-Aven, Cork-Roscoff, Plymouth-Santander: 20.45, July 2, departing Plymouth; 20.30, July 3; 16:00, July 4, departing Cork; 9.45am, July 5, departing Roscoff; 16.45, July 5, departing Plymouth.

Kerry, Rosslare-Roscoff: 20:30, June 29, departing Rosslare.
Roscoff-Rosslare: 19:00, June 30, departing Roscoff.
Rosslare-Bilbao: 11am, July 1, departing Rosslare.
Bilbao-Rosslare: 18.45pm, July 2, departing Bilbao.

And there will be three more ships back later in July…

Normandie, Portsmouth-Caen: 23:00, July 12, departing Caen.
Bretagne, Portsmouth-St Malo: 10.30, July 17, departing St Malo.
Connemara, Portsmouth-Cherbourg (Thursday-Sunday): 9am, July 10, departing Portsmouth (or Cherbourg).
Portsmouth-Le Havre (Monday-Wednesday): 23.45, July 12, departing Portsmouth.

But they have had to pull the Etretat Portsmouth-Le Havre, Barfleur Poole-Cherbourg and the Normandie Express Portsmouth-Cherbourg routes for this summer.

You should check out their site for guidelines on new ferry travel above.

And here are some more thoughts on Brittany Ferries and Bilbao. Wow Bilbao wow with Brittany Ferries!




Adventure, Countries, Cruising, Deals

Cruiseday Tuesday – polar bears and penguins

Why do polar bears not eat penguins? Because they can’t get the wrappers off?

The prosaic answer, of course, is that they live at opposite ends of the world, polar bears in the Arctic and penguins in the Antarctic.

Best check for yourself though…

We’ve not gone away

Yes, cruising is back, so book yourself a getaway for 2021.

Aaaaw!

Royal Caribbean https://www.royalcaribbean.com/?country=IRL is offering seven nights Alaska Glacier Cruise on The Serenade of the Seas.

With a one-night pre-stay Westin Wall Centre Vancouver Airport.

Get cruising

It includes indirect return flights from Dublin, one checked bag per person and transfers included throughout:

Interior (guarantee): €1242pp/€1388pp; Oceanview (guarantee) €1304pp/€1538pp.

Cruise only €559pp/€596po (inside guarantee).

Vancouver calling

So your itinerary will include:

Vancouver

Inside passage (cruising)

Ketchikan (Alaska)

Juneau (Alaska)

Skagway (Alaska)

Tracy Arms fjord and glacier (and you know I love a fjord The call of the fjords.

And back to Vancouver

I’m there already… back on my Royal Caribbean ship A Royal Party.

Ppppick up a penguin

Penguin suits on

If you want to see those penguins in their natural environment, and the nearest I’ve got is Busch Gardens https://buschgardens.com/tampa/ and Aaawlando… Orlando, the rollercoaster capital with Attraction Tickets https://www.attractiontickets.com/en

Then John Galligan Cruises are the people to go with. See https://www.jgt.ie/cruises/.

And remember to ask for your bandage to help you negotiate the sea sickness around Drake’s Passage.

See, I was listening that night in Dublin, John.

And seeing that colony of penguins on the ice will be worth it.

MEET YOU ON THE SEAS

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

Countries, Cruising, Europe, Sport

My Sporting Weekend – bowling all over the world

The Ancient Greeks and Romans did it and Sir Francis Drake kept the Spanish Armada waiting until he’d finished his game.

And now those of us in Scotland www.bowlsscotland.com, where it was turned into a modern sport, will be able to get out and roll some bowls again.

Was it an unprecedented restriction on liberties? No, we’ve been here before.

Drake’s game

Our Medieval predecessors who had less choice of pastimes loved a good oul’ bowl.

But monarchs from Edward I to Henry VIII. banned the sport of lawns – possibly because it got in the way of archery practice.

Keep ‘em rolling

Now I picked up boules long before I even rolled grown-up bowls.

A summer in Menorca in the Balearic Islands with Uwe, a German boy, on my last holiday with my parents.

Neither of us knew a word of English but Uwe being a German knew that he had to win at all costs.

Nein! Uwe was delightful company and i had found my friend for my holiday.

Beach life will be different for a while in Menorca and other sunspots http://www.menorca.es/portal.aspx?IDIOMA=3 with parents and children asked to adapt.

Island in the sun: Menorca

But as a wee Scots boy and a German Junge prove you only need a set of boules… or mobile phones!

For more on the Balearic Islands visit https://www.seemallorca.com. And its biggest island Majorca on a cruise https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/01/21/smooth-sailing-around-the-western-med/amp/.

Of course while us Scottish people will roll our bowls in a genteel fashion our continental neighbours will pitch theirs.

Visit any small town in France and Spain and you will see a group of chain-smoking men huddled around their boules.

For me it is quintessential Basque Country https://tourism.euskadi.eus/en/.

Water life: Biarritz

I dipped my toe in the French side of Basqueland on a thalassotherapy and cultural trip to Biarritz https://tourisme.biarritz.fr/en and Water way to go in Biarritz.

While my earliest holiday memories, even before Uwe and Menorca were in family-friendly Santander.

I’m noticing that the Scottish Bowls Championships still look to be on from Sunday, July 26-Saturday, August 1 in Ayr.

So, if I practise hard enough here in North Berwick, the Biarritz of the North http://north-berwick.co.uk and www.visitscotland.com.

Although as the Scary One will be quick to remind me I am not the bowler in my family.

Full with child (the Son and Heir) she took me down on the lawns of Blackpool in the north-west of England.

America, Cruising, Culture, Europe, Ireland

Gay you love me – five top gay wedding destinations

It may only have been for show at the Graceland Chapel, Las Vegas https://www.gracelandchapel.comwww.lvcva.com but Peter and Martin would have made a lovely couple.

IMG_4470
The King and I: In Vegas

As would Cami from Utah and myself who made sweet music on the dance floor of Harrah’s off the Strip https://www.caesars.com/harrahs-las-vegas and Strip… the light fantastic.

The Queen and I: At Harrah’s

All of which came back to me today with the fifth anniversary of Ireland becoming the first country in the world to pass a referendum to legalise gay marriage.

So to celebrate the glorious day, here are five great destinations, Ireland included, to tie the knot.

The Power of love

The Power behind the throne… my little flower

Powerscourt Estate, Avoca,Co.Wicklow, Ireland (https://powerscourt.com and https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/dubak-powerscourt-hotel-autograph-collection/?scid=bb1a189a-fec3-4d19-a255-54ba596febe2): And my old stomping ground of Co. Wicklow, Ireland’s Garden County.

A plush ballroom where celebs including Chris De Burgh’s daughter, the former Miss World Rosanna Davison, got married to slot machine heir Wesley Quirke.

The gardens and estate are a favourite location for movie producers but the biggest star of all is Powerscourt’s redoubtable matriarch Sarah Slazenger.

See Flowerscourt and www.visitwicklow.ie.

Say it with flowers in Amsterdam

IMG_1007

Dam romantic:Amsterdam

They’re everyone’s favourite celebrity couple so seeing that Celeb-catching belongs to the Gays.

Then where better to stay for your honeymoon than George and Amal’s Amsterdam hideaway.

The Dylan Amsterdam looks out over the Keizersgracht canal https://www.dylanamsterdam.com and George Clooney and Amal’s Amsterdam hotel.

They’ll put flowers in your bedroom, tulips of course and more on this king of flower in Pictures of Amsterdam.

And you’ll have a concierge to look after your every need and plan itineraries for you while there is also the invaluable city card http://www.iamsterdam.com.

As well, as of course, caviar in the Vinkeles restaurant. Well, it is your honeymoon.

Greek gods

And the bride wore white: In Kythera

Where all the men look like Zeus and I could easily have been turned. 

If you want the Athens experience then you’ll want to take in the Athens Riviera  http://www.athensattica.com where all the Beautiful People hang out.

While the Greek islands have always drawn us there.

With some even forgetting to go back like Dutch walking tour leader Frank and his partner who have settled down in Kythera.

And who can blame them? See http://www.visitkythera.com,  https://www.pyrgoshouse.com/attraction/walk-with-frank/ and My Greek odyssey.

Let’s go cruising

Norwegian would: With the Scary One on the fjords

Well, we had to didn’t we? Now cruises come in all shapes and sizes so there will be one to suit every one of you… 101 in our case.

And here’s one that comes highly recommended by Herself and Myself where we spent an anniversary http://www.msccruises.co.uk The call of the fjords.

Of course they can marry you on these cruises too which I found out on my first cruise Smooth sailing around the Western Med… no, not me.

If you want to go more upmarket still the gamechanger Celebrity Edge https://www.celebritycruises.com/gb/cruise-ships/celebrity-edge I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out To Here will sail you around the Bahamas and the Caribbean.

With the best entertainment, a floating tender and Eden!

Brag about Prague

We’re only here for the beer: At the Strahov Monastic Brewery

Yes, you can walk by the Seine or go down the Grand Canal in Venice.

But maybe you’re more party people and want to kick back.

Then there are few better places than Prague… https://www.prague.eu/en.

There is a real frisson about the Czech capital and you can’t help but feel infused by it.

As I was when I passed by a Stag party wearing T-shirts emblazoned with ‘I turned Philip Schofield’.

Have your nuptials in the Castle area and stay at the Golden Key Hotel https://goldenkey.astenhotels.com/en.

Where you’ll be enchanted by the wooden ceilings and dainty downstairs sauna.

And imbibe the best beer in the world at the Strahov Monastic Brewery https://www.klasterni-pivovar.cz.

  

 

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

Cocktail Hour around the world

It’s Cocktail Hour all day today (not just 6pm) because it’s World Cocktail Day, and I’ve been swallowing up the hours.

And while holidaymakers may like to mark their territory with their towel, I like to claim a coaster at the bar.

For my fave Strawberry Daiquiri cocktail.

Which I have savoured… from the Maldives to the Caribbean My kiss with Rihanna and Turtle recall and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/17/ready-steady-goat-racing-in-tobago/.

Now if we can’t get out there to our exotic locations we can at least conjure up the taste of the Tropics at home.

With these cocktails:

Something for Buffalo Bill

The Colorado Bulldog, Colorado:

Colorado-Bulldog-1

Ingredients: Vodka, coffee liqueur, cream or milk and coca-cola.

A White Russian with a fizz… and this would put even more whiskers on Tsar Alexander’s bushy beard.

How to: In a shaker mix vodka Kahlua, cream/milk. Pour into a glass with ice and add Coke.

Visit www.colorado.com and take in Beertown Denver www.denver.org and Go West and The New Frontiersmen.

Take it as red

The Redhead in Bed, 25 Degrees, Huntington Beach, California:

Cocktails and food at 25 Degrees - Huntington Beach

Ingredients: Ketel One Citroen vodka, strawberries, lemon juice, sparkling wine.

I’ve yet to have a Redhead in Bed anywhere (honestly) but if I did it would be in Huntington Beach.

How to: Mix One Citroen vodka, strawberries, lemon juice, and sparkling wine for an added kick.

For those who like to drink their dessert, 25 Degrees offers four spiked shakes, mixing vanilla ice cream and your choice of Guinness, Maker’s Mark, Kraken Black Spiced Rum, or Kahlua among other sweet milkshake additions.

Visit www.surfcityusa.com and My weekend with Marilyn and Stair Wars.

Turning Japanese

Shochu Mojito, Japanshochu-mojito_002

Ingredients: Mint, shochu, sugar, lime, fizzy water

If you had been planning to get out to Japan this year for the Olympics then you have our sympathies but here’s a multi-discipline event you can do from the safety of your own home.

This is a Japanese twist on a classic mojito which swaps the rum usually found in a Mojito with shochu, a Japanese liquor typically made from buckwheat, sweet potatoes or barley.

This is an easy cocktail to whip up once your guests arrive (two minutes prep time) and is a guaranteed crowd pleaser.

How to: Add the lime, mint and sugar to a tall glass and bruise with a muddler. To this, add the shochu and fizzy water and stir. Serve over ice with mint to garnish. www.japan.travel/en/uk/

And, of course, you all know by now that all your favourite Scottish bartender needs is a cocktail brolly, a maraschino cherry and a shaker and we’re talking Jocktail Hour… Jocktails… the Strawberry DaiquiriJocktails – Whisky Sour, Hungry and Thursday – sangria and La SagradaJocktails: The Bajan Monkey, 

Jocktails – the Hurricane  Jocktails – Mimosas Jocktails – the Sazerac.

And a host of others.

America, Countries, Cruising, Deals, Europe, Sport

COVID-day Snaps… Florida Keys for social distancing

In a spin on an old favourite Holiday Snaps here’s Covid-day Snaps with fresh news of the Travel industry getting back on its feet…

Keys to the door

Open spaces… in the Keys

And what’s missing? Yes, your favourite Bandanaman at the front of the shot.

I was bound for the Keys the weekend Donald Trump shut the country down.

So what’s this?

The newly opened Sunshine Tiny House Village http://www.sunshinekeytinyhouse.com at 3801 Overseas Highway near Bahia Honda State Park is just 30 miles from Key West.

And it features five colourful houses at $250 (around £191) per night plus tax.

The 399-site Sunshine Key RV Resort & Marina which houses two-six features a full-service marina, a recreation centre.

And a stepladder access to an open-water swimming area from a sunset pier.

For more information on the Florida Keys & West, visit  www.fla-keys.co.uk.

And when you’re in Florida why not take in the great cities of Fort Lauderdale and Miami… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/23/fort-lauderdale-and-miami-a-tale-of-two-sittings/ 

Port in a storm

IMG_1687

And it was me next

My body has never been the same since Dinah got hold of it… my Scary One would say she’s welcome to it.

Let her get hold of you too with her yoga (torture) classes on Fridays via Instagram Live from The Campus at Quinta do Lago @thecampusqdl.

Well, if it’s good enough for Rio Ferdinand and the Irish rugby team.

Dinah did stretch my soul’ limbs for those roundhouse volleys and spins when I met up with on-site tennis (and dancing) coach Judy Murray… SPORTUGAL.  Also see http://www.quintadolago.com

Cruising again

Grand-Princess

Let’s get back out there

Why should the fish and the whales have the seas all to themselves? There, I’ve said it.

If you’ve been missing the big ships on your coast (and, yes, I know we don’t all live on an island) then you’ll be glad to know that our cruise friends have been busy planning for the day they can get back out on the water.

Our friends at Princess Cruises  http://www.princess.com have embarked on a £300m product innovation and cruise ship renovation campaign which puts the guest at its heart. As ever.

They are offering us award-winning chef Curtis Stone, Broadway legend Stephen Schwartz and family fun from Discovery and Animal Planet.

Best of all they are offering reduced fares from €584pp on more than 800 voyages departing from December-May 2022 as part of the Princess Sale with seven-night sailings available from €584pp. Open for booking from May 1-June 30, 2020.

Among the sample voyages are:

*A 7-night Scandinavia cruise on Grand Princess, departing November 15, 2021. Sailing round-trip from Southampton, calling in Oslo, Copenhagen, Gothenburg and Kristiansand. Prices from €749pp.

And I’ve had a zip around Norway The call of the fjords and want more of Scandinavia.

 

Wear it on my lapel: My Medallion

*A 7-night western Caribbean cruise on Caribbean Princess,, departing February 7, 2021. Sailing round-trip from Fort Lauderdale, calling at Princess Cays, Falmouth, Grand Cayman and Cozumel. Prices from @584pp. And again I got a whiff with I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out To Here and want more.

Now I’ve still got my Medallion magic key Cruiseday Tuesday… The Princess’s Medallion Man from my visit to Dublin Port, so I’m ready to go.

And with all this social distancing argument going on, maybe the sea is the way to go. I’ll try to unpick what’s going on in the air in Flyday Friday. But meanwhile…

MEET YOU ON THE ROAD… OR SEA

Countries, Cruising, Culture, Europe, Flying, UK

Sweden, mooses and no lockdown

There’s a moose loose aboot this hoose – Lord Rockingham’s XI

Now what has ‘Hoots Mon’, a UK No.1 from 1958 to do with the price of Irn-Bru?

Only that the moose is considered a measure of distance in northern Sweden.

Which we’re all looking at enviously because there’s no lockdown there.

In the region of Norbotten locals are warned to stay ‘one moose length’ away from each other.

Check out the lights. Photo by Jonathan Petersson on Pexels.com

While in the rest of the country they’re still eating meatballs, smorgasbords and pickled herrings and highly-priced beer in bars and restaurants.

All the time following Prime Minister Stefan Lofven’s guidance to keep social distance.

The Swedish hinterland

So what is it that Sweden is doing right?

Well, in a nutshell, they believe it is not sustainable to keep its people in open-ended lockdown.

A night out in Sweden

And that they are prepared to accept certain restrictions on movement and interaction over a prolonged period.

Rather than to take the pain today for jam tomorrow.

She and her fellow Swedish politicians recommended this on internal travel at Easter.

The government exhorted Swedes not to travel to their summer cottages or relatives but did not ban them from doing so.

Which was 90 per cent lower than in previous years.

The Abba Museum

All of which progress and good husbandry focuses our attentions rightly on Sweden…

And talking about husbandry I’m reminded of what a good husband I would have been to Agnetha Faltstog, my first love.

Alas her husband Bjorn Ulvaeus was on the scene… and I was only 11.

ABBA’s Greatest Hits was the first album I ever bought.

And it was my love of Abba that got me innocently into trouble in my Jesuit Catholic all-boys school when I brought copies in of The Sun newspaper.

The ABBA Story

All because they were serialising The ABBA Story… I even used my lunch money to pay for the newspapers.

Easy ahopping

However my teacher suspected that I was ogling the bare-breasted Page 3 girls instead. All of which landed me with a belting.

I will continue to make it one of my life’s missions to track down Agnetha in her retreat.

And the best starting point is to actually get out to Sweden.

SAS Scandinavian Airlines http://www.flysas.com is your best bet, and they fly out of Dublin, and in the UK from London, Manchester, Birmingham and Newcastle.

A tour around Scandinavia

Now I dipped my toe into Scandinavia when I cruised with MSC http://www.msccruises.co.uk and http://www.msccruises.ie around Denmark http://www.visitdenmark.com.

And Norway http://www.visitnorway.com, getting within touching distance of Agnethaland http://www.visitsweden.com and http://www.visitstockholm.com.

Finnish forest huts

While I’m continuously being tempted by my old Finnish http://www.visitfinland.com and adopted Glaswegian Paula from our Disneyworld http://www.disneyworld.co.uk

And https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/culture/disney-why-i-love-the-donald/ to go our to her home country, which is more culturally Scandinavian than geographically.

But the UN named it the happiest place on earth so the Scandinavians will claim it gladly.

Iceland for geezers

Ah, those Northern Lights

Heck, so that I’m not accused of not including the other Scandinavian countries, I’ll flag up Iceland here.

With Iceland Airlines http://www.icelandair.com and http://www.inspiredbyiceland.com.

Although again it is probably more culturally Scandinavian than geographically traditionally so.

Greenland in demand

Shifting plates

The Faroe Islands http://www.visitfaroeislands.com is a self-governing Danish territory and Greenland which is a Danish territory will also qualify.

Mind you Donald Trump has had his eyes on buying the world’s biggest island https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/22/greenland-americas-51st-state/.

In what he would probably tag a beautiful, beautiful deal.

So we’ll just have to watch this space.