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, Countries, Culture, Europe, Food

The best hot chocolates

I’d given up on finding my ciocolatta di calda densa after the owners of Campo de Fiori in the next town went home to Italy,

But Tomasso at Caffe Delle Stelle here in Greystones, Co. Wicklow, put a bit of colour into my grey winter’s day.

Chocolate is a gift from the gods so much so that the Incas believed it had magical spiritual powers.

So who am I to disagree?

And here are a few of my favourite hot chocolate dens.

The Caffe Pedrocchi, Padova https://www.caffepedrocchi.it Venice has its St Mark’s Square and Rialto Bridge and its masses but there’s a quieter, hidden Veneto city.

Where Giotto’s handiwork inspired Michelangelo and you can find St Anthony’s tongue!

This grande cafe dates back a hundred years and hits the right note between posh and prego.

And for more Padova perambulating… Padova – city of frescoes.

The Old Chocolate Shop, Bruges, Belgium: I can’t recall Colin Farrell sipping hot chocolate here in the cult movie In Bruges.

But he would have been more chilled if he had.

This canal city is famous for its choccies but don’t press your noses up against the windows… come in.

The Old Chocolate Shop https://www.oldchocolatehouse.be looks straight out of a nursery rhyme… and you should deffo try the gingerbread and truffles too.

And Bruges is a great release at the end of my World War One Battlefields Tour with https://www.gadventures.com. A pilgrim’s prayer

Jacques Torres Chocolate Shop, New York: I’ve developed a mantra as I’ve evolved… only choose friends who hail from wonderful places.

And it also helps if they have fantastic jobs… as is the case with my old University pal Kate.

She is the Editor of a Food and Drinks magazine in her native New York and took La Famille Murty to…

Jacques Torres’ Chocolate Shop https://mrchocolate.com/blogs/locations/soho-hudson near Greenwich Village where we sampled the rich and silky Wicked.

That is after sampling the bacon-flavoured chocolate in their tasting kitchen. We left with a hamper. And you know what I think of New York but here’s a reminder… Old New York: Hamilton

The Cafe Savoy, Prague: Everyone raves about Vienna, and it’s not to be missed.

But cafe society permeated throughout the whole of the old Austro-Hungarian Hapsburg Empire.

And finds itself stamped all over Prague… Hope springs eternal

The Savoy http://cafesavoy.ambi.cz/en/ is the place to go for your hot chocolate (or two hot chocolates)!

Its Savoy Hot Chocolate which uses hot milk hails from the Dominican Republic; the Savoy dessert hot chocolate is made of Valrhona chocolate and hot chocolate.

It is served with whipped milk and you can add it to the cup to melt with the chocolate.

Hot chocolate is one of life’s little gifts to yourself.

Barcelona for hot chocolate

It can be drunk in hot and cold weather despite what my waitresss Mardy Maria thought as we lunched inside from the 30C Barcelona heat… Surfing the seas in Barcelona

My Catalan isn’t that great but her hand gestures suggested f****** eeji or something like that.

Tell me where your fave hot chocolate is and I’ll share the love.

MEET YOU IN THE CAFE

Adventure, Culture, Pilgrimage

Give us this Day: the day Jesus was baptised

You’d be glad of a cool down in the 30C heat of a Jordan May. but Jesus wasn’t complaining.

Today is designated the sacred day when we commemorate The Baptism of the Lord.

It is in truth a little cooler in Jordan than when I went, at 11C but I can’t imagine the Lord was shivering.

So for the day that’s in it let’s take a deeper look into baptisms.

The first question is: where exactly was Jesus baptised.

The Jordanians claimed that he was doused further inland at Al-Maghtas.

Here in ‘Bethany beyond the Jordan’ in what is modern-day Jordan.

The Israelis for their part believe that he was baptised on their banks.

https://videopress.com/v/IQjZxU7W?controls=false&preloadContent=metadata

And this is where the Russian Orthodox Christians believe there are healing waters and they go full immersion.

The Jordanians claim Jesus was baptised here

All of which I learned on my G Adventures trip to Jordan last year…. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/culture/petra-jordan-jesus-and-the-sands-of-time/, http://www.visitjordan.com, http://www.gadventures.com.

While decide for yourself which you think it is…. or like me just soak it all up and maybe sneak some holy water… http://www.baptismsite.com

So for us Gentiles it’s worth reflecting that of course John, Jesus and all those who were being baptised were all Jews.

And that John though the most famous baptist would not have been the first.

Today at Mass

Ritual immersion had been part and parcel of Jewish culture, or mikvehs for some time.

Jews would ritually immerse themselves for spiritual purity before worshipping.

Washing is, of course, central to the daily and spiritual life of Muslims.

Water of Islam

As I have found out on my trips to Marrakech www.visitmarrakech.com and Morocco www.visitmorocco.com.

And more recently in Istanbul www.visitistanbul.com and Turkey www.goturkeytourism.com.

And Sarajevo in Bosnia & Herzegovina www.visitsarajevo.ba

The boys in the Blue Mosque

It is, of course, a primal act to wash as well as being hygienic.

And you can find it in Sikhism through Amrit Sanskar.

While in Hinduism they like to immerse statues of Durga and Ganesh during the final stages of the festivals Durga Puja and Ganesh Charturthi.

Water of death

And purification is as much part of death as it is a spiritual birth.

A ritual bath in pure water is performed for the dead in many religions including Judaism and Islam.

For more on this pilgrim’s progress… read https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/culture/petra-jordan-jesus-and-the-sands-of-time/ https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/pilgrimage/camino-a-pilgrims-prayer/, https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/small-roads-lead-to-rome/ https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-lourdes-prayer-pyrenees/ and Fatima in https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/secret-portugal-classy-centro/

Countries, Culture, Europe, Food, Food & Wine

Carole King… you’re Beautiful

There are some mornings I wake up without a smile on my face to show the world all the love in my heart.

Today though is not one of them.

Today, I have the widest smile on my face.

Because today I am going to see Beautiful The Carole King Musical.

She’s Beautiful (as is my wife).

Carole King and her seminal 1971 solo album Tapestry has been something of a soundtrack to my adult life.

Since I first heard it in a record store as an 18-year-old and asked them to play it again…

You’ve got a friend

Before buying it there and then before going on to wear out the needle.

Will You Love Me Tomorrow? summed up my feeble attempts at wooing… of course, they didn’t even love me that night,

Then it was You’ve Got a Friend when She came along,

So Far Away was when she was pregnant with the Son and Heir in Aberdeen.

And trying to sell the house and me starting a new job in Liverpool.

Trying to shut her up? No, she’s just selfie-conscious

And since then Home Again as we have taken an Oydyssean journey around these islands.

It is the beauty of this timeless album that I won’t be the only one for whom it tells a personal story.

Of course, it’s Carole King’s story that Beautiful tells.

It is a story that begins with her selling her first song while still at school.

Through the ups and downs of her marriage to songwriting partner Gerry Goffin.

To her grand redemptive performance at Carnegie Hall in her native New York.

Hands on decks: Some ambient music at the Radisson Blu

Along the way we thrill to the Sound of the Sixties which she and Goffin and their friends Cynthia Wiel and Barry Mann shaped.

With such classics as On The Roof, Locamotion, One Fine Day, Pleasant Valley Sunday and You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling, On Broadway and a bunch of others.

At the end of a fast-paced joyful paean to Carole who has inspired generations of singer-songwriters and still performs to this day, she had performed Tapestry in full with her daughter Louise.

I feel the earth move

Up the road at Hyde Park in the summer, I’m up dancing and clapping wildly to I Feel The Earth Move.

While I’m here at the Aldwych Theatre in London’s West End to pay homage to Carole King there’s time enough for some other kings.

And some queens and princes too at the Tower of London.

Pasta master: Fill yourself up

William the Conqueror built it nearly 1,000 years ago to fortify the capital of his new kingdom, King Henry VIII had two wives beheaded here.

Near to where I’m standing by the Bloody Tower where King Richard III had his two nephews suffocated in their sleep,

Another queen, Lady Jane Grey, was also executed here…

She spent only five days as monarc.

Before she had to make way fro Queen Mary, or Bloody Mary if you will who then made way for Queen Elizabeth.

Beefeater anyone?

It’s another Queen Elizabeth we’re chiefly here to see, the current queen, Britain’s longest serving monarch at 64 years and counting.

Or more accurately we’re here to see her bling, the Crown Jewels.

Talking of counting, try counting the number of gems in her crown.

On your walk around or the number of salt bowls or how many drinks you could get out of that punch bowl.

All of which can make you quite thirsty.

Fat as a king

I feast like a king at my palace for the weekend, the Radisson Blu Edwardian in Mercer Street, Seven Dials, near Covent Garden.

Our breakfasts are king-sized.

Instead of choosing buffet or continental they do both while evening meal is a Peruvian/Italian tapas fusion.

It works and the DJ with his decks and his ambient music add to the vibe.

A watery grave: Olde London

Fat as a king, I need to work off the half a dozen meat, fish and pasta tasting dishes and rich Peruvian chocolate dessert which means a stroll around the city of Westminster.

It is a ten-minute walk from Seven Dials across Waterloo Bridge and along the South Bank.

I try to ignore the garish and overpriced Dungeon and Shrek tourist traps and opt instead two read William Wordsworth’s thoughts inscribed on the walkway.

What a Wordsworth!

The great Romantic poet loved London and waxed lyrical about the Thames gentled gliding by.

I despair then at what today’s town planners are doing to this great old city.

With their London Eyesore and Gherkin (and who builds something in the shape of the bit of the burger nobody wants?)

The West End: And that boy Potter

I avert my eyes and, of course, am drawn instead to the Mother of all Parliaments. I cross Westminster Bridge and think on Wordsworth’s Upon Westminster Bridge.

And I consider knocking on Downing Street to give Theresa May a piece of my mind.

But Big Ben’s chimes tell me it’s too late, baby, it’s too late. I have an urgent appointment with another wordsmith.

HOW TO GET THERE

Fly to Gatwick airport with Ryanair… http://www.ryanair.com

WHO TO GO WITH

We had two nights on a SuperBreak https://www.wowcher.co.uk/travel/hotels/uk-hotels/ package in 2016 and took in the Beautiful: The Carole King Story at the Aldwych Theatre in the West End of London.

Don’t despair though there are one or two other offerings still running!!!

Visit https://www.nederlander.co.uk/aldwych-theatre

Save, save, save

Save 30% on theatre tickets with a hotel and ticket package from SuperBreak. www.superbreak.com. Also visit www.radissonblu-edwardian.com/MercerStreet‎.

This article was first published in the Irish Daily Mail in November 2016.

And don’t you know I only got to see the next best thing to Carole, Jessie Mueller who sang three songs from the musical only centimetres from the American Travel Fair in Washington DC… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/obama-washington-dc/

You’re beautiful too Jessie
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?.

Culture, Food, Food & Wine

Hungry and Thursday – cook around the world

A sallow 17-year-old, I was sent away with a recipe book, and not a clue how to cook – that’s an Irish Mammy for you!

Of course, I was never afraid to seek guidance, knocking on my flatmate’s door to ask how to make an omelette.

When he had his girlfriend around!

Well, you can’t make an omelette without cracking eggs.

I’m still checking out how the experts do it: when the Scary One allows me into her kitchen.

Here are my cookery demos from around the world:IMG_0964

It’s got arms and legs

Pulpo; The driver transporting me from Santiago de Compostella on my Camino would repeat two words on our 100km drive.

Albergo (hostel) and pulpo (octopus) .

Eating pulpo with Galician tomato sauce (not the stuff out of the bottle) sitting on a high stool with a vase of Rioja…

Bueno!

My friends at the Spanish Tourist Board in Dublin took us to Cookery School to show us how it’s done.

It looks like just boiling: something I could master.

Visit CaminoWays www.caminoways.com and read A pilgrim’s prayer

And obvs salty pulpo was the first dish I ordered in Tenerife with CanariaWays www.CanariaWays.com.

Where they taught us how to make mojo rojo, a fancy tomato sauce! A walk through the ages… Tenerife.

Ruby’s a gem:

Barbados Okra: Cooking in the Caribbean is a shared experience.

Which is why Ruby enlisted me as her assistant at Club Barbados http://www.thelubbarbados.com

To make Barbados Okra.

This is how to do it… heat the butter in a saucepan and sauté onion and garlic until soft and nicely smelly.

Add okra, salt and remaining water. Cook for ten to 15 minutes on low heat or until okra is cooked. 

 

Of course Ruby had something to say.

Also see www.visitbarbados.org and www.tropicalsky.ie.

And here’s my misadventures in Barbados Let’s rumba in Barbados and My kiss with Rihanna.

IMG_5955

Pasta masters

Pasta: Catherine Fulvio is Ireland’s pasta master.

And she’s now got me, of course, too whenever she needs some advice at her www.ballyknocken.ie.

Catherine and her kitchen were good enough to teach me how to make my own pasta and more.

When Top Flight, the Italian specialists, brought us along to showcase their new brochure www.topflight.ie.

Italy is a culinary dream and everyone returns with tales of their favourite restaurant and dish.

Mine’s is a risotto ai piselli in Padua… Frescoes

Cooking with Auntie

Curry favour: Or more accurately Uncle…

The uncle in this case being Uncle Kenneth at the Blue Crab restaurant in Scarborough, Tobago http://www.tobagobluecrab.comand http://www.visittobago.gov.tt

Uncle Kenneth let me help him cook the chicken curry… there’s a big Indian culinary influence on the island.

Auntie Alison was the real entertainer (hilarious) though telling the womenfolk how to keep their men interested.

Auntie Alison was the real entertainment (hilarious) though telling the womenfolk how to keep their men interested.

Here’s a peek, and some of my ramblings on the island made famous by Robinson Crusoe and, er, Ainsley Harriott… ainsley.

IMG_0372.jpg

How to boil an egg

Egg fried rice: The obvious one. But in the hands of a professional cook, and entertainer, it’s pure comedy.

And on Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas they’ll do just that with their open kitchen.

What these guys can do with an egg… we’ll actually hatch a chicken in their chef’s hats.

While starting a singalong.

Visit www.royalcaribbean.com. And here’s a Royal party for you A Royal Party.

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, Africa, Culture

This plant can save the world

Raggy Charters https://www.raggycharters.co.za isn’t your normal dolphin-watching boat company.

You see owner Lloyd Edwards and manager Jake Keeton are putting back what they are using in carbon emissions whey they are whizzing their boat around Algoa Bay, the bottlenose dolphin capital of the world.

Fins are looking up: Algoa Bay

I have come to Port Elizabeth on South Africa’s Eastern Cape to find out more.

And to meet the locals…Human, dolphin and pussycat https://www.visiteasterncape.co.za www.southafrica.net and What’s new pussycat?.

Lead the way

Raggy Charters’ Lloyd and Jake (and Sahara their Jack Russell) have a mini-jungle of plants around their jetty.

And they plant a new spekboom plant every time they take the boat out.. it acts as a succulent. And here’s where you can find out a lot more… https://www.samara.co.za/blog/five-things-didnt-know-spekboom/.

Cuttings to the chase

The spekboom project which originated in the Eastern Cape is the idea of Aidan Lawrence, of SATSA Eastern Cape, who handed out 600 spekboom cuttings to delegates.

Our boat comes in

This is SA’s response to the carbon emissions problem.

Flying shame

And the flygskam (flying shame) campaign championed by Greta Thumberg among others.

All of which salves my conscience a little as I am acutely aware of how many air miles I have been chalking up.spekboom-planting-agents-samara-conservation-karoo-south-africa-marnus-ochse-980x560You see the humble speksboom only stores solar energy to perform photosynthesis at night.

And it is ten times more effective per hectare than any tropical rainforest.And I’ve seen how valuable our rainforests are this year, in Tobago, www.visittobsgo.gov.tt and It’s Robinson Crusoe’s very own Tobago.

In the Tobago rainforest

While we doff our hats to what the South Africans are doing on the ground it is worth mentioning that global airlines and cruise liners continue to explore ways they can address carbon emissions.

 

Pppppick up a penguin

And British Airways www.ba.com are leading the way.

From the start of this year BA is now offsetting carbon emissions on all flights within the UK.And it is investing money in green projects around the world.

The challenge ahead

The challenge remains huge.

With a study from 1st Move International https://www.shipit.co.uk/blog/other-articles/cost-of-carbon highlighting the 20 top destinations for travellers from the UK.

Not to depress you but a return trip from London to Mallorca will cost the planet six trees.

Walking in Tenerife, the eco way to go

I feel a little less guilty because my flights to Tenerife www.hellocanaryislands.com and https://www.visitingtenerife.com.

And A walk through the ages… Tenerife Tenerife was five trees.

And I took me in some rainforest there too.

Plant those trees

The 15.62 average UK visitors to Spain would each owe 43,237,500 trees, about 3017 football pitches.

But who knew that Nature may just hold the answer in this little plant, the spekboom?