Countries, Deals, Europe, Flying, Ireland, UK

The beach to yourself in the Algarve

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

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

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

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

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

What a pane!

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

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

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

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

The beaches in the Algarve will reopen on Saturday.

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

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

Just swimmingly

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

And swimming, water sports and surfing will be permitted.

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

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

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

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

Fly high

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

Ryanair – flights from Stansted, Dublin and Manchester.

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

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

MEET YOU ON THE BEACH

Adventure, Culture, Deals, Ireland, UK

Covid-day Snaps – Good news from Ireland

And as no new deaths are reported overnight in Ireland further good news with our Travel industry starting up again.

It will come as little surprise to Hibernophiles (people who love Ireland) that Connacht is to the fore.

Well, as the old traditional song goes The West’s Awake!

Let there be fire

The West has a special place in my affections as it was here that I spent my first holidays cut from my Mum’s apron strings.

As I holidayed with my Dublin cousins in Salthill, Co. Galway.

I don’t think it was entirely altruistic as my parents did get a chance to globetrot.

Still as an early teenager I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else.

The Wild Atlantic

Picture postcard

I dipped my toe in Spidal (quite literally) with my Uncle and cousins avid swimmers.

And I did the same on the dating scene where again I was left hopelessly out of my depth.

We went over the county border too to Co. Mayo and the Marian site of Knock which surely left a mark.

As I have ticked off Lourdes The Lourdes prayer, Fatima Secret Portugaland Medjugorje What’s the story, Medjugorje? Wouldn’t you like to know since.

All of which meanderings brings me back to Hotel Westport’s plans for the revived summer season.

Estate of the nation

Fill up my bowl

Westport Estate stretches to 400 acres – plenty of room for social distancing there. And it is also at the heart of the Wild Atlantic Way https://www.wildatlanticway.com/home.

And it is overlooked by St Patrick’s mountain Croagh Patrick.Which that very same Mum never tired of telling us she walked up barefooted and without a good breakfast when she was pregnant.

I let her off because it was my brother she had on board.

Westport is an ideal set-up to showcase what I believe will be a new direction in how we take our holidays… slow travel.

Carry on camping

Round the campfire

Take their Family Bush Camp which will give families the chance to reconnect with nature through bush crafting and survival activities.

Packages start at €79 pps for Bed & Breakfast  and bookings can be secured at www.hotelwestport.ie.

The upside of our clamour for more space in our post-lockdown holiday is that we will reacquaint ourselves with all those great country houses.

Where families can run around the corridors to their hearts’ content.

Westport House is an 18th-century manor house also on Westport Estate and just a stone’s throw away from the hotel.

Visitors can stroll through the grounds and enjoy the gardens and take in the 3.5k looped Lakeland and woodland walk.

House about that?

Caravan of love

The house itself is open to day-visitors and they will be able to immerse themselves in 300 years of Irish heritage.

Camping and caravan breaks will be in vogue when we all get out on the road again. And you can take advantage too in the onsite 3* park on the Westport House Estate? Visit www.westporthouse.ie.

For those for whom gastronomy is central to their holiday experience. And the Irish food experience is rightly celebrated around the world then here’s some more good news.

The owner and head chef of Cian’s on Bridge Street, Cian Hayes, will be opening a pop-up restaurant experience in Hotel Westport this summer.

If you have been keen to stretch your legs, and you will be fitter than you think with all those laps around your neighbourhood.Then you will be eager to get out on the Wild Atlantic Way.

Ride on!

Can I cycle for ever?

And for cyclists then Clew Bay Bike Hire have a fleet of two-wheelers with your name on them.

Guests at Hotel Westport can truly experience the wild Atlantic west by hiring bikes on site.And then cycling an exclusive and accessible 10km loop through the estate, the harbour, and the town.

And if you’re feeling ambitious, why not take on the breathtaking Great Western Greenway?

And meanwhile in the Disunited Kingdom

I’ll let the pictures from Bank Holiday Weekend in the United Kingdom.Where England has different rules to lockdown than Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland speak for themselves.

Southend, England
Wales
Aberdeen, Scotland
Portrush, Northern Ireland

And I love all parts of this Disunited Kingdom so when the time is right, and be patient.

See www.visitengland.com, www.visitscotland.com, www.visitwales.com, www.discovernorthernireland.com and http://www.visitbritain.com.

America, Culture, Deals, Ireland

Chicago-go-go-go

Gameshow legend Jim Bowen would famously draw back the curtain and tell contestants… ‘let’s look at what you could have won.’

It’s how I feel about Chicago.

Two years ago I was invited to the Windy City but had to respectfully turn it down…

Because my Dear Old Mum decided to turn 90 then!

A dose of the Blues

Chicago chic

The pictures of one colleague up on the stage singing the Blues, the group drinking Chicago craft beer and pizza and watching baseball at Wrigley Field didn’t help.

So what do you do when Plan A is taken off the table.

Move onto Plan B.

Which was to go this year, particularly as it’s the 100th anniversary of the Volstead Act, the start of Prohibition.

Until COVID-19 intervened.

Back with a bang

That’s St Patrick’s Day for you

So, onto Plan C and thanks to our friends American Holidays I can see a door squeezing open again.

AH, who think of everything know too that having missed our St Patrick’s Day celebrations, may want an even bigger hooley next year.

And there are few better places than Chicago where they literally turn the river green.

It’s all part of a pitch by AH to remind us that America WILL reopen and when it does he will be first in the queue.

Celebrate St Patrick’s Day with the family in Chicago with American Holidays from €659pp.

Visit www.choosechicago.com.

California calling

Santa Monica Boulevard

Of course it doesn’t help when you get constant reminders of Chicago wherever you go.

Such as last year in Santa Monica https://www.santamonica.com/visit-santa-monica/ when I visited the landmark signpost marking the end of Route 66.

All great https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/19/my-weekend-with-marilyn-2/amp/ but of course Route 66 starts off from Chicago so I’m still waiting to get my kicks there.

I got plenty though in Santa Monica and Venice Beach https://www.visitveniceca.com.

The West Coast

And the Golden Gate obviously

And I’m getting the small fiddle out here… I was set too for San Francisco www.sftravel.com and www.visitcalifornia.com this month.

You may too have been looking forward to seeing the Golden Gate Bridge, explore Fisherman’s Wharf or ride the cable car up the hilly city.

Where’s Frasier?

Space age… in Seattle

I’ve been bingeing on Seattle’s favourite son Frasier in lockdown. Heck, I do even in normal times.

And Seattle will be on your American Holidays bespoke trip.

Again, one that got away here, the inaugural Aer Lingus www.aerlingus.com mission to Seattle www.visitseattle.org.

Which I was invited on only for me to be in the air going to Denver at the time www.denver.org and Go West and The New Frontiersmen.

Seattle is unfinished business, particularly getting up that Space Needle which I see on the skyline at the start of every show.

The west coast adventure next Spring is from €1699pp.

And back in Boston

pexels-photo

Where we first met the great psychiatrist.

And where I spent a much-storied summer working in Faneuil Hall.

While me flatmate Neily sold Cheers merchandise from a cart on the Common.

I worked 30 days flat without taking a break as others went on day breaks to Cape Cod, another destination that got away.

Boston http://www.boston.gov/visiting-boston has been dangled tantalisingly in front of my years this year too.

With a walk along Fenway Park’s Green Wall, a highlight of the itinerary which had been planned for me.

But I will be back and when I do I’ll be full of beans.

Boston and Cape Cod with American Holidays from €1450pp. See http://www.americanholidays.com

America, Countries, Culture, Deals, Europe, Ireland, UK

Disney opens its shop doors again

What do everyone’s favourite mouse and duck do during the COVID-19 crisis?

Well if you’ve missed Mickey and Minnie, Donald and Goofy and all their friends then here’s some good news.

The gang are back with the reopening of subcontracted shops at Disney Springs http://www.disneysprings.com in Orlando tomorrow.

And the World of Disney Store and Disney eating places from next Wednesday.

Mouse in a mask

With The Three Caballeros In Anaheim

We might have to wait to wrap ourselves in the arms of our favourite characters at first but a wave goes a long way.

And our pals also know how to keep us all cheerful with their dances and japes.

And while we’ll all (employees and guests) be required to wear masks and have our temperatures taken.

There’s nothing that says we can’t smile from behind our masks or laugh.

A Minnie-hug: In Orlando

Of course what we all want to know is when the theme parks will reopen and there’s further good news on that front too.

Universal Orlando reopened its CityWalk shopping and dining areas last week with strict new measures in place https://www.universalorlando.com/web/en/us/terms-of-service/operations-update.

No more big queues

Homer run: With Homer and Bart at Universal

And Florida Governor Ron DeSantis gave Disney https://www.disneyworld.co.uk and Universal Orlando https://www.universalorlando.com/web/en/us/theme-parks/citywalk the OK to submit their reopening plans… watch this space.

Our experience will be different and mine’s in the past with http://www.atrractiontickets.com and http://www.visitorlando.com has been well, for want of a better word, magical.

See Why I love The Donald and Aaawlando… Orlando, the rollercoaster capital and See off Voldemort, then for a beer at Moe’s.

But you can be sure that the great minds behind our animation favourites will be ahead of the curve.

And besides they already have some things already in place that can be applied to the ‘new normal.’

Such as the Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance virtual queue that will tell a guest when to return and join the physical line as guests with higher ‘boarding groups’ are processed.

In a theme park far, far away

And this will eliminate the need for long queues and who needs them? Certainly not me… http://Stair Wars

Our holiday providers are all facing a challenging time just now.

But remember they want nothing better than get us out to these, and again there’s no better word for it, magical places.

Magic Vacations, an Irish travel agent which is an official Disney partner, have come up with the bright idea of combining the magic of Ireland and that of Disney.

This deal is magic

To give clients who book a Magic Vacations holiday for 2021 to Disneyland Paris a one-night stay including breakfast in an equivalent 3 or 4-star hotel in Kinsale this Autumn.

So you’ll travel March 1-4 from Dublin/February 28-March 3 from Cork with flights from your nearest airport. (€55 supplement from Cork).

You’ll play €699pps with all meals included and flights, transfers, accommodation, €100 gift card, four days unlimited entry to Disneyland and a Meet & Greet.

With that night’s accommodation in Kinsale in November with full Irish breakfast for two guests included.

Contact (01) 40004433/(021) 4700568. See http://www.magicvacations.ie.

Countries, Deals, Europe, Flying, Food & Wine, Ireland, UK

Holiday Snaps – booze brothers

The news that they will pour away 70m pints of spoiled beer down the drain would merely have been an invitation to The Sesh.

Our drinking fraternity at Aberdeen University have scattered to the four corners of the world – funny when many couldn’t be raised from their scratchers.

My Best Man Andy is in Singapore https://www.visitsingapore.com/en/, Jevan is back home in the West Indies https://www.visittrinidad.co.tt, https://www.visittobago.gov.tt. My kiss with Rihanna, Let’s rumba in Barbados and Ready, steady GOAT… racing in Tobago/.

While some of my English pals, Wee Jon and Micky, and Gaelic emigrees Alan and Anna went to the bright lights of London https://www.visitlondon.com and The London life.

marischalcollege3

And those flatmates that were foisted on us such as Grumpy Vangelis (no, seriously) My Greek odyssey and the cheery Ibohal Singh (song) https://www.incredibleindia.org/content/incredible-india-v2/en.html are doubtless back where they belong.

It’ll be 40 years in a couple of years since we first bowled up in Aberdeen so I feel a reunion in the making.

And we’ll need more than 70m beers for that… https://www.visitabdn.com and Aberdeen – a light in the north.

Sláinte

pexels-photo-936571-1-150x150

Aberdeen University’s other great gift to the world, after me, is of course Blair Bowman.

Blair Whoman? Yes, Blair Bowman, who only gave us World Whisky Day.

Surprisingly this celebration of uisce beatha has only been running since 2012.

The organisers say that 250,000 people participated in registered events in 2014.

I don’t know the figures for the last few years – I guess they’d overdone the golden liquid!

IMG_2133

To the pantheon of greats who graduated from Aberdeen Uni, Alex Kapranos, Alistair Darling and Nicky Campbell add Jevan Jutagir.

A proud half-Scots, half-West Indian who is one-third of the Barbados Whisky Mafia.

And who if you’ve got an in will crack out the good stuff before Foreday Morning at Crop Over in Barbados https://www.visitbarbados.org, My kiss with Rihanna and Turtle recall.

Free Ireland

Kudos to Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar whose example some across on this side of the Irish Sea would do well to emulate.

You don’t have to be a doctor like Leo to have known that testing and tracing is key but it doesn’t do any harm.

Leo has been outlining how the nation will come out of lockdown.

Which means that the Office of Public Works has opened up certain outdoor sites within social distancing rules.

And that oft-forgotten section of our society, the Cocooners, are being prioritised;

10am to 1pm

Emo Court, Co. Laois

Grounds

Unknown-1

10am to 1pm

Fota Arboretum, Co. Cork

Pleasure Garden & Walled Garden

10am to 1pm

Irish National War Memorial Gardens, Islandbridge, Dublin

Rose Garden.

10am to 1pm

Iveagh Gardens, Dublin

Full Garden

images-1

10am to 1pm

Kilkenny Castle, Co. Kilkenny

Rose Garden

10am to 1pm

Nenagh Castle, Co. Tipperary

Grounds

10am to 1pm

Portumna Castle, Co. Galway

Walled Garden.

Unknown

10am to 1pm

Phoenix Park, Dublin

Visitor Centre Walled Garden

10am to 1pm

Roscrea Heritage, Co. Tipperary

Grounds & Walled garden

And Ryanair are flying high

Few things say summer quite like a fleet of blue and yellow Ryanair planes taking to the skies.

Which is why the news coming out from Michael O’Leary Towers that July 1 is the start-up date for us to get flying again.

With 1,000 flights across Europe from €23.99. And new health measures.

Faro, the gateway to the Algarve comes in at that starting price… https://www.visitalgarve.pt/en/Default.aspx and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/secret-portugal-classy-centro/.

London https://www.visitlondon.com The London life and Amsterdam Pictures of Amsterdam comes in at the same price.

For the full range visit www.ryanair.com.

MEET YOU ON THE ROAD

Countries, Culture, Deals, Europe, Flying, Ireland, UK

Flyday Friday – Wunderbar Lufthansa

If you want a job done quickly (and well) then you’d best leave it to the Germans.

Twice in the last century they’ve rebuilt their shattered country from scratch and also reunified both halves.

And few places is that more evident than in Dresden Dresden’s renaissance which was firebombed to near extinction in 1945 before the Soviets moved in with their very distinctive rebuild…

A mural of Communist history and a planned statue of a tractor and the latter which luckily was put off and put off by the Saxons was never completed.

Dresden, just the way it was

The Saxons, of course, put their whole Renaissance city back together again the way it was in just 20 years.

So you get the picture, the Germans don’t hang around when it comes to a rebuild which is why their national airline carrier Lufthansa https://www.lufthansa.com/gb/en/homepage have been first back onto the runway with their planes.

And no jokes about towels by the pool although the Germans will laugh about that stereotype because contrary to popular misconception they are one of the most self-deprecating of nations.

Which is probably why I love them and their country so.

Anyhoos, this is what we’ve all been dying to hear…

Let’s get flying again

Book today, and from June 1, you could be hopping on a Lufthansa, Eurowings or SWISS flight.

Resumed/Resumed/
Continued
Manchester (6) Dublin (5)
London-Heathrow (14)
to Frankfurt (Lufthansa)
Resumed/
Additional 
Dublin (2)
London-Heathrow (11)
to Zurich/Geneva (SWISS)
Resumed/Resumed/
Continued/Continued
Birmingham (3) Dublin (2)Manchester (3)
London – Heathrow (7)
to Dusseldorf (Eurowings)
ResumedEdinburgh (2)to Cologne (Eurowings)
ResumedLondon-Heathrow (4)to Hamburg (Eurowings)
ResumedLondon-Heathrow (4)to Stuttgart (Eurowings)

These connections are available to book via lufthansa.comeurowings.com and swiss.com and those lovely Swiss know how to spoil you too Swhisskey on the rocks.

With more than 106 destinations in Germany and Europe and over 20 intercontinental destinations, the range of flights on offer by the end of June will expand noticeably for all travellers.

By the end of June, the Lufthansa Group airlines plan to offer around 1,800 weekly roundtrips to more than 130 destinations worldwide.

Music to the ears

‘People want to and can travel again, whether on holiday or for business reasons.

‘That’s why we will continue to expand our offer step by step in the coming months and connect Europe with each other and Europe with the world,” says Harry Hohmeister, of the Executive Board of German Lufthansa AG.

Additional resumed Lufthansa flights in the first half of June in Germany and Europe from Frankfurt include: Hanover, Majorca, Sofia, Prague, Manchester, Billund, Nice, Budapest, Riga, Dublin, Krakow, Bucharest and Kiev. And from Munich: Münster/Osnabrück, Sylt, Rostock, Vienna, Zurich, Brussels and Palme de Mallorca. 

The flight schedule also includes 19 long-haul destinations, 14 more than in May.

In total, Lufthansa, SWISS and Eurowings will be offering more than 70 weekly frequencies overseas until mid-June, almost four times as many as in May. Further resumption of Lufthansa long-haul flights is planned for the second half of June.

Did you say long-haul?

Lufthansa’s long-haul resumption of flights from Frankfurt (subject to possible travel restrictions) include: Toronto, Mexico City, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Tel Aviv, Riyadh, Bahrain, Johannesburg, Dubai and Mumbai. The destinations Newark/New York, Chicago, Sao Paulo, Tokyo and Bangkok will continue to be offered. 

Lufthansa’s long-haul return flights from Munich (subject to possible travel restrictions) include: Chicago, Los Angeles and Tel Aviv.

And the Austrians and Swiss too

Austrian Airlines has decided to extend the suspension of regular flight operations for a further week, from 31 May – 7 June 2020. A resumption of service in June is also being considered.

SWISS is planning to resume services to various Med destinations and other major European centres such as Paris, Brussels and Moscow will also be added to the programme.

In its long-haul operations, SWISS will again offer its passengers new intercontinental direct services in June in addition to its three weekly services to New York / Newark (USA).

The Swiss carrier also plans to offer flights from Zurich to New York JFK, Chicago, Singapore, Bangkok, Tokyo, Mumbai, Hong Kong and Johannesburg.

Eurowings previously announced that it would be expanding its basic programme at Düsseldorf, Cologne/Bonn, Hamburg and Stuttgart ports and gradually adding 15 further destinations within Europe from May onwards.

With Spain, Greece, Portugal and Croatia, the focus is on destinations in the Mediterranean region. For the first time, the island of Mallorca will again be offered from several German Eurowings gateways.

Brussels you say…

Brussels Airlines plans to resume its flight operations with a reduced network offer as from 15 June.

Passengers should consider the current entry and quarantine regulations of the respective destinations.

And we will be expected to heed stricter hygiene and security regulations and longer waiting times at airport security checkpoints.

The catering services on board will also remain restricted until further notice. 

In addition, passengers will continue to be asked to wear a nose-and-mouth cover on board during the entire journey following compulsory new procedures implemented on 29 April.

Masks can be funky too

One thing will remain unchanged though… you’ll need to get to the check-out gate on time.

Unless, of course, you have a friendly Fraulein at the desk who can get you on the next plane… Holidos and don’ts – know your airport and My Greek odyssey and http://www.athensattica.com.

By the end of June, they are planning to offer around 1800 weekly round trips to more than 130 destinations worldwide.

Which is more than half of the Group’s airline network as it was planned before this crisis.

MEET YOU IN THE SKIES

America, Countries, Culture, Deals, Europe

Covid-day Snaps – Canarian ‘safe’ passports

Nobody likes their passport pic, particularly now we can’t even smile.

Mine’s looks like it could have been taken more than 100 years ago when they were first introduced.

But we don’t even flinch at being asked now for it and I suspect we’ll quickly get used to the technology being rolled out by the Canary Islands to get us back travelling.

The Canary Islands (Spain) and the World Tourism Organisation have agreed a flight in July for the world’s first ‘safe’ flight using the Digital Health Passport, developed by Canarian firm Hi + Card

I can just taste that Tenerife Shakespearean wine Malvasia.

CanariaWays www.CanariaWays.com will make you earn it with their walking holidays but it’s worth it. Also see https://www.hellocanaryislands.com/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI5dWNgOam6QIVCLLtCh2C-AsBEAAYASAAEgLfaPD_BwE

My other family

Family business:: I feel I know these LA folk

If your family is driving you up the wall you may be taking sanctuary in a TV family… me, I’ve been a fly on the wall at the Pritchards and the Dunphys in LA.

Our first introduction to American cities was througb the gogglebox… The Streets of San Francisco https://www.sftravel.com, Cheers in Boston https://www.bostonusa.com, Miami Vice https://www.miamiandbeaches.com and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/23/fort-lauderdale-and-miami-a-tale-of-two-sittings/.

Colorado rocks

Denver’s Dynasty www.denver.org Go West and Mork and Mindy in Colorado www.colorado.com and The New Frontiersmen Pawn Stars in Las Vegas www.lvcva.com and Strip… the light fantastic and House of Cards in Washington www.washington.org and Easy DC.

And New York www.nycvb.com where my Uncle Petie became a superstar in my eyes when Kojak filmed in his bar.

From Missouri to happiness today: Cam and Mitch

I always make a point of annoying the Scary One by pointing out that I’ve been there which is probably why she doesn’t watch Modern Family…

The climax of which is playing out in a two-parter.

Gay parents Mitch Pritchard, an uptight lawyer and Cam Tucker, a hillbilly football coach steal the show.

Hello sailor: In West Hollywood

But it is time for them to move to Cam’s Missouri and leave behind LA https://www.discoverlosangeles.com and I dare say to West Hollywood, the chillest, gayest part of LA https://www.visitwesthollywood.com and https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/19/my-weekend-with-marilyn-2/amp/.

Where I was complimented on my sailor’s hat and bandana combo.

And if we you feel like the only news you’re getting out of the Oo Es of A is bad then I’ll redress the balance.

So hold on and I’ll let you know how among others my Native American and my Deep South pals are meeting the challenges and prevailing.

We’ll wait for you, Princess

Cruise liners were a sitting target for their critics when the virus first visited.

But they have shown a self-sacrificing responsibility and a willingness to change and I believe they will come back stronger.

Princess www.princess.com has announced the cancellation of select 2020 summer sailings.

And this is a reminder of what we’re all missing and will enjoy again https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/07/30/cruiseday-tuesday-the-princesss-medallion-man/amp/.

We stayed open

Health is wealth: At the Buchinger Wilhelmi

Our European friends pride themselves on their spas and scientific holiday retreats.

And the Buchinger Wilhelmi http://www.buchinger-wilhelmi.com medi-spa, which overlooks Lake Constance and the Alps and prides itself.

On its therapeutic fasting and integrative medicine, has stayed open through this crisis.

They have a ten-day fasting programme from £2340pp.

And it includes two consultations with a doctor, daily nurse, check-ups, food/drink, fasting provisions and daily activities.

Now, I love an oul’ spa and retreat and my friends, the Czechs know them better than most… www.czechtourism.com and Hope springs eternal.

MEET YOU ON THE ROAD

Asia, Countries, Culture, Deals

My Sporting Weekend – Good Korea move

How will COVID-19 alter our interactions with the Far East… well, in this household it is just bringing us closer with the Son and Heir bound for China in October?

To teach English as a foreign language.

And the football nut that he is, I dare say, he will look out some games.

I’ll have a Meeeowcha then

If he was out in the Far East, South Korea in this case, this weekend he could have watched live football.

Albeit on the TV with the South Koreans first out of the blocks, to mix my metaphors, to resume games.

G Whizz

South Korea falls behind Thailand as a favourite destination for backpackers and Asianophiles but will this spotlight tempt us to put it on our list?

In the pink: Korea’s natural treasures

With all things long haul I place my trust in G Adventures www.gadventures.co.uk who took me out to Jordan this time next year… www.visitjordan.com.

And owner Bruce will be telling us travel professionals next week how they’ll get us back out there soon.

The real deal

They are still promoting offers on their site with an eight days Seoul to Seoul package catching the eye.

Valid on October 2 the Korean trip was £1749 but is now £1487.

Fly the flag

Now some of these places might sound familiar from the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan.

After arriving in the capital Seoul, you’ll take a bullet train to the seaside town of Busan on the tip of the peninsula.

My body is a temple

Where you’ll stay in a temple.

You like your temples? Then G Adventures offers you the chance to a 14th Century temple hidden in the rocks Haedong Yonggungsa.

Who put a windmill there?

You’ll also get to check out the 500-old UNESCO site, the Yangdong Folk Village

Continue to the next UNESCO site of Bulguksa Temple on the slopes of Mount Toham for the Dabotap and Seokgatap stone pagodas, Cheongun-gyo, and two gilt-bronze statues of Buddha.

Cold War history

Almost not enougb time to check out the football.

No trip to South Korea would be complete without a trip to the Demilitarised Zone between South and North Korea.

The Demilitarised Zone www.en.wikipedia.org

With more than a million soldiers on watch each day, it is one of the last remnants of the Cold War.

The buffer zone is 4km wide and is 250km long which means that the wildlife has pretty much taken over… and they’re more sensible than the humanlife.

You’ll need a good three-four hours at the Demilitarized Zone before heading to The War Memorial of Korea.

Seoul music

Before you return back to Seoul for another night in the city.

A city with heart and….

Talking of the Demilitarised Zone and teaching English as a foreign language my old Northern Irish flatmate Ian went out to North Korea to do just that in the 90s.

Funnily enough I haven’t heard from him for a while.

But the top rugby player that he was, who knows he may have ended up teaching the oval-ball game to Kim and his pals.

MEET YOU ON THE PITCH

America, Countries, Culture, Deals, Ireland, UK

COVID-day Snaps – Testy times in Montana

Yes, it was the Cojonasvirus that did for the Testicle Featival in Clinton, Montana.

It’s what I miss most from my travels, not the sun (tick) or the drink (tick) but what’s different… that I can’t find at home.

Testicle festivals (and yes, we’re talking bulls here) are more commonplace than you might think.

Because after all they’re what’s being sized up at farm shows.

In fact a cows’ udders contest was one of the first journalist duties I was given at the Newbury Show in southern England.

Did Woodward and Bernstein start like this? Well possibly if they began their careers at the Clinton Daily News https://www.clintondailynews.com.

Visit https://www.visitmt.com. And here’s a further take on the West in Colorado Go West and The New Frontiersmen and https://www.denver.org and www.colorado.com.

Get on your bike in Northern Ireland

And a big shout-out to nine-year-old James Cunningham who has raised €2,800 for homeless charity The Peter McVerry Trust.

James has only been on a virtual cycling ride, 280kms over two days (that’s 12 hours).

Clontarf’s James, the next Stephen Roche, is a legend in his own right which isn’t surprising as he’s got good genes.

Mum Fiona is the award-winning Tourism NI ROI Market Manager.

Now Northern Ireland is perfect terrain for bikes and I’m flagging up one of its jewels, Rathlin Island.

The isle, off the coast of Antrim, is reputedly where King of Scotland Robert the Bruce met his spider in a cave and tried, tried, tried again.

Which was why we sailed across some choppy waters for a cycle.

Despite our best advice the Son and Heir and Daddy’s Little Girl gorged on chocolate bars and fizzy drinks.

Which meant our cycle up to the lighthouse took a little longer than it should.

Unless you are James Cunningham! See http://www.rathlincommunity.org/visit and. https://discovernorthernireland.com.

And here’s a sample of the great North… Belfast Chilled and Belfast’s rich tapestry.

Portugeezers

And by the power of Zoom we hooked up with our friends from Portugal to fly the green and red country.

The plan was to dye the old beardie in national red and green colours but lockdown lethargy kicked in.

And Daddy’s Little Girl was still in bed when I needed my makeover.

So you’ll just have to make do with this photo from the Portuguese Christmas lunch in Dublin from a couple of years ago.

The good news is that Portugal https://www.visitportugal.com/en is ahead of the curve and making it safe to travel again, and I’ll tell you just when.

You may well want to get away from people and out to nature.

Where you’ll see birds with Ibis fliers with beaks like spoons… https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/06/12/sportugal/amp/.

Or check out Lagoa Dos Salgados in the Algarve.

Prestigious clifftop resort VILA VITA Parc https://vilavitaparc.com/en/welcome can arrange a guided tour (€65pp).

Rates: Doubles start from €330 per night.

Package: Stay three nights B&B from £1835pps with Elegant Records, economy class flights from Luton with EasyJet including private airport transfers.

Call Elegant Resorts on (01) 244897000 or visit http://www.elegantresorts.co.uk

Obrigado.

MEET YOU ON THE ROAD

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