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Auschwitz lest we forget… I think we have

Prisoners would rush to get the top bunk bed in Auschwitz.

Like overexcited schoolchildren at a summer holiday camp?

No, but because a malnourished human being will quickly lose control of their bowel movements.

And you wouldn’t want to be under that.

Behind these gates

The Son and Heir conveyed that story to me after visiting the Polish concentration camp as part of World Youth Day in Krakow.

Life in camp

And it is these graphic illustrations of what life was like in the concentration camp which are being increasingly retold this week, this day.

Eerie

On the 75th anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz.

The challenging question for those of us whose mission is to see the world is whether Auschwitz is mawkish.

And, yes, it can be, if you disrespect the memory of those who were brutalised there by taking cheap selfies.

The Son and Heir

But I’m heartened at the same time by the ever-increasing interest in history by thus generation.

And the reverence shown by, among them, the Son and Heir at Auschwitz.

A personal war memory

And those young schoolboys who joined me in presenting the wreath at The Last Post at the Menin Gate in Ieper.

On my World War I Battlefields tour of Flanders and the Somme with GTI The Group Travel Specialists https://gtitravel.ie and In Flanders Fields.

Where I found the grave of my Great Uncle.

The politicians’ game

War history and war tourism is as old as time…

War tourism

For example the great Scottish writer Sir Walter Scott was not alone among well-known people to scour the Waterloo battlefield.

And my American colleague in Ieper took home fragments of exploded shells from Ieper.

Concentration camps today

I am always prepared to go the extra mile to seek out a battlefield, a graveyard or a genocide.

From visiting my first concentration camp in Dachau, and it was the first in Germany, on my Oktoberfest trip to Munich…

Every one a person

To discovering the inhumane lengths man will still go to settle grievances at the Museum of Crimes Against Humanity in Sarajevo.

Visit visitsarajevo.ba and www.bhtourism.ba.

Lest we forget?

I fear we have.

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Working abroad revisited

Where do I start? In Boston singing Happy Birthday Ole, Happy Birthday from Harry’s, Happy Birthday Ole.

Is as good a place as any.

It’s the rite of passage for British and Irish university students to go and work in North America after finishing their degrees.

Beantown: Boston

For fear of spooking you I’ll maybe skip the story of me being chucked out of the YMCA after nicking the bed of a Colombian.

I think he was called Escobar.

USIT www.usit.ie are the people to go to for students, teachers and trainees.

San Fran

And here are the options:

•Camp USA or Canada and work as a counsellor anywhere from Calgary to California.

•Coaching soccer with the chance to work in Chicago, Atlanta or Boston.

•J1 Summer work in the USA in San Diego, Montauk or Myrtle Beach.

•Intern in New York or San Fransisco on a grad visa.

Once upon a time… in Copenhagen

•Interrail across Europe from Copenhagen to Bucharest in one adventure.

•Volunteer or travel to Vietnam, Thailand or Laos.

Our friends at USIT in 19 Aston Quay sent me a brochure of their wares, and seeing I’m a caring, sharing sort…

So let’s start in North America.

You’ll be looking for a one-year graduate USA visa which is the only option where you don’t need a job before travelling.

You’ll want to check out www.usavisa.ie and www.J1Online.ie.

I’ll turn you into Messi

And here’s one I’d do if I fell between the age range of 18-35, Coach Soccer USA.

After wowing them in The Campus in Quinto da Lago www.quintodalago.com.

For Canada it’s the two-year IEC Visa. Applications open but don’t hang about. Visit www.usit.ie.

Fancy a bit of opera

For Australia you can decide to stay on for another year.

And take up a third year visa you will need to do six months of regional work in your second year.

For New Zealand and a tip here. If you’ve used up your one-year working visa you can now apply for…

The New Zealand Skilled Visa.

And also check out the Land of the Long White Cloud for teaching jobs – they’re crying out for us.

The Rest of the World and try out volunteer jobs in:

Thailand, Nepal, India and Vietnam.

The Taj Mahal… no, not the restaurant

And again http://www.usit.ie is where to visit.

Now let’s talk Interrail… we did a thing called Transalpino after school, down to the French Riviera.

You can get a range of trips with USIT.

I’ve just got back from the Balkans so I’m pushing this:

The Balkans for Beginners: Ten days pass from €277.

You’ll take in Genoa up through Austria, down through Slovenia and Croatia and into Bosnia & Herzegovina.

And you’ll love Sarajevo and Dubrovnik. Visit www.interrail.ie.

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 http://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 

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Flyday Friday – Philly charged

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… I’ll always go where people play and pray.

And wherever you find sportsfans you’ll see prayers being sent heavenwards for the success of their sportsteams.

Philadelphia, a real blue-collar city is one of America’s great sports hubs.

And if you were around in the Seventies and Eighties in particular you would have seen the City of Brotherly Love’s teams win…

Chinatown. Philadelphia

At baseball: the Phillies,

Ice hockey: the Flyers,

American Football: the Eagles,

Basketball: the 76ers.

But then Philadelphia forgot what it was and who they were and in a Tower of Babel moment they incurred the Curse of Billy Penn…

The city’s founding father.

Read how they won back Billy’s favour in Philadelphia Freedom and www.visitphilly.com.

Philly is the only American city on National Geographic’s top 25 places to visit this year…

Grand Canyon

Along with Grand Canyon National Park which I’ll always flag up… The grandest canyon.

Now I don’t need a reason to praise Philly but Aer Lingus has flights there from €189 as part of a return trip.

As part of a raft of special deals, both American and European.

For travel April 1 to June 15. Visit www.aerlingus.com.

Money back

Got your interest, well let’s progress.

Your flight is late and you just have to suck it up (how I hate that phrase).

And you know that if you’ve got a connection to make and that’s not going to happen.

Your plane just gone?

Then you need to know your EU Regulation 261/2004… http://www.citizensinformation.ie.

And we have much to thank Sturgeon v Condor Flugdienst GmbH and Bock and Others v Air France SA last year.

Now I’m imagining it’s not the Sturgeon who wants Scotland to be independent and stay in the EU.But whoever you are we salute you.

Sweet Amsterdam

It would be wrong though to knock our airlines because they are corporate Leviathans.

They are manned by real people and as tempting as it is in the stress of the moment.

Air France-KLM http://www.airfranceklm.com sorted out an oversight on The Scary One’s Dublin-Amsterdam tickets.

Which meant that she hit the canals smiling… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/pictures-of-amsterdam/ and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/george-and-amal-hotel/.

Lufthansa http://www.lufthansa.com and Aegean Airlines https://en.aegeanair.com also got me on the next connecting flight from Munich to Athens.

Old relics… Athens

After things had gone Der pear-shaped…

Though this relic did see his old Greek relic in the end.

Ryanair www.ryanair.com are the passenger’s favourite whipping boy but they too will help you out.

I know first hand having had a booking moved.

Because I had again messed up on not looking carefully enough at the return flight from Tobago https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/12/13/flyday-friday-caribbean-island-hopping/

And http://www.visittobago.gov.tt to London.

Because it was going to return the next day. It’s easier than you think.

Anyhoos try out www.airhelp.com for a wee help out.

Paris match

Window to the world: Ryanair

We’ll be giving it plenty in 2020… Ryanair, I know you love a good sales pitch so you can have that one for free!

Because you do keep us interested with your seat sales the latest of which offers 10% off one way flights for travel January-May.

Paris which is from €21.99 is a city I’ve yet to crack properly.

Because of mes misadventures.

I recall being kicked awake while sleeping on Paris St Lazare railway station.

When I was a callow 17-year-old on my way down to the French Riviera with pals after my school exams.

I travel in slightly better style these days… http://www.atoutfrance.fr and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-boat-dazur/

And then on our family holiday a few years back I had the bell rung in my ear at the Pere Lachaise Cemetery http://www.parisinfo.com.

Cafe culture

As we were rushing back from Edith Piaf and Oscar Wilde’s last resting place.

If I wanted ringing bells I’d have gone to the Notre Dame, merci bien, Monsieur.

Alas, of course, that wonderful church was ravaged by fire.

But mes amis in Paris tell me that they are working furiously to try to revive it to its former glory.

The Glasgow tongue

Our language is continually changing and that’s no bad thing.

But sometimes we forget that old words and definitions still hang around for an older Fifty Something generation.

My home city Glasgow www.peoplemakeglasgow.com is a case in point.

Just in from Glasgow Airport: ‘January Sale: save 20% on parking and the Lomond Lounge.

‘Book until January 8. Valid for arrivals until December 31.’

And then to reinforce the urgency… ‘It’s there and then it’s GONE. POOF.’

Visit www.hello@e.glasgowairport.com.

MEET YOU IN THE SKIES

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Holidos and don’ts – postcards and texts

What my Dear Old Dad loved most about holidays was the Cuba Libres, of course, swimming in the sea (he was from Glasgow). And…

Not having to answer the phone.

Remember those days when work couldn’t reach you.

You’d better not be calling me

Variously I’ve been contacted…

At the very moment I was putting my Dad in the nursing home for the first time.

And when I was in the changing room of Dundrum Shopping Centre.

Both times I grant you I wasn’t exactly on holiday but I’m sure they could have sorted out their own rota.

You get the point!

But I was called (why do I always answer? Eh,) in the queue for Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts.

Harry’s train is coming

In Universal Orlando, Aaawlando… Orlando, the rollercoaster capital, the rollercoaster capital www.universalorlando.com and www.attractiontickets.com.

It was only the Church wanting to know if I was free, as scheduled, to say that day’s readings.

‘Hold on to your hats, everyone, this is St Paaaaaul’s First Letter to the Coriiiiiinthians.’

And then there was the time at the end of my Via Francigena Small roads lead to Rome and www.viafrancigena.com.

When I was having a quiet word with the Lord in a side-chapel in St Paul’s Basilica, the Scary One texted me to ask why…

I was going through so much phone credit.

And then there were the calls when I was in America… from estate agents back in Ireland.

Asking why the wrong house picture had gone on the property page in the previous days paper.

And by a boss giving out about why I couldn’t get him a better deal on a hotel in New York while giving out about why I was away.

Amsterdam’s a charmer

In Amsterdam www.iamsterdam.com where we were staying in the hotel George and Amal frequent when they are in the city.

George Clooney and Amal’s Amsterdam hotel and Pictures of Amsterdam.

Was I bovvered? Yes, but the caviar and Champagne helped.

Yes, I know that you can put an out of office message on your email.

But it’s fiddly if you’re a technophobe like me, I would forget, and I’d always be in a rush to get out of the office.

Like much else in the world, and you’ll feel the same way when you get to my advanced age, life was simpler way back then.

When a simple postcard would do.

I remember one particular one from Munich https://www.oktoberfest.de/en of a particularly flabby old woman which naturally went back to my old Mum.

And you always bluffed what you’d really been up to…

Museums instead of beer halls, and cathedrals rather than party girls.

In very exceptional circumstances you might need to (you’d rarely, if ever want to), phone home.

Like when myself and the besotted Miss F got engaged in Malta.

Where I returned 20 ofd years later… Malta easer and www.visitmalta.com.

When I were a lad… in Malta and Gozo

Of course, I’d like to say my Mum and Dad were ecstatic, but I guess I was their baby…

WISH YOU WERE HERE

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In 2020 bring the world to you in Vegas

The Bells, the Bells! And that’s just the Bell’s whisky!

In the words of the world’s most famous binman, that great sage Coronation Street’s Norman ‘Curly’ Watts:

‘Who told the Scots that they owned New Year?’

Being of the Scots variety myself I’d just taken it for granted that it was ours.

So like the rest of us Caledonians I partied over the TWO (count them) public holidays.

But what of the other places around the world where they hold New Year’s parties too.

All Greek to me

Athens: They’ve been waving their togas around and clinking vessels of wine while we were still scratching ourselves and drawing on walls.

And they still are up at the Acropolis (although I can’t swear to the togas bit).

But there are few better backdrops for a New Year’s fireworks party than Athens’ most iconic landmark… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrlU10r2zOA 

I know all about the Acropolis having endured a modern-day Odyssey to get there in the autumn of last year (still sounds funny to write that).

Read all about it as you plan your travel itinerary for this year… Acropolis later and http://www.athensattica.com.

I can’t recommend Lufthansa http://www.lufthansa.com and Aegean Airlines http://www.aegeanair.com highly enough after they got me out of a jam. Which is why it was an odyssey.

Never sleeps

New York: The Big Apple is a film set at any time of the year and we all know the tradition of the ball drop in Times Square (and I thought that was all behind me as a teenager).

But regardless of what you might be told it’s not just us tourists who pack out the square on the last day of the old year… my  own NY rellies do too.

Of course the neon lights, billboards and skyscrapers are worth seeing any time of the year.

And if you do then check out my pal Tom’s Beacon Hotel, the jewel of the Upper West Side. He loves all visitors but especially the Irish…. https://www.beaconhotel.com 

While check out the New York websites and avail of the City Pass too for the best way around the great city… http://www.nycvb.com and http://www.citypass.com

The great thing about Ireland and the States is just that… but also the pre-clearance.

A dam good party

Amsterdam: The Son and Heir’s pal Amsterdam Andy, although he hails from Bray he’s been given the moniker (by me) on account of working there now.

I’m well jel.

The Rembrandtplein is one of the best squares in a city where there is no shortage of them.

Mainly on account of the sculpture recreation of the Nighwatch https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/pictures-of-amsterdam/which you can place yourself in for a photo… of course we did.

If you’re feeling flush then fork out for the Dylan Hotel which is where George and Amal stay…. you deserve it https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/george-and-amal-hotel/

Visit http://www.iamsterdam.com.

There’s another Scotland

Glasgow: I know all about Edinburgh having lived ten years there and Daddy’s Little Girl being born there.

And I also enjoyed more than my fair share of Hogmanays (don’t ask me why) at Merkat Cross in my student days before the whole action was moved up to the Castle and Princes Street.

But while Edinburgh prides itself on its New Year celebrations, its great rival Glasgow has a party every weekend.

The George Square party in 1990 was legendary as it heralded in the Dear Green Place’s year as European City of Culture.

When two likely lads stood in Princes Street in Edinburgh with a signpost saying ‘you are only 55 miles away from the European City of Culture.’

Stay at the http://www.carlton.nl/en/hotel-george-glasgow. In typical first-footing welcoming style they will leave you a bar at the top of the hotel in your private lounge too!

And visit http://www.peoplemakeglasgow.com, the website which does what it says on the tin.

Vegas, baby

And only because my year is revolving around my IPW American Travel Fair trip http://www.ipw.com to host city Las Vegas http://www.lvcvb.com.

It’s the ultimate party city at the ultimate party time of the year.

A travel colleague was in touch as soon as the bells had rung to talk about what we were going to do.

I don’t know but I’ll be on the lookout for Cami, a Utah transvestite who I might just have proposed to.

But what stays in… well, you know the rest.

Stay at the Palazzo at The Venetian http://www.venetian.com. And read all about my adventures in https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/vegas-strip-the-light-fantastic/

Because if you can’t get around the whole world at New Year or any time of the year (and I am trying my best) come to Vegas.

Where the world is on your doorstep… Paris up the road, Venice here and even ancient Egypt too.

I love it… fly out with British Airways, I did http://www.ba.com.

And I’ll be giving it plenty in 2020.

Uncategorized

The faces of 2019 – Adventure

I’d like to say it’s been a walk in the park, and it was, but it’s also been a walk up mountains and through rain forests.

And desperate dashes through airports to catch (and miss) airplanes!

But someone’s been smiling on me.Because I didn’t miss one trip and got to race with goats in Tobago, ‘Bandanaman’, whom I got to christen.

He’s a winner too.

And some even giddier goats: take a bow ‘Auntie’ Ali, ‘Uncle’ Kenneth, Marsha, Phil, ‘Porridge‘, Ean and Ian and ‘Santa’ Brendan.

And here’s our moment of glory.., Ready, steady, goat… in Tobago and www.visttobago.gov.tt.

It’s been all go and the shoe leather has taken a beating.

In Europe’s most popular national park Teide in Tenerife.

And the hills up to Afur in the midday beating sun which our guide Maria took in her stride.

And even had some ooomph left at the end to give us a pilates demonstration at the top of the mountain.

With CanariaWays.com in Tenerife… http://www.visitingtenerife.com.

And through the Alps from Ehrwald in Austria http://www.tyrol.tlinto Germany with mountain man Reini… where naturally I had a run-in… Water rip-off – a German pit stop

But, of course, I’ll be back in Bavaria https://www.bavaria.by.

It is a region I have loved since first going to the Oktoberfest 34 years ago.

The coming of the Lord

And where the Messiah himself graces them with his presence next year…  Oberammergau and https://www.passionsspiele-oberammergau.de/en/home

And I’d recommend you go on your trekking holiday with https://topflightforschools.ie.

We were, of course, always back in time for the entertainment.

It’s now or never

The lederhosen-clad Septuagenarian singer Christened Ehrwald Presley.

On account of his oompah, waltzing and keyboard renditions of The King.

Not all walks worked out alas and I missed out on the trek up the Hollywood Hills.

Because of a 24-hour sickness bug.

But I made up for it in style all across LA, West Hollywood and Anaheim www.visitcalifornia.com, www.attractiontickets.com.

As part of the American Travel Fair www.ipw.com and My weekend with Marilyn and Stair Wars

Just gone swimmingly

With all that walking I definitely earned myself my dips.

Not a natural swimmer I was glad of the chance to cut corners and the Dead Sea and the Nylon Pool gave me that.

Where I laid back, read a book and dreamt of Jordan http://www.visitjordan.com.

And stood in the sand back in the crystal waters of the Caribbean deep in the sea in Tobago It’s Robinson Crusoe’s very own Tobago limin’ with other revellers.

I’ve tried to conquer some water sports demons.

And went searching for submarines and tanks in the depths of the Dead Sea… Petra and the sands of time

And found out why snorkelling isn’t me… my moustache blocks the airways!

Which is why I dispensed with the snorkel and just used the goggles to see me some rainbow fish in Tobago.

Everybody’s gone surfing

It wasn’t all just corner-cutting. I did learn to paddle board on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas off Barcelona…. https://www.barcelonaturisme.com/wv3/en/ and Surfing the seas in Barcelona

And http://www.royalcaribbean.com

While our Sligo pro surfer Gearoid taught me how to stay up on the surf in RC’s simulator FlowRider.

Well for three seconds at least.

Fun, fun, fun

I’d been practising with the Beach Boys you see in Surf City, Huntingdon Beach.

Enjoy your adventures in 2020. And…

MEET YOU ON THE ROAD

Uncategorized

The faces of 2019 – Crossroads of history

What do you do when you’re at a crossroads? Look both ways.

Which is what the Croatians and Bosniaks, the Turks and the Jordanians have done throughout their history.

And they continue to do so.

It was no coincidence then that it was Sarajevo http://www.visitsarajevo.ba where the First World War broke out.

It was there that a Bosniak Muslim separatist Gavrilo Princip assassinated the heir to the Catholic Hapsburg Empire, the Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

Because Sarajevo is where the Ottoman Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire met.

It may be 105 years ago.

But it is little changed from the August day when Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophia’s carriage was halted by the bridge across the Miljacka River.

And you can see the very gun schoolboy Princip used and other historical artefacts from the day that changed the world for ever… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/10/21/sarajevo-the-scot-that-was-heard-around-the-world/

The Museum of Crimes against Humanity and Genocide http://yihr.hr/en/the-sarajevo-museum-of-crimes-against-humanity-and-genocide-1992-1995-learning-from-the-past-through-emotional-overwhelm-2/ provides a heart-rending and thorough examination of a difficult subject but is a must-visit in Sarajevo.

And you should look out too for how a Hollywood action man played his most important role too.

In showing his softer side to victims of the conflict.

At the heart of Sarajevo is the beautiful Bey’s Mosque.

It stands comparison with any of the great Islamic temples anywhere… https://sarajevo.travel/en/things-to-do/gazi-husrev-beys-mosque/176.

The Blue Mosque is Istanbul’s https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/wham-bam-thank-you-hamam/ and https://visit.istanbul greatest calling card.

And while it is epic I want to sing the praises like a call to prayers of the Hagia Sophia https://www.hagiasophia.com.

It is revered both by Muslims and Greek Orthodox Christians.

The latter who place it as the headquarters of their church (they still call it Constaninople).

Hakan’s tales

Better still if you have a guide like Hakan who will place you in a Medieval daytime soap opera of life in the Great City with the Great and Good.

Which is every bit as enthralling as Game of Thrones.

There’s a story too to be told in Athens around the Acropolis… and that’s just the taxi drivers Georg and Antony… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/09/21/acropolis-later/and https://www.hagiasophia.com

You can find the Orthodox influence, the Romans and the Nabataeans in Jordan... https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/petra-jordan-jesus-and-the-sands-of-time/ and http://www.visitjordan.com

What Zuhair and G Adventures http://www.gadventures.com don’t know about Petra, the Dead and Red Sea and Wabi Rum isn’t worth knowing about.

The turn of the year is a crossroads for us all but for those who live at the junctures of the world every day is a crossroads.

And the wonderful guides who share their cities and countries with us show us the way.

Uncategorized

The faces of 2019 – Marilyn, Natasha and Donald

The stars aligned in 2019 and I got me the walk-on I deserve.

When Natasha Bedingfield, fresh from wowing us at the American Travel Fair http://www.ipw.com, with a particularly stirring version of Prince’s Purple Rain, introduced me.

She pointed out my purple beard from the stage in the plaza in Anaheim http://www.visitanaheim.org.

You see I got purpled up in Huntingdon Beach http://www.surfcityusa.com the previous night when we had been entertained by Snoop Dogg https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/09/18/snoop-and-me-acting-the-goat-in-california/.

Well this is Southern California where the stars come out to shine.

We starspotted from the off in West Hollywood where we dined in Lisa Vanderpump’s PUMP Restaurant Lodge http://www.pumprestaurant.com and http://www.weho.org.

And Lisa herself graced us with her presence.

Walk of Fame

Sometimes, of course, you just want to be on your own and she was good enough not to come autograph-hunting.

Greta Garbo, of course, made a name for herself for ‘vanting to be alone’.

But, alas, she has to share the Walk of Fame with hundreds of other Hollywood stars.

There’s Donald Duck too and a host of Asian picture clickers have gathered around Michael Jackson’s star.

But it is Marilyn Monroe’s tribute that I’m here to see… we’ve been inseparable the last couple of days https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/06/22/my-weekend-with-marilyn/.

In Venice Beach http://www.venicebeach.com, at her last resting place and now here in Hollywood.

This being Southern California the Beach Boys obviously wanted to turf up and surf up.

And here they are at lunch during the American Travel Fair. And I made Mike Love’s day by holding out my hand to touch him.

Jason Derulo also swayed his stuff while the best of Broadway also trod the boards for us.

So what could possibly bring down the curtain on such a show. We’d had Harry Potter and a light show at Universal http://www.universalhollywoodstudios.com.

While Jimmy Fallon on an audio gave us a behind-the-scenes tour of the sets.

And we were also enthralled at the special effects show with stunt actors setting each other on fire.

But it was the Happiest Place on Earth for the finale… with Mickey in Da House with his Disney pals… http://www.disneyland.disney.go.com.

Oh, I’m the king of swingers… I don’t want this party ever to stop.

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Give us this day – holy water fonts

You get a name for yourself… just by going to Mass.

And before you know it people are referring to you by that awful definition ‘religious’.

Then you’ve been approached to be a reader at your church.

And to give out the host.

It all culminates in being bought a holy water fount for Christmas.

Oh, well, She had waited 25 years to get her own back.

After I’d bought her a non-stick frying pan, bacon, sausages, eggs and black pudding for our first Christmas.

This holy water fount is from Lough Derg, St Patrick’s sanctuary.

In my Dear Old Mum’s homestead of Co. Donegal in Ireland…. https://www.loughderg.org.

So what of the history of the bénitier?

Well, it’s a fancier and Frenchier way to describe a holy water font.

So you’ll not be surprised to know that it’s… found all over Gaul-land http://www.atout-france.fr in very ostentatious style.

It is often adorned with, say, Our Lady.

In olden days too rosary beads were often draped around the fonts.

Although in Marian sites Fatima https://www.fatima.pt/en and https://www.visitportugal.com/en/content/the-best-of-portugal?gclsrc=aw.ds&ds_rl=1258950&ds_rl=1252939&gclid=CjwKCAiA9JbwBRAAEiwAnWa4Q0nu0ByiGL2UMA94MnpCYcRAgaCRJQGmKM10FZv5yTiIEiAU8YjfzRoCym8QAvD_BwE, Lourdes https://www.lourdes-france.org/en/Medjugorje https://medjugorjelive.org you would do well to prise them out of the hands of the pilgrims.

You see I have seen it too first hand.

Stoups, of course, are most likely to be found in churches.

But did you know that they can sometimes be found above the bed? Passion killer, n’est ce pas?

I make a habit of seeking out places of worship wherever I go.

They have the best art in Rome http://www.rome.netand sometimes also the best craic… Give us this Day – Sunday School, Tobago https://www.visittobago.gov.tt

But while I like to pray I love to play.

And no saint me. I have been known to fill bottles.

Vatican rules

With holy water from St Paul’s Basilica at the end of my Via Francigena pilgrimage… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/small-roads-lead-to-rome/

And in St James’s Cathedral in Santiago de Compostella http://www.caminoways.com and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/camino-a-pilgrims-prayer/ after walking 100km from Sarria on the Camino.

Now, in the interests of full disclosure, I’ve also taken holy water from.

Water, water everywhere

A font by the River Jordan… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/petra-jordan-jesus-and-the-sands-of-time/ and http://www.visitjordan.com.

A Greek Orthodox church on Mt Hybanthus… http://www.athensattica.com and Give us this Day – The Iconic Greek Orthodox

The Frauenkirche in Dresden http://www.dresden.de and Dresden’s renaissance under the eye of Martin Luther.

The cathedral in La Laguna in Tenerife… http://www.visitingtenerife.com and A walk through the ages… Tenerife

And these are just the sample charges.

I’d better get some prayers in then… maybe Our Lady will intercede on my behalf!