Asia, Countries, Cruising, Culture, Deals, Europe, Ireland, UK

Sing for the Canaries

And at last they listened. To me, my English Canarian pal Mathew Hirtes and to the Tinerfinos and their cousins across the islands.

The Canaries are back on the UK exempt list, and I’m breaking out the Malmsey, the Canarian wine, much beloved by Shakespeare.

Part of the scenery: Jimmy, the Tinerfino

The Canaries, as I reported this week, have been returning rates of Covid infections way down on the UK.

And as Mathew has been telling us for months we’re safer over there than we would be here.

It’s also worth restating here how liberating this is for the Holiday Trinity that always infuses our sector… the holiday providers, the hosts and the holidaymaker.

And so without further ado…

Deal me in

My walking party

Jet2.com and Jet2Holidays, the UK’s largest operator to the Canaries, are recommencing flights.

To Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, from Friday from Glasgow and Edinburgh, Belfast and six other UK airports.

TUI holidaymakers haven’t seen the Canaries for 89 days but are already carrying their clients to Lanzarote and Fuerteventura.

There must be a plane waiting for me. And happen that my Tinerfino walking guide Eva is waiting for me to take me to Afur.

With Canaria Ways, of course.

A quick walk around the Maldives

And again…. sarong, but oh, so right

It’s more ambling than walking on Kuramathi.

The holiday notes advise you wear flip-flops and you can walk around the Maldives island in just half an hour.

While if you run out of puff in the all-year round 30C heat you can pull up a lounger or have a dip in your own villa infinity pool.

All with a regulatory Strawberry Daiquiri, of course.

And again I know a man who is in Kuramathi right now… and another man in Ireland from Turkish Airlines who will get you there and look after your every need.

While in the UK you want Kuoni.

A trip around the Greek islands

My waterfall: Kythera

And it’s a bit like the hokey-hokey with Greece.

Mykonos is in, but Crete, Lesbos, Santorini, Serifos, Tinos and Zakynthos is now out.

Which means you don’t have to self-isolate on your return from my own two faves, Corfu and Attica island Kythera.

And with Greece obviously, you never know where your odyssey will take you…

Wonderful Copenhagen

Bet you didn’t expect that: Copenhagen

And finally Denmark, the Little Mermaid et all.

I took my own Little Mermaid there on my cruise around the Norwegian fjords with MSC Cruises, and check out how their recovery is going.

As well as seeing the Little Mermaid, you need to get your photie taken with Hans Christian Andersen.

Not many people there: Leichtenstein

But sorry Leichtensteiners

No, me neither. I don’t know why tiny Leichtenstein has been removed from the exempt list.

Or if indeed it’s right to use the plural.

Well, this is what Leichtenstein has to offer. I’ll just have to get out there to find out for myself… when I’m allowed.

MEET YOU ON THE ROAD

Countries, Culture, Europe, Ireland, UK

Greek plate-smashing

Never mind the dishes, I’m smashing the whole cabinet after Scotland jumped the gun and took Greece off the exempt list.

Plate-smashing dates back to classical times when it was seen as a display of ostentatious wealth.

Quite why modern-day dictator Georgios Papadopoulos banned it from 1967-1974 you’ll have to get there and ask yourself.

But alas, those of us of a Scottish variety, or who live in Scotland, will have to wait.

In this disunited kingdom of ours we all do things differently and we are now waiting to see which way the English go.

And while we expect they will bring the hammer down on the Greeks.

Kythera’s charms

There is a glimmer of hope in the west where the ancient Britons went.

Yes, Wales, where their assembly is employing a selective approach.

With two COVID tests for those returning from Zante, one in 48 hours and another in eight days.

Bending over backwards for Greece

And this breakthrough in common sense is something to sing about.

Which is, of course, why it will be ignored by everyone else.

With TUI putting Zante on hold, if only there were any other Greek islands to visit.

As we contemplate going through England and Wales.

Funky Portugal Centro

Oh, and in this game of hokey-cokey, as my friends in the Scottish Passenger Agents Association coin it, Portugal is set to follow tomorrow.

I’m intrigued to see that the lowest rates are in the less-visited but captivating Portugal Centro.

Where my old friend, Jose ‘The Special One’ Madomis, will tell you that everything good which ever happened in Portugal started in his home town, Coimbra.

Countries, Culture, Europe, Ireland, UK

The trials of Odysseus and today’s Greece

These Greeks are a resilient bunch, they can pull themselves away from the Sirens, overcome the Cyclops and live with modern-day economic collapse.

And run faster, fight stronger and jump higher.

And they can see off COVID-19. With a little help from the Gods on Mount Olympus.

Because they’re getting precious little help from their own politicians – or ours.

A prayer for Greece

Lies, damn lies and statistics

Greece’s COVID-19 levels were low (and still are with 147 new cases and two new deaths).

And yet the UK Government are threatening them with being thrown off the exempt list.

Now every death is a loss but I’ll say this in the hope, and expectation, that it won’t happen to me.

I don’t want people to stop living if I’m either of those casualties.

Because our politicians are blinding us with statistics by frightening us with daily rises and not putting them in context.

The Alpha and the Omega

People come first

In all they have had 7,222 cases, with 3,804 recoveries (a stat which our politicians never tell us) with 230 deaths.

The UK, by comparison have had three deaths overnight and Scotland none for 30 days.

I never went for stats and graphs at school and the only tables I looked at were football league tables.

But politicians love a stat because stats don’t talk back the way people do.

The Greeks will though and I admit that I’d love to see more British people vent their fury and argue the consensus.

A myth that’s a hit

Raising the bar on Greece

Like Mykanos bar owner Stavros Grimplas who gave out about the lightning lockdown of bars, cafes, clubs and restaurants.

‘We told them to come to Greece and Greece has shut down,’ Stavros argued.

These lightning lockdowns also risk congestion at airports and ports.

And where you get congestion you get a strain on social distancing which is our safeguard from the virus.

I accept that I have a hippos, or horse, in this race being a Hellenophile (Greek fan).

And having spent many of my happiest times abroad in Greece,

Island delights: Kythera

My Greek adventures

In Corfu where we honeymooned and Athens and its Attica island Kythera.

It is time for the people to remember that our politicians are merely the guardians of our house.

And we should be vigilant when New Zealand, the poster people of COVID, hunt at delaying their election by a month.

And Donald Trump stands accused of trying to manipulate the US election rules.

From a distance: As Athene would have seen it

An old relic and the Parthenon

It’s not just Belarus and Eastern Europe where elections are flawed.

It is time for us to take the power back.

I an reminded of a detour on the way to the Parthenon.

And my taxi driver telling me it was because the Athenians were protesting… ‘it’s what we do’.

In the cradle of democracy they will!

Africa, America, Asia, Australasia, Canada, Caribbean, Countries, Culture, Europe, Food & Wine, Ireland, UK

Green for go to these countries

And I’m already swotting up on New Zealand www.newzealand.com Thailand https://www.tourismthailand.org/landing and Vietnam https://vietnam.travel/home.

The UK is putting in a traffic light system for countries as we ease out of lockdown.

Greece is the answer to our prayers

And my favourites are all green-lighted for return:

Austria https://www.austria.info/en Barbados https://www.visitbarbados.org Croatia www.croatia.ie Germany https://www.germany.travel/en-mobile/index.html and Greece http://www.visitgreece.gr and https://athensattica.com are all go.

Out of quarantine

Translated that means returning travellers need not quarantine for 14 days.

I’m just glad Home Secretary Priti Patel finally listened to me.

Just swimmingly In Tenerife

You won’t have to be an amber gamblers either if you’re visiting a country on this list:

Australia, Belgium, Canada and Denmark France, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Portugal, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland and Spain.

Or cycling in the French Pyrenees

The hit list

And there’s been more than a sprinkling of love from most of them… https://visitbelgium.com, https://visit-canada.ca, https://www.visitdenmark.com, https://about-france.com/visit-france.htm, http://www.italia.it/en/home.html, https://www.holland.com/global/tourism.htm, www.visitportugal.com, www.myswitzerland.com and https://www.spain.info/en_GB/ https://www.spain.info/en/informacion-practica/oficinas-turismo-embajadas/turismo-exterior/oficina_de_turismo_en_dublin.html.

Bad luck though if you’re stopped at red:

Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Egypt, India, Israel, Mexico, Morocco, South Africa and the US.

With the last two turning my clown into a frown.

Having set in train all my trips this year around these countries I’m having to make do with North Berwick beach these past couple of months.

Barbados hotpots

You see I don’t fancy much being one of half a million on Bournemouth beach.

Give me one of Barbados’s beaches, and I’m reminded now of a tub of chicken stew and bottles of Banks beers in Bathsheba, St Joseph East… Let’s rumba in Barbados and My kiss with Rihanna.

Of course the beach is a Bajan’s dining room where the locals put up bars like we do brollies.

And where the flying fish jump out of the sea and onto your plate.

Fish of the day

There are many different varieties of cutters including liver, cheese, ham, egg and more.

Clubbing together: Club Barbados on the Platinum Coast

Or even easier are their fish cakes… do like a local and order a ‘bread and two’. On a bun.

The Bajans will be only too happy to show you how to cook up a treat…

And if you like it hot then here’s how they scare up a Pepper Pot… https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCUwplS8uhaieGiL_50XhJCg.

Caribbean, Countries, Culture, Europe, Ireland, UK

Covid-day Snaps – get to the front of the Q

They’ll be the new social group, the Quaranteenies… those who are, like Tom Hanks in the Terminal, stuck in an airport but can’t move on.

Strange times. But what does it all mean to be in quarantine?

Well, my old Kiwi-Aussie friend Simon who moved to Norway knows.

He had to make his own way back to Oz via Asia and was locked down in Melbourne for a fortnight.

Entertainment: North Berwick style

Musico that he is he was OK in isolation, getting food into his hotel, though he did say the view did start to ware on him.

Turkish treats: Istanbul Airport

Better though than the man on the ladder decorating the outside of his house whom I see every morning.

It’s like watching paint dry.

If I have to be quarantined at any airport then I want to make it Istanbul Airport and Turkish Airlines Business lounge.

Straight down the airport: Turkish Airlines’ Business Lounge

They’ve got bedrooms, a cinema, a golf range, toy car track and enough food and drink to feed an army.

Just leave the key under the mat. See www.turkishairlines.com and Wham bam, thank you Hamam.

El Hierro of the hour

Just swimmingly: El Hierro

So what will we all be looking for when Travel returns… biodiversity is up there.

El Hierro, the second smallest of the Canary Islands after La Graciosa with only 11,000 inhabitants, is a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve and Geopark.

The Meridian Island is aiming to be the first 100% sustainable island in the world in four to eight years.

El Hierro’s https://www.hellocanaryislands.com and https://elhierro.travel/en/ volcanic connections help, of course, and the eruptions of 2011 and 2012 have helped renew the seabed.

Our island: Only 11,000 inhabitants on El Hierro

For the dolphins, stingrays, barricudas, white sharks and my fave…

The turtles who I got to meet on the other side of the Atlantic www.visitbarbados.org Turtle recall.

I’m told that there’s a 16km water route trail which I’m hoping doesn’t involve getting my beardie wet.

And it’s all happening below: El Hierro

It’s more than a hop, skip and a jump to get there and you may want to combine El Hierro with another Canaries Island.

With the Canaries opening up again I’d suggest Tenerife https://www.visitingtenerife.com with CanariaWays https://canariaways.com and A walk through the ages… Tenerife.

Greece is the word

An old relic and the Acropolis

The Gods on Mt Olympus have calmed the unclean air where all our spray has been collecting.

And Athene has seen to it that her showpiece Acropolis and the other outdoor archaeological sites have been reopened.

Standing on the very stones where Socrates and his toga-clad pals scratched their beards and worked out the world was worth the circuitous route to get there… https://athensattica.com and My Greek odyssey.

At the Parthenon

With the UK exploring an air bridge to Greece on account of its low R rate we will all reconnect with the great civilisations of Hellas soon.

Check out your government’s health and travel guidelines.

MEET YOU ON THE ROAD

America, Cruising, Culture, Europe, Ireland

Gay you love me – five top gay wedding destinations

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

IMG_4470
The King and I: In Vegas

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

The Queen and I: At Harrah’s

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

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

The Power of love

The Power behind the throne… my little flower

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

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

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

See Flowerscourt and www.visitwicklow.ie.

Say it with flowers in Amsterdam

IMG_1007

Dam romantic:Amsterdam

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

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

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

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

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

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

Greek gods

And the bride wore white: In Kythera

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

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

While the Greek islands have always drawn us there.

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

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

Let’s go cruising

Norwegian would: With the Scary One on the fjords

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

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

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

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

With the best entertainment, a floating tender and Eden!

Brag about Prague

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  

 

Countries, Culture, Europe, Flying, Ireland, UK

Flyday Friday – Bridge to Greece

There’s a reason why idyll, a Greek word, is our go-to expression for something to which we aspire.

Because Greece has long been our idyll… from Homer to Lord Byron to Shirley Valentine to Mamma Mia!

And so we should be beyond excited at the proposal of an air bridge between the UK and Hellas.

And trust me, direct flights to Greece is how you want to go… My Greek odyssey and https://athensattica.com.

Nice and Easy does it

Bonjour Nice

It’s the airports we whizz through and never get to see the destination that most intrigue.

Nice is a hub en route to the French Riviera The Boat D’Azur and an onward cruise https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/01/21/smooth-sailing-around-the-western-med/amp/.

But Nice should also be explored in its own right.

And I was all set to do just that before a press mission to see how Nice had recovered from the Bastille Day bombing was cancelled.

Nice is the only route out of the UK, from Gatwick.

Now I know they have a Promenade des Anglais but I’m sure they won’t mind an Ecossais.

See https://en.nicetourisme.com and https://about-france.com/cities/nice-city-guide.htm.

For a full list of the routes and Belfast is on it (yeah!) see https://www.easyjet.com/en and a reminder of all that Belfast has to offer Belfast Chilled and Belfast’s rich tapestry.

How to fly again

Safe distancing

So what will our flying experience look like?

Our friends at Ryanair have laid out a plan.

And actually some of it will make the experience more pleasurable.

Because wearing masks will mean you won’t have to make small talk with strangers.

And that’ll be doubled down with social distancing.

You’ll be asked to take your temperature before you leave the house and may be required to have it taken again at the airport.

Smile behind the mask

Which is fine by me as my temperature just about returns to normal when I’m at the gate after all my zooming about.

For more information visit www.ryanair.com and remember from July 1 they will be flying 1,000 flights a day.

MEET YOU IN THE SKIES

Countries, Culture, Europe, Food & Wine, Pilgrimage

Hungry and Thursday – Pickle your Croatian walnuts

It was a family tradition to bring home a bottle of liqueur from foreign shores.

But my parents” drinks trolly seriously lacked a bottle of Croatian Orahovaca.

Sure we had Dubonnet from thr Riviera The Boat D’Azur and https://www.google.ie/amp/s/us.france.fr/en/news/article/about-atout-france-0/amp made for a competition in 1846.

Here’s to Our Lady

To provide the French Foreign Legion to take quinine to combat malaria.

And ouzo from Greece My Greek odyssey https://athensattica.com and Aperol in Padova https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/09/15/padova-city-of-frescoes/amp/ to name just a few.

But while we’ve all ventured through the Balkans on the other side of the Adriatic nobody dipped a toe in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Would I look big in this?

Until I visited Our Lady and Medjugorje where they’re all Croatians, with Marian Pilgrimages https://marian.ie and https://www.google.ie/amp/s/www.thesun.ie/travel/5132756/a-pilgrims-progress-in-medjugorje/amp/.

Now Medjugorje is many things other than a site to Mary… who am I kidding, it’s all about Our Lady.

But trawl the stalls and you’ll find some treasures other than the holy water and Virgin Mary that will get you into Heaven.

A cross around every corner

Such as Orahovaca which a Balkan trader up by the bus station in Medjugorje was showcasing.

I’ve been to a few wine-tastings in function rooms of hotels, so testing Maria’s samples from plastic cups was a different experience altogether.

But it was worth it and got the thumbs-up from the Scary One and Daddy’s Little Girl when I finally broke open the bottle yesterday.

We adapted the sweet walnut drink by having it on the rocks which meant we drank more.

And you’ll get a statue in the village

But at about a fiver I can always stock up the next time I’m out there.

And at the end of it all we all felt filled with wholly spirit.

America, Asia, Countries, Culture, Europe, UK

Pandemics… a gruesome business

And to think that just a couple of months ago an underground abandoned street from the Black Death was open…

And drawing in ghoulish visitors in Edinburgh.

It might just give us solace though to reflect that our forebears had it worse.

A city under a city… The Real Mary King’s Close

It wasn’t just that the residents of Mary King’s Close https://www.realmarykingsclose.com were boarded up, they didn’t even have Netflix.

You can see how they lived on a trip to the Scottish capital https://edinburgh.org where the Old Town seeps horrible history.

How they lived in the Middle Ages

The Eyam Plague Village Museum https://www.eyam-museum.org.uk, in Derbyshire in the English Midlands, is another example of how Medieval people lived with The Plague.

In their case sealing their village off in a remarkable feat of self-sacrifice from their neighbours.

Our pandemic will pass, and will become a chapter in history alongside the Plague of Athens and the Plague of Justinian.

Each of which you can trace as you follow in the footsteps of the Byzantines and Ottomans… https://athensattica.com and https://visit.istanbul.

And My Greek odyssey and Wham bam, thank you Hamam

So how will we chronicle these days in which we live?

Well, we have started already, curating the artefacts, masks, robes, PPE and everyday objects that we surround ourselves with just now.

And the everyday stories that inform and entertain.

It will come as little surprise then that it is the idiosyncratic, curious and super-efficient Germans who have been to the fore here.

Oh, the Cologne

Historian Rita Wagner has been curating a time capsule of the spring of 2020 for future generations for Cologne City Museum

Germans know from their own tragic war history that it is vital not to forget.

Cologne https://www.cologne-tourism.com, a city I know from my nearby Oktoberfest adventures, stands proudly with its cathedral at its centrepoint against the ravages of adversity.

Dresden too https://www.dresden.de/en/tourism/tourism.php Dresden’s renaissance

Oh, Vienna, it means something to me

While Wien University https://www.univie.ac.at/en/ (Vienna to you and me) put out an invitation to the public.

To contribute to their collection via email and the.’Corona Memory’ tag.

Take that, bug

One of my favorite objects is a crocheted coronavirus,” says museum director Matti Bunzl.

‘It is not only cute, it shows that objects are ambassadors of their time.”

Not so sure about ‘cute’ Matti but it does help to demystify the bug. https://www.wien.info/en.

Finns can only get better

Finland is the happiest country in the world and has a healthy recognition that death is part of life and life is for living.

And they too at the National Museum of Finland https://www.kansallismuseo.fi/en/.

We all love a fairytale

And wonderful Copenhagen which I visited on my cruse around the fjords with https://www.msccruises.co.uk wew.msccruises.ie and The call of the fjords.

Where when all of this is over it will all be in the one place in Vesthimmerlands Museum https://www.visitvesthimmerland.com/vesthimmerland/planlaeg-din-tur/vesthimmerlands-museum-gdk597684

America may have lost its moral direction in leadership through this crisis but that will surely be temporary.

As its own history shows as evidence in its Smithsonian Museums.

The jewel of the Smithsonian Museums

The National Museum of African American History and Culture https://nmaahc.si.edu is the jewel in the Smithsonian crown.

And they too are curating how we are living our lives now.

Whether long red ties and take-aways of diet Coca-Cola and burgers from up Pennsylvania Avenue will make the cut…

Well, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Visit https://washington.org and Easy DC.

Africa, Asia, Countries, Culture, Europe

Read a book and see the world

We all of us heard about the world, saw the world or were told about the world before we ever saw it… and for many of us we fell in love with the world through books.

I’m not talking about the holiday page-turners where Major Jeremy or Lord Montgomery crosses the class divide to elevate Mary the chambermaid.

A novel travel experience

Rather these are the books which mark out a country as somewhere we strive to visit and then do so:

The Story of an African farm girl (South Africa): Olive Schreiner unsurprisingly wasn’t on my school syllabus growing up in Scotland in the Seventies.

South Africa was completely off my radar until my best friend Thomas was taken out there to live with his family.

Thomas was addicted to the Commando wartime comics from the DC Thomson stable which includes the Beano and the Dandy, and who I am working for now.

But I digress. Olive, as I discovered on my trip to the Karoo in South Africa’s Eastern Cape, was a feminist pioneer.

And her homeland looks as if it hasn’t changed very much since it was written in the 1880s. Visit https://www.southafrica.net/uk/en/ and What’s the story, Medjugorje? Wouldn’t you like to know.

Deep South

Uncle Tom’s Cabin (USA): Arguably one of the most influential books in the history of the modern world

With Abraham Lincoln purportedly greeting Harriet Beacher Stowe with the salutation: ‘So this is the little woman who started this great (American Civil) war.’

Tom was based on a real-life slave, Josiah Henson who lived and worked on a plantation in Bethesda, Maryland.

Much changed and much gentrified as an exclusive suburb of Washington DC where I always receive the best of welcomes from my cousin… www.washington.org and Easy DC.

While learn more about the Underground Railroad and Harriet Tubman, above, in my American Trilogy trawl through the Deep South… The Promised Land, The story of the Blues, The King of Kings. And https://www.deep-south-usa.com.

Time Travel

SlaughterhouseFive (Dresden, Germany): War revisionism hadn’t reached my Glasgow school but Kurt Vonnegut seeped into my consciousness a few years later at Aberdeen University.

The cult Sixties novelist placed his time-travelling hero Billy Pilgrim in and around the Allies’ firebombing of Dresden

And it infused this student to seek out the city, the Florence of the Elbe, 30 odd years later… https://www.dresden.de/en/tourism/tourism.php and Dresden’s renaissance.

The castaway

Robinson Crusoe (Tobago): Where I clambered onto the very beach the castaway found himself on.

And raced with the goats, the descendants of the ones Crusoe had raised 300 years before.

See https://www.visittobago.gov.tt.

All Greek to me

The Odyssey (Athens); As a student of ancient Greek (private school, you see) I studied excerpts from Odysseus’s (or Ulysses) journey home from Troy.

And just to get into part I had an odyssey of my own through Munich Airport onto Athens and around the island of Kythera where he ventured.

See https://athensattica.com and https://visitkythera.com.

The Good Book

The Bible (Jordan, Israel, Egypt and Heaven and Hell): The first place names that we learn of other than our home addresses are the Holy Lands.

And where John the Baptist is reputed to have baptised Jesus at ‘Bethabara beyond Jordan’, or Bethany.

Which the Jordanians claim as Al-Maghtas.

But the Israelis say is where they are on their side, actually in the place where the River Jordan now flows.

And these Orthodox Christians repeated the ceremony.

See https://www.baptismsite.com, www.visitjordan.com and The water of life, Petra, and the sands of time.

So which books transport you to a far-flung place? Tell me and we’ll share…