Countries, Culture, Europe, Music

Be a part of it Tenerife

Start spreading the news, our favourite Canary Island is going New York New York for its carnival next year… be a part of it Tenerife Tenerife.

While the Americas and the Caribbean grab the limelight for carnivals, we have the second biggest in the world here in Europe.

And you thought it was the Notting Hill Carnival.

There’s no denying that Rio is the world’s biggest carnival with two million people taking to the streets but a quarter of a million attend the Santa Cruz carnival on the island.

So what’s it all about and when is it?

Well, it’s rooted in Christian tradition and so that’s two weeks before Ash Wednesday.

And for those of you who forgot that man that thou art dust and unto dust thou shalt return then that’s January 20-February 26.

And now for the history

Party Girls: Bandanaman and his walking troupe

The history of the Carnival falls into three distinct periods…

The Iberians’ religiosity, the more spirited Twenties-orientated festival and the reinvention of the party from 1961 when it took on many of the features we enjoy today.

Now for a timetable of event and what it all mean we got the Tinerfenos to do the heavy lifting.

And with memories of our hike on the island with CanariaWays and our walk through the ages we know they do it far better than us.

So over to them.

The Queen of Tenerife

Spanish meal anyone: And preparing the dish of the day

And that would be Eva from our walk up to Afur which she took in her stride and then did yoga up at the Franco-themed bar (don’t ask).

And I’d vote for her for the Carnival Queen.

15 February – Carnival Queen Election Gala

The Carnival Queen Election Gala is when the Carnival Queen is crowned, who is chosen amongst over a dozen candidates.

The contestants wear the most spectacular costumes, made mainly of feathers, plastic, metal and rhinestones and weighing up to 400kg.

And this year we will see the first-ever junior Gala King.

Reign on our parade

Queen for a day: The carnival

And what would a carnival be without the sing-song?

17 February – Opening Parade of the Carnival

The carnival is a sea of colour, featuring the lead Carnival Queen.

Murga street music groups, comparsa bands and rondallas playing traditional old carnival songs parading down the streets of Santa Cruz.

All in it together

Take to the streets: On Tenerife

And that means a dance.

21 February – Big Carnival Parade in Santa Cruz

The Coso Apoteosis is arguably the highlight of the entire festivities.

Visitors from all around the world flock to Anaga Avenue in Santa Cruz to witness the spectacle.

It features all the Carnival Queens and Carnival groups, floats, incredible dance routines and musical performances.

Catch of the day 

Packed in like… sardines

Now Spaniards and Canarians have their own particular take on carnivals which means:

22 February 2023: Burial of the Sardine – A humorous and grotesque procession of mourners saying goodbye to the carnival celebrations.

19 February & 25 February 2023: Daytime Carnival – A popular event for children and families, featuring plenty of activities to keep all entertained.

26 February 2023: Parade of Vintage Cars, Piñata and End of Party – And there’s nothing like whacking a bag of sweeties to get the juices flowing.

Free-for-all

Me-me and Dee-Dee at Crop Over in Barbados

In addition to the ticketed official carnival events, there are a number of spontaneous street events/activities to enjoy for free.

We’re advised that one of these night carnival parties is a must.

And we know all about what dancing in the dark is all about from Crop Over in Barbados.

And a glossary

Echoes of the Canaries: And special wine

Of course, when you’re in Espana then it helps to have a couple of words.

And I’m reminded on my landing in Galicia that my Camino guide gave me two words that helped me along my 100km to Santiago de Compostella.

Albergue, meaning hostel, and pulpo, the Spanish word for octopus.

Carnival Groups

A carnival group is a group of people who work together creating ideas, costumes, music, choreography, who all march together in the parade.

Tenerife Carnival features hundreds of different groups but two of the key ones to look out for are below:

Murgas: The Murgas are Spanish carnival groups that feature satire artists, performing songs about current political and world events.

Comparsas: The “comparsas” represent the Brazilian influence on Tenerife’s Carnival, filling it with rhythm, colour and joy.

Nowadays, the comparsas own the street with the undeniable quality of their live performances to surprise even the most frequent carnival-goers on their nights out.

Rondallas: The Rondallas are carnival groups that consist of only guitars, bandurrias, lauds and octavinas.

And of course there is a museum celebrating it all…

At La Casa Del Carnaval, located in Barranco de Santos next to the bridge Puente Galcerán

Maybe add to that glossary for next year Noo Yoikas… because they want to be a part of it Tenerife.

America, Countries, Pilgrimage, UK

The man who walks 1000 miles

And John Muir would walk 500 miles, and John Muir would walk 500 more, to be the man who walks 1000 miles to fall down at your bar.

Scot John Muir, the Father of America’s National Parks, famously walked 1000 miles from Indiana to Florida in 1867, aged 29.

The great naturist, from Dunbar, went walkabout to explore the natural world and chronicle it in his book A Thousand Mile Walk to the Gulf.

For the rest of us we can walk in the Great Man’s footsteps today… and without even leaving our own country.

If our own homeland is his, Scotland.

Muir’s the Merrier

Walk this way: And an ostrich away to stick his head in the sand, near Dunbar

The John Muir Way runs 134 miles from Helensburgh on the west coast to Muir’s hometown of Dunbar in the east.

Now I’m billeted by the John Muir Way in sleepy North Berwick, I joined the trail here, 13.2 miles out.

With three other fitter Fiftysomethings.

And one namesake Jimmy, for whom this was a stroll in the park.

He had climbed a Munro, a mountain over 3000ft, which we Scots like to bag.

And of which there are 282, the highest of which is Ben Nevis which at 4411ft is the highest in Britain.

Come on Nature

Sweet: Dougie keeps us refuelled with Tipsy Truffle sweets

And so with the wind at our backs, the Firth of Forth to our left, and the Bass Rock as our reference point we set out on our 5-hour hike.

Only interrupted on the narrow paths by cyclists we held the advantage.

Of being able to catch up and talk to each other

And to take in the joys of nature which so inspired Muir with the herons a highlight.

Platinum Disc: John Muir Way

Plenty of sheep too (well, this is Scotland), which would have displeased Muir who took against them for spoiling the Sierra.

Tagging them ‘walking locusts’ he termed them thus:

‘A sheep can hardly be called an animal; an entire flock is required to make one foolish individual.’

Nor would Muir have recognised the ostriches or llamas, exotic wildlife taken to Scotland to entertain families at such as the East Links Family Park.

Thirsty work

Parklife: The East Links Family Park, near Dunbar

The Park is a good marker for walkers, between the Belhaven Bridge and Brewery.

As it’ll let you know that you’re almost there.

There’s still work to do though when you get to Dunbar, a longish walk up Shore Road to the High Street.

And in the week that’s in it that means gauging how much interest, or otherwise, there is.

In the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

So that’ll be some bunting, bizarrely a full-sized cardboard cut-out of the Queen in someone’s hallway.

And also Christmas decorations (unlit) which some poor guy has doubtless promised to take down.

And is being nagged mercilessly about it.

Put him on a podium: The John Muir Statue, Dunbar

Refuel too with chocolate (you deserve it) at the newly-opened The Tipsy Truffle

And I recommend the Bass Rock, beautifully shaped and light and dreamy.

For those of us who don’t have a lift and need to get home the Dunbar train takes you into Edinburgh in just 24 minutes.

The Man: John Muir

Time it though so you can have a cheeky craft beer pint at the charming Station Yard.. mine’s a PeelyWally IPA.

Now relubricating is one of the rewards of a long walk.

And I recall a very different experience with CanariaWays in Afur in Tenerife at the end of a baking hot day.

When our bar was a General Franco time capsule.

And a few miles more

Friends across the water: John Muir’s Birthplace Museum, Dunbar

And so (deep breath) it’s the day after and recovery time.

If I am the man who walks 1000 miles I’ll need to rest up…

I’ve another 987 to go, or 121 if it’s the Scots John Muir Way.

 

Africa, America, Countries, Europe, Sustainable Tourism

Heaven is a place on Earth Day

And this is when thoughts turn to where you get away from it all and where Heaven is a place on Earth Day.

And where they actually do put the Earth first.

Deliver Jordan

The Dead Sea, Jordan

Our friends at G Adventures with whom I traversed the Dead and Red Seas and Wadi Rum are all about sustainability and community support.

And while others do the old cultural appropriation thing (Boris Johnson in India anyone) G actually put something back.

G shares its good fortune with local communities in partnership with Planeterra Foundation, its non-profit partner.

And they build organic farms and restaurants in Jordan et al.

And provide tourist opportunities for trekking and cycling enthusiasts.

Colossal Colorado

Rocky mountain high: Colorado Rockies baseball team

Now as you’ll see from my cover page Brad left an impression on me when he told us in the Rapids…

This is our office so look after it.

Colorado truly is America’s Playground and you’ll find Brad and his man-bunned freestyling the Rockies.

And even one or two dry-skiing along the side of the road, all protecting their greatest asset.

Protect our skies

By hook or by crook in Tenerife

And so we’ve done the Earth, now the Wind (or we’ll call it the skies) before we alight on the Fire.

And there are few clearer skies than the night ones in Tenerife

Where at the top of Mount Teide National Park you can be among the stars.

Yes our CanariaWays all-action walking party but also the Bull, Bear, Saturn and Uranus (no yours).

And all because they keep their island clean.

Clear the air

Safari time: In South Africa

Now we can all do our little bit to arrest global warming.

And Raggy Charters Whale Watchers and Dolphin Watchers in Gwberha (Port Elizabeth when I visited) do more than most.

As they plant a speekbom plant every time they take the boat out to the island to rebalance emissions.

And for those of you who pay attention (and I’m also talking to you up the back) it might just save air travel.

Land of ice and fire

The Northern Lights: Iceland

And, yes this is the Fire bit of the Earth, Wind and Fire elements.

And we have our old chums at Hayes & Jarvis to show us around Iceland.

They urge us to embark on a South Island road trip from Reykjavik around the Golden Circle.

And you’ll take in the Strokkur Geyser, Gullfoss Waterfall and Thingvellir National Park.

While all visitors to Iceland naturally take a dip in the geothermal waters of the Blue Lagoon.

While if you’re very lucky you’ll get to see the Northern Lights on a clear night.

And so you’ll have your own go-to places but try these out.

And you will find Heaven is a place on Earth Day.

 

Countries, Europe, Food, Food & Wine

Toasting Veganuary with a Vegan and Tonic.

A popular meme for a vegan’s favourite meal shows a tray of ice but that’s a cheap shot and I’m toasting Veganuary with a Vegan and Tonic.

The Vegan and Tonic is the creation of Fentimans… well, the Indian tonic anyway.

Tonic for the troops: Fentimans

Whether this was the oul Greek Pythagoras’s tipple of choice when he was working out his theorem this shows Veganism isn’t a modern fad.

Ancients’ way of life

Laying out your stall: Kythera

The ancient world is a good place to start.

It’s accepted that they would eat fish, eggs from quails and hens, and cheese but they hoovered up veg too.

Legumes, olives, figs arugula (no, me neither), asparagus, cabbage, carrots and cucumbers.

So it isn’t a big jump to think that Pythagoras who philosophised and expounded about human rights as well as hypotenuses was a vegan.

After all his followers weren’t allowed to wear wool either.

So long before Briton Donald Watson is said to have coined the word in 1944 the ancients were going vegan.

All around the world 

Veggies rule: Turkish Airlines Business Lounge, Istanbul Airport

The Indian Subcontinent has historically been the bedrock of vegetarianism.

With the likes of philosophers Parshavnatha and Mahavira preaching what we would consider to be the vegan life.

We know, of course, too that what the Greeks started the Romans took on and ran with.

And so for every Pythagoras and Plutarch there was an Ovid and Pliny the Younger.

All of which permeates the Med, Aegean, Middle Eastern (note the Arab poet al Ma’ari poet), North African and Subcontinent diets to this day.

Brand new

Veggie heaven: Jordan

Fentimans is the go-to provider and guide for eating, drinking and clothing yourself in Veganism.

And as we all know when you’re drinking you always get the nibbles.

And so you’ll want to try these snacks:

Co-op Bacon Rashers.
McCoy’s Ultimate Sizzling BBQ ChickenUltimate Chargrilled Steak and Peri Peri McCoy’s.
Walkers Prawn Cocktail.
Smokey Bacon Hula Hoops.

Student life

Dig in: Pot noodles

While for students everywhere…

Bombay Bad Boy

Brazilian BBQ Steak 

Chinese Chow Mein 

Piri Piri Chicken 
 
Beef and Tomato
 
BBQ Pulled Pork
 
Jerk Chicken
 
Sticky Rib
 
Sweet & Sour
 
Asian Street Style Japanese Miso Noodle Soup

Wear it well

Packet in: Crispaholic
And, yes, I promised you vegan fashion…
 
Well, what about the Dr Martens vegan collection they launched in 2011.
 
Now, I’m not one myself but I know more and more and it’s you I’m thinking of toasting Veganuary with a Vegan and Tonic.

Matthew’s Canaries

Canaries life: With Matthew in Tenerife
And while we’re here let’s give a shout-out here to my old mucker and vegan evangelist Matthew Hirtes from my Tenerife trip.
 
And Canaries-based Matthew has forgotten more about vegan life in those islands than we’ll ever know.
 
Thankfully he and the Dreams Abroad team where I was Editor continue to show us a world where veganism has an exalted place.

 

America, Caribbean, Countries, Europe, Ireland

The summertime is coming

The summertime is coming and the trees are softly blooming. And the wild mountain Jim rolls around the blooming heather.

I’d rather be rolling around the blooming beach though I’ll settle for my front garden, North Berwick, until I get back out to the Caribbean.

But to mark the sun coming out, although I might jinx it, here’s some summer sizzlers to lift your Rainy Days and Songdays.

I remember that summer

And my summer girl in her autumn years

Summer in Dublin, Bagatelle: And this was the soundtrack of 1980 which is where he would always spend my summer.

I can’t remember the Liffey stinking like Hell but I was one of those young people looking so well on Grafton Street in Dublin.

Rock’n’roll never forgets, nor us, and singer Liam Reilly who was taken from us last year will always be a sound of our Dubliners summer.

It’s summer Irie

Irie Barbados: With Jevan and Donna

Money Well Spent, Biggie Irie: It’s the last day of Crop Over and I still have room for Bacchanal.

The Crop Over carnival, to be fair, lasts all summer and is the only thing Bajans devote their attentions to.

California, the best trip

Sloop John B, The Beach Boys: And it may have been the worst trip Brian Wilson ever went on.

But visiting SoCal, Southern California, and being entertained by the Boys, Snoop Dogg et al, was the best trip I’ve ever been on.

Sun, sun, sun, here it comes

Here comes the Sun, The Beatles: And The Beatles light up any summer.

Whether in Liverpool or Hamburg where I’ve followed in the Fab Four’s footsteps and I suggest you do the same.

Espana por favor

Going for a walk in Tenerife

Y Viva Espana, Sylvia: And Swede Sylvia’s song falls into the summer anthem category along again with Typically Tropical’s We’re Going To Barbados.

And, of course, it’s Britons and Irish go-to summer hotspot and ours too.

All of which brings us back to el hobby horse: why are the Canaries, off the coast of Africa not a special case.

After all those Tenerife trails won’t walk themselves.

So, seeing the summertime is coming then we should all blooming get out in the sun and sing and dance.

America, Asia, Countries, Culture, Europe

Spring forward, fall back – time zones around the world

I always keep my watch set at the time of the last country I’ve been to so today that’ll be the Czech Republic.

The idea is to keep something of that destination and wanderlust with me though it can cause problems in the morning.

Beer O’Clock in Zatec

My strange habit all chimes with the Czechs, of course, with their love of an astronomical clock.

Prague‘s biggest attraction, in the Old Town Square obvs but also the clock in Hoptown, Zatec, and its homage to beer.

Scot late the Great

You’re late… but that’s OK in Edinburgh

Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh: And, of course, today I’ve been all over the place, and logging on for work that was a full month ago.

Now the fastidious and ever-so-decent people of Edinburgh look after people like me.

By setting their clock three minutes fast to allow people rushing for their train at nearby Waverley Station enough time.

Set in the New Town, staring across Princes Street Gardens and up to Edinburgh Castle it also allows you more time to take it all in.

Philly’s hour of need

Billydelphia

Philadelphia City Hall, Philadelphia: And it will come as little surprise to you that I turned up for my Zoom meeting from Washington DC five hours early.

I make only a few apologies for resharing Philadelphia’s Curse of Billy Penn because clocks and times give me that opportunity today.

The 21-year curse on Philly‘s sports teams arose because of the construction of One Liberty Hall.

It exceeded the height of Billy’s statue atop City Hall… a real no, no.

It was all resolved when a statuette was affixed to the final beam topping off the Comcast Cener, now the city’s tallest building.

And the Phillies took baseball’s World Series

Tenerife timing

Give me a bell: Tenerife

Iglesia de la Concepcion, San Cristobal de La Laguna: You’ll be breathless after saying all this.

And breathless from the steps, particularly if you’ve been hiking through rain forests and hills on your CanariaWays trip.

But the views are spectacular. Just don’t ring it too early. Too late.

Ancient times

Time goes slowly: Im Petra

Petra, Jordan: And it may look like a temple to you and me but it’s actually a Treasury.

The same thing to the Nabateans.

It’s also though a timepiece with coded messages.

You won’t need Indiana Jones to decode them though.

Zuhair, G Adventures, expert man on the ground will give you the full lowdown… and Jordan Jimmy will do the rest.

Ben O’Clock

The Elizabeth Tower, Westminster, London: And, of course the tower with the most famous clockface in the world.

Only everyone thinks it’s called Big Ben.

But that is the name of the largest of its five bells.

So who was Ben? Well, either ‘Big’ Ben Hall, the first Commissioner of Works or the boxer Benjamin Caunt.

Ring-a-ding ding!

Countries, Culture, Deals, Europe, Ireland

Feliz Navi(dancing)dad

Christmas parties this year are very different from what we’re used to… but Feliz Navi(dancing)dad all the same.

The Spanish Christmas party in Dublin is always the highlight of the festive season in Ireland.

But this year scenes like this are for our social media retros.

And like a good Christmas movie they fill us with warmth and love for old friends.

The Three Wise Women

Hat’s the way to do it: With the sainted Teresa, Travel doyen Eoghan Corrie and Travel Corporation’s Sharon Jordan

Teresa, Sara and Kathryn, from the Tourist Board, were always the Three Wise Women of any Dublin Yuletide when I lived there.

While they would send us back into the cold and wet Irish night, filled with Spanish festive food and drink.

The Reyes Magos

The tradition is that the Reyes Magos, the Three Wise Men, look after the bambinos.

And as you can see they were the back-up act for our Three Wise Women and always made sure we got a gift,

TUI for two

Stick your toe in: The TUI Suneo

Our friends at TUI also look after us, and they have these deals for us for the New Year.

In our beloved Canary Islands.

Seven nights self/catering, Dublin to Tenerife on February 2, staying at the 3* Suneo Tamaimo Tropical, Puerto De Santiago,

Harbouring dreams of Tenerife

From €459pps (Covid cover and free amendments included).

Or stay half/board seven nights at the 3*+ Hotel Catalonia Las Vegas, Puerto de la Cruz from €499pps and also with Covid cover.

And Lanzarote too

Child’s play: Lanzarote is ideal for families too

While Lanzarote on February 4 comes in at €409pps for seven nights self/catering at the 3*+ Cinco Plazas, Puerto del Carmen (Covid cover included).

It’s just what we all need for the New Year… I feel one of my oul’ walks coming along.

I’m a bit of a Portugeezer too

I’m beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Now there is a story behind this… when my old boss asked if I would get my beardie pimped up for a Christmas story.

And I had been invited to the Portugal Christmas lunch that day too,

Of course the greening of the beatdie and the red Santa hat meant I was showcasing the colours of the Portuguese flag.

Portugal has always held a special place in my heart since my first holiday there, a childhood one in 1973.

Centro beach: Portugal

That’s been followed by our first summer holiday together in the Algarve, the magical trip to Fatima and Portugal Centro nine months after that Christmas lunch.

And a sports trip two years ago when Jidy Murray taught me to play tennis… and dance!

Africa, America, Countries, Culture, Europe, Food, Food & Wine, Ireland

All our Christmases

And because you know exactly what I want you’ve only sent me a few of my favourite places…. and how they do Christmas.

We wish you a braai Christmas

South Africa: They do things differently in South Africa which you find out early when a local puts ice in your glass of white wine.

Being in the Southern Hemisphere where Christmas falls in the summer you might find yourself at a braai, Afrikans for barbecue.

Where there’s no shortage of meaty delights, there’s plenty of fruit on the side with watermelon a Christmas favourite.

As a Watermelini aperitif… just open the link and the magic will happen.

Which the Assistant Food & Beverage Manager Ashwin Rysn (and there must be some Irish in them with that name).

At the Saxon Hotel Villas and Spa outside Johannesburg, will serve you up.

Galicious Galicia

Galicia: And you’ll not be surprised to hear that you’ll get a fishie on your dishie at A Quinta da Auga

So that’ll be the Galician clams, sea urchins and red (si) cauliflower on Christmas Eve.

This being North-West Spain, which I know only too well from my Camino you’ll be lured in with very hot capons.

In this case it’s Galician nut-stuffed capon chicken on Christmas Day.

And prawn and saffron ‘pil pil’, oysters, blue lobster and Galician beef roll on New Year’s Eve.

Rounded off with the traditional 12 grapes at midnight.

Big Appletini… or Tequilini?

Lorra bottle

New York: And a hint here for the Son and Heir.

He bas taken over the mantle of Cocktail King and has a bottle of Tequila with the cap off in the kitchen.

This one, Tropic in Wonderland, comes to us courtesy of The Peninsula New York.  And

Peninsula New York recipes copy.

And if that has you salivating, try this recipe that they’ve given us…

A Salad of Charred Chicory, Butternut Squash, Fennel, Buttermilk Dressing and Everything Spiced Prawn.

And a decadent Roasted Whole L. I Duck Pastrami with Roasted Apple Gastrique.

See, I promised you apples.

Adventure, Caribbean, Countries, Culture, Europe, Ireland

Out of my tree

And watching the Scary One plant her pear trees in the drizzle for National Tree Week has sparked memories of where I’ve been out of my tree around the world.

Let’s hear it for the beardies… on Barbados

Beardy trees

Caribbean: The trees certainly caught the Portuguese mariners” eye when they landed in Barbados..

Not the golden beaches, interestingly (well they have their own) but their bearded Ficus citrifolia.

While we all visit the West Indies for its beaches we miss a lot if we ignore its heartland so you should go safari.

Where Dwayne will tear up the woodland in his Jeep and the bowed bearded trees will flick your face.

Eat one of those famous Tobagonian meals of fish which has just jumped out of the sea and macaroni in Jemma’s Treehouse.

And sleep it off in your own treehouse in Castara Retreats in a hammock naturally.

Tree si

Bergamo is a poplar destination

Italy: And my favourite is this much-loved straight up and down tree… it’s very poplar.

My good friend and an Irish Travel Writer of the Year into the bargain, Muriel Bolger, wrote beautifully for me on their appeal, on a trip I sent her on to Northern Italy.

Which I checked out for myself in Bergamo this past Autumn.

I had, of course, familiarised myself with them when I went off-road on my Via Francigena pilgrimage.

Me and the chasing dogs.

Espana fir favor

Does this house look big on me?

Spain: And while the summer is when we all descend on Spain’s beaches here’s my ode to Autumn in Espana.

When nature is in a state of undress, and when she is at her most becoming.

The best way to discover a region is by foot and on my Camino in Galicia I trudged the same tracks the Medieval Peregrinos did.

I dare say that the tree growing out of this house was there then too.

The explorer to Tenerife, rather than the sun seeker, will head north, rather than south.

And the rainforest in the Northern Anaga Mountains. All of which you cam enjoy on your CanariaWays.com trip.

The Power of trees

Crane your neck: The Douglas Fir at Powerscourt

Powerscourt, Co. Wicklow, Ireland: And when you live in the Garden County of Wicklow then trees are all around you.

The tallest one in Ireland is on the magnificent Powerscourt Estate, Enniskerry, near Bray, some 60m plus which is it the seventh highest in Europe.

And when you stay in the sumptuous hotel you get a view, and a review, like no other.

And shiver me timbers

Who put that there? On Edge

Celebrity Edge: And trees are the last thing you’d expect on a cruise ship.

But this is just one of the things which separates the $1bn Celebrity Cruises Edge from the other ships on the seas..

Edge which I boarded two years ago for its inaugural trip from Fort Lauderdale to tbe Bahamas boasts Eden, a forested wonder et land of plants.

But then every on Edge transports you to a different world.

MEET YOU UP A TREE

Countries, Culture, Europe, Pilgrimage, UK

St Andrew’s Day around the world

Happy St Andrew’s Day.

From Banff to Barbados, Turriff to Tenerife, Lewis to Limassol, Sauchie to Sochi, Keith to Kiev and Thurso to Thessaloniki.

You get the picture – it’s not just Scotland, we all celebrate Andy as our patron saint.

So let’s pick the bones out of the apostle and his links to these countries.

Scots Sandy

Relics: St Andrews

St Andrews, Scotland: We’re here at the Home of Golf and the third oldest university in the UK,

The story goes that St Regulus (me neither) brought Andrew’s kneecap, arm, three fingers and a tooth here.

And King Oengus built a holy settlement on this collection.

You’ll want to stay at the Old Course Hotel and look out at where the legendary stickmen took the plaudits.

Fly the Canary flag

A St Andrew’s Day flag lurking In Tenerife

St Andrew, Tenerife: I’m not going to spoonfeed you here though as to how St Andrew came to be associated with the Canaries island of Tenerife.

Only to say that Scotland and Tenerife where I visited with CanariaWays share the same white cross on blue background.

San Cristobal de La Laguna is more Havana (it models itself on this World Heritage site) than Hamilton.

But you will find the iconic flag flying here.

Windies’ Andy

And my old half-Scottish pal Jevan is here

Barbados: The island call Little England has an area called Scotland.

Three hundred and sixty five days of sun, a bit like the Scotland in Europe!

Barbados is split into regions named after saints…

The one where the Rooneys, Simon Cowell, Cliff Richsrd, and, er me, like is the Platinum Coast in Saint James obviously.

All Greek to Andy

Alpha for Andrew

Greece and CyprusThe old white beardie man (and there’s nothing wrong with that) is literally an icon in Greek parts.

You know those wooden framed pictures the Greeks love.

St Andrew is said to have been crucified in Patras.

It is Greece’s third biggest city, the regional capital of Western Greece in the northern Peloponnese.

And the Greek Orthodox basilica is the holy site for Andreans as we’ll call followers of Andrew.

And they’ll think nothing of the 215km trip from Athens.

Eastern Andy

Badge of honour: In Russia

Russia and Ukraine: Our adventurous Andy loved to travel. Much like us.

And our Galilea trawler got himself up to the Black Sea and beyond.

We hope too that he was more than just a fisher of men.

Now should you get on the right side of Vladimir Putin in Russia you’ll get the tap on the shoulder.

And the Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle the First-Called.

It is the highest order in the Russian Federation.

Get it wrong and you’ll get something slipped in your tea and sent on a plane out of the country.

One man’s assassination is another’s martyrdom!

HAPPY ST ANDREW’S DAY