America, Countries

Bye-Bye B-52s hello Idaho

And in the way that only music bands can do it’s bye-bye B-52s hello Idaho.

The New Wave pioneers are calling time on 46 years of their out there arty pop this year with a tour of the States.

All of which will go down especially well in trippy California and their homestead of Georgia although they won’t be playing Idaho.

They have once before near state capital Boisey.

Love getaway

We can get together: The B-52s

But no sleight intended, the great outdoorsy state (pop 1.5m) is the getaway state of their song and their imagination.

The B-52s are, of course, known for their escapism, their other biggest hit the impossibility catchy Love Shack.

The love getaway down the Atlanta Highway.

And I can vouch that even in their 70s now Fred, Kate and the gang can still get you up bopping.

I’ve got my jukebox money

Hurry up: I’ve got my jukebox money

As I, and others, can testify to when they brought the house down at one of our American Travel Fair lunches, in Denver.

Of course, it felt particularly apt, here in Colorado, in the shadow of the Rockies which it shares with private Idaho.

Idaho is, in truth, as dramatic and remote as in the B-52s’ imagination.

Footsteps of Lewis and Clark

Rocky mountain high: Idaho

And Lewis and Clark, of expeditionary fame.

Both of whom found it is as variable as anywhere on the great American landmass.

And take in Twin Falls where you’ll witness Shoshone Falls, dubbed as the ‘Niagara of the West’ whose waterfalls stands 45 feet taller than the eastern wonder.

Niagara of the West: Shoeshone Falls

Channel your inner trekker on the Northwest Scenic Byway to Coeur d’Alene.

Where sun and moon risings are recommended experiences on your itinerary.

The lunar thing is not by accident…

Out of this world

Over the moon: The Craters experience, Idaho

For an otherworldly experience visit Craters of the Moon National Monument.

As you drive up, you will be greeted by an ocean of lava flows – it feels like walking on the moon!

You won’t be walking of course across the Great American West… you’ll have yourself a car as big as a whale.

Something to think on when we say bye-bye B-52s, hello Idaho.

 

 

America, Asia, Countries, Food & Wine

A cup of cha for the Queen

The Queen Mum liked her gin, Princess Margaret her Champagne, Prince Charles his Cherry Brandy but we suspect it was a cup of cha for the Queen.

The QM’s drinking holes counted racecourses up and down the country, Mags the Caribbean and especially Nylon Beach in Tobago and Chuck the Isle of Lewis.

For the Queen though it was her many palaces around Britain.

And especially those where she spent most time relaxing… Windsor, Balmoral and Sandringham.

So if you want to toast her memory this weekend raise a cup with that most British tipple, tea.

And add to the 100 million drunk by Britons every day, almost as many as are queueing to see the Queen’s coffin.

The Royal cuppa

Take a seat: The Willow Tearooms

Britain’s love affair with East Indian tea began in royal circles with a hangry 7th Duchess of Bedford.

Anna’s answer was to take tea served with light snacks which became the phenomenon of afternoon tea.

The fashion took hold throughout the land and onto our doorstep in Glasgow, the Second City of the Empire.

Queen tea: And is that a tea cosy?

With the Mackintosh Tea Rooms which celebrate the high-chaired furniture and interior decorations of the Scottish architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

And that’s just the cup of tea for more modern home furnishing British institution Cath Kidston.

With Cath kindly giving us a tea-potted history of cha around the world.

Crowning glory: Cath Kidston in Southampton

Of course all the tea in China isn’t all the tea in the world but it was where we first got the taste.

When Emperor Shen Nung went for a seat under a Camellia sinensis tree in 2737 BC.

The story goes that a few leaves fell into his boiling drinking water to try the accidental infusion and tea was born.

There’s more to this tea

Tea in bed: OLCOTE in Sri Lanka

His tea rituals he mapped out in Ch’a Ching (Tea Classic), the first book about tea written during the 8th century.

Taoist, Buddhist and Confucian in its philosophy, Chinese tea ceremonies are centred around peace, mindfulness, and appreciation.

And as many as the tea leaves in a cup, their most famous ceremony is the kung fu tea ceremony, sometimes known as gong fu.

Of course the tea we all know and love in the UK is from the Jewel in the Crown.

No, not the curry house.

But where Our Little Corner of The Earth, or OLCOTE, the hotel retreat of my old Sri Lankan-Irish force of nature Tess De Kretser will pour.

Take the floor: Bewley’s in Dublin

But from Assam in India, and Ceylon, which we all know as Sri Lanka.

If the British love their tea then the Irish love their tay double.

Ya Corker: Lafayette’s in Cork

Only be sure to know which brand to order where…

So that’s Lyons in Dublin where it must be Bewley’s Oriental Cafe on Grafton Street and Barry’s in Lafayette’s in Cork.

Rockies tea

The benchmark: Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse

Just like cats and dogs we’re told that you’re one or the other, tea or coffee.

Only we’re both, and even in the cwaffee-loving Oo Es of Eh, or especially, tea can be a delicacy.

As we found when we rocked up in the Rockies and discovered the links between Boulder, Colorado and Dushanbe, Tajikistan .

Another cuppa: Dushanbe

It’s 35 years since the Mid-West of America and the Mid-East of Asia hooked up.

And they built strong foundations from the off with architect Lado Shanidze leading more than 40 artisans in several cities of Tajikistan.

To create the decor for the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse.

Tea for me: In Boulder

Including its hand-carved and hand-painted ceiling, tables, stools, columns, and exterior ceramic panels.

Like the best artists our Tajik pals have carved their names into the teahouse’s history.

With Manon Khaidarov and Mirpulat Mirakhmatov, who helped reassemble the tea house, in signing their names in the ceiling.

A message carved in the ceiling reads “artisans of ancient Khojand whose works are magical”.

All of which you can dwell on when you’re sipping your Chai.

Colourful ceramic

Colour me good: Engraving

Eight colorful ceramic panels, created by Victor Zabolotnikov, grace the building’s exterior and display patterns of a “Tree of Life”.

And that’s enclosed by a mihrab motif (a niche in a mosque indicating the direction of Mecca.

Did we mention the Seven Beauties? Och, you’ll just have to get out there to find out for yourself.

We have to get back in the queue… we left it to get a cup of cha for the Queen.

 

America, Asia, Australasia, Countries, South America

Joby Aviation lost in translation

And how those of us of a Scottish variety sniggered how Joby Aviation got lost in translation.

A jobby, as Glasgow’s second most famous son, Billy Connolly, revealed to the world is the contents of your bottom.

But there is nothing crap about the all-electric aircrafts for commercial use that are coming to Scotland.

Flying by the seat of your pants: The Joby

As we reported in the Daily Record the The Joby is a five-seat, piloted electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.

And it has a maximum range of 150 miles and a quiet acoustic profile.

Now we imagine the new aircraft will be s***-hot but perhaps they should rebrand for Scottish fliers.

All of which has us reflecting on the brands which we have seen lost in translation.

C U Next Tuesday

We swear by it: Northern Territory

Northern Territory, Australia: And I’m indebted to the doyen of Irish travel writers Eoghan Corry for clueing me in on this historical brand gaffe.

Now everyone is an expert after the event and the same mistook visited an old, and much-respected, boss.

When he cropped a picture of an England flag for an old newspaper so the ‘S’ and the ‘Horpe’ got cut from sCunTthorpe.

Coors fails sniff test

Colorado cool: But they’re too hip for the Spanish

Golden, Colorado, USA: And the Golden nectar with the taste of the Rockies will slake your thirst like few other beers.

The Coloradans, as anyone who has been out there will tell you, have a lifestyle and language all of their own.

But it doesn’t always translate, and their ‘Turns it loose’ slogan means ‘you will suffer from diarrhoea. Sloppy!

Fly solo

Grounded: Braniff

Braniff International, North America: And one from the vaults here when Braniff ran routes.

Primarily in the midwestern and southwestern United States, Mexico, Central America and South America before expanding into Asia and Europe. 

They ran an advert in Spanish boasting of their leather seats and urging passengers to fly ″en cuero,″ or ″in leather.″

Only the similar ″en cueros″ means ″naked,″ and when pronounced on radio or television, the two terms sound identical.

In the Nip

Wide-eyed and innocent: Kinki Nippon

Kinki Nippon Tourist Company, Japan: Japan‘s second largest tourist agency hadn’t factored in the Western World’s less prudish attitudes.

And they began receiving requests for unusual sex tours.

Upon finding out why, the owners of Kinki Nippon Tourist Company decided to go with KNT in English-speaking countries.

Road tripped

Put the brakes on: Ford’s gaffe

Ford, Detroit, USA: Now many of us love a road trip and Henry can lay claim to changing American society with his Model T which you can see in Motor City.

Alas, again the Iberian languages caught marketers out, this time the Portuguese tongue.

Ford blundered when marketing the Pinto in Brazil, unaware that the term means male genitals in Brazilian Portuguese.

These are brand new too

Black name: The Negro licquorice

Along the road we’ve come across a Wanktunnel in Bavaria, an ISIS chocolate bar in Brussels airport and Negro licquorice in Croatia.

Share with us the brands which you’ve seen that have tickled your fancy, as it were.

Because how Joby Aviation got lost in translation is not an isolated incident.

 

 

 

America, Asia, Countries, Europe, UK

Our own world bank of foreign exchange

Over time we can all build up our own world bank of foreign exchange.

My Dear Old Dad, in his dwindling years, would count out his own chest of pesetas, escudos, drachmas, francs, lira and deutschmarks.

There are, of course, glass cases in airports where we can now donate our left-over foreign money for charity.

But if you’re resourceful, and have a winning smile (Daddy’s Little Girl), you can walk off your plane with foreign money.

And in these straitened times we need all, and every kind of legit money, from wherever it comes.

The Queen’s coin

How much? The Queen

The most trusted coins in the UK are, of course, those with the Queen’s head on it.

And a roaring trade is done too on commemorative coins of the monarch.

With this Platinum Year of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign marked by the release of a limited number of coins to mark her 75 years.

They range on the Royal Mint from the UK 50p Brilliant Uncirculated Coin at £7 for the most pressed subject.

To the gold bullion Queen’s Jubilee Sovereign Set at £1,800, but be patient they’re awaiting stock.

Pawn Stars

Money shot: Miss America meets Mr Scotland in Vegas

Now if you think that that’s extravagant in these cash-strapped times then remember that gold appreciates in value.

Not that I’m advising you to scour your jewellery box and head for the pawn shop.

Although having seen the prices of old artefacts in the most famous pawn store in the world, the Pawn Stars shop in Vegas.

My fellow Britons famously and sneeringly accuse the Americans of having no history.

But here in the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop and across any number of fairs across the States specialising in music, war or whatever disproves that.

Coining it in

Bandanaman and the Bandanettes In Denver

And if you can’t afford a Confederate coin then you can always buy one of those say Buffalo Bill coins from the souvenir shop in Lookout Mountain in Colorado.

Coins have been with us since Roman days and before, the Lydians in modern-day Turkey credited with the first in 600BC.

And we always live in hope that all that digging that The Green-Fingered One does in our back garden will yield some treasure.

For now I’ll just hope that my commemorative C$2 Calgary Winter Olympics coin has appreciated in value.

Because I’m not holding out much hope for my Jordanian dinar note in our own world bank of foreign exchange.

Saddam hucksters

Do I pass as Jordanian? With Zuhair

I did dodge a bullet (maybe even literally) when I body swerved the hucksters trying to sell Saddam Hussein Iraqi notes outside Petra.

Best stick to the coin-pressing machines and the money-making exercise that is The Royal Mint Collection.

It’s about time, is it not, that that wealth dripped down to us.?

 

 

America, Countries, Europe, Ireland

It’s EaZzzzzy with Holidos and Don’ts

A redeye and no Aircoach… fear not it’s EaZzzzzy with Holidos and Don’ts.

Your globetrotting Bandanaman is hotfooting it over to his spiritual homeland of Ireland tomorrow morning.

But such are the vagaries of North Berwick, 15 miles east of Edinburgh, that there is no aircoach from outside my door.

As there was 24-7 in Greystones, Co. Wicklow.

Hubba bubba: Dublin Airport

And so I have the options of a £75 taxi from Castle Murty, asking The Scary One to give me an early morning lift.

Or grabbing the last train (hopefully it’s on as the slightest puddle causes cancellations).

And bunking for the night at the airport… I’ve ruled out the £100 hotel rates.

So the Holidos and Donts.

A site for sore eyes

It helps if you’re in any of the airports flagged up by the excellent Sleeping in Airports site.

And you’ll notice that most of their followers’ recommendations are in stopover airports in Asia.

But there are some old faves too in Europe and America.

Best for a layover

On the right track: Turkish Airlines Business Class

In Istanbul’s award-winning Turkish Airlines Business Class lounge sure but also in their rest rooms with privacy walls while they also have shower rooms.

But also in Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam where they have designated rest zones and plenty of amenities including a casino, fitness facilities, a library and a museum.

Denver too gets a shout-out probably because I spent longer there than anywhere… eight hours after being dropped off after my Wild West odyssey in Colorado.

And you’ll become an expert in putting with their 18-hole green on the balcony… and an arts aficionado with their excellent gallery.

Check it out: Munich check-in at Oktoberfest

Oh, and as for the rest the massages come highly recommended.

Munich Airport falls into the same category, and what it lacks for in ease for getting from one gate to the next when you misread your ticket it makes up for with helpful staff.

Arriving there just before the Oktoberfest you’ll find the staff dressed in Bavarian lederhosens.

And if you’re lucky then you’ll get the same Bertha who changed my ticket for a later one when I’d missed my original forwarding flight to Athens.

Dublin’s lair city

Dressed to thrill: At Dublin Airport

Now that I’ve had my accommodation taken care of by my friends in Ireland who are running the international travel network I won’t have to worry about kipping in Dublin Airport.

But there’s a sleeping pod with my name on it which I’ve bagsied in the past and no doubt will again.

And just to make sure your layover goes well a few tips.

*Lock your bags when you’re asleep and keep them wrapped around your shoulders.

*Put the alarm clock on your mobile to make sure you don’t miss the flight.

*And make sure you’re next to a plug socket just in case your mobile which has your boarding pass and Covid details and locator form on it is charged up.

See it’s EaZzzzzy with Holidos and Don’ts.

 

Africa, America, Caribbean, Countries, Europe, Food, Ireland

Pie are squared and round

Excuse the grammar but the gag doesn’t work otherwise so on today’s National Pie Day let’s say Pie are squared and round.

And we’ll pick out six pies from around the world.

All because we’re an island here of pie lovers in Britain, and Scots up and down the country have grown up on Scotch pies and beans.

Then long before American fast food pork pies were the go-to snack in England, and not just for ploughmen.

Mr American Pie

Eat your heart out Prue Leith: In Colorado

Apple Pie: National Pie Day was started in the mid-1970s by a nuclear engineer, brewer and teacher (talented man) Charlie Papazian.

It was then that he declared his own birthday, January 23, to be National Pie Day and it took on.

So now fast forward to a Can’t Bake, Won’t Bake visitor to Ginger & Bake in nearby Fort Collins under the watchful eye of the ever-patient Deb.

Say it loud and say it stout

More please: Jamie Oliver’s Steak & Guinness Pie

Beef and Guinness Pie: If you’re like me (and the Irish) and feel that drink is the food of life then read on.

You see this variation on the British steak and ale pie in Ireland naturally is enriched with Guinness and bacon and onions.

And it s on every bar menu in Ireland… and inevitably in the ubiquitous Jamie Oliver’s cookbook.

Custard with that?

Bobotie on the menu: In South Africa

Bobotie pie: It’s a different world in the one-track town of Cradock in the Eastern Cape In South Africa.

That’s where the owner of the Die Tuishuise & Victoria Manor has put on a buffet of Karoo food that fuses easy.

So let me give you Bobotie pie, a curried raisin-infused Shepherd’s Pie with a savoury custard topping.

Pie Irie

Ruby, Ruby, Ruby: Cooking and baking in Barbados

Macaroni pie: And something from the Old World embraced by the new in the Caribbean.

It is known there just as pie or Bajan Pie in Barbados this is island comfort food.

This tubed pasta with creamy cheese sauce is served either as a main dish in Bim.

Or more likely to the side of their favourite chicken and fish. Irie?

Pizza and understanding

Slice of life: Pizza pie

Pizza pie: So when we first got a taste for the Italian staple on this island we would call it pizza pie.

The best pizzas which we know are in Pizza City, Naples.

But a tip here for those who might otherwise be stung dining out near the Spanish Steps or Pantheon in Rome.

Instead pick up the long miniature pezzos from stores scattered through the Eternal City.

Sweet pie

The Key to good living: Key Lime Pie

Key Lime Pie: Now just as many pies are sweet as are savoury.

And in the land of American pie there are as many variations as there are numbers after 3.14.

But as it’s darn tasty and the Florida Keys are on the radar.

For a long rescheduled road trip it’s Lime Key Pie for me.

And so whatever your pick it’s good to know pie are squared and round and make the world go round.

America, Countries, Sustainable Tourism

150 years of Yellowstone

Some take it for granted but as we mark 150 years of Yellowstone it is worth reprising the words of a Ranger who was asked what he would do if he had just one day in the US National Park.

‘Cry’ was his rather laconic but revealing message.

‘Twas Ulysses S. Grant, hero of the North, who opened Yellowstone National Park, the first of its kind anywhere in the world, on March 1, 1872.

Although we prefer to mention the work our very own Scottish explorer John Muir did there and elsewhere in the States which earned him the mantle ‘Father of the National Parks.’

But it is important to acknowledge that the Native Americans (Red Indians in 19th Century parlance) had been there for 11,000 years.

Thanks a million

Is that a bear coming? Yellowstone

No wonder our Ranger of course would weep if he was only offered one day in Yellowstone.

Because there are 2 million acres of the park.

And while we’ve all heard of Old Faithful, you’ll also want to take in Lower Falls and Yellowstone Lake.

One million of us visit Yellowstone every year (in a Covid-free year) and with that amount of space you’ll never feel congested.

And here are some useful tips for our visit.

Yellowstone tips

The Big Country: The Great American West

The entrance fee for each of Wyoming’s national parks (Yellowstone and Grand Teton) is $35 per vehicle to visit for one to seven days. Entrance fees for other National Park Service sites, such as Devils Tower National Monument, vary.

Reservations are required to camp anywhere within Grand Teton National Park and open six months prior to the date you wish to camp. Book early to reserve a spot.

Reservations are required within certain campgrounds in Yellowstone National Park. Plan ahead and reserve campsites early.

Backcountry permits are required to backpack within national park boundaries.

Pets are only allowed where vehicles are allowed in national parks and must be kept on a 6-foot leash. Pets are prohibited on trails, pathways, and swimming in any park waters.

The wildlife is wild. Do not approach, chase or feed animals, and stay in your vehicle if you’re stuck in a wildlife jam.

Grizzly bears reside in both Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. Stay safe by carrying bear spray, being alert, making noise and traveling in groups of three or more.

Masks are required on all federal lands when social distancing isn’t possible.

How to get there

Sweep of nature: In Wyoming

There are smaller airports around Yellowstone but we’d advise the old Road Trip around the Great American West.

And we’d suggest the eight-hour 532-mile drive from our favourite Denver in Colorado.

Bandanaman and the Bandanettes In Denver

In an RV mind, and not the rodeo which we’ll tell you more about soon.

And a shout-out too for bespoke Travel providers G Adventures who are offering eight days Jackson to Yellowstone National Park from £2399. Valid on Jun 19 2022

So get your 150 Years of Yellowstone up and running. You’ll cry with joy.

 

 

 

America, Countries, Europe, UK

Here’s Jimmy shining a light on Halloween

Yes, here’s Jimmy shining a light on Halloween and spooktacular high points I’ve enjoyed and which have been recommended.

Full disclosure first… horror films wouldn’t be my first genre of choice and there are many iconic scary Hollywood films I’ve yet to see.

Between my fingers, of course.

And seeing that Stephen King has written all of them then he’s a good place to start.

Who’s at the door?

Did you order room service: Jack Nicholson as Johnny

The Ahwahnee Hotel, Yosemite: This was the inspiration for The Overlook hotel in The Shining – right down
to the red lifts.

Architect Gilbert Stanley Underwood’s 1920s Californian hotel hosted presidents, royalty and a few ghosts.

While the Stanley Hotel was the inspiration for Stephen King’s bestselling book the recognisable
interior sets of the movie hotel, The Overlook, were heavily influenced by Yosemite’s Ahwahnee Hotel.

Inside the lobby, visitors will find the cavernous ceilings, Native American-inspired patterns,
and even the frightening red-doored elevators from the movie. 

In a right old flap

Pride and joy: West Hollywood

Sunset Tower, West Hollywood: And I certainly was in a right old flap in the chic town on the doorstep of Beverly Hills.

My easy charm and friendliness had got the better of me on the plane over when I got talking to a Californian on her way home.

And listen to her story of eating an airport egg sandwich and then handle her sick bag.

She’s behind you.. the flapper girl

But my 24-hour sickness bug came after I’d enjoyed the delights of West Hollywood.

Can’t say though that I saw too many flapper girls, more flapper boy in this out, out, out, joyful town (and yes, my captain’s hat drew some smiles from the queens getting ready for Pride). 

Back to more scary things and the art-deco Sunset Tower has  become synonymous with the ghost of a beautiful flapper girl, known to ride in the lift with unsuspecting guests.

The Wailed West

Bill’s Bones: And will Buffalo Bill rise up again

Colorado: And if you imagine a spur a-clicking or a horse a-whinnying in Colorado it’s probably because the Wild West heroes are still keeping an eye on us all from beyond the grave.

Whether that’s Buffalo Bill at Lookout Mountain or the regular cowboy, prospector and dreamer in the Red State’s ghost towns, the Wild West is all around you.

St. Elmo, located west of Buena Vista, is one of Colorado’s best-preserved ghost towns. With wooden storefronts and a dusty main street, it looks straight out of a John Wayne movie.

After exploring St Elmo, visitors should make their way to the nearby infamous town of Tin Cup. One of the more rowdy towns, sheriffs didn’t last very long here, and you can see echoes of their sorry fates lingering at the town cemetery.

Slovenia trumps them all

Scary: Melania Trump

Haunted castles in SloveniaNow the first thing we associate Slovenia with is Melania Trump, and that is one scary looking image.

Slovenia though is a magical land with rich history and superstition which lends itself to ghostie stories. 

Built within a cave in the middle of a towering cliff, Predjama, which dates back to 1274, is imposing by most standards.

Spooky: Predjama Castle in Slovenia

Add in local legend and you’ll be hard pressed not to get spooked:

Once the residence of knight Erazem Lueger, Predjama has hidden passageways and was reputedly a site of torture and treachery. Lueger was betrayed by his servants and killed in the castle, and is said to still haunt it today.

Dragons and ghouls

The Bride of Frankenstein: No, weddings at Fonmon too.

Haunted trails in the Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales:

Yes, and back on this island and in an old stomping ground, Wales, where they defer to an old dragon (make up your own punchline) Halloween is all the rage.

Throughout October, Fonmon Castle and Gardens are offering several spooky experiences for visitors, including Halloween Haunted Gardens through to 31 October between 5-9pm inviting brave souls to test their nerves through an interactive garden of horror.

There’s also ghost tours on offer through the castle grounds from 6-13 October from 7pm. Walk and explore the grounds with an experienced guide and participation in paranormal activities is encouraged.

For the wee ones, there will be games  fancy dress and entertainment from 10am. Entry from £14.50 for adults and £9.50 over 3’s.

Now if you’re back out on the road, and more and more of us are, then watch your ghoulies.

Because around the corner the souls of the dead are rising up. 

I, of course, put my faith in the locals in such circumstances such as the Galacians who invited me to join them in the Quiemada fiery brew ceremony.

And I swear I saw an image of my mother-in-law emerge from the flames.  

Me? Watch out when you’re opening the door.

Here’s Jimmy, shining a light on Halloween.