Countries, Europe, Ireland, Sport, UK

We’ll always stay friends Croatia

And while all those of a Scottish variety will be hoping we beat them today we’ll always stay friends Croatia.

Scotland’s Euro 2020 hopes hang on them winning against the Balkan belters.

In 2018 Croatia’s international dreams were far higher.

As they prepared for the World Cup Final against France.

One Dalmatian

Pearl of the Adriatic: Dubrovnik

The Croatians who I’d got to know and love while living in Ireland.

As a guest of their embassy and Croatia Tours were filled with excitement.

And good Dalmatian wine.

All of which I helped them imbibe on the morning of the World Cup Final.

Before, and this is to my eternal shame, I switched camps and saw the game and celebrated with the French at their embassy.

The World Cup Final

Shout it from the rooftops: Croatia

And this allows me to say that I watched France win the World Cup Final in France.

The embassy land always belonging to that country.

And the Croatians being the good eggs that they are they didn’t hold any of that against me.

And put out the red and white checked carpet for me when I went on another different type of pilgrimage, to Medjugorje.

Now geographic pedants will point out that Medge, as it’s known to devotees to the Marian site, is in Bosnia & Herzegovina.

And yes it is, but try telling that to the Croat-daft residents of that village for whom the only religion to rival Catholicism is football.

The Gods of Medge

Dressed to kill: Medjugorje

Captain Luka Modric is something of a God in Medge with tops with his name emblazoned on them hanging from every shop.

And it is a familiar aspect of other countries I have visited for religion and football to coexist in such harmony.

I saw it first hand in Rome where Francisco Totti is as omnipresent as the Pope.

And again in Fatima in Portugal where Cristiano Ronaldo is a deity.

I witnessed just how passionate the Croatians are about their football when we were taking downtime from church in Medge.

And we were watching the Champions League in the Irish Centre.

Dynamic Croatians

If onlys: Beaten World Cup finalists Croatia

Which for ‘Elvis’ the name our group had given the owner meant his beloved Dynamo Zagreb.

Apologies again for not memorising the club song he blasted out on the speakers before the game.

So that’s twice I haven’t taken up the Croatians’ clarion call.

And national identity and an accident of birth means I again will have to make my apologies when Scotland eliminate Croatia.

I hope though we’ll always stay friends Croatia.

 

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

Holiday Snaps – Repose en paix Pierre Cardin

French Riviera: The invitation to Pierre Cardin’s Bubble house must have got lost in the post.

Seeing it from the outside would have to suffice.

But seeing it from a speed boat on the French Riviera is a pretty good vantage point.

The Palais Bullas,, or Bubbles Palace, was put back on the market a few years ago – well, fashion god Pierre was well into his 90s by then.

For £300m the specs for the 12,000sqm complex, the haunt of many a celeb, included.

Ten space-aged rooms, three swimming pools, a 500-seater amphitheatre and lush gardens.

Chic: On the French Riviera

Now Cannes is not cheap but Mimoza’s in neighbouring Mandelieiu-La-Napouke is within your budget.

And it has A golf course nearby, Continental Europe’s first, The Old Course, which Pierre’s gaffe doesn’t.

Still, repose en paix, Pierre.

Our thoughts with Croatia

Check out Croatia

Croatia: And our prayers go out to our friends in Zagreb and Croatia where they are recovering from the effects of a second earthquake in two days.

I am always drawn to a city which boasts a daily ritual…

View of Washington from Arlington

I’m thinking a Changing of the Guard, in Arlington the Beefeaters in London or the One O’Clock Gun in Edinburgh.

And Zagreb has a cannon which fires out paper.

My old friends Croatia Tours are the people to go with from Ireland.

From the UK…? I’m open to offers.

And a Happy New Air

Ryanair, flyin’ air

Flying: And we will be which is what Ireland’s national airline carrier Aer Lingus and Ryanair

Low-fare Ryanair are offering sizzling summer deals from €19.99.

And they’ve dropped their flight change fees for all new bookings made for travel before January 31.

And I’m noticing my faves Amsterdam, Hamburg and Lourdes in among the €19.99 tranche.

Lady Liberty is calling

Just because the shops are closed won’t stop us checking out the January Sales… and Aer Lingus.

They’ve got 30% off flights and checked bags to Europe, and Barcelona catches the eye.

While they’re all over North America with €149 sale deals which means I can swop Zoom for my cousins’ front rooms in New York and Washington DC

Caribbean, Countries, Culture, Deals, Europe, UK

Flyday Friday: Tobago no-go and what a Swiss swizz!

Any Port in a storm… and the UK’s newscasters are all aflutter now Portugal has earned a place on the exempt list.

Although my old pals in Tobago are now off limits as are the Croatians (flagged here) while the Greeks thankfully have had a stay of execution.

Quite what the Swiss have done to annoy the Scots who have unilaterally shut the country down is anybody’s guess…

As welcome as getting Portugal back (and not a moment too soon) it begs the question why not the others too?

Testing times

The answer is here

And this is where airport testing would open up our borders again.

Our Travel Agents association here in Scotland, the SPAA (Scottish Passenger Agents Association) which is the oldest in the world, are pushing for its introduction.

But they, and airports, seem to be pushing against a closed door

Our airlines thankfully are continuing to keep routes open and are leaving the decision up to us adults.

Not so splendid isolation

And you’ll have a whole coastline to yourself

Whether we want to self-isolate when we get back.

Although for many who can’t remote work then that will mean a loss of earnings.

Spare a thought too for holidaymakers stuck out in one of the newly banned countries.

Who are having to pay inflated air prices to get home in time before the quarantine kicks in.

One traveller told of his experience in trying to get back to the UK from Croatia.

They won’t be stopped

Ryanair cut to the chase

Which would have involved him making his way across to Italy first and shelling out £450.

In the middle of all this madness Ryanair are still offering cut-price single deals.

Including Pula in Croatia and at a bunch of destinations across Spain from €9.99.

Aer Lingus go green (naturally)

And my friends, the Aer Lingus crew

Ireland’s national airline Aer Lingus carrier knows what sacrifices the public are making.

Which is why they’re making green list countries Greece and Italy even more attractive… if that’s possible.

And so they offer Athens, Rome, Venice and a host of other Italian delights and Greek gifts from €39.99 from Dublin.

Caribbean, Countries, Cruising, Culture, Deals, Europe, Flying

Holiday Snaps – Atoll order, your own private island

If you have to be stuck in lockdown it might seem like Atoll order, but I would recommend an island in the Maldives. Just saying.

And one, Kandolhu http://www.kandolhu.com, that is 200sqm is just the ticket and even better now that all its five bars will be reopening… Atoll tale – the Maldives, http://www.kuramathi.ie and http://www.turkishairlines.ie http://www.turkishairlines.com.

But in the words of the inestimable Chris Tarrant, I don’t want to give you that (well, I do but…) I want to give you this.

Joali, 45 minutes by seaplane from Male, which is welcoming back guests from August 1.

There’s everything you would expect in terms of luxury with your own swimming pool, yoga and wellness treatment, private dining options and the chance to go out to your own desert island!

But get this, you and your friends can buy out the island’s own 73 villas and residences and facilities.

Exclusive use buyout will start from $90,000 per night through to September 30 and $185,000 per night between October 1 and 30 November.

For guests 12 and above an all-inclusive full-board meal plan (including alcohol for adults) will cost an additional $450per night per guest. Visit http://www.inspiringtravelcompany.co.uk.

And whaddya mean you haven’t got that kind of moolah? You’ve been locked down for the last four months!

Insert smiley Ryanair emoji here

You know that we’re getting back to normal when Ryanair http://www.ryanair.com are getting funky with their slogans and emojis again and they’ve only taken to dressing oranges with sunglasses.

To flag up many of my favourites, among them Barcelona https://www.barcelonaturisme.com/wv3/en/, http://www.royalcaribbean.co.uk and Messi around on the water and Smooth sailing around the Western Med from €24.99, Dubrovnik with Croatia Tours https://visitdubrovnik.hr, http://www.Croatia.ie and On the road to Dubrovnik from €24.99.

And my honeymoon island of Malta http://www.visitmalta.com and Malta pleaser also from €24.99.

Where myself and the world’s luckiest woman still have a complimentary bottle of champagne which we never finished 25 years ago still waiting for us.

Wearing my Sandals on my sleeve

A basket of devourables

Caribbeanophile that I am, I’ve been cheering on the Windies in their Test series with England (don’t tell the Scary One).

The Windies are of course promoting Sandals http://www.sandals.co.uk on the sleeves of their shirts and it is timely as their resorts are open for business with some great offers.

Jamaica has been the prize which has been slipping through my grasp these past couple of years through me being in another part of the world at the time when it was offered, or even worse WORKING!

The famous five with Laura and Hayley centre

But I will keep next January free (promise!) for your seven-night stay at the Sandals Ochi Beach, seven nights from £2,129pp including flights.

You can upgrade too to butler elite room for only €156 which tickled the fancy of my colleagues when I stayed there Let’s rumba in Barbados and http://www.visitbarbados.org who I’ll call Laura and Hayley so as NOT to protect their privacy!

And, of course, I’ve been promising you more Jocktails with a Caribbean twist. They’re coming. Don’t you know how difficult it is to get Falernum in Scotland.

Crazy cruisey government advice

And sporting my medallion on my lapel

So, who thinks it’s a good idea to give the green light to pack out pubs and beaches but thinks it unsafe to let cruise companies and grown-ups distance themselves on cruise ships?

Herself was only a little princess when she passed through the Panama Canal with her parents on her trip home on a working ship from Australia as a child.

Panama dancing

Princess Cruises had been traversing the canal for some half a dozen years by then and have continued to do so (lockdown excepted) and aim to do so again.

All of which will be sweet music to the Indomitable Mrs M who wants an upgrade from that working ship!

Fort Lauderdale R&R

For 2021-22 voyages wil range from 10-15 days visiting 17 destinations in eight countries.

Venice Beach is mine

On the 10-day option you’ll have the choice of leaving either from Fort Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale and Miami – a tale of two sittings or Los Angeles My Weekend With Marilyn or San Francisco with stop-offs in, among others, Mexico, South and Central America.

Visit http://www.pirncess.com. I might even let Herself off from winding back the levers on those locks!

Countries, Deals, Europe

Happy Bastille Day France

A revolution is needed… does anyone know of a prison to storm?

Even if it only has seven inmates, that’ll be enough particularly if it has weaponry.

Jim sandwich: Jim Gallagher, Muriel Bolger et moi

Today we commemorate Bastille Day in quieter fashion than usual because of COVID-19.

Flower girl

And we reflect on a new world order that we must build for ourselves.

Embassy guest

Quieter yes.

Quieter certainly than that unforgettable Bastille Weekend two years ago.

Bravo: Bandanaman and Danny, French Travel Writer award winners

We were invited back the following day to watch the World Cup Final between France and Croatia.

Pop the Champagne

Oui Paris: Today

Well, where else would you want to be than sovereign French territory drinking French Champagne and canapés?

And dancing and whooping in front of a big screen.

Croat of arms

Full disclosure here and I had been invited to take breakfast with the Croatians of Croatia Tours www.croatia.ie that morning.

You see I was straddling both horses but then I do love them equally.

Les Bleus won. And I was chanting Vive La France.

Now seeing that today is their national day I’m flagging up how we all get back out there again and where.

Paris: We’ve come a long way from our first billet on a post-school camping trip.

There we were propped up against our rucksacks in Paris Gare St-Lazare.

Until pistol-toting gendarmes awoke us with a kick to the ribs.

The Bel Epoque Peninsula Paris Hotel https://www.peninsula.com/en/paris/5-star-luxury-hotel-16th-arrondissement is located just steps from the Arc de Triomphe.

Giants of gastronomy

Now you’ll be feasting in rich company, the well-vaunted ‘dinner of a lifetime’ attended by Marcel Proust, James Joyce, Pablo Picasso and Stravinsky.

There is a range of diverse restaurants with the piece de resistance the rooftop L’Oiseau Blanc with its stunning views of the Eiffel Tower.

Provence: Le Lockdown has had La Scary Une et moi talking about where we dream of going.

A passionate jardiner she would love to see the lavender in Provence.

Airelles Gordes, La Bastide is palace-classified.

Stars align

And they have introduced a range of initiatives.

It includes complimentary e-bike rental, stargazing, rooftop yoga and open-air cinema evenings.

And they’ve even thrown in a wine and olive oil tasting experience.

You’ll find it at the sister property, the Chateau D’Estoublon, just sn hour’s drive away.

Check out this deal… stay for three nights or more and get a complimentary upgrade to full board and a Sisley spa treatment.

See https://airelles.com/en/destination/gordes-hotel/special/get-all-way%20%20airelles.com/en/gordes-hotel.

Saint-Tropez; The Chateau De La Messardiere is the chic resort’s largest hotel.

There are 25 acres of glorious grounds overlooking the Cote D’Azur and Provence.

Jardin air

Their trademark domed cupolas and turrets mark it out.

As does the glamorous beach club Jardin Tropezina https://www.messardiere.com/en/jardin-tropezina.php on the beach of Pampelonne.

And here’s why I love the French Riviera The Boat D’Azur, The Lourdes prayer and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/dresdens-renaissance-martin-luther/europe/water-way-to-go-in-biarritz/.

And remember that France and the French are celebrated the world over.

And I know that the Australians are struggling with renewed lockdown but they know how to be big, bold and francais…

See https://www.australia.com.

Un nuit at l’opera

MEET YOU EN FRANCE

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

The end of different loo signs?

Life after COVID-19 and the queues for the unisex toilets are snaking down the corridor.

And those men’s and women’s toilet signs will get eased out to be replaced with such as this…

Social distancing?

Although I’ve never seen a desperate woman hold herself like this.

So with the British Toilet Association saying rest rooms will soon become rush rooms…

Here’s a nostalgic look back at funky loo signs around the world.

It’s all Greek to me

Athens, Greece: And you can see that these signs are modelled on Socrates and Mrs Socrates although they both need a good feed.

Visit https://athensattica.com and My Greek odyssey.

Two loos from Amsterdam

Amsterdam, the Netherlands: And in the converted mosque restaurant that is Bazar https://www.hotelbazar.nl/en/restaurant-bazar-amsterdam/ in the great Dutch city the theme is Arabic.

See www.iamsterdam.com and Pictures of Amsterdam and George Clooney and Amal’s Amsterdam hotel.

Washed out in Austria

Ehrwald, Tyrol: And the backdrop naturally is the snow.

They love a loo in Austria so much so that a new revolving loo is an occasion… and I’m not making this up.

See www.topflight.ie, www.topflightforschools.ie, https://www.tyrol.com/places/a-ehrwald.

Split toilets

Croatia: And forget the manspreading, they womanspread in Split (well, that figures).

They’d be a bit more demure in holy Medjugorje.

Visit Croatia Tours http://www.croatia.ie, Marian Pilgrimages www.marian.ie and http://www.medjugorje.org.uk.

Too much to drink?

Prague: And a shining example of Prague design which is eclectic between Baroque to grim Communist to modernist David Cerny.

Visit www.czechtourism.com and Hope springs eternal and https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/02/21/bye-bye-baby-cernys-prague/amp/.

T&T pee and pee

And you’re asking your Tobagonian lady to stand still.

This woman on the sign is either coming from Sunday School (that’s a dance).

See https://www.visittobago.gov.tt and https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/17/ready-steady-goat-racing-in-tobago/amp/.

Auf Wiedersehen pet!

Munich: And then there’s the one-legged woman. You must be really desperate.

Visit https://www.munich.travel/en?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIssyFkd3Y6QIVxbHtCh1qJAgJEAAYASAAEgKdfvD_BwE.

What’s your favourite loo sign from around the world? Tell me and I’ll share.

And one to ponder on in the queue, a sign on a wall in a bar in the IFC, Ireland’s Financial Centre…

‘Men left, women always right.’

MEET YOU IN THE QUEUE

Uncategorized

Spend a penny, drachma, dinar

There is a sign in an Irish bar to help the clientele find their way to the toilet… ‘men, left; women always right.’

And isn’t it just the case that whoever we are and wherever we are in the world that we all love toilet humour?

So then in the interests of research I have been gathering men’s and women’s toilet signs from around the world.

I’ll be scoring them… out of five.

I’ll show them this evidence too when I’m taken down to the police station and asked to explain my actions.

It’s all Greek to me

It’s a nod to the Ancient Greeks and might even be taken from doodles from early Homer.

You want to concentrate on these signs though with the ladies’ hair not coming all the way around the chin.

And here are some more thoughts on Greece http://www.athensattica.com/things-to-see/sightseeing/acropolishttps://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/09/21/holiday-snaps-postcard-from-kethyra-%f0%9f%87%ac%f0%9f%87%b7/

Or https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/09/21/sporting-weekend-fun-olympic-games/

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German sense of humour

The Germans are unfairly stereotyped for not having a sense of humour. Scheisse!

But in a region, Bavaria https://www.germany.travel/en/travel-information/federal-states/federal-state-bavaria.html which boasts a Wanktunnel I’d say they can do better…

And some thoughts on Bavaria… Germany leaves me gratified.

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Toilets from Amsterdam

When it’s Spring again, I’ll sing again Toilets from Amsterdam https://www.iamsterdam.com/en/see-and-do.

Hat’s how they do it in this Middle Eastern restaurant from a converted mosque in De Pijp… Pictures of Amsterdam.

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Traditional Tirol

We’re jumping from foot to foot which means that we really want to go.

And that’s how the Austrians, and particularly the Tirolians https://www.tyrol.com, dress up their herrs and fraus.

For this and much more toilet humour try https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/10/01/austrian-toilet-humour/. And https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/10/03/__trashed/

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Let’s Split

Sometimes it just needs to be what it says on the tin.

And here in the airport in Split, Croatia http://www.croatia.ie, in the Balkans, the crossroads where South-East Europe meets the Old Ottoman Empire it’s best to have androgynous signs. This ticks the boxes.

And here are some Balkan memories from Croatia and Bosnia & Herzegovina… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/10/18/medgugorje-whats-your-story/.

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Mr and Miss Sarajevo

Or for political correctness you can always hedge your bets with a couple of symbols and the local language.

These guys and gals have smiles on their faces. I guess it translates to Thanks Armitage Shanks.

The historic capital of Bosnia & Herzegovina http://visit-bosniaherzegovina.com is fascinating and fabulous.

Go visit.., https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/10/21/sarajevo-the-scot-that-was-heard-around-the-world/. And https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/10/24/sarajevo-revisited/

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