Countries, UK

Wu Wu, how Scots do Christmas

Well this Scot will be working (small violins) but Wu, Wu, this is how Scots do Christmas.

Yes, the wonderful Wendy Wu is visiting, or her devoted experts and customers are.

With her Christmas in Scotland nine-night tour from £2,615pp from Sunday, December 19-27.

Now I’ve done the oul’ living in Scotland (and am back doing it) while I’ve been a visitor in my own land too.

When I first started this travelling and writing lark one of my first trips was an overnight train journey from London,.

And a stop-off at the Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh.

Where the clock always runs three minutes fast to allow people extra time to catch the train at Waverley.

And then a whizz around the Royal Mile and a barrel ride inside the Scotch Whisky Experience.

Before much more whisky was taken at the end of Scottish fare.

Murray’s mint

He’s got rhythm: Andy Murray

Down at the country estate, Cromlix Hotel, Kinbuck, Perthshire, presented on a converted bathchair drinks trolley.

Of course all this I enjoyed way back in the late 80s when Andy Murray had a rattle rather than a tennis racket.

The locals: Dad and lass

The best recommendation though is that the two-time Wimbledon champion chose Cromlix House.

And he spent some of his millions on, when he bought the demesne in 2013.

All of which is a diversion from the Wendy Wu tour so let’s get back on track here.

And hear from the woman herself

Christmas Extravaganza Experiences

*Enjoy an extra special Christmas Eve performance of The Nutcracker by the Scottish Royal Ballet

*Join your Wendy Wu touring family for a Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas Day lunch at the Intercontinental Edinburgh, followed by a fun-filled festive party.

*Sip champagne and embark on a private, out-of-hours tour of the Royal Yacht Britannia, exclusive to Wendy’s guests.

*Tuck into a champagne afternoon tea and overnighter on the Fingal

*Sample festive flavours with a paired chocolate and whisky tasting at the Aberfeldy Distillery

*Shop under the dazzling lights of Glasgow’s Christmas markets.

Savings on the way

And so let’s boil this down further…

*A carefully handpicked selection of 4* hotels.

*All meals including a sumptuous Christmas lunch on Christmas Day.

*Exceptional local guide with you every step of the way.

*All daily tours, sightseeing and entrance fees.

Book by 15 November and save £75pp on this tour.

Yes, there you have it, Wu, Wu, this is how Scots do Christmas.

 

 
Asia, Australasia, Countries, Europe, Ireland, UK

Mothers-in-Law Day

It’s a problem worthy of United Nations arbitration so it probably shouldn’t be surprising that we honour both today with their own day, the United Nations Day and Mothers-in-Law Day.

With those esteemed institutions being deemed worthy of their own official day.

Now I wouldn’t for one minute begrudge Angela her day off today as she IS heading into Halloween, obviously her busiest time of the year.

In truth, I’ve always tried to keep a couple of steps ahead of Mother-in-Law, or Sir as she insists I call her.

The outlaw Angie

Mother and daughter: Angela and My Scary One, Sarah

And so we’d find ourselves living away from Chez Angela.

So she has needed to be a visitor to our billets on our adventures around these islands.

In Aberdeen, Liverpool, Edinburgh and Co. Wicklow in Ireland.

Greening it up: In Ireland

And that has allowed us the opportunity to show off the charms of some of our favourite places on these islands.

An inveterate traveller herself, she decamped to Australia with the family in her 20s.

And embarked on a round-the-world boat trip back to England.

Taking in New Zealand, Tahiti and the Panama Canal… and a lot of Pacific and Atlantic Ocean and all its choppiness.

Globetrotting Ma-in-Law

A horse a horse: My queendom for a horse

But she has also benefited from old Casey Jones (that’s the Father-in-Law).

And his love of train travel to span France, Germany, Italy, Portugal and much else of Western Europe.

One unexplored world and one I know she has long hoped to visit is the New World, the USA.

And it is my hope that we can get her out there to New York with her daughter, my very own Scary One.

And I know that she has got her own broom!

Have a Great Day Angela on this United Nations Day and Mothers-in-Law Day.

 

America, Countries, Culture, Europe, Ireland, UK

Go! Monopoly around the world

We may never know why Vincent Van Gogh lost his ear, though here is a fine crime fiction on the subject, but who is to say it wasn’t after a row about Monopoly?

Our pals at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam are the latest to join the Monopoly club.

With the release of their own Vincent board game for Christmas.

Becoming one of hundreds of Monopolys around the world.

With at the latest count, the game being licensed in 103 countries and printed in more than 37 languages.

The Van Gogh version substitutes the Great Man’s art for the traditional streets.

Just painting

While among the pieces naturally is a paint tube though perhaps tastefully no ear.

Monopoly for most of us is as much part of Christmas as Santa, who often brought it fir our stockings, and Christmas turkey.

But it was also brought out when friends came over, or relatives, from home or abroad.

And this was when it got really exciting to see the names of their streets and public transport.

O’Monopoly

So when my Irish relatives got their Dublin board out it had such names as O’Connell Street, Shrewsbury Street in Ballsbridge where I got to stay, and the Busaras on it.

It was very much a point of honour that your country had its own Monopoly.

It was a sign that you were not under the English yolk.

Although when you did get down to London when you were older you didn’t feel such a tourist as you ambled along the Strand, Pall Mall and Fleet Street.

Big Appley

Most spectacular of all was the New York edition where you could say you owned Broadway.

All us poor Scots had to dream of was buying Mayfair, Park Lane or Old Kent Road.

Until the manufacturers stumbled on the rather obvious idea of giving us all what we wanted.

McNopoly

And so we got Edinburgh, and the Royal Mile, Princes Street, the two football stadiums, Easter Road and Tynecastle Park and the rugby ground, Murrayfield.

Now, of course there are now football clubs, film and TV franchises Monopoly merchandise.

D’Ohpoly

In fact you name it and Monopoly have probably adapted it to your needs.

And so I have in my attic a Royal Caribbean cruise game as well as a Simpsons game.

From my travels in Europe and in Orlando.

Of course Monopoly, while having a deeply suspicious Property speculation message in its origins back in 1935, has really become a vehicle for imagination.

And discovering about foreign destinations…

By plane, ship, car… or my personal favourite, a wee Scottie dog.

America, Canada, Countries, Culture, Europe, Ireland, UK

Ireland, the friendliest place in Europe

Forget about that ridiculous ubiquitous Ed Sheeran,, Country star Steve Earle’s Galway Girl is the definitive tribute.

Some of my earliest longings and fumblings were for Galway girls, on holiday to a Salthill mobile home park.

Of course, in the late 70s and early 80s, the tradition for awkward, gawky Glaswegians was to sit in the corner and well, just gawk at the girls.

The Salthill Strand

Galway, this year’s European Capital of Culture, tops a Conde Nast Traveler Readers Choice Awards list of favourite cities.

And they’ll just love beating Dublin into second place.

The two Irish cities push the jewel of the Med, Valletta, into third.

The Maltese city boasts, for me, the most gorgeous harbour in the world.

And memories… I bent down there to tie my shoelaces 26 years ago, Miss F shouted Yes and one year later became the Indomitable Mrs M.

While my readopted city of Edinburgh also makes it onto the list at No.7 and the epic Athens at No.9.

Green Mickey

Ears to you, Mickey

Maybe y’all missed No Coal Burning Mickey, the eco-friendly alternative to Steamboat Willie, but Da Mouse is right on point with cleaning up the planet.

Mickey has come out on top of an Uswitch eco-friendly poll of the leading tourist spots around the world.

Who knew? Well, you do now.

Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney in Florida boasts a 270-acre 50+megawatt solar facility which operates enough sun to operate two Disney parks.

The solar facility has the power to reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by more than 52,000 metric tons.

Which is equivalent to removing 9,300 cars from the road each year.

Of course the warmest thing you can get at Magic Kingdom is a Mickey hug. And here’s to when we can all repeat this.

And, of course, his is a hug that wraps around the world, from Florida to California, to Paris, to Hong Kong.

All our old faves are on the poll, Niagara Falls, our pals at Universal, Universal Studios Orlando, Universal Studios Hollywood and SeaWorld Orlando.

And the others we’ll get round to when we…

MEET YOU ON THE ROAD

Adventure, America, Asia, Countries, Culture, Europe, UK

On the Road again

Seeing we’re back on the road. and spurred by the excellent PBS series ’10 that changed America’ https://www.pbs.org/show/10-changed-america/which also includes monuments and bridges among others…

I give you my favourite streets I know from around the world…

The Beale Deal

That’s Handy…. Memphis

Beale Street, Memphis, Tennessee: And naturally I channeled my best Marc Cohen, took a selfie next to WC Handy, partied the night away at BB King’s Jazz club and scoured Elvis’s tailors Lansky Brothers.

Visit https://www.deep-south-usa.com/ and The Promised Land.

The road BC

man sitting beside building
And a desert runs through it. Photo by Alex Azabache on Pexels.com

King’s Highway, Jordan: And the ancient traders of the Middle East, Asia and Asia Minor have been here before.

Carrying silk and gold, frankincense and myrrh and exchanging it for water in Petra. And you can still follow that route today. See www.visitjordan.com, http://www.gadventures.co.uk and The water of life, Petra, and the sands of time.

Royal march

red telephone booth
History under your feet. Photo by Anna Urlapova on Pexels.com

And a walk I would regularly and will yet do again. At the top of Edinburgh’s High Street is the Castle, in the middle St Giles kirk where Jenny Geddes threw a chair at the preacher.

Then there’s the spot where Deacon Brodie, the inspiration for Jekyll & Hyde was hanged on the gibbet he invented where locals spit on the ground in disdain. Before you get to the foot and see the new Scottish Parliament and the Queen’s residence, the historic Holyrood Palace.

And there’s also a Medieval street underneath the Royal Mile which was closed odd during the Black Death https://www.realmarykingsclose.com. See http://www.edinburgh.org, Edinburgh – an old friend and http://www.visitscotland.com.

Appian I know it, clap your hands

When in Rome. The Scary One and Daddy’s Little Girl on the Appian Way

Appian Way. Rome: What did the Romans do for us? Well, they built roads to last.

We didn’t get to the Appian Way and the Catacombs when Mrs M treated me to a 40th Birthday treat but it was all the better for taking the kids half a dozen years later.

See https://www.rome.net/, Small roads lead to Rome.

She’ll crucify me if I go without her

Via Dolorosa, Jerusalem: And the one I have still to visit when I will walk in the footsteps of Our Lord. The winding route from the former Antonia Fortress to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is about 600m.

And particularly as I put work first and turned down and joint Jerusalem and Jordan trip because I didn’t want to leave my employer in the lurch for a fortnight. See https://www.itraveljerusalem.com.

So I’ve missed out your favourite. Let me know and we’ll share. And I won’t tease you. I’ve got another five More on the Road coming hot on the heels.

MEET YOU ON THE ROAD