Countries, Deals, Sport

Rock up for Wrestlemania

He’s the lord of the ring, the hottest ticket in town, who you can see for yourself if you rock up for Wrestlemania.

And the best folk to tag along with to see The Rock come out of retirement at Wrestlemania 39 in Los Angeles next year are Cassidy Sports Travel.

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson debuted at Wrestlemania 25 years ago and has competed at 11 events.

Counting such other luminaries as Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold Steve Austin and John Cena as his opponents.

My eye on you: The Rock

And dropping jumping clotheslines, Samoan drops and running shoulderbreakers along the way.

Wrestlemania has been right up there with the NBA as the world’s biggest indoor entertainment sport.

And yes debates will rage over how scripted it is.

But nobody can deny that is pure entertainment.

And the SOFI stadium in La-La Land is just the venue for the antics as it hosted the latest Super Bowl.

The Fighting Irish

Swagger: WWE star Conor McGregor

The hybrid of Mixed Martial Arts has proved to be a gateway into Wrestling for many.

And Conor McGregor‘s successes in Las Vegas have prompted an Irish following for WWE too.

Ireland boasts a rich seam of wrestlers who will be represented across in LA at Wrestlemania.

And wherever the Fighting Irish go then their fans go with them… so look out for Finn Balor and Sheamus & Becky Lynch when you get over there.

So here’s what Cassidy are billing…

Wrestlemania Goes Hollywood

 

Wrestlemania 39 Package with return flights will see you stay for five nights at a 3* hotel in LAX area, travelling on March 30 with prices from €1,830pp.

And you will get the goldens tickets for Wrestlemania Nights 1 & 2 (Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd April).

Making the grade

Sport mecca: The SOFI

Upgrades Available on Request for the Smackdown Event – 31st March – €550pp Supplement

Raw Event – 3rd April – €650pp Supplement

Wrestlemania will take place in SOFI Stadium – an incredible venue & host of the latest Super Bowl!

Drop into Cassidy Travel or contact them on 01 8779853.

 

 

Countries, Europe

Black Drac and Blackjack

Think Romania and chances are it’ll be Count Dracula rather than counting cards but Transylvania is home to Black Drac and Blackjack.

And you thought Monte Carlo was where all the high rollers hang out.

Well, central Europe has a rich casino tradition with the suavest of the suave playing the tables in Czechia.

At the Grandhotel Pupp in Karlovy Vary in the opening shots of Casino Royale.

Dog Holliday

Joker in the pack: Bandanaman

My own gambling credentials are more Dog Holliday than Doc Holliday.

Despite what the pictures from the Knott’s Berry Farm old-style casino in California might show.

As anyone who had seen my dice hop the craps table in Las Vegas, where I earned the nickname Hannibal, will testify.

Cards on the table I prefer to keep my money in my pocket and divert it to the bar but there is a gambling tourist out there.

Casinogrounds

Kerching: And would the Simpsons like it?

And we, and Casinogrounds, aim to please and know you players want to keep your shekels to spend on chips.

The online gambling site analysed the number of casinos and the average cost of hotels in 35 European countries.

And they arrived at these best gambling holiday destinations in Europe.

And putting the rummy into Romania, the land of Black Drac and Blackjack comes out top ahead of Czechia.

Rummy in Romania

Red meat: For Dracula

The land of Black Drac and Blackjack boasts 439 casinos, and the second cheapest cost of hotels after Albania.

And hang onto your hat, that’s an average £19.57 for your room.

Now if you want to channel your inner James Bond then you’ll have a choice of 421 casinos in Czechia.

And while if you can afford it then the Pupp is the biz.

You don’t have to break the bank at any of the Bohemians’ other hotels with the average price of a room only £38.17.

Do you take a Czech?

The Pupp and the Pupparazzi: At the Grandhotel Pupp

Czechia’s neighbour Slovakia is also a big draw for gamblers with 223 casinos.

And you’ll get change out of £40 at ab average £39.88 per room.

The rest of the top ten is made up of Balkans and Baltics with our favourite Croatians and Bosnia and Herzovinans featuring.

While Poland and the three interlinked states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia are also flagged up.

Cheap as chips

In the money: You’d be quackers not to

Of course the burning question is just how cheap are those rooms in Albania.

Well, hold your breath, the average room is £14.19 and there are 54 casinos throughout the country.

So you can throw your money around, and your dice. 

 

America, Countries

Honeymoon in Vegas

If you’ve seen the movie and visited Neon City you’ll know you’re never too far from finding yourself on Honeymoon in Vegas.

Whether you’ve been ‘volunteered’ to get hitched like Martin and Peter at the Graceland Wedding Chapel.

Or you’ve been won over by Cami from Utah at Harrah’s party bar on the Strip then Vegas can tempt you into sealing a deal.

Cami here, love: In Vegas

Vegas has become inexorably linked with a spontaneous and over the top wedding and honeymoon destination.

And unsurprisingly it’s many Americans’ go-to honeymoon holiday according to website Lovehoney who have listed the Insta faves.

And, of course, when you’re romancing in Vegas then you cuddle up with your loved one on the gondola.

Take a gondola 

Hooray for Harrah’s: And The Whip-Its

If you’re lucky enough, and surely your sweetheart deserves the best, you’ll be staying at The Venetian or its sister hotel The Palazzo.

Where clearly the Italian theme continues with fabulous frescoes.

We all know fireworks go off when you’re in love, and fountains spring up.

And in Vegas the nightly Bellagio Fountains display is where the magic happens.

While you shouldn’t miss out either on that Insta must, the Grand Canyon photo backdrop.

While Vegas scores for many, what Americans love most on honeymoon is a bit of hula-hula.

A Hula of love

Aloha Kitty: Hawaii

And a Luau which is an evening of Hawaiian traditional music, dancing and culture.

While a dawn trip up to the summit of Haleakala will give you that earth-stopping moment with your sweetheart.

And it’s what 28,000 snap-happy honeymooners have done.

We heart New York

Lady Liberty: New York

And is there a more romantic setting in the Oo, Es of Eh than Central Park from a horse-drawn carriage.

Unless, of course, you’re at the top of the Empire State Building.

And if you are in an Empire State of Mind and have some music in you then of course you have to head for Broadway.

For Hamilton or whatever else is hot these days.

From Maui to Miami

Another Little Havana: In Biscayne, Miami

And Maui, in second with 7,900 Insta hashtags sits in the archipelago of Hawaii.

It is famed for its volcanic black sand beaches, and I can vouch for the black stuff from Tenerife.

But also its beautiful gardens and the trail to Waimoku Falls.

You’ll not be surprised either to see Floridian favourites Orlando and Miami hashtagged too.

By the experts obviously who know the difference between Little Havana and a Cuban restaurant in Biscayne.

And that top ten again

So if you’re thinking of America for your wedding holiday then go for bust and choose a Honeymoon in Vegas.

Or Maui or New York or Miami or any of these must-visit destinations.

 

 

 

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.?

 

 

Asia, Countries, Food & Wine

Cocktail Millionaire Hour

We’d been seduced by a rooftop viewing over Cannes but I baulked at a $16.50 Aperol Spritz… before I learned this week about Cocktail Millionaire Hour.

They must have heard about me at Pay Day Loans because why else send me news of a $22,600 cocktail, Diamonds Are Forever?

And so if you’ve got that down the back of a sofa then get yourself over to Ritz-Carlton in Tokyo.

What a sparkler

Glitzy: The Ritz-Carlton

We’re told the DAR in the skyscraper hotel is a Grey Goose vodka and a twist of lime…

And a $16,000 diamond on the side of the glass, and helpfully they advise not to swallow the diamond.

Not wanting to stymie any future chances of a stay at the Ritz-Carlton but that’s one expensive voddie and lime at $6,600.

Vegas mixers

Oh yes: The Ono

Now you pay for the celeb watching in Vegas too.

Although thankfully I had the good services of my hosts the Las Vegas Convention Board to thank for introducing me.

The Ghostbar in the Palms Casino is where you’d find everyone from Matt Damon to Paris Hilton.

But you always had to take your passport to The Ghostbar, Palms Casino to get in… they’d want verification that it’s really you.

Or you can check in at the XS Nightclub, Encore for a $10,000 Ono.

Which is a Charles Heidsieck Champagne Charlie 1981 and Louis XIII de Remy Martin Black Pearl cognac.

Plus the drink comes with a pair of men’s silver cufflinks and a woman’s 18k white-gold chain.

Playboy of the Cocktail World

Let’s shake on it: The Playboy

Now us playboys need a drink that best reflects our lifestyles.

And the $9,000 Salvatore’s Legacy at the Playboy Club in Mayfair, London, does just that.

It is made from a 1778 Clos de Griffier Vieux Cognac, 1770 Kummel Liqueur, Dubb Orange Curacao circa 1860 and two dashes of Angostura Bitters circa 1900s.

We don’t know what the tip is here but at 10% that’s $700 so be prepared when you hit the Big Smoke.

And the others

What every woman wants: The fast set

We’ve just extended our knowledge of Connecticut following our trip to Dublin for the VisitUSA Thanksgiving get-together.

And they were keen to flag up their rich casino tradition.

Usually if you’re gambling you’ll be offered a comp drink, but not alas a Sapphire Martini at the Foxwoods Resort Casino.

Now Hemingway sure loved his cocktails and the Bar Hemingway in Paris channels the Great Man.

Through its $1,670 Sidecars.

And one we made earlier: With my Cocktail Girl

When I go high set in Belfast I head for the Grand Central Hotel and the highest bar in Ireland, the Observatory.

Alternatively the Merchant Hotel will keep you in maraschino cherries.

They do an Original Mai Thai at $1,270.

While as coral and atoll islands have been in the news with COP26 et al we’ll finish off in the Maldives.

It’s a favourite place and I’m glad to see some Irish friends who had yet to have sampled its charms are over there now.

At $312 for a Hennessy Cognac it’s to be sipped and swirled around the mouth.

Yes, you’ll feel like a high-roller In Cocktail Millionaire Hour.

 

 

 

America, Countries, Sport

Walking in Vegas and Memphis

And WC Handy will still look down on him… Rainy Days and Songdays celebrates Tyson Fury as he goes Walking in Vegas and Memphis.

The Gypsy King has become as big a headliner in Vegas as Celine Dion, Elton John and The Osmonds (yes, really).

The World Heavyweight champion brought the house down when he adapted another American classic in the ring after defeating Deontay Wilder, who really ought to have had the home fans in the palm of his destructive hands.

Memphis history

That’s Handy: In Memphis

Now we’ll forgive Tyson for being disorientated.

And not quite knowing his surroundings after Wilder put him on the seat of his pants during the fight.

Because WC Handy was an Alabaman, who made his name in Memphis, Tennessee, as the Father of the Blues.

A couple of feet: Off of Beale

Tyson would be a thousand miles away though if he had touched down in the land of the Delta Blues.

The Delta being the juncture in the Mississippi.

Although we will give him his Beale (Avenue) in Las Vegas which we stumbled upon in Neon City.

Although the Beale which Marc Cohen was referring to was Beale Street in Memphis.

On the Strip

VIP: With the Rat Trap

Mind you Vegas can recreate anywhere in the world in their own image.

Head down the Strip and you will almost think you have been transported to Paris or ancient Egypt.

And an anecdote here to prove my point.

Jetlagged on my arrival in Vegas I laid down on my triple bed in The Palazzo in the afternoon.

And against my better judgment I fell asleep.

Only to be woken up by a call from our host Tryphavana to say the party was sitting down for dinner at the Venetian.

The Grand Canal

The one in.., Vegas

Wiping my eyes, still in sleepy mode, I passed by gondolas on the Grand Canal.

And walked through to the restaurant and an Italian feast.

Looking up I saw a fresco of the Creation of Adam.

Sure, Vegas can recreate the world in their own image.

So go ahead, me and Tyson Fury love Walking in Vegas and Memphis.

Asia, Countries, Deals, Europe, Ireland

Cassidy’s Sundance Kids

My Dear Old Mum would visit the same Travel Agent every year to book our family holiday and I’m sure it’s the same for Cassidy’s Sundance Kids.

Cassidy, as all in Ireland know, is the country’s biggest independent Travel Agent.

And it has made generations of holidaymakers dreams come true.

Which is why families continue to go back to them again and again to book their holidays.

Now there have been many heroes over this Covid year and a half and our health workers, teachers…

And heck, all of us should take a bow.

But I’d like to give a shout-out to our Travel Providers who have often worked without pay and in their own time.

And all to make sure customers get away or are refunded or have their holidays rescheduled.

Now there are those who say that getting away is not a matter of life and death.

But if self-isolation (and the Son and Heir is facing that just now) has taught us anything it is that humans do not belong caged up.

And so we are delighted to report that Cassidy Travel’s doors are open and filling our inboxes with their offers.

And so without further ado…

On trend

Last year’s blond: ‘The Donald’ in New York

Here’s where they want to take us and I’m indebted to the awesome Aileen who has taken over babysitting us Travel professionals.

Here are the trends (as the kids say):

The late Autumn deals, New York and Las Vegas shopping breaks, Christmas markets, Lapland, Christmas and New Year Sun.

Take a breath…

New Year and January Ski, Cruising, Florida 2022 and Villa Holidays.

And, yes please to them all.

But we’ll pare some of them down to these Three Cheers.

Ola Barcelona

To the Lord: At Gaudi’s centrepiece La Sagrada

We all know Barcelona in the summer where it’s hot, hot, hot.

And I’m sure I’m still the subject of the proud, brusque Catalan waitress who I managed to draw a smile from when I asked for a hot chocolate on the hottest day of the hottest heatwave.

Thankfully we got to take to the water for a cruise stop.

flights and 3 nights accommodation at the 3*Hotel Leo for the incredible price of €149pp (based on two people sharing)!

Flight departs Dublin 13th and returning 16th October 2021.

Call Cassidy Travel on 01 8901000 or book in one of their 10 stores across Dublin.

You’re a Celebrity too

On Celebrity Cruises’ Edge

And Celebrity Edge is the ultimate in cruising with its floating tender… and yes, love me tender.

Cassidy will get you on board for a scoot around Italy and Greece aboard next summer 2022.

Get on this deal for seven nights in an interior cabin including full board.

Plus Always Included Promotion Classic Drinks package, internet package and tips for only €1929pp.

Setting sail from Rome and visiting Naples and the stunning Greek islands of Santorini, Rhodes & Mykonos,

And phinally Phuket

Phuket, we’ll finish with a land, Thailand, and resort, Phuket, where I sent many a young adventurer and page designer and scuba diver Podge in my time as a commissioning editor.

Cassidy has 50% savings included for a ten-night stay in the 4* Old Phuket Karon Beach Resort from only €998pp for next May.

Stay in a Deluxe Sino Wing room, beautiful period accommodation influenced by Sino-Portuguese architecture.

And enjoy the magnificent pool, mountain views and beach side bars.

Prices are based on two sharing and include flights, taxes, private transfers and hotel accommodation.

Book by September 30 to avail of this amazing deal!

And aren’t these all good reasons to pitch Cassidy’s Sundance Kids.

 

 

America, Countries, Europe, Sport

Open again for golf

A lot has happened in the last two years since I sat drenched on the banks of the Royal Portrush greens but now we’re Open again for golf,

It is doubtful whether the demure folk of Royal St George’s in Sandwuch, Kent on the English south coast will holler their man home.

The way the Northern Irish did County Offaly’s Shane Lowry on that deluge of a day in County Antrim.

Champion Golfer

Open for glory in Belfast

Shane has been a unique Champion Golfer of the Year in that his reign has spanned two years.

After last year’s tournament was cancelled because of Covid.

A bit like your Travel Editor of the Year who was honoured by Irish Travel as their Travel Editor of the Year in 2019 before the world shut down.

And is yet to truly open again.

Ben Sayers outside my house in North Berwick

Golfers have, of course, been waiting excitedly to get their clubs packed again for foreign trips.

Shane knows he has little to worry from this direction as I usually stick to the driving range.

But here’s a mixed bag of my golfing misadventures abroad. Fore!

Quatre en France

Captain’s choice?

The Old Course, Cannes, France: And continental Europe’s oldest course is where to play with Cannes’ Fast Set.

You’ll even have la joie of traversing a small stream between holes on a boat.

But be sure to remember the international language of golf when slicing your shot.

As I was reminded by the match behind to shout Fore. Needless to say it wasn’t Bryson DeChambeau!

My Ryder

Are you watching Pádraig Harrington?

Quinta do Lago, Portugal: Word had obviously reached Paul McGinley and his Golf Academy in the Algarve.

That I was open for golf again.

My driving was better than my riding with me going off road on our cycle and almost ending up with the spoonbill birds.

Another round in Vegas

Hotshot: In Vegas

Topgolf, Las Vegas: And in Vegas the pitchers are the jugs of booze.

They come to your golf range table with chicken wings and dips. And it helps with your golf driving.

As I also found on a Liverpool course as a guest of Irish Ferries and Jameson Whiskey where a drinks trolley would come round every few holes.

What a Player

My pal Gary Player

Royal Liverpool, Hoylake, Wirral: The north-west of England rivals Scotland as Golfland and where I wrote a golf column.

And where I got the tip that a Japanese TV station were filming a round with Gary Player and would I like to join them.

While I channeled my inner Gary at the Press round before an Open and putted back off the clubhouse wall as Gary did in ‘74.

Turk that

Swing time in the TA lounge

Turkish Airlines Lounge, Istanbul Airport: And the dream of golf nuts who will find every opportunity to play…

An airport lounge driving range on the way back from Istanbul.

Just go easy on the cornucopia of food and drink at the TA lounge or you’ll follow through.

And fill up with Turkish treats

So we’re Open for golf again and there’s an Open invitation to you all to come and see us in North Berwick, East Lothian, Scotland.

Although my cousin Greg is still avoiding me after he stood too close to me on the tee box at North Berwick Golf Club

When we were kids and I clunked him on the head. Fore!

 

America, Countries, Culture

Happy 4th of July New America

What a difference a year makes… Happy 4th of July a new America.

A new President and new horizons.

And new (and old) visitors as the American Dream renews itself.

Party time in Vegas

Miss America meets Mr Scotland in Vegas

I think we’d all agree that after the year we’ve had we need a party.

And the partiest party place of all is Party Town, Las Vegas.

Where they’re getting set to roll out the red, white and blue carper for us.

FlyOver Vegas

Fly the West

Vegas is showcasing its new ritzy feature, The FlyOver, this Fall.

This is a multi-sensory journey through the West’s most iconic locations.

They’ll be the Las Vegas Strip, the grandest of canyons, the Grand Canyon, Zion and Arches National Parks and Lake Tahoe.

Magic Vegas

Viva Las Vegas

So how does it work? Well, all the fun happens on a moving platform with a 6 degree of motion.

And anyone who has been to Universal Orlando and ridden the Harry Potter Forbidden Journey simulator knows that these things rock.

The simulator is next to the Hard Rock Cafe on Las Vegas Boulevard and boasts…

An expansive space with two flight-ride theatres, pre-show entertainment area and, of course, a bar to settle your stomachs.

Zipline Vegas

Fly Vegas

You can see Vegas below you too on a SlotZilla zipline whizz through Downtown, Old Vegas.

Today Vegas will roll two Fourth of Julys into one.

So whether that’s a pool party, out on the Strip or at a show then Americans will be sparking in their fave fun city today.

And they’ll be lighting up the sky too with the fireworks displays they do so well.

Miley’s Vegas

Miley high

Multiple hotels will take part, including Caesars Palace, the Aria, Planet

Hollywood, Treasure Island, The Venetian, The Strat and the brand new Resorts World.

And boy will they be celebrating, as only Vegas can, with Miley Cyrus showcasing the grand opening at their AYU Dayclub.

Cammy over some time

All of which will be shown on the huge LED screen from 9pm with the fireworks going off all over town from 11pm.

Miley, of course, will guarantee that it’s going to be a Party in the USA. Or NewSA, if you like.

So Happy 4th July New America and we’ll see you all again soon.

When we see at last a new UK and a new Ireland.

My Vegas friends

And Elvis is there too

Over to our leaders then.

I have an appointment with Cammy from Utah and so many other Vegas friends this Fall.

But I need movement on removal of restrictions so we can have our independence back.

 

 

America, Countries, Culture

Pride and joy

The Tarts and Tramps was always a rite of passage for Aberdeen University Freshers students in the Eighties, and I dare say it’s their Pride and joy still.

Quite whether students get a chance to glam and glum it up in a meaningful Freshers week in September remains to be seen.

Hugs around the world

But encouragingly Pride events will be held around the world this month.

Changed from last year when we all rallied together to make the most of it all digitally.

My attention was drawn by one of Las Vegas’s finest music acts, Imagine Dragons, championing Pride.

Flagging up Pride

It just so happens that I’m at my campest in the Oo-Es-of-EH and the 

Cariqueen and it’s that love of a good pun which makes me fit right in.

By rights we who travel for a living would have been boogieing it up in Party City.

That is of course Las Vegas, where I should be now at the US Travel Fair.

My beardie matches: In California

Their Pride party is legendary as is their entertainment.

With the Beach Boys and Snoop Dogg entertaining us last time up in Anaheim.

And OneRepublic rocking Red Rocks in Denver the year before.

Red Rocks in Denver

We’ll hopefully do the American Travel Fair all over again in the Fall.

Where, yes, Pride will be behind us.

But I know someone from my last Vegas trip, Cami from Utah.

My Pride and joy, who I might just still be married to!