Adventure, Africa, Countries, Culture, Deals, Food

Holiday Snaps – Capes of good hope

And, yes, you read that right. I’m talking of the Eastern and Western Capes of South Africa and the Good Hope of returning ine day.

TV chef Gregg Wallace has been conjuring up memories of the Eastern Cape foe me in his ITV travelogue series, sponsored by Saga Holidays.

Where last week he went on safari at the Amakahla Game Reserve, just north-west of Port Elizabeth, and this week goes west to Table Mountain et al.

Chin chin: Gregg Wallace in South Africa

Of course Gregg got stuck into biltong, the dried cured meat they all eat out there.

The promo video shows Gregg toasting us with a South African white you can almost taste.

But a piece of advice, Gregg, if you really want to go native then you need to put ice in the wine.

Bergamo stands alone

Bergamo Molamia: Stay strong

Mola Mia… and I’m glad to see that Ryanair is giving Bergamo back its name in its latest tranche of offers and not just aa an appendage of Milan.

They flag up the medieval jewel of Lombardy at up to €30 off which takes you to their €23.99 one-way deal for Milan Bergamo.

Bur hey, Bergamo wasn’t built in a day… and I’ll share all its history and how it has rallied from being the doorway for Covid in Europe.

Una ciocolatta di calda densa: In Bergamo

Book foe Bergamo and a raft of destinations by January 13. Travel between April 1 and October 31.

Ryanair helpfully shares where you can get a Covid test near you.

Sandals in the sand

Blessed: Saint Lucia

Or more accurately on the runway. Actually the plane on the runway but then my hour in Saint Lucia just whetted my appetite.

My Saint Lucian pal Jerry, the Big Rapper, from my G Adventures tour of Jordan had given me the skinny on his island.

And how he had plans for writing a guide book.

Look out for that when you’re out in Saint Lucia at Sandals who have a January sale on.

They have seven nights at the Sandals Regency La Toc with travel dates in September and October.

Fly with British Airways and stay in a honeymoon luxury.

Now I’ve experience of a couples hotel in Barbados and a Sandals on the south of the island too,

While, if you want to island hop, Saint Lucia is the stop-off for another prize destination Tobago.

Caribbean, Countries, Culture, Deals, Europe, Ireland

Holiday Snaps – Black Magic Friday

And we’ve had many a black Friday this year. Saturday through to Thursday as well, it must be said.

So let’s make this a Black Magic Friday, home and abroad, with these offers for the day that’s in it.

Donegal is so on point

And your own lake

Harvey’s Point, Donegal: And Donegal is the magical Irish county to escape life for a while.

The award-winning Harvey’s Point ate offering a 10% discount on all gift vouchers purchased online through Monday.

And the vouchers are valid for three years.

Inter the InterContinental

Dip your toe in

InterContinental, Dublin: And not just because of the picture above, although it doesn’t harm it.

But because i was able to bring my own lady of leisure, and today’s birthday girl as it happens, here for a bit of spoiling in the past.

While I also enjoyed many a function there too, an oasis next to my work in Ballsbridge.

The refurbed InterCon is offering a €290 dinner, B&B, complimentary suite upgrade for two.

Book between now and December 2 for a stay between December 2 and March 2021.

Get your Sandals on

Sandals, West Indies: And after the year we’ve had we owe it to ourselves.

Sandals will always be about the hot tub, and bottle of Champagne and free mini-bar which got replenished every day.

On an unforgettable first trip to Barbados.

Well, Sandals are all over the Caribbean and have some tasty Black Friday treats.

Seven nights at the Caribbean Grand Luxe for the dates May 1-June 30 from £1865pp.

Jamaica is one that has got away in the past but won’t in the future.

Stay seven nights at the Riviera Bamboo Grove Premium from £1399pp for the sane travel dates.

MEET YOU ON THE ROAD

Caribbean, Countries, Deals, Ireland, UK

Holiday Snaps – Staycations and Dubcations

So one of you loyal Bandininis and Bandanettes has asked where the term Staycation originated?

And the answer is Stacey Shun!

The more prosaic explanation is that it belongs to the Canadian comedian Brent Butt from the TV show Corner Gas in the episode Mail Fraud from 2005.

And a view of the gardens

I guess he’s the Butt of all jokes!

Of course the times we’re in has thrown up a whole plethora of new terms.

I’m hungry

To which our friends at our fave Dublin hotel, the InterContinental Dublin, have added Dubcation.

The InterCon, as anyone in Dublin’s rugby heartland knows, is the old Four Seasons.

And that it is Ireland’s greatest international that never was Ross O’Carroll-Kelly.

I’m looking forward to, as I always do at this time of the year, to the new Ross book with COVID at the heart of it, and Staycationing and Dubcations.

Bed down

Try out their new Lobby Lounge among all the other old faves including ESPA pampering, and watch out for my interview with ESPA founder soon.

Their Luxury Dining Escape Package is available from €145pps per night, including bed, breakfast, dinner, complimentary car parking and access to the Wellness Area.

Sing Montego Bay

I think I remember but it’s twice as good, Like how cool his rum is from his silver tray, I cool to be thirsty in Montego Bay – Bobby Bloom

It‘s the first thing you’ll be offered, even before water… a rum punch, and usually. a steel pan band.

Jamaica has long been on the radar. I recall being asked in Barbados what my favourite Caribbean island was.

The answer had, of course, to be Barbados, but there was an onus on me to collect islands with which to compare. Which led me to Tobago.

Irie. So this brings me to my old faves Sandals and their new Montego Bay On Sale package.

Seven nights at the Sandals Ochi Beach from €1445pps. Travel dates: June 1-July 31.

You’ll stay in a Riviera Bamboo Grove Premium with Virgin Atlantic flights thrown in.

And a big welcome here to to the new Barbados Minister for Tourism Lisa Cummins… you know where I am, Minister!

Virtual odysseys

And with our leaders around the Western World keeping us under house arrest, for fear that we might catch foreignavirus, we’re all going on a Virtual Odyssey.

It does allow more of the world into our homes though while we wait to get back out there.

Japan, where it will be next year with the Olympics in Tokyo, have a Matsuri Presents weekend live streaming on website and social media channels.

A Virtual AsianCation of you will.

You’ll get to see martial arts, kamishibai theatre performances and food demos.

The programme will run from 10am-8pm on Saturday, September 26 and 9pm-8pm, Sunday, September 27.

I’ll get my kimono out or borrow one from my old friends Stewart and Hisayo.

I’m sure they’ll have one in the wardrobe from their Scots-Japanese wedding on the island of Islay.

When we broke the sake box and wished them Koun o.

And now I have the bit between the teeth and I know you like a series why don’t I kick off a series Virtual Odyssey.

MEET YOU ON THE VIRTUAL ODYSSEY

America, Caribbean, Countries, Cruising, Culture, Deals, Ireland

Holiday Snaps… why we don’t want 24/7 sunshine

Yes, you read that right, as 24/7 sunshine like we had been getting in the UK means the world is dying that little bit quicker.

While strewth, at the other end of the world, our Australian cousins have been shivering.

And that includes their kangaroos… and snowllabies.

Kangaroos in Australia www.bbc.co.uk

No, best keep the hot places where they’ve always been and the cold ones too.

Imagine Barbados, Tobago and the Caribbean and its people without their sunny disposition.

Thankfully we don’t have to…

Woooah, we’re going to Barbados

With Sandals offering seven nights from £2375pp with travel dates May 1-June 30 at the Sandals Royal Barbados.

You’ll be staying in a south sea crystal lagoon club level Barbados suite with Balcony Tranquility Soaking Tub. With flights from Virgin Atlantic,

And I know a thing or two about Tranquillity Soaking Tubs.

A welcome from the Nations

And I’m channeling the good guys

We’re on the eve of the 400th anniversary of the First Thanksgiving Dinner in Plymouth, New England next year.

When the Pilgrims and the Natives shared harvest.

And that alas, if it happened like that at all, is when the sharing stopped and the newcomers took their land and sent them packing.

The pipes of peace

Which is probably where the Choctaw Indians and the Irish were sent to Hell or Connaught by the same British forged their links.

The Choctaw sent money to the starving Irish during the Famine and the Irish reciprocated during these COVID times.

And that’s the subject that remains hanging in the air from the last AIATA webinar.

I’ll return to it and my Native American friends whom I first met in Washington DC and then again in Denver and LA

Wigwam Jim

When I’ll get me the American Travel fair that COVID robbed me of in Vegas.

AIANTA’s will come from Albuquerque next month and will reach us all virtually with the organisers waiving the registration fees.

I’ll be there to bring you all the news.

And it’s gentle cruising

Aran Islands

The sea oh the sea is the gradh geal mo croide. Long may it stay between England and me. It’s a sure guarantee that some day we’ll be free. Oh thank God we’re surrounded by nothing. – The Dubliners

And for the uninitiated those strange Irish words mean ‘sweet love of my heart’.

The song is a celebration of Irish waters.

Including my favourite Meeting of the Waters in my erstwhile County Wicklow home which was immortalised by poet Thomas Moore.

My old friends at Travel Department are used to taking us to exotic places near and far.

Connemara’s old sod

And now in Ireland too.

Galway, Connemara and the Aran Islands is from €599pp for three nights including 3* B&B hotel, transfers, excursions and local guide.

Depart October. Ring (00353) 1 637 1600.

MEET YOU ON THE WATER (AND LAND)

 

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!