America, Asia, Countries, Europe

Submariners and life under the sea

You been keeping Vigil these nights and got to thinking about abut submariners and life under the sea.

Well thankfully we don’t have to plunge the depths to get a sense of what submariners had to go through.

I’m sure there’s one sitting down in the port near you…. or somewhere in your country.

New York Up Periscope

Depth charge

I stumbled upon mine in New York as a ticket in my CityPass book.

And I spent a couple of hours out of the Manhattan heatwave at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum

Walking through the cramped USS Growler with others.

And ducking your head through the doorways gives you a sense of the challenges these subterraneans faced.

Without of course seeing the sky for weeks on end and worrying that you could get blown up at any minute.

Of course Manhattan has the advantage of being an island surrounded by water.

Jordan jumps

Get back in: The Red Sea

But you can find submarine anywhere even landlocked countries as long as they’ve got a stretch of water.

And so in Jordan on my G Adventures trip they have the Dead and the Red Sea.

Now I’m no scientist but would the sub not float to the salty surface… this sub(editor) certainly did.

But the Jordanians did drop a submarine in the Red Sea to encourage marine life (and snorkelers) to swim through.

Now, while we’ve all been hibernating they’ve been up periscoping in places we wouldn’t expect.

Swiss subs

Swiss dip: On Lake Lucerne

Such as Switzerland, bang in the middle of Europe.

So let our Swiss friends take it away just like they took me away with Swiss Air.

‘Dive into the mystical darkness deep below the surface and glide weightlessly through adventure-filled underwater worlds..

‘Visitors can explore old wrecks in Lake Lucerne on an unforgettable dive.

‘Go to depths of up to 120 metres in Switzerland’s only passenger submarine.

The P-63

Tourist ahoy: In Lake Lucerne

The P-63 submarine is equipped with state-of-the-art technology and safety systems.

‘And it offers passenger trips for one to three people.’

 

America, Countries, Culture, Europe, Ireland, Music, UK

Rainy Days and Songdays – Sweet Caroline, so good!

Hands, touching hands/Reaching out, touching me, touching you – Sweet Caroline/Neil Diamond

And this’ll have you bopping on land or sea… Sweet Caroline, oh, oh, oh, good times never felt so good (so good, so good, so good).

Reaching out: Neil Diamond

You always know you’re onto a rousing stadium song and party favourite when the crowd know their cues.

And so randomly here are some of the places where those good times with Neil Diamond have never felt so good.

The duel in the crown

I don’t know what you’re having

Pat O’Brien’s duelling pianos, Universal Orlando: And you’ll need to bring a fistful of dollars with you (no, not the film though I dare say they’d play that soundtrack too).

Somebody will almost certainly ask for Sweet Caroline, and Piano Man, so that leaves the field open for your other faves.

Randomly I asked for (and got) Barry Manilow’s Mandy… ‘And I came and I gave without taking, and you sent me away, I’m Murty.’

Summer in New York

Holding hands… well, almost

The Beast, The Hudson River, New York: And on the hottest day of the summer with no space on the sidewalk (remember that) then the best place to go is the Hudson.

You’ll want to take the 70ft powerboat The Beast building up to 45mph around the Statue of Liberty.

And as you pass by New Jersey on the other side there’s a nod to that state’s favourite sons Bon Jovi and Livin’ On A Prayer.

Check it out as part of your New York CityPASS.

A gran old time in Austria

And that’s Ehrwald Presley there on the keyboards

Ehrwald, Austria: And what do you give a group of Irish senior walkers for musical entertainment?

The octogenarian oompah-oompah man laid on by Top Flight for Schools had tried some Austrian music and some Elvis.

But one of our group pointed out that we were an Irish group and ran off a list of Irish Wedding Songs… and obviously Sweet Caroline.

Booze cruise

And wait till the party gets started

Royal Caribbean, the English Channel: And we’re in the main shopping and entertainment area, of the Independence of the Seas rockin’ on our final night.

We’ve had the DJ belt out Hi Ho Silver Lining, 500 Miles, Delilah and It’s Not Unusual.

But the one that really rocks the boat is… you guessed it Sweet Caroline. So good, so good, so good.

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In 2020 bring the world to you in Vegas

The Bells, the Bells! And that’s just the Bell’s whisky!

In the words of the world’s most famous binman, that great sage Coronation Street’s Norman ‘Curly’ Watts:

‘Who told the Scots that they owned New Year?’

Being of the Scots variety myself I’d just taken it for granted that it was ours.

So like the rest of us Caledonians I partied over the TWO (count them) public holidays.

But what of the other places around the world where they hold New Year’s parties too.

All Greek to me

Athens: They’ve been waving their togas around and clinking vessels of wine while we were still scratching ourselves and drawing on walls.

And they still are up at the Acropolis (although I can’t swear to the togas bit).

But there are few better backdrops for a New Year’s fireworks party than Athens’ most iconic landmark… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrlU10r2zOA 

I know all about the Acropolis having endured a modern-day Odyssey to get there in the autumn of last year (still sounds funny to write that).

Read all about it as you plan your travel itinerary for this year… Acropolis later and http://www.athensattica.com.

I can’t recommend Lufthansa http://www.lufthansa.com and Aegean Airlines http://www.aegeanair.com highly enough after they got me out of a jam. Which is why it was an odyssey.

Never sleeps

New York: The Big Apple is a film set at any time of the year and we all know the tradition of the ball drop in Times Square (and I thought that was all behind me as a teenager).

But regardless of what you might be told it’s not just us tourists who pack out the square on the last day of the old year… my  own NY rellies do too.

Of course the neon lights, billboards and skyscrapers are worth seeing any time of the year.

And if you do then check out my pal Tom’s Beacon Hotel, the jewel of the Upper West Side. He loves all visitors but especially the Irish…. https://www.beaconhotel.com 

While check out the New York websites and avail of the City Pass too for the best way around the great city… http://www.nycvb.com and http://www.citypass.com

The great thing about Ireland and the States is just that… but also the pre-clearance.

A dam good party

Amsterdam: The Son and Heir’s pal Amsterdam Andy, although he hails from Bray he’s been given the moniker (by me) on account of working there now.

I’m well jel.

The Rembrandtplein is one of the best squares in a city where there is no shortage of them.

Mainly on account of the sculpture recreation of the Nighwatch https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/pictures-of-amsterdam/which you can place yourself in for a photo… of course we did.

If you’re feeling flush then fork out for the Dylan Hotel which is where George and Amal stay…. you deserve it https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/george-and-amal-hotel/

Visit http://www.iamsterdam.com.

There’s another Scotland

Glasgow: I know all about Edinburgh having lived ten years there and Daddy’s Little Girl being born there.

And I also enjoyed more than my fair share of Hogmanays (don’t ask me why) at Merkat Cross in my student days before the whole action was moved up to the Castle and Princes Street.

But while Edinburgh prides itself on its New Year celebrations, its great rival Glasgow has a party every weekend.

The George Square party in 1990 was legendary as it heralded in the Dear Green Place’s year as European City of Culture.

When two likely lads stood in Princes Street in Edinburgh with a signpost saying ‘you are only 55 miles away from the European City of Culture.’

Stay at the http://www.carlton.nl/en/hotel-george-glasgow. In typical first-footing welcoming style they will leave you a bar at the top of the hotel in your private lounge too!

And visit http://www.peoplemakeglasgow.com, the website which does what it says on the tin.

Vegas, baby

And only because my year is revolving around my IPW American Travel Fair trip http://www.ipw.com to host city Las Vegas http://www.lvcvb.com.

It’s the ultimate party city at the ultimate party time of the year.

A travel colleague was in touch as soon as the bells had rung to talk about what we were going to do.

I don’t know but I’ll be on the lookout for Cami, a Utah transvestite who I might just have proposed to.

But what stays in… well, you know the rest.

Stay at the Palazzo at The Venetian http://www.venetian.com. And read all about my adventures in https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/vegas-strip-the-light-fantastic/

Because if you can’t get around the whole world at New Year or any time of the year (and I am trying my best) come to Vegas.

Where the world is on your doorstep… Paris up the road, Venice here and even ancient Egypt too.

I love it… fly out with British Airways, I did http://www.ba.com.

And I’ll be giving it plenty in 2020.

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Holiday Snaps – Berlin Walls and Philly Bells

I’m indebted to reader Mark Konig @_markkoenig for his comments on my thoughts on the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

In my blog https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/11/10/when-the-berlin-wall-came-crashing-down/

Mark questioned ‘how could the Walll be a symbol of USSR?’

And, yes. it is important to say that this was the GDR and that the greater political bloc was the Soviet-driven Warsaw Pact.

Berlin fixture: The Brandenburg Gate Photo by Adrien Olichon on Pexels.com

Mark also rightly pointed out that I had focused merely on the exodus to the West through Hungary and that I had missed a lot of history/change before.

And he helpfully pointed me in the direction of http://www.the-berlin-wall.com for video clips and chronology on the key dates and events leading up to the Fall of the Wall.

Like I always say the best way to find out about a city, country, resort is to listen to the people on the ground… and to go there!

Dresden history: Ingrid and I

Like I did in Dresden where Ingrid led me by the nose… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/dresdens-renaissance-martin-luther/

If you want to know more about Berlin then put yourself in the hands of Click & Go http://www.clickandgo.com who are offering a City Break from €159pp in January.

Philly state of mind

What a cracker: Liberty Bell in Philly

I’m an impatient old sod.

Which is a bit off when I ask you to be so patient while I go off on all manner of tangents.

Which I did when I went to Washington DC for the American Travel Fair, IPW 2017 http://www.ipw.com,

And I also had a day out to hit Philadelphia.

Knowing I would only have half a dozen hours there I kept looking at my watch as I stood in the queue.

And I regaled the driver with my compelling need to make up time on the road when he eventually got going.

It wasn’t as if the Bell was going anywhere.

But I was as excited as an American Literature and History grad I was as excited as a kid at Christmas.

Rocky and Jocky: In Philly

It was crackin’…

And I also got bristly with the locals.

When I asked that they didn’t take the flag down at the Town Hall until I’d taken a selfie.

The answer is to spend longer there and Cassidy Travel http://www.cassidytravel.ie agree…

Flag happy: In Old Philly

They’ve got a three-night stopover in Philadephia in March from €825pp.

You’ll be staying in the 4* Home2 Suites by Hilton Convention Center.

Before jetting to the Big Apple for three nights in the 4* New Yorker Hotel.

Its Midtown West location puts you in the heart of Manhattan, just steps from Times Square.

There’s always something new in New York https://www.nycvb.com… and old https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/21/old-new-york-hamilton/

New York, Old York

Flight from Dublin departs 6 March. Call Cassidy Travel on 01 8786888 or book in one of their nine stores across Dublin.

Card happy

Also check out the City pass in Philly and New York… https://www.citypass.com/philadelphia and https://www.citypass.com/new-york

Mark and the rest of you, who I value more than any other Blogger out there will have noticed that this Holiday Snaps is on a Thursday.

Rather than a weekend.

Well, there’s so much out there I thought I’d snap to it and bring you more snaps whenever and wherever.

MEET YOU ON THE ROAD