Asia, Europe, Flying, UK

Flyday Friday – Flight to the Promised Land

God’s people had spent years in exile, facing down plague and pestilence to get to the Promised Land.

Sound familiar.

But they got there… and so will we.

The Holy City

Pegasus www.flypgs.com are resuming flights from Wednesday (three times a week) from London Stansted to Tel Aviv via Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen.

From €244.99 one-way or on the Pegasus mobile app.

And like the Chosen People I have waited for this.

G force

From the moment I was invited by G Adventures https://www.gadventures.co.uk/on a Jordan http://uk.visitjordan.com/mobile/Home.aspx and Israel two-week cultural trip.

Lie back and think of the Middle East

And herein a lesson to us all. I altruistically opted for the alternative Jordan trip rather than leave my workmates to cover me for another week.

It did allow me to empathise with Moses when he reached Mount Nebo and looked over The Promised Land but was forbidden to enter because of a row with God.

I’ve been trying to get on God’s good side praying furiously in lockdown… I don’t want to give HIM any reason to block me.

Auld Greeky

Echoes of Athens in Edinburgh

And this one you’ll get if you’re from Edinburgh or are a fan of the Scottish capital.

The city was known as Auld Reeky on account of the smell which came up from the lochs, or lakes, across from the Old Town.

Which was dredged and made into today’s Princes Street Gardens with bridges put over the new land to the newly-built New Town.

Athens of the North

And the architecture inspired the name Athens of the North.

And why am I telling you this?

Athens of the South

Because Edinburgh Airport is resuming flights again to Greece https://athensattica.com and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/dresdens-renaissance-martin-luther/europe/my-greek-odyssey/.

And France https://www.google.ie/amp/s/about-france.com/mobi/index-amp.htm, and Italy http://www.italia.it/en/home.html.

And here’s how I see it… The Boat D’Azur and The Lourdes prayer. And https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/04/11/padova-city-of-frescoes/amp/, Small roads lead to Rome and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/04/see-rome-on-e50/.

What a difference a year makes

Service with a smile behind the mask

I’m reminded that this time last year I was being entertained by Etihad www.etihad.com on board one of their planes in Dublin Airport,

And although none of us knew then what was coming down the tracks I was struck by how adaptable and innovative Etihad were.

And it will serve them well as they set out their plans for flying to more than 50 destinations worldwide.

The way it was: Etihad last year

Now with flexible fares and the opportunity to change the date of your flight for free if you need to.

Well, well, well

I’ve already told you about their Wellness Ambassadors at every point of your journey. And a wellness kit.

All’s well then!

MEET YOU IN THE SKIES

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.

Countries, Deals, Europe, Ireland, UK

Flyday Friday – Airlines to sue British Government

Quarantine used to be something reserved for pets…

And don’t you just feel like you’re being treated like a dog by our UK Government?

So it’s good to see Ryanair, British Airways www.britishairways.com and EasyJet https://www.easyjet.com/en taking it to bungling Boris Johnson and the preposterous Priti Patel and threatening legal action.

Change is good at Ryanair

We’ve all been there when life gets in the way.

Or you just muck up your booking by not reading the times properly. OK, that’s just me.

And yes I’ve heard the horror stories of how you can never get through to a real person in customer support.

And when you do you’re more likely to get blood out of a stone.

Just the ticket

But when it came to it and I needed to transfer my booking to Tenerife, and it was entirely my fault, Ryanair www.ryanair.com came good.

The low-fare airline has a summer sale on with 100,000 seats from €19.99.

But it does have a deadline of tonight, June 19.

And there are no flight change fees for July and August.

Barceloner!

This time last year I was moving through the throngs in Barcelona https://www.barcelonaturisme.com/wv3/en/ and https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/24/messi-around-on-the-water/amp/ on the hottest day of the year.

You’ll maybe not have La Rambla all to yourself but you will have room to run around.

AerClub together

We all love our club.

It might be Celtic, Chelsea, Barcelona, Ajax, Roma or the Boston Red Sox. Me? It’s AerClub.

And they’re offering the chance to win a €250 SuperValu voucher.

Or 10,000 Avios points which is enough for return flights to Paris, Amsterdam or London.

All cities I have taken you around… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/04/16/mother-of-god/, Pictures of Amsterdam, George Clooney and Amal’s Amsterdam hotel. And The London life

Our friends at the national airline carrier www.aerlingus.com have even thrown in some free recipe ideas.

To get us in the mood, from French ratatouille to Italian pizza to Spanish tray-bake.

Bonjour, s’il vous plais attendez

Brevement, if you’re a true European, or live in one of those idiosyncratic countries like the Vatican State, Liechtenstein, Andorra and San Marino among others, you’re welcome in France.

If you’re say Spanish then you’ll have to wait until Sunday.

Then you’ll get back over the border without being put into a 14-day quarantine.

Bordering on excellence

The French-Spanish border is one of Europe’s oldest continuous dividers.

Although not as old as the Andorra frontier with France and Spain which dates from 1278.

Of course there being Basques on both sides of the north-west corner of Spain and south-west of France there’s only one thing for it.

Get out there and put one foot in each.

Visit www.france.fr, https://tourism.euskadi.eus/en/The Lourdes prayer and Water way to go in Biarritz.

If you’re British then you’ll have to make do with a good book or film or your holiday snaps.

Until this UK quarantine lunacy ends.

MEET YOU IN THE SKIES

Countries, Culture, Deals, Europe, Food, Food & Wine, Ireland, UK

Dans La Rue en France

La Scary One does all the driving from Chez Murty.

She grabs hold of the inside lever on the door as soon as I turn the ignition on.

So as not to hurt my feelings she says it’s because she taught me how to drive.

Red-hot

The owner of the French Fiat 501 firm in Mandelieu-La-Napoule was less diplomatic The Boat D’Azur.

Does this car look big in me?

And after I’d stalled his car in the car park for the third time, with its gearstick on the dashboard, he put his hand out for the keys.

There was a frosty drive around the French Riviera until we met up with our hosts again.

A pool all to yourself?

All of which circuitous route from A to B brings me round to Airelles’ three and seven-night road trips in the South of France https://www.france.fr/en.

Chateau living

Where you’ll stay at Airelles Gordes, La Bastide in the hilltop village of Gordes, Château d’Estoublon, a stone’s throw from Les Baux de Provence and Château de la Messardière, a stone’s throw from Les Baux de Provence and Chateau de La Messardiere in St Tropez.

Al Fresco dining

Airelles is naturally flagging up the culinary delights of France and its spas which Le Scary One would be all over.

A week to remember

But as thoughts during lockdown turned to dream trips she did put in a request for lavender fields which is just what Airelles is offering.

And drinking

The seven-night road trip breaks down into:

Two nights in a Superior Valley Room at La Bastide, Gordes,

And a further two nights in a Residence at Chateau d’Estoublon, Les Baux-de-Provence.

Room with a view

And three nights in a Superior Seaview Room at Chateau de la Messardiere, St Tropez.

From €7,000 (£6,250) based on two sharing. Full board (excluding drinks).

Un jardin to yourself too

Three-day trip

The three-night road trip includes:

Enjoy one night in a Superior Valley Room at Ka Bastide, Gordes.

One night in a Residence at Chateau d’Estoublon, Les Baux-de-Provence.

And another night in a Superior Seaview Room at Chateau de la Messardiere, St Tropez.

From €3,000 (£3,125). Full board (excluding drinks).

Food for thought

And they’ll throw in daily picnic baskets with lots of goodies in them. The trip is flexible around your needs and dates. Visit experience@airelles.com.

America, Countries, Europe, Ireland, UK

My Sporting Weekend – Golf and social distancing

Because I’d often be deep in rough when my playing partner was down the fairway – yes, golf is the best sport for social distancing.

And also because nothing makes you want to keep your distance more than having to listen to your boss on the course talk about his share options or his new car.

Ir’s not that I dislike golf, or professional or amateur golfers. In fact I used to cover golf.

And was happy to revisit the Open when it returned to Northern Ireland www.discovernorthernireland.com last summer for the first time in neatly 60 years.

And even joined the legendary Gary Player around Royal Liverpool, Hoylake, as he played a round of golf for Japanese television.

North Berwick

It’s just social golfers that I try to avoid like the, er COVID-19.

Not the social golfers like my Dear Old Mum and Dad, you understand, who used to play on my Dad’s half-day.

The Golf Coast

Not that my Dad seemed to enjoy it all that much… he’d mutter away to himself and shake his head all round.

Here in North Berwick on Scotland’s Golf Coast https://scotlandsgolfcoast.com and www.visitscotland.com. you can play on 21 of 30 coasts.

Another home of golf

There was little that my Dear Old Mum and Dad liked better than playing golf in my Mum’s homestead of Co. Donegal www.visitdonegal.com and www.tourism.com.

While my old stomping ground of Co. Wicklow www.visitwicklow.com is more than a match.

If you like your golf then join me as I swung my way through…

The Old Course in Mandelieu-La Napoule in the French Riviera www.france.fr and The Boat D’Azur.

And at the Paul McGinley Golf Academy in Quinta do Lago www.quintadolago.com and www.visitportugal.com.

Just off the Strip in Las Vegas www.lvcva.com and Strip… the light fantastic.

And in the Turkish Airlines Business Lounge of Istanbul Airport www.turkishairlines.com and Wham bam, thank you Hamam

MEET YOU ON THE COURSE… AT A SAFE DISTANCE

#DontCancekPostpone.

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We will delight them on the beaches

We’re all different and my elder brother would prefer to stay in the hotel in Ibiza rather than hit the beaches.

My parents loved the beach and my Mum, in particular, loved to sunbathe.

Me being the restless sort and never a strong swimmer I preferred a beach game.

And I spent a week in Menorca playing Boules with German boy Uwe at the age of 9.

We didn’t share a word but we shared a love of sand as do parasol supplier We Are Promotional http://www.wearepromotional.co.uk/printed-branded-parasols-pubs-breweries/.

Beach boys (and girls)

They have given us this survey of our habits.

Which I’ll pick through for you.

The most expensive beach on amenities including luxury huts and parking is Renaissance Island, Aruba at £302.54pp.

And the cheapest is Huiquan Bathing Beach, China at £8.94pp.

In among them is Bournemouth. If fate had taken a different turn I could have been working there. http://www.visitbournemouth.com.

Fourth in the table at £168pp I’d have been looking for that factored into my salary.

Which would have had to be good to save up for those beach huts.

Fun for all the family

Huiquan again is the place to go for families (of four) at £34.96.

Beach bummin’ it

But I picked out Bathsheba Beach on the east of Barbados… let me share https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/rihanna-in-barbados/. And check out http://www.visitbarbados.org.

There I ate a bucket of Bajan chicken, Banks beer in hand and waves crashing around my feet.

We Are Promotional costs Bathesba Beach at £108.03 including water sports, ice cream, lunch and beers.

Get there early: For your sun loungers

It’s always tempting if you’re up early and see an abandoned beach just to snuck up on a sunlounger and parasol and grab it.

I very nearly did it in Fort Lauderdale last December.

While I was intrigued to find the prices at Nazare in Portugal.

Portugeezers on the beach

Which is one of the best short-haul holiday countries for those living in Britain and Ireland (http://www.visitportugal.com).

At €18.89 it’s not as expensive as Waikiki in Hawaii, at £40.06.

But I’d still recommend the beaches of Portugal Centro between Oporto and Lisbon as a better alternative. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/secret-portugal/.

Tricks on the water

I’ve never worked out water sports. I tend to inhale when I should be exhaling.

Water show

But the Cool Set in Biarritz know what they’re doing.

The French Riviera resort comes third on their list of price of water sports at £89.90pp.

And let me show Biarritz off to you. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-boat-dazur/. And visit https://www.france.fr/en.

Behind the most expensive, Coney Island in the US at £216.32pp.

And lastly, and most importantly in many’s eyes, ice cream.

It’s more than a euro a lick at Railay Beach, Thailand at £22.19pp.

Brighton rocks

Compare that with the tenth, Brighton at £4. And they’re all top tens. Visit www.visitbrighton.com.

My 99 in the beautiful beach town of Greystones, Co. Wicklow where I live is just €2.50… and the pound and euro are virtual parity. http://www.visitwicklow.ie.

Watch out for my top beaches in a blog coming to you soon.

While I’ll also share with you the origins of the 99, my old Sandy stomping ground of Portobello, Edinburgh.

MEET YOU ON THE SAND