Countries, Europe

Canaries song of the black beach

Now that we can, let’s sing a song again, a Canaries song of the black beach.

Now Canarian beaches strike up the image for many package holidaymakers of the south of Tenerife.

But the west and the north are more dramatic and less busy.

Life’s a beach

By hook or by crook in Tenerife

Now you may have thoughts on other indoors sporting matters this weekend.

But if you are like me and live by the beach your mind may drift off to foreign sand.

All of which is why we’re sharing here great Canarian beaches.

And a shout out here to experts on all things Tinerfenos, Michael and Niamh.

Sing for Canaries

Saltire In Tenerife

I’ll place a particular emphasis, of course, on specifically Canarian beaches which you don’t really get elsewhere.

Tenerife is renowned for its black beaches on account of its volcanic terrain.

And yes, golden sand between your toes is the idyll.

But they don’t tell you that the sand sticks to your toes and gets everywhere.

Which you don’t get with black sand…

And kids (and the big kids among us) love to make a black sandcastle.

Black is back

Lanzarote rocks!

Playa de las Arenas, on the West coast, and Playa Jardin, on the north coast are to be recommended.

Black beaches too are a staple in Lanzarote, La Gomera and El Hierro.

El Golfo (so they’ll have sand traps) in Lanzarote…

Santa Catalina in La Gomera (and get someone to whistle to you).

And Playa Del Verodal in El Hierro (and remember to search for El Hierro inside of you).

Tbe Way to go

And the prize at the end

A water-swept black beach at the end of a walk around the cliffs and volcanic hills of the Canaries is a realisable oasis.

Just as well then that our friends at Canariaways include a stop there in their itinerary.

It truly is a walk through the ages.

And we’re happy to sing s song, a Canaries song of the black beach.

 

America, Asia, Countries, Culture, Europe

Spring forward, fall back – time zones around the world

I always keep my watch set at the time of the last country I’ve been to so today that’ll be the Czech Republic.

The idea is to keep something of that destination and wanderlust with me though it can cause problems in the morning.

Beer O’Clock in Zatec

My strange habit all chimes with the Czechs, of course, with their love of an astronomical clock.

Prague‘s biggest attraction, in the Old Town Square obvs but also the clock in Hoptown, Zatec, and its homage to beer.

Scot late the Great

You’re late… but that’s OK in Edinburgh

Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh: And, of course, today I’ve been all over the place, and logging on for work that was a full month ago.

Now the fastidious and ever-so-decent people of Edinburgh look after people like me.

By setting their clock three minutes fast to allow people rushing for their train at nearby Waverley Station enough time.

Set in the New Town, staring across Princes Street Gardens and up to Edinburgh Castle it also allows you more time to take it all in.

Philly’s hour of need

Billydelphia

Philadelphia City Hall, Philadelphia: And it will come as little surprise to you that I turned up for my Zoom meeting from Washington DC five hours early.

I make only a few apologies for resharing Philadelphia’s Curse of Billy Penn because clocks and times give me that opportunity today.

The 21-year curse on Philly‘s sports teams arose because of the construction of One Liberty Hall.

It exceeded the height of Billy’s statue atop City Hall… a real no, no.

It was all resolved when a statuette was affixed to the final beam topping off the Comcast Cener, now the city’s tallest building.

And the Phillies took baseball’s World Series

Tenerife timing

Give me a bell: Tenerife

Iglesia de la Concepcion, San Cristobal de La Laguna: You’ll be breathless after saying all this.

And breathless from the steps, particularly if you’ve been hiking through rain forests and hills on your CanariaWays trip.

But the views are spectacular. Just don’t ring it too early. Too late.

Ancient times

Time goes slowly: Im Petra

Petra, Jordan: And it may look like a temple to you and me but it’s actually a Treasury.

The same thing to the Nabateans.

It’s also though a timepiece with coded messages.

You won’t need Indiana Jones to decode them though.

Zuhair, G Adventures, expert man on the ground will give you the full lowdown… and Jordan Jimmy will do the rest.

Ben O’Clock

The Elizabeth Tower, Westminster, London: And, of course the tower with the most famous clockface in the world.

Only everyone thinks it’s called Big Ben.

But that is the name of the largest of its five bells.

So who was Ben? Well, either ‘Big’ Ben Hall, the first Commissioner of Works or the boxer Benjamin Caunt.

Ring-a-ding ding!

Countries, Cruising, Deals, Europe, Flying, Ireland, UK

Mac Black Friday – your Scots pal’s round-up

And the first Black Friday had nothing to do with shopping and everything to do with sheeping.

The Scottish Highlanders were only 128 miles from London on Friday, December 6, 1745, when they decided to turn their army around and head back to their sheep.

It was an ill-fated retreat and their English pursuers caught up with them at Culloden, near Inverness, on April 16, and smote them, a thing they did then and very sore.

These days the only injuries you’ll pick up are sore shins in the shopping rush, although this year it’ll be ‘digital finger’.

Your favourite Travel blogger is always happy to take one for the team so here’s my round-up.

Flyday Friday

And it’s not just off-the-rail fashion or white goods that are Black Friday regulars… we all love our airline giveaways too.

Ireland’s national airline Aer Lingus carrier have a headline offer of €100 off for a family of four bringing two checked bags to Gran Canaria in May.

While also flagging up plenty of other sun spots from which to choose.

Ryanair pride themselves on giving more away more often and are championing ‘Every Friday is Black Friday.’

Friday cruiseday

And our floating hotel firms are all about the sails.

Princess Cruises are offering deals with peak season sailings from €769pp through November 30.

They have 14 UK-based voyages from seven to 14 nights, departing between May and October.

Eleven of those voyages will travel round-trip from Southampton to destinations across northern Europe (maybe taking in here), the Med (and this) and the Canary Islands (us too).

The 3,560 guest Regal Princess will be based in the UK from April to October 30.

Fares start at €769pp for a seven-night cruise during peak season and €1209pp for a 14-night cruise.

And I’ll drink to that. On board Royal

Royal Caribbean is combining Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

And they are recommending booking a cruise this weekend and get up to $400 onboard credit and save up to $150 instantly.

And why wait? Because this is what you get and here too.

Friday skiday

Slope off to the mountains, where there’s plenty of social distancing, with Crystal Ski and get €150 off any booking up to April 2022.

All 2020/2021 holidays come with Covid Cover and free amends up to 28 days before departure.

And because Andorra is a favourite of Irish skiers. Depart January 10, stay self-catering in 3* Sant Roma Apartments, Arinsal from €292pps (four people sharing).

While Italy is mine. And why not spend yours in Sainte D’ouix, at the 3* Hotel Martin, half-board, from €544pps.

Offer runs through to Monday. Includes flights from Dublin.

And I’m not stopping there… more Black Friday deals coming up.

WATCH THIS SPACE

 

 

 

Asia, Countries, Cruising, Culture, Deals, Europe, Flying

Flyday Ferryday Friday

I’m channelling my inner Oleta Adams (the darling of the Gulf War soldiers) by saying I don’t care how I get there I’ll get there if I can.

And so I’m flagging up airplane, sailboat and maybe even camel too today although Oleta it’s not just an Arab man who uses the ‘ship of the desert’.

Canary Orange

The future is orange

And obviously this caught our attention. Prosaically because the latest map for the European Centre for Disease control has classified Ireland and the Canaries orange.

Which means that anyone returning from the Canaries doesn’t have to restrict their movements upon their return, having done a pre-departure test 72 hours before departure.

Unlike the canary Aer Lingus isn’t flying out there until December 27.

But from then you can be sure of availability out to Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and my old fave Tenerife.

A word on canaries and the Canaries and, no they’re not named after the birds but after the latin name for dogs because they had big mutts.

And as for orange canaries, well they’re really Red Canaries which can have an orange hue. Now you know.

French fancy

We are sailing

France, we’ve missed you. Like so much else this year I had my bag packed ready for an arts and culture trip to see you when this pesky bug got buggier.

But we and my ferry friends aren’t going to let this beat us and Irish Ferries are preparing for a better year next year.

Irish Ferries will operate daily overnight sailings from Dublin to Cherbourg with their new cruise ferry WB Yeats (or WB Yachts as I call it) throughout next summer.

I’ve met WB, the ship that is, but that was in Dublin Port… next stop Cherbourg 2021.

And it truly is a pleasure to sail around French shores

Cruise away to 2022

Enchanted Princess

And the thing about cruises is that you usually have to save up for them.

So Princess Cruises are giving us plenty of time to do just that with their 2022 brochure.

They will have five ships on the seas.

Pick of them (heck they’re all mouthwatering) is Enchanted Princess which will be sailing around Russia snd Scandinavia from Copenhagen.

While we’re intrigued about their festival packages.

So you can take the Crown Princess to the Edinburgh Military Tattoo,

And I promised you a camel

He’s got the hump

Now this is the one I rowed back on, the 15-day G Adventures Jordan and Israel Adventures trip.

Because I didn’t feel it was right to leave my work without me for that length of time!

It’ll take you from Amman whose charms and that of Jordan I did enjoy, to Jerusalem and every stop in between. From £1954 (was £2999). Valid from January 15.

And as I now know after making new Israeli friends at the World Travel Market you’re just as likely to need a camel here too.

Because the land of milk and honey is a half sand.

MEET YOU IN THE SKIES, SEA AND SAND

Caribbean, Countries, Culture, Europe, Flying, UK

Holiday Snaps – We’ll all be safer in Tobago

Life was so much simpler and safer in Tobago in December when I was standing in the Nylon Pool… and it is again.

After the Tobagonian island was granted a ‘Safe Travels’ stamp by the World Travel and Tourism Council.

Which means it is a standard-bearer for health and hygiene.

In fact judging by my own experiences out there you’re more likely to have your goat run away from you or fall out of your hammock.

Give me a call next time Boris

Everything in the garden is rosy

I could give you five minutes if you didn’t waffle and got to the point… Boris Johnson should make a special case for the Canaries and Balearic Islands.

So when will our politicians start following the best practices of our neighbours over localising quarantines?

The Canary Islands have had just 2,483 COVID-19 cases over the pandemic, while the Balearics have recorded just 2,290.

And have been proportionately below UK rates.

I just hope the rest of the world don’t think we’re all of us Europhobes in the UK.

And where else?

Of Corisican

And hard on their heels France, Germany, Greece were flagged up by scaremonger broadcasters.

A daily increase of 931 in France, 305 in Germany and 31 in Greece have spooked our communicators of information.

The two European superpowers are mainly mainland but Corsica is proudly independent if not politically so.

While France owes the Med island for giving them their biggest hero Napoleon.

There’s an island over there

There are a plethora of small islands too and St Patrick and the Cistercians had the right idea setting up a monastery in Saint Honorat, off Cannes.

And a scattering too of German islands in the Baltic too which you can spot in your Fjords cruise from Kiel. Oh,, they’re off to.

An island of my own… on Kythera

And Greece. Well, this is the best argument of all.

Six thousand islands. And while Greece has been ahead of the curve our politicians would surely be only too quick to shut tem down too.

And who would visit my honeymoon island Corfuhttp://www.visitgreece.gr/en/greek_islands/ionian_islands/corfu and my getaway island Kythera.

Stars of Ireland

And this garden too

Ireland has a galaxy of stars and in the 13 years I was there one shone brighter than any!!

But it also has beautiful uncluttered and unpolluted skies where the night sky lights up.

The Mountgreve Gardens in County Waterford is one such place. And they are hosting their first Star Gazing night in their 70 acres site on August 15.

Why then? Well why not?

But also because that’s the date of the most spectacular meteor shower of the year, the Perseid Meteor Showers.

Tickets are €12. The Harvest Shop will provide hot drinks and snacks.

The evening runs from 8.30pm-11.30pm and is for over 12s. Pre-book.

Countries, Culture, Europe, UK

UK’s Canaries quarantine – no gracias Senor Johnson

My friend and emiment Travel writer Matthew Hirtes educated me on the time difference between mainland Spain and the Canaries where he lives.

One hour… you see, they’re nearer Western Sahara than Spain.

The Canaries are on the same Greenwich Mean Time as us in the UK.

Hear the bells ring out in Tenerife

And yet, Boris Johnson and our politicians know so little.

And seem to care even less about the Canaries where they are clear of COVID-19.

But yet they are put on the same quarantine list as mainland Spain.

Walk this way

Despite Santa Cruz de Tenerife where I trekked with www.CanariaWays.com being 2,000kms south of the high alert regions of Navarre and Aragon.

Which is where the lightning quarantine changes inflicted on tourists, our Travel agents friends and Spain are so unfair.

Nobody for miles

And while our hearts go out to the poor Canarians we equally feel for our pals in the Ballearics who are also coming out of COVID.

Because England is not being similarly penalised for Leicester having gone into lockdown.

No gracias Senor Johnson.

America, Countries, Culture, Deals, Europe

Covid-day Snaps – Canarian ‘safe’ passports

Nobody likes their passport pic, particularly now we can’t even smile.

Mine’s looks like it could have been taken more than 100 years ago when they were first introduced.

But we don’t even flinch at being asked now for it and I suspect we’ll quickly get used to the technology being rolled out by the Canary Islands to get us back travelling.

The Canary Islands (Spain) and the World Tourism Organisation have agreed a flight in July for the world’s first ‘safe’ flight using the Digital Health Passport, developed by Canarian firm Hi + Card

I can just taste that Tenerife Shakespearean wine Malvasia.

CanariaWays www.CanariaWays.com will make you earn it with their walking holidays but it’s worth it. Also see https://www.hellocanaryislands.com/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI5dWNgOam6QIVCLLtCh2C-AsBEAAYASAAEgLfaPD_BwE

My other family

Family business:: I feel I know these LA folk

If your family is driving you up the wall you may be taking sanctuary in a TV family… me, I’ve been a fly on the wall at the Pritchards and the Dunphys in LA.

Our first introduction to American cities was througb the gogglebox… The Streets of San Francisco https://www.sftravel.com, Cheers in Boston https://www.bostonusa.com, Miami Vice https://www.miamiandbeaches.com and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/23/fort-lauderdale-and-miami-a-tale-of-two-sittings/.

Colorado rocks

Denver’s Dynasty www.denver.org Go West and Mork and Mindy in Colorado www.colorado.com and The New Frontiersmen Pawn Stars in Las Vegas www.lvcva.com and Strip… the light fantastic and House of Cards in Washington www.washington.org and Easy DC.

And New York www.nycvb.com where my Uncle Petie became a superstar in my eyes when Kojak filmed in his bar.

From Missouri to happiness today: Cam and Mitch

I always make a point of annoying the Scary One by pointing out that I’ve been there which is probably why she doesn’t watch Modern Family…

The climax of which is playing out in a two-parter.

Gay parents Mitch Pritchard, an uptight lawyer and Cam Tucker, a hillbilly football coach steal the show.

Hello sailor: In West Hollywood

But it is time for them to move to Cam’s Missouri and leave behind LA https://www.discoverlosangeles.com and I dare say to West Hollywood, the chillest, gayest part of LA https://www.visitwesthollywood.com and https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/19/my-weekend-with-marilyn-2/amp/.

Where I was complimented on my sailor’s hat and bandana combo.

And if we you feel like the only news you’re getting out of the Oo Es of A is bad then I’ll redress the balance.

So hold on and I’ll let you know how among others my Native American and my Deep South pals are meeting the challenges and prevailing.

We’ll wait for you, Princess

Cruise liners were a sitting target for their critics when the virus first visited.

But they have shown a self-sacrificing responsibility and a willingness to change and I believe they will come back stronger.

Princess www.princess.com has announced the cancellation of select 2020 summer sailings.

And this is a reminder of what we’re all missing and will enjoy again https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/07/30/cruiseday-tuesday-the-princesss-medallion-man/amp/.

We stayed open

Health is wealth: At the Buchinger Wilhelmi

Our European friends pride themselves on their spas and scientific holiday retreats.

And the Buchinger Wilhelmi http://www.buchinger-wilhelmi.com medi-spa, which overlooks Lake Constance and the Alps and prides itself.

On its therapeutic fasting and integrative medicine, has stayed open through this crisis.

They have a ten-day fasting programme from £2340pp.

And it includes two consultations with a doctor, daily nurse, check-ups, food/drink, fasting provisions and daily activities.

Now, I love an oul’ spa and retreat and my friends, the Czechs know them better than most… www.czechtourism.com and Hope springs eternal.

MEET YOU ON THE ROAD