America, Countries, Culture, Ireland, Sport, UK

My Sporting Weekend – Boxing clever

And in the blue corner ‘Jugular Jim’ Murty and in the red corner ‘The Clones Cyclone’ Barry McGuigan.

We ought to start at the very beginning here when a sallow cub reporter was sent by his news editor to talk to the boxing champion.

Barry was appearing in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and I asked the former World Heavyweight champion which dwarf would he be playing.

Take that: Barry in action against Eusebio Pedroza

He bristled before regaining his composure.

On returning to the office my news editor fell upon the idea of us putting on a pretend sparring session.

All of which circling around the ring brings me onto the return of boxing in England this weekend.

There won’t, of course, be a crowd but one of the upsides is that we’ll be able to hear every thud and grimace more clearly.

Which you can only really do otherwise if you’re ringside.

Which I was lucky enough to be in my spell as a boxing writer in the Nineties covering the likes of Chris Eubank, Nigel Benn and Pat Clinton in Glasgow https://peoplemakeglasgow.com/.

A broad canvas: The Garden

Of course the Mecca for boxing is the US and it is every boxer’s dream to fight at Madison Square Garden and Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas.

Next year: In Vegas

And every fight fan (hands up) too… and while I love both cities https://www.google.com/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/28/old-new-york-hamilton/amp/ and Strip… the light fantastic I’ve yet to see ring action there.

See also www.lvcva.com and www.nycvb.com.

MEET YOU RINGSIDE

America, Canada, Countries, Culture, Europe

Get an eyeful of these high-rise buildings

My Uncle Eddie pointed up… that’s the World Trade Center? Where I asked?

Two cranes of the neck later and there it was, touching the clouds. I was dumbstruck.

As the French announce the reopening of the Eiffel Tower https://www.toureiffel.paris/en/news on June 25 here are my five top tall towers.

Highful Tower

Mais oui

The Eiffel Tower, Paris: The best things in life are worth waiting for.

And when the rigging was up around the Eiffel Tower when me and my buddies visited France post-school I missed out.

I never imagined that it would take another 30 years before I would get another chance.

It was made all the better because ma famille was with me. Bravo! See https://en.parisinfo.com.

Two for the price of one: The Twin Tower’s. www.history.com

Up, up and away

The Twin Towers, New York: You always remember your first time… an ear-popping experience at the top of the World Trade Center.

They say in NY that you can always tell who the tourists are because they’re the ones looking up.

True! But equally thrilling is looking down at the specks of people and the moving yellow taxis.

NY has an abundance of iconic buildings but the Twin Towers will always be magical.

Today you can visit One World Trade Center https://www.wtc.com/about/buildings/1-world-trade-center. And also check out www.nycvb.com and https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/28/old-new-york-hamilton/amp/.

Turn, turn, turn: The CN Tower

Canada high

The CN Tower, Toronto, Canada:

The CN https://www.cntower.ca/en-ca/home.html was taller though at the time.

And as luck would have it my brother was living up there at the time.

We didn’t get to eat at the revolving 360 restaurant but you always need to leave yourself with something to come back for.

See https://www.seetorontonow.com.

A positive sign: Prague

Clock this

Astronomical Clock, Prague: Not the tallest tower, of course, but the Astronomical Clock should also be seen from the inside too.

Where one American loudmouth kid got more than he bargained for.

As our guide shot back at him that her city had been bombed.

I love those sparky, big-drinking Czechs. See www.czechtourism.com and Hope springs eternal.

City of Brotherly Love

Philadelphia storey

One Liberty, Philadelphia: The cityscape of Philly reveals this buzzing metropolis in its best light.

But it is as much the story behind One Liberty that is as enthralling.

It revolves around the Curse of Billy Penn.

Which was placed on Philly’s Big Four Teams after One Liberty Hall was built, higher than the-then tallest building which houses a statue of the founder of Pennsylvania.

Only one thing for it, put Billy back in his rightful spot on a beam on the Comcast Building, higher than anybody in Philly.

He approved and the tams started winning again. And I saw all their achievements in an exhibition too.

See https://www.visitphilly.com/articles/philadelphia/must-see-attractions-philadelphia/ and Philadelphia Freedom

America, Countries, Culture, Ireland, UK

Rainy Days and Songdays – Paul Simon in New York

We’ve lived so well so long But when I think of the road we’re travelling on I can’t help but wonder what’s gone wrong Paul Simon, American Tune

Rhymin’ Simon never billed himself as a protest singer but his American Tune spoke to the Nixon Years… and to today.

It is apt then that he is singing it now in his virtual set.

And chose it as the penultimate song in Dublin in his farewell tour. See him perform it here on American TV https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=pHZ72yHQ0K8.

In American Tune, the New York prophet has caught the zeitgeist.

Paul Simon in his pomp. www.paulsimon.com

I unashamedly and boldly sang it on the streets of Manhattan on my last visit.

As I jostled through the throb of Times Square.

Sweltering in my cowboy hat, a rucksack on each shoulder, and dragging a suitcase behind me.

Simon & Garfunkel’s protests were never in the same vein as Bob Dylan and Joan Baez.

But they spoke to a Scottish adolescent in the 70s and sang of a different freedom, of travel, in a greyhound bus.

I went to look for America https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=sFAoWwUwknc in the Eighties in the iconic coach from New York https://www.nycvb.com to Boston https://www.boston.gov/visiting-boston.

Where we came across our first Native Americans, a vagrant, but alas no shifty-looking spy in a gaberdine suit.

Thirty years later I was on another Greyhound on the way from Washington DC https://washington.org and Easy DC to Philadelphia https://www.visitphilly.com and Philadelphia Freedom.

And I was thankful to the driver for making up the time we had lost waiting in DC for passengers.

You see I only had an afternoon to see the cracked old bell and follow in the footsteps of Benjamin Franklin and Rocky Balboa.

Before it was then off to NY https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/28/old-new-york-hamilton/amp/.

When I ‘counted the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike.’

Another famous New Yorker was waiting for me in Times Square when I got there.

And he obviously had his hand out.

MEET YOU BACK IN THE USA

Countries, Europe, Flying, Sport

My Sporting Weekend – Pigeons and high-fliers

Not everything is grounded just now and the clearer skies have been a Godsend to pigeons and their fanciers.

Pigeon fancying sounds like it should be the preserve of old men in anoraks.

But try saying that to sporting hard men Mike Tyson and Duncan Ferguson.

Which one is yours?

Iron Mike, the self-styled ‘baddest man on the planet’ is even said to have thrown his first punch at 10 after a thug ripped the head off his pigeon.

Struggling for sports to report on during lockdown…

Britain’s award-winning radio station talkSPORT https://talksport.com has been turning its attention to the Sport of Wings.

And educating us in the ways of birds – it transpires that pigeon-fancying originated in the Lowlands of Belgium.

So that’s where they go

They came in useful during the First World War www.visitflanders.com and In Flanders fields to carry messages.

But had in truth been a sporting pursuit since the mid-19th century and was taken up and developed after the war.

And why do we think that these are perfect circumstances for new pigeon racing records.

Well, it’s said that pigeons find their way back the 100-1,000kms distances through sound.

Spread your wings

And there are fewer distractions in the skies right now.

For more on pigeon fancying (and they are the perfect social distancers) then visit https://www.rpra.org/about-rpra/getting-started/.

Now Venice’s St Mark’s Square, Dam Square, Amsterdam, New York’s Washington Square and London’s Trafalgar Square may be renowned for their pigeons.

And here are some thoughts that will make you coo with delight.

Fuel for the journey

In https://www.visit-venice-italy.com, www.nycvb.com and https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/28/old-new-york-hamilton/amp/, www.iamsterdam.com, Pictures of Amsterdam and https://www.visitlondon.com and The London life.

But if you want to hear some other birdies twittering then try www.visittobago.gov.tt and https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/17/ready-steady-goat-racing-in-tobago/amp/.

America, Caribbean, Countries, Culture

Who was that masked man? A bandanaman’s guide to COVID-19

I was right to stockpile bandanas, then.

Because the bandana will be your friend throughout this COVID-19 crisis.

Drop it down from your head onto your nose and mouth – or if you like keep it on your pate and use another one over your face.

And if you want to go the whole hog use a third around your neck as a kerchief.

What do you mean you don’t have three bandanas?

We’ve both got our headware

Now everyone has their own bandana heroes.

Yours might be Bruce Springsteen, another might favour Axl Rose.

While women have rocked the look from Brigitte Bardot through Lady Gaga to Rihanna… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/culture/rihanna-in-barbados/ and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/culture/my-kiss-with-rihanna/

And Martha Washington. Yes, that Marsha Washington, the mother of the Modern Bandana.

By George.. John Hewson’s tribute to Mr Washington

Martha had been inspired by printmaker John Hewson who defied the British ban on textile printing at the time.

And wore the bandana in support of George’s many achievements… I’m still waiting for my First Lady to do the same.

The bandana has remained a political garment in American life and was used by Dwight Eisenhower supporters to promote their man in the Fifties.

For more insights into the life of an American President and much, much more visit https://washington.org and Easy DC.

Cowboys on the range

Our favourite square of cotton has been used variously over the years for any number of messages.

To promote the war effort, and women’s role on their home front, in the US.

As a marker of your loyalty to a sports team, along with baseball caps.

And through John Wayne as a part of the cowboy outfit although your own Bandanaman put his own marker on it in Colorado.

Beer o’clock

Riding out on the rangeThe New Frontiersmenwww.colorado.com And https://www.heddels.com/2017/05/the-history-of-the-bandana/

While the hip Denveronians wear the bandanas as part of their outdoorsy schtick., https://www.denver.org and Go West.

Be careful where you put your bandana when you’re not wearing it…

Anyone who has seen the Al Pacino film Cruising will know that which back pocket you put your bandana in will mar out your sexual preference.

But while we ponder all such matters as we walk the aisles of our supermarkets or take our daily walks.

And all the time shield our noses and mouths here’s a thought.

Bandanas are fun and the most fun time I’ve had, among many a party, has been in the Caribbean… www.visitbarbados.org and www.visittobago.gov.tt.

And here’s the evidence… Let’s rumba in Barbados and My kiss with Rihanna and Ready, steady GOAT… racing in Tobago.

With my Bandanettes Bladhana and Dee

And here’s to the woman who first showed me how to tie my own bandana.

And a couple more shoots of your Bandanaman in his favourite headgear.

Dressed to kill:The Wild West

Swimming in Tobago

And back in Dublin for Christmas

They used to say that if you want to get ahead then wear a hat, so what’s your favourite headware.

Let me know and I’ll share.

Uncategorized

Moanday Morning – Electioneering

Holidays are coming and so is electioneering. In fact where you are it may already be here.

All over Britain people are drawing curtains and turning down their televisions for fear of encouraging the doorsteppers.

Our time will come in Ireland in the New Year.

When election posters will go up on every available pole.

No electioneering here: In Tirol, Austria

It’s like being gatecrashed by the annoying people down the pub.

It’s not just that they have an opinion on everything and promise you the Earth with no intention of delivering.

Or eat into your time when you’re watching I’m A Celebrity.

But those damned posters are so distracting in your eyeline when you’re driving.

At Thiepval, Belgium where they honour my Great-Uncle

I’ve seen how they do it in other countries and although, of course, I’ve not been in the tinpot dictatorships of the world.

I’ve found other people do do it better.

For example in Ehrwald in Tirol in Austria https://www.tyrol.com.

Where they were holding a general election when we visited with https://topflightforschools.ie.

You wouldn’t have known it as nothing cluttered the pure white vista.

He’s out electioneering in New York

And Daniella, our Italian hotel host, seemed pretty non-plussed on Election Day when I’d asked who’d won.

In other European countries too they make sure politicians don’t become a blot on the landscape.

Like in Belgium where they make sure half of their government is French-Belgian and the other half Flemish.

They know from history that compromise is the only way to peace… A pilgrim’s prayer and https://www.visitflanders.com/en/?country=en_GB.

And the best vote is ME

You may have caught on that screen in the corner of your room that the Americans are ratcheting up their Presidential race.

But when we visited New York as a family back in November 2008 it was all low-key on the street.

Yes, you could get buttons (or pins as we like to call them).

And I recall wearing a We’re With The Duke button when I was working in Boston in 1988.

I can always be depended on to pick a loser.

Maybe not… In Jordan

Back to Obama and that election race and it being Halloween when we visited I was particularly taken by the Obama pumpkins.

While even better are the Trumpkins… New Yorkers https://www.nycvb.com can be guaranteed to give you your (not their) opinion too.

And have been since the days of Hamilton…

Vote this way

Of course for all our ennui with politicians and elections there are some countries for whim true democracy is still nascent.

Which our South African hosts shared tales of queueing from the early hours to vote Nelson Mandela in in the Nineties.

When I visited Port Elizabeth http://www.visiteasterncape.co.za and the Eastern Cape with https://www.southafrica.net/uk/en/.

I’m putting my cross next to the Monster Raving Looney Party.

Uncategorized

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