Countries, Deals, Europe, Sport

Portyogal

Lyra did things to me that should never be done to a man (and definitely not before dinner). Welcome to Portyogal.

And while the Algarve conjures up images of Sun, Sea and Sagres to most, Sport is the order of the day at The Campus in Quinta do Lago

Portugal’s popularity for golfers is well established but more and more of us have been discovering its other activities.

Among them tennis, with lessons from Judy Murray, and the Iberian favourite padel, a hybrid of tennis and squash.

Sun, steak and sardines

Hands up for yoga: in Quints

With all that sun, steak and sardines (and I can do sibilant alliteration all day) you’ll be wanting to swim it off.

Yes, and the ancient practices of yoga too. It’s not called Portyogal for nothing!

If you don’t know your Downward Dog from your Cobra, and if you do, then you’ll want to know you’re with experts

And our old friends at Travel Department know their Portugal and know their yoga.

My type of TD

Tranquility: Portugal

TD offers a guided trip where your vinyasa/hatha practice will be varied and themed each day.

Your MOONS yoga teacher will help you focus on slow, mindful movement with stronger holds.

And if you’re very good teacher will allow you out to take in Sagres.

The beer? Yes, but also the region.

With walks along the coast, the sun, surf and siestas.

The TD Algarve Yoga Holiday is from €639pp including three nights’ B&B with all yoga activities.

Depart May 5 and October 13.

Yoga moves

Toning up: In Tobago

And so since you’ve been practicing your yoga over lockdown you’ll be ready to go.

I know I am having limbered up under the tutelage of my old pal and Nidra practitioner SLM who I exercised with in Tobago.

That is when we weren’t clinking beers on the Nylon Pool sandbank in the middle of the Caribbean.

 

 

 

Countries, Europe, Sport, UK

Anyone for tennis and Andy Murray?

Do you have a battle for the remote between the Euros and Wimbledon? Anyone for tennis and Andy Murray?

The Bionic Man of tennis returns to the Centre Court to play Canadian Denis Shapovalov this afternoon.

And Mum Judy will be watching.

Mixed Doubles

Will I lead? In Quinto with Judy

It’s reassuring to think that the supercoach who honed my forehand in Portugal does the same for her wee boy.

Judy put me and my international party through our paces at The Campus resort in Quinta do Lago.

Without giving away any of Judy’s trade secrets she starts with the basics and short tennis before building up to full courts.

Easy Ryder

With my pal John pitching for a Ryder Cup spot

If you haven’t a lifetime to become one of the world’s elite athletes then this sportified corner of the Algarve is where to go.

You’ll be the envy of the park with your drop shot and sliced backhand.

While you can prepare for this month’s renewal of The Open by visiting Quinta’s Paul McGinley Academy.

In the swing of it

Paul’s pals will dissect your swing, let you practise it on the range and then let you on the course.

And yes, the clubs are in the bag, of course, ready for The Open at Royal St George’s Kent on the south coast of England.

An aside here from a previous life when I ran a newspaper sports desk.

And I had asked the secretary to arrange accommodation for our golf writer for that year’s Open.

Not easy but she was excited to find accommodation within a 20 mile radius.

The French name of the guest house ought to have given it away.

Back to Portugal and we’re all hoping for a clear run at it without the switching of traffic light colours.

Portugal’s delights

Our Port

Portugal is of course The Algarve but it is so much more, Lisbon, Porto, our old tour guide pal Jose Madomis’s home town, Coimbra….

And his hero Cristiano Ronaldo’s island, Madeira.

Cristiano has left the building at the Euros and we trust Our Andy won’t go the same way in London.

If he does, of course, football-daft Andy will have more time to watch the Euros.

Prize guy: Our Andy

When asked this time whether he’d support England now his beloved Scotland are out, he blocked it as if at the net.

Andy had playfully worn the jersey of England’s then opponents Croatia at a previous Euros in his youth,

But this time the Surrey-based national treasure wished them well.

Andy’s castle

Do I have my own suite here?

Otherwise he’d be taking refuge in his newly-acquired hotel, Cromlix, near his home town of Dunblane, back in Scotland.

Which is where your favourite blogger’s Travel journey began with his first trip 30-odd year ago.

Now myself and The Scary One could form a Mixed Doubles team against my old mate Judy and Andy.

Anyone for tennis and Andy Murray? Or Jimmy Murty?

Adventure, Countries, Deals, Europe, Sport

Holiday Snaps – United for Malta

I’m in good company, with footballers Paul Pogba, Victor Lindelof and Brandon Williams all fans of my honeymoon island… we’re all United for Malta I guess.

The three Manchester United players were only too happy to flag up the jewel of the Mediterannean.

With Malta the club’s official destination partner.

Gozo views

French World Cup winner Pogba said: ‘It’s beautiful, there aren’t a lot of people and I can go there with my family.

He picked out St Peter’s Pool in Delimara.

While Lindelof is rightly taken by Comino.

Valletta you better you bet

The idea is to put together a postcard (remember them) of Malta.

And you can check it out on https://www.manutd.com/en/videos/detail/pogba-williams-and-lindelof-create-their-perfect-postcard-with-visitmalta#

The jewel of the Med 26 years ago was my wee treasure… only what they don’t tell you is that gems have rough edges!

A cheeky wee Algarve

The loved-up Miss F dragged me away to the Algarve for our first summer holiday together although in truth I didn’t need much dragging.

On a budget then we were taken by the Algarve tradition of taking your litre plastic bottle down to the local wine shop in Cabanas.

Algarve wine country

Where the owner would fill it up with house wine for a few escudos (yes, it was that long ago).

As Portugal awaits the green light for us to return to its shores we welcome too the push for Algarve wines.

With Cliff in the Algarve

And what’s more they’ll even share their art with you on the Quinta dos Vales estate.

Get a three-hour induction in winemaking in the Bottle Blending Workshop from €62pp.

Even better stay the night, you’ll need it to put your boozy head down, from €75 per night.

And here’s a toast from past travels in Quinta do Lago.

Our bit for charity

Charity begins at home and seeing we’re all holed up at home let’s all do our bit.

Bike4tourism is a multi-continental charity ride which is hoping to break the Guinness world record for numbers of participants.

Register for the event, on May 30, Fees start from €18 and free for under-18s.

With part of the money raised going to an environmental cause and helping Travel companies affected by Covid-19.

Now my cycling has come on a lot since collapsing on the roadside in the Algarve way back then.

Probably the vino collapso!

And Machu more

If running, or swimming, is more your thing and you want to help out, say, the Machu Picchu porters, then join me in this challenge.

This month we’re being invited to run, swim (OK, or bike) 25 miles to help out the Machu porters who are currently packless.

Twenty-five miles is the length of the famous Peruvian trail.

And £25 provides funds to purchase one essential food parcel for a Peruvian porter and their family for a month.

If like me you’ve taken your foot off the pedal during lockdown then this is your chance to rectify that.

Or alternatively you can donate £25 to Peru 25for25. Visit the Lata Foundation.

And when you do get out to Peru then it’ll be with our old pals at G Adventures.

They are offering seven days Cusco to Cusco from £620, down from £729, Valid on November 1.

MEET YOU ON THE ROAD

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

Holiday Snaps – booze brothers

The news that they will pour away 70m pints of spoiled beer down the drain would merely have been an invitation to The Sesh.

Our drinking fraternity at Aberdeen University have scattered to the four corners of the world – funny when many couldn’t be raised from their scratchers.

My Best Man Andy is in Singapore https://www.visitsingapore.com/en/, Jevan is back home in the West Indies https://www.visittrinidad.co.tt, https://www.visittobago.gov.tt. My kiss with Rihanna, Let’s rumba in Barbados and Ready, steady GOAT… racing in Tobago/.

While some of my English pals, Wee Jon and Micky, and Gaelic emigrees Alan and Anna went to the bright lights of London https://www.visitlondon.com and The London life.

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And those flatmates that were foisted on us such as Grumpy Vangelis (no, seriously) My Greek odyssey and the cheery Ibohal Singh (song) https://www.incredibleindia.org/content/incredible-india-v2/en.html are doubtless back where they belong.

It’ll be 40 years in a couple of years since we first bowled up in Aberdeen so I feel a reunion in the making.

And we’ll need more than 70m beers for that… https://www.visitabdn.com and Aberdeen – a light in the north.

Sláinte

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Aberdeen University’s other great gift to the world, after me, is of course Blair Bowman.

Blair Whoman? Yes, Blair Bowman, who only gave us World Whisky Day.

Surprisingly this celebration of uisce beatha has only been running since 2012.

The organisers say that 250,000 people participated in registered events in 2014.

I don’t know the figures for the last few years – I guess they’d overdone the golden liquid!

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To the pantheon of greats who graduated from Aberdeen Uni, Alex Kapranos, Alistair Darling and Nicky Campbell add Jevan Jutagir.

A proud half-Scots, half-West Indian who is one-third of the Barbados Whisky Mafia.

And who if you’ve got an in will crack out the good stuff before Foreday Morning at Crop Over in Barbados https://www.visitbarbados.org, My kiss with Rihanna and Turtle recall.

Free Ireland

Kudos to Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar whose example some across on this side of the Irish Sea would do well to emulate.

You don’t have to be a doctor like Leo to have known that testing and tracing is key but it doesn’t do any harm.

Leo has been outlining how the nation will come out of lockdown.

Which means that the Office of Public Works has opened up certain outdoor sites within social distancing rules.

And that oft-forgotten section of our society, the Cocooners, are being prioritised;

10am to 1pm

Emo Court, Co. Laois

Grounds

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10am to 1pm

Fota Arboretum, Co. Cork

Pleasure Garden & Walled Garden

10am to 1pm

Irish National War Memorial Gardens, Islandbridge, Dublin

Rose Garden.

10am to 1pm

Iveagh Gardens, Dublin

Full Garden

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10am to 1pm

Kilkenny Castle, Co. Kilkenny

Rose Garden

10am to 1pm

Nenagh Castle, Co. Tipperary

Grounds

10am to 1pm

Portumna Castle, Co. Galway

Walled Garden.

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10am to 1pm

Phoenix Park, Dublin

Visitor Centre Walled Garden

10am to 1pm

Roscrea Heritage, Co. Tipperary

Grounds & Walled garden

And Ryanair are flying high

Few things say summer quite like a fleet of blue and yellow Ryanair planes taking to the skies.

Which is why the news coming out from Michael O’Leary Towers that July 1 is the start-up date for us to get flying again.

With 1,000 flights across Europe from €23.99. And new health measures.

Faro, the gateway to the Algarve comes in at that starting price… https://www.visitalgarve.pt/en/Default.aspx and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/secret-portugal-classy-centro/.

London https://www.visitlondon.com The London life and Amsterdam Pictures of Amsterdam comes in at the same price.

For the full range visit www.ryanair.com.

MEET YOU ON THE ROAD