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Hungry and Thursday – Tenerife potatoes

Who’d have thought an Irish travel party would be so interested in potatoes… or that the Tinerfeni, or inhabitants of Tenerife, were too?

But we are, and they are too.

There is much that is unique about these people…

And I have been giving you snippets in my few days on the Canaries Island.

With walking specialists CanariaWays.com http://www.CanariaWays.com, a branch of CaminoWays.com http://www.CaminoWays.com.

I’ll put it all together in a jumble of words, or story, as some people have so generously called them.

But here are some more morsels for you.

Pressed into action

On potatoes, in your weekly food column Hungry and Thursday.

But now I’m on the subject of columns, where is our weekly cruise feature Cruiseday Tuesday I hear your scream?

Put off until this weekend because I was halfway up a volcano.

But it will be worth waiting for.

As I will give you the lowdown on the Viking Sun which stopped off in Dublin for day 5 of the Ultimate World Cruise.

Here’s where the magic happens

But back to potatoes, and more specifically the wrinkly variety.

Now the Canadians love their wrinklies (which might be why they took to me).

These are small new potatoes which are unpeeled and boiled (originally in sea water but these days in salt).

When they are boiled the potatoes are briefly removed before being left on the pot.

To dry off until they become wrinkled with a fine salt crust.

I have a variation on that theme, my very own burnt potatoes.

It’s all in the olive oil

The Tinerfeni have their boiling technique down to a fine art.

You’ll be encouraged to dip the potatoes in a sauce called mojo rojo.

Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit

I was sure they were a Stock, Aitken and Waterman act of the 1980s but it is actually a child pepper garlic sauce, either green or red.

The Papas Arugadas (wrinkly potatoes) are an accompaniment to meat dishes, usually rabbit stew.

And you’ll never run out of either the wrinklies or the wrabbits (there are 30,000 of them on the island, one for every three people although they are seen as pests.

Don’t call us, we’ll call you

We were enlisted into the secret society of Elaboration mojo rojo (red sauce) and mojo verde (green sauce) makers in Santiago del Teide.

Being let loose with a chopping knife, a pestle and a board.

How to make the sauces

Now it couldn’t be easier – the mojo rojo is a couple of pinchfuls of palm tree paper, garlic, oregano, salt, spicy pepper and olive oil.

While the mojo verde is even easier, coriander, garlic, salt and olive oil.

So why did it all look like a slurpy mess while my esteemed Travel colleague Tom Sweeney www.tomsweeneytravels.blogspot.com and his team looked as if they had made a produce worthy of Dragons Den?

And good enough to eat.

This is the way to live: Casona del Patio.

Which we did with our lunch in the charming farmhouse of La Casona del Patio. www.la-casona-del-patio.santiago-del-teide.hotel-tenerife.net.

Of course, you’re not going to see my finished product.

I don’t want you suing me for bringing on nausea and sickness!

For more information on how to get to Tenerife, Aer Lingus http://www.aerlingus.com flies seven times a week from Dublin and up to two flights a week from Cork during their winter schedule.

Fares from €66.99 one way.

And all that you’ll enjoy on the island http://www.webtenerife.com and http://www.webtenerife.co.uk/tenerifenolimits.

And if you’ve enjoyed that, here are some more Tenerife thoughts… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/09/02/tenerife-and-scotland-wave-the-same-flag/ https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/09/03/vegging-out-in-tenerife/ and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/09/04/a-walk-in-the-park-tenerife/.

And a couple of Camino trips… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/camino-a-pilgrims-prayer/. And https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/small-roads-lead-to-rome/.

Now off to make a Tenerife Jocktail… and share it with you.

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Vegging out in Tenerife

There are some strange bedfellows, that’s for sure, some foods that should never be seen on the same plate.

I mean courgettes and pretty much anything, or really anything that allows courgettes air time.

You can also mention brocolli, aubergines, leaks, lentils and most pulses in the same breath.

I’ve had a skinful

So the good folk of Tenerife should think again about banana and courgette croquettes.

Particularly as your spotted bananas do fine just as they are.

In fact Tenerife is Europe’s biggest exporter of nanas and the spottier the skins the tastier.

But back to broccoli… and inevitably George Herbert Walker Bush.

When Bush Snr became President of America he was asked now that he was the Leader of the Free World what would he ban.

I’m crook

To which he replied: ‘Brocolli, ny mom used to force us to eat it when we were kids.’

The broccoli growers were soon up in arms and marching on Washington.

George, you’d have had my vote.

And CanariaWays www.canariaways.com, a branch of CaminoWays www.caminoways.com who have been hosting me these past few days.

With Aer Lingus www.aerlingus.com which flies seven times a week from Dublin to Tenerife and twice a week from Cork

Cats and Canaries

I’ve been reminding you about my adventures on Caminos A pilgrim’s prayer and FrancigenaWays’ and my walk into Rome Small roads lead to Rome.

And brining you curios of Tenerife life Tenerife and Scotland wave the same flag.

Caught in a time warp

I’ve been up mountains, through rain forests via black lava ash beaches.

And lived to tell the tale, and all with the help of my wonderful guide Eva.

All to meet the owner of a bar who is caught in a time warp with calendars and posters all around his bar of General Franco.

But the beer was €1!

I’ll share the tale… not the beer.

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Tenerife and Scotland wave the same flag

O Flower of Tenerife

When will we see…

No, I haven’t been on the vino, only I have.

Or been out in the Midday sun. Guilty too.

But I could be home, if it weren’t for the 30C temperature, the humdreds of volcanoes, 11 microclimates and rainforest… Need I go on.

Flagging it up: The St Andrew’s Cross masthead

It’s just that that’s a Scottish flag waving proudly.

And it’s not a Scottish exiles pub.

It’s there in the masthead of a local newspaper too.

Now there is a prosaic answer to why we share flags.

One theory goes that it’s because Admiral Lord Nelson lost a battle here and the flag was confiscated.

And the Tinerfenos confiscated it as spoils of war and adopted it as their national flag.

The flag, that is.

Convincing as that sounds, and the Scottish flag alas has flown over more defeats than victories. the romantic in me favours another story,

Here’s where to get the wine

That St Andrew (or Andres) our shared patron saint visited the island (maybe they did package tours then from the Holy Land).

Just in time for the new wine.

Just to be sociable he imbibed.

When he was grabbing a siesta (our Andrew was a quick learner) the local bambinos tied pots and pans to him.

So when he awoke his language was not so much of the saintly kind.

No, this guy is in Scotland

You want to know more about Andy’s links to Scotland.

Well, the best place to go is a dovecot in Athelstaneford 32kms east of Edinburgh and the National Flag Heritage Centre.

St Andrew’s visits

Where the story of King Oengus II is played out.

The King of the Picts had a visit from Andrew, maybe after Oengus had too much wine too, on the eve of battle with the Angles.

Andrew had not come empty-handed either, he was promising a famous victory.

And her too

The next day Oengus and his army saw white clouds forming a diagonal cross across a blue sky.

A Scottish tale

Handy, as Andy had died on a disgonal cross.

And so the legend of the flag was born and St Andrew was adopted as patron saint of Scotland.

Athelstaneford is well worth a visit… www.nationalflagtrust.com and my bonnie wee country too www.vistscotland.com.

But this is more like it… Tenerife.

While our sister island Tenerife is too.

We’re kinsmen

I’m here in Tenerife this week roadtesting the new www.caminoways.com frontier the Canaries www.canariaways.com. With flights from Dublin with www.aerlingus.com seven times a week and twice a week from Cork.

Fares start from €69.99.

And I’ll uncover, and share more, as I go. For more visit www.webtenerife.com and www.webtenerife.co.uk/tenerifenolimits.

And to get into the spirit if walking in Spain and what CaminoWays does here’s my Camino to Santiago A pilgrim’s prayer.

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It’s low-fare Lingus… from €39.99

Without rules what would we be? French. I love comedian Al Murray, the Pub Landlord.

The thing is that some don’t because they don’t get the joke… the exaggerated flag-waving Little Englander.

And, of course, like many comic creations, Al is very different from his stage act.

I’ll catch you from falling: Paris. Photo by Dimitri Kuliuk on Pexels.com

He is actually a Second World War buff and Germanophile and has even brought us documentaries on the subject.

And why am I telling you all this?

Because of the bit about rules. I mean it’s Tuesday Cruiseday and Flyday Friday, by rules of the management here!

Until Aer Lingus www.aerlingus.com spring a sale on a Tuesday.

Our national airline carrier is offering up to 20% off destinations across Europe.

Fashion capital: Milan. Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com

Prices start from €39.99 for Bordeaux, Lisbon, Faro, Paris, Milan, Paris, Toulouse and Vienna. Travel between 23 September and 24 October and rise but not by much.

The sale ends Thursday midnight.

These are all good cities I think you’d agree, although Faro is more of a thoroughfare.

One whose airport is a pleasure to rest awhile in and where you bump into the most unlikely of people.

Faro is certainly one place I need to investigate more rather than just jump in the taxi, coach, or hired car.

Too early for the mistletoe

But if it is your starting point then Aer Lingus offers this package: €297pp with seven nights at the. 4* Estrella do Vau.

Faro was my launchpad for my sports break, a Judy Murray tennis (and dancing) masterclass at The Campus, Quinto da Lago https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/06/12/sportugal/.

And check out these websites… http://www.quintadolago.com and http://www.magnoliahotelqdl.com and http://www.visitportugal.com

I’ll bring you Paris in my new series City delights. Here was my starter: City delights – Dublin.

And work my way through the others, particularly at Aer Lingus prices!

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This Sporting Weekend… Andy Murray

It’s not surprising that Andy Murray has had to have his body reconstructed from spare parts.

Because it’s not easy carrying the sporting hopes of an entire nation, Scotland, on your back.

And yes, we know he’s also British.

But, of course us Scots love to joke that the English media call him British when he’s winning.

But Scottish when he loses.

Or golf

To us Scots though he’s always a winner, and we will miss him not playing at the US Open in Flushing Meadow which starts this weekend.

He won the title here, the first of his three grand slams, in 2012.

I had the pleasure of spending some quality time with Andy’s mum, Judy, the world-renowned tennis coach.

And Strictly Come Dancing sensation.

Judy was giving a group of British and Irish journalists a coaching class at The Campus sports complex in Quinto da Lago in Portugal.

Or cycling

Of course it was a great privilege although there is always a class joker who has to be brought to heel.

Coaching schools are increasingly popular holiday packages for the whole family.

And as well as Judy’s classes, The Campus offers the best in golf technique and expertise at the Paul McGinley Academy.

And beautiful courses.

If it’s cycling you like then this part of the Algarve is unspoiled, quiet.

Or yoga

And for this cyclist whose bike is in the shed because it’s so hilly around Co. Wicklow in Ireland, Quinto most importantly is flat.

Portugal has become a great favourite for sports fans with golf holidays long established.

But if your game is of the crazy variety then you might prefer a kick about instead.

Even if you’re not Premier League standard, and top English teams go to The Campus on training camps, then there are plenty of other football courts around.

A daily five-a-side game was something I got up looking forward to in Cabanas.

Or football

With Duffers, Ray and the local Portuguese kids.

The banter was great between Manchester United fan and Paul Scholes lookalike Terry and Leeds United fan Ray.

Terry still had the skills that saw him have trials at Chelsea although age had caught up with him.

While your diarist got to sport his green and white hooped Sporting Lisbon top although no Cristiano Ronaldo me.

All major airlines fly to Portugal. www.aerlingus.com www.ryanair.com www.flytap.com.

And visit www.quintadolago.cm. And www.visitportugal.com.

Here’s my Quinta piece where Judy Murray set me up… http://SPORTUGAL.

Extra time

A toast to the cricket: In Barbados

Just a little extra for the weekend that’s in it.

Because sport has a way of grabbing our attention and diverting us from whatever it is we were doing.

And also as a rejoinder to the naysayers who scoff at Test cricket for the length of the match and that five days of play can end in a draw.

So Ben Stokes and England take a bow for their victory over Australia and the most thrilling sport of the weekend.

Which keeps the Ashes alive.

Howzat!

And here are a couple of islands where they love their cricket…. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/my-kiss-with-rihanna/ and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/12/atoll-tale-the-maldives/

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Surfing the seas in Barcelona

Only one man walks on water in Barcelona. He’s everywhere – in every shop window, on the backs of every family of tourists.

Or parading his skills before 100,000 worshippers at the cathedral of football, the Camp Nou.

Only on the day I visited the Spanish city, he’s not.

Messi and Murty: On Oasis of the Seas

The ubiquitous Lionel Messi is back in his native South America on international duty playing for Argentina rather than curling in free-kicks for his adopted Barca.

Barcelona has a vacancy for a sporting hero then… and I’m thinking that if I nail it I might just my name off the back of the football top that fluffy bear is wearing.

He’s sitting in a sports car in the shopping area of a cruise ship in port at the bottom of La Rambla. Such are the trappings of fame, and I want some of it.

And I have the chance.

To walk on water on Royal Caribbean International’s Oasis of the Seas’ surf simulator FlowRider.

And I only have the best in the business to get me up to speed, Irish surfing superstar Geared McDaid.

That’s Gearoid, not me

We’re lucky to have Geared here, his feet rarely touch the ground.

Geared is not long back from a couple of months surfing in Chile, was in Indonesia before that and is on his way to Portugal.

Geared is not what I expect though, no man bun, goatee beard, beard, tattoo sleeve.

Just a regular Sligo boy, although he is pals with Kia Egan!

Thankfully there is one Fifty-something who keeps up appearances with his bandana and windswept beard.

That is me

But boy can he surf. Gearoid, that is.

The simulator is on the 15th deck of the €1.4bn Oasis of the Seas cruise ship which is on it way to Majorca, France and then Italy with 6,300 passengers.

Each enjoying five pools and numerous bars, restaurants and shows. And a park. ‘Central Park’, you’ll forget you’re at sea.

Keep your shorts on: With Kai, my instructor

But alas without us who will have to get off kicking and screaming before sail time.

If they can’t find us hiding away down in the staff quarters.

The idea of the simulator which is 40ft long, is that a rush of water shoots out to build up the swell which you then surf against.

It’s all in the knees, back and arms – and the trick is to sway and not panic.

I’m not the only one who is bushy: In Central Park on Oasis of the Seas

Too late, the road went that way and the bandana and everything under it the other way.

It’s official. I don’t walk on water (but my family could tell you that!)

Maybe I’ll have better luck on my knees.

Eureka or ‘goooooal.’ as Lionel Messi might shout. I manage to master those waves in the prayer position on a boogie board with more than a little help from Mauritian teacher Kai.

Zip slidin’ away: And I’m off zip lining

Suddenly I feel indestructible. And here I was worried that I’d be caught with my shorts down, and quite literally I almost was at half mast.

I hadn’t pulled the cord tightly enough before the surfing class and the waves carried me away.

To be avoided – particularly if you’ve booked up for my next challenge, the 82ft zipline

No-obe nine deck below on the Boardwarl want to have Stars and Stripes board trunks land on them, believe me, when they’re out there shopping.

Or having an early-afternoon drink or are on their way to lunch.

Cocktail hour: And a photobomb

Thankfully, I can’t do much damage in the Spanish restaurant, other than embarrass myself and my party by getting my maracas out (steady!).

Well, once in we weighted into the plats of tapas and a big jug of sangria (when in Spain).

That sangria is’t going to last long

Fuelled with patatas and shrimp al ajillo we swagger off the ship.

Only taking time to pas by an eight-year-old boy twisting and turning on the other simulator and onto Barcelona’s famous La Rambla shopping and market thoroughfare.

Christopher Columbus is still there where I remember him from the last time I visited Barcelona 15 years ago and drew back the curtains of my balcony cabin.

He is proudly guarding the city and pointing out to sea.

To be fair, the arm is right, though I’d maybe bend the elbow and those legs are way too straight.

Sorry, Chris, but you’d be no use on a surfboard either.

Travel facts

Oasis of the Seas: Sail the Western Mediterranean for seven nights on Oasis of the Seas from €1,049pp based on two sharing. Departing Barcelona. Visit Palma, Marseille, Florence/Pisa, Rome (Civitavecchia), Naples and arrive back at Barcelona. See http://www.royalcaribbean.ie. Flights not included.

How to get there: Aer Lingus http://www.aerlingus.com. and Ryanair http://www.ryanair.com both fly to Barcelona.

Where to stay in Barcelona: Hotel Concordia http://www.hotelconcordiabarcelona.com is a central hub and has a rooftop pool that will tempt you to linger. Pride was on when we visited and the neighbourhood was jumping. €135 per night.

You want more cruise fun… what about these adventures https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/im-a-celebrity-get-me-out-to-here/ https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-call-of-the-fjords/ https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/a-royal-party/

This article was first published in the Irish Daily Star

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Eat my shorts… it’s Voldemort and Bart

How do you explain to US customs why you need to take a brick through?

Just say it’s because you’re rebuilding Diagon Alley brick by brick.

Our guide tells us that’s what a member of the Harry Potter film team did to ensure everything met with JK Rowling’s approval.

The very same JK would visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in both Universal Orlando theme parks to make sure everything is as she wrote it.

And here we are standing outside the Leaky Cauldron in Diagon Alley, near Gringotts Bank with its imposing fire-breathing dragon frontage.

I am in need of some butter beer after escaping (just) in one piece from the clutches of the Dementors.

Those Dementors have been besieging Hogwarts Castle, situated in Universal’s Islands of Adventure.

Wet your whistle: The Leaky Cauldron

Wizards get taken to Dragon alley by Ernie Prang and Dre Head, the dreadlocked skull drivers of the Knight Bus.

Ably conducted by assistant Stan Shunpike whom we meet. Muggles though must use their feet.

Us Muggles are allowed on the Hogwarts Express from Kings Cross Station, London, to Hogwarts Castle.

But watch out though for those Dementors silhouetted in the carriage window. There are enemies everywhere.

The Forbidden Journey

It helps, of course, that Harry and Ron are there to help.

We are on the Forbidden Journey 3-D cart ride at Hogwarts Castle.

The dynamic duo lead us on our broomsticks.

And we skirt the cliffs on a dizzying simulator ride which puts us right at the heart of the battle.

We were well prepared though.

Read all about it: The Daily Prophet

Because we had already been to Olivanders to discover who would be selected for a special wand.

These wands as everyone knows pick you, not the other way around.

And Emma Jane was the lucky recipient of a shiny new one given to her by the sage Garrick Olivander.

It was not dissimilar, it must be said, to Harry’s. His is 11in long, made of holly, with a phoenix feather core.

You can buy your own keepsake from the store for a competitive $36.95 (€33).

And I got to see the Dark Arts show in Hollywood

Empowered, Emma Jane leads the way through Gringotts Bank on to our carriage for a dual with the Dark Lord.

Our anaemic and hirsutically challenged nemesis and his shaggy-haired accomplice Bellatrix are not so easily shaken off.

Our group must tangle again with them in the Gringotts vaults.

It’s a banker

Gringotts, it is said, is the safest place to be.

And the animatronic goblin chiefs do leave you with a sense of comfort that they would guard your worldly possessions with their life.

Lockers with thumbprint recognition do the rest.

Saving wizards and half-bloods is thirsty work though and this muggle needs refuelling.

And me either: Bringing you all the news

Only one place for it… Moe’s Bar.

Universal Orlando is all about family fun and The Simpson, as we all know, are the family who put the fun into dysfunctional.

On the way to a thirst-quenching beer in Moe’s you can get a meet, greet and snap with Homer and Bart.

Tuck in at Moe’s

Pass the Krustyland stalls, Lard Lad Donuts and Duff Gardens.

The lure of a Krusty Burger takes precedence over The Simpsons Ride.

All ready for the Knight Bus

Krusty’s piece de resistance sees the clown coming under threat from Sideshow Bob is a seat-of-the-pants six-minute ride.

My pants though were firmly wedged into a seat into a sat in Moe’s and my lips wedged into his signature burger.

It looks a lot like a normal 6oz burger with cheddar cheese sauce, a giant tomato slice, iceberg lettuce, served on a speciality bun.

But with an extra special sauce ingredient.

One of the family: With Bart and Homer

That it’s served in Moe’s. Well, worth ten bucks.

If you’re feeling adventurous you can try the chicken waffle sandwich (so wrong, it’s right).

You feel as lazy as Homer, and you’ve every right to be, you’re on holiday after all then while away the afternoon at Moe’s.

But if you’e got kids tugging at you to hit the rides – then you better sup up and get back over to the Islands of Adventure.

Get them in: At Moe’s

There are seven themed islands:

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (a magical escape)

Marvel Super Hero Island (pumped-up action)

Toon Lagoon (a water ride extravaganza)

Jurassic Park (prehistoric mayhem)

The Lost Continent (myths and legends

Seuss Landing (childhood wonders)

Port of Entry (the shop-centred enhance).

Spider-Man proved a particular favourite of the group, a 60ft freewill, emulating the webbed one’s descent.

Green monsters

Your correspondent meanwhile was taking a breather after unleashing his inner Hulk.

The Hulk is a vengeful superhero (so, they all are, yes).

But he has taken out his anger in a particularly brutal manner.

With one of the regulars

Launching you 150ft in the air, with an acceleration of zero to 40mph in two seconds flat, it reaches speeds of 67mph.

The Hulk has seven inversions and turns you upside down in a weightless zero gravity before sending you crashing back down to earth.

If lots of inversions send you loop-the-loop it may be best staying off this one.

And it wasn’t just the Hulk who was green about the gills after this one.

I met up with Shrek in Hollywood… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/06/22/my-weekend-with-marilyn/

A friendlier green monster is Shrek.

There is no better way to sign off your trip to Universal Orlando than to sit back and join everyone’s favourite ogre and his sidekick Donkey as they battle the evil Lord Farquaad.

Shrek is a 4D cinematic experience, you’ll go on a thundering gallop through a haunted forest ride on a fire-breathing dragon.

You’ll plunder over a waterfall.

All in the quest of Princess Fiona.

You’ll have ‘spiders’ fly out at you and be sprayed in the face and be tilted back forward and back in your seats.

Kick-ass entertainment and few do it better than Shrek and the magical cast of Universal Studios.

Relaxing: The Loews Portofino in Orlando

Fly me there

How to get there: Aer Lingus fly from Dublin to Orlando four times weekly; Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Fares start from €259 each way including taxes. Visit aerlingus.com for more information.

Aer Lingus customers can pre-clear US customs at Dublin airport. http://www.aerlingus.com

Where to stay

Where to stay:  On-site at Universal Orlando at the 5* Loews Portofino Bay Hotel with American Holidays, from €1,109 per person.

Price includes return direct flight with Aer Lingus to Orlando, Florida.

Seven nights’ accommodation at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel. Selected dates September & October 2015.

The providers

Go with Attraction Tickets Direct http://www.attractionticketsdirect.ie. Check out their latest packages.

This article was first published in the Irish Daily Mail.

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Hogwarts and all… Harry Potter

They’re the stuff of fantasy, Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, the Wizard of Oz and Hogwarts Castle.

They are the castles of our imagination, so think about the chance of seeing them come to life.

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, to give it its proper name, rises majestically from the pages of JK Rowling’s books…

Cheers: All the fun of Universal

And into the magnificent Hogwarts Castle in Universal Resort Orlando.

All fantasy castles are based on real ones and every Potterhead knows that JK Rowling was inspired by Alnwick Castle.

In Northumberland which is in the north-east of England. www.alnwickcastle.com.

But back to Orlando.

And the village of Hogsmeade where young wizards bedecked in cloaks, and brandishing wands, sing and dance for our entertainment.

School was never this much fun.

Loews Portofino Hotel, Orlando

You’ll get right into the heart of the castle where the pictures follow you and even rifle around Dumbledore’s study.

Just an aside here, I wouldn’t have minded the Great Bearded One being my headmaster.

At my school the teachers were never on our side!

I mean Harry and Ron never had to feel the thwack of ferula leather on the palms of their hands.

Sports are better too. And quidditch is a far better option than freezing your whatsits off in cross-country.

And I was good at that.

Alnwick. http://www.visitnorthumberland.com

Universal will give you the chance to join in the fun and games with our heroes on a broomstick ride around the castle.

In the 4D ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.

You’ll get the feeling of ducking and diving thrillingly close to the turrets.

It can be a little disorientating for the senses (well, yeah) but there are few things that are truly unique.

And this is one of them.

Newniversal

Universal never rests on its laurels though.

And this year it has introduced a new experience, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure.

Where you can fly on a rollercoaster as pillion to The Big Fella through the Forbidden Forest.

My next job: The Daily Prophet

Watch out for some strange creatures. As well as the ones you’ve come with.

A fun ride

How to get there: all major airlines fly to Orlando, the world’s rollercoaster capital.

I flew with Aer Lingus www.aerlingus.com from Dublin with pre-clearance.

Once there catch the Hogwarts Express at Kings Cross Station in London in Universal’s Islands of Adventure.

Watch out though through the windows for those scary Dementors.

And, of course, at Hogsmeade Station you can pop around the corner into the world of Diagon Alley.

Killer food in City Walk, Orlando

Universal is a day and a night, a day and a night.

And at night the castle really lights up with a dazzling spectacle with dramatic music.

I was part of the Dark Arts show when I visited Orlando’s sister park in Hollywood.

Read my Hollywood series https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/06/22/my-weekend-with-marilyn/. http://Stair Wars

Diagon Alley deserves its own blog and I’ll return to that but for now here’s my first time in Orlando https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/aaawlando-orlando-the-rollercoaster-capital/.

A reminder of my return trip to Universal https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/disney-why-i-love-the-donald/

And here’s my reprise of my first Orlando trip https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/21/eat-my-shorts-voldemort-and-bart/. Because you never forget the first time.

There was a second and there will be a third, fourth, fifth…

Visit www.universalorlando.com.

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Flyday Friday – Flying the flag

When an airline pulls out of a route it merely opens up the market for another, and who can blame Aer Lingus for putting their hands up?

While recognising the challenges for everyone in the aviation industry, our national airline carrier was quick to flag up its product in the wake of the Norwegian news.

Aer Lingus, as we all know, has 16 direct routes to North America.

With Mineapolis-St Paul the latest to arrive on the rank.

And while it is something of sport to diss them probably because they represent the institution.

Crackin’ city: Philadelphia

But I’ve been more than a happy flyer with them, particularly when they moved me when a poor lady was sick next to me half an hour into our flight to LAX.

And they arranged a wheelchair for her on her arrival in Los Angeles.

Aer Lingus flies Dublin to LA from €209, a one-way fare based on a return trip. Valid for travel between October and November.

And at the other end of the scale is Dublin to Philadelphia from €139 and Dublin and Shannon to New York from €149.

Book at http://www.aerlingus.com. And remember that you’ll get pre-clearance. Happy days!

I could choose from many of their great destinations and hope to see a few more.

But I’ll flag up Philadelphia here and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/philadelphia-freedom/.

An epic Saga

Photo by Kata Pal on Pexels.com

Saga conjures up a different image for me. Of a time when I worked looking after oldies (of whom I am now one).

But in connection with Iceland, of course, it is something epic.

What Icelandair refers to as business equivalent comes in at a competitive €250 one way to Reykjavik.

The economy class is €68 one way.

The Autumn and Winter Special Offers end on August 27 at 23.59.

It is for the travel period of October 1 to March 28.

And it is based on one-way fares on a return ticket. https://www.icelandair.com/en-ie/flights/special-offer/

Fly belong to Glasgow

Being one of God’s chosen people, a Glaswegian, I keep an eye on happenings in the Dear Green Place from across here in Ireland.

And by Dear Green Place I refer to the orgins of the name of the city, the Scottish Gaelic phrase for it..

Now you may be thinking that this is just an excuse to put one of my oul puns on the Glasgow Music Hall songs.

And you would be half right.

Prize guys: In Glasgow

But it is also worth flagging up that easyJet has a new route from Glasgow to Birmingham.

Not that I’ll be needing it any time soon but you might.

I’m told that easyJet http://www.easyjet.com is the largest airline in Glasgow and operates up to 294 flights a week across 19 routes.

And that it was also the first airline the carry one million passengers in a year from Glasgow.

It also has up to three flights a day to Belfast which means the Son and Heir can fly over to see his grannie.

Everyone’s a winner.

And to find out more about Glasgow see http://www.peoplemakeglasgow.com and http://www.visitscotland.com.

And if you want to see what carnage myself and my mum caused when I took her to the World Bagpipes Championships in Glasgow then read on… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/04/15/sportstraveltraveltravel/

MEET YOU IN THE SKIES

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Twice Upon A Time In Hollywood

It’s probably not that different from when Sharon Tait went to El Coyote in West Hollywood in Once Upon A Time… in Hollywood.

The Mexican restaurant was where Sharon and her friends ate a Mexican meal and drank Margaritas.

Although the heavily-pregnant actress stayed off the cocktails.

Unbeknown to them when they returned home to the Hollywood Hills that it was to their fate.

Says it all: Photo by Paul Deetman on Pexels.com

At the hands of Charles Manson’s followers.

We had a separate restaurant booking when I visited in June but this caught the spirit of the West Hollywood I witnessed.

PUMP is the modern-day celebs restaurant today in West Hollywood where Real Wives of Beverly Hills’ Lisa hosts her pals.

If you get there on the right night you might see Lady Gaga fall out onto the sidewalk as she did last year.

Gaga must have been doing a stir fry at home the night we visited but Lisa was there all right.

It’s just that the star-struck member of our party couldn’t muster up the nerve to ask her over to our table.

Looking the part: Oscar anybody? At the Dolby

Of course you can see a galaxy of stars on the Walk of Fame in Hollywood.

It’s a little unsettling to see the attention around Michael Jackson’s star.

I preferred to pay homage to Marilyn Monroe while I thought it more respectful not to make too much of a fuss of Greta Garbo.

She vants to be alone.

And, of course it’s not just humans who are celebrated here… Disney’s family of characters also have their stars.

And Hollywood’s finest have their hand and duck imprints too.

And I’m quackers about a certain duck.

Tarantino’s new blockbuster is a great watch and deeply respectful to the memories of Sharon Tait and her friends in the parallel story he chronicles.

Hand it to them: Hollywood’s imprints

Hollywood watchers will want to try and spot the locations in the movie and you will find an easy to follow guide on www.discoverlosangeles.com.

www.visitwesthollywood.com.

Aer Lingus flies to LAX from Dublin Airport with pre-clearance. www.aerlingus.com.

I stayed at the Kimpton La Peer Hotel in the heart of West Hollywood and would thoroughly recommend it. www.lapeerhotel.com.

With a little imagination you feel that you yourself are a real celebrity.

And read https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/06/01/california-screamin-my-weekend-with-marilyn/