America, Countries, Cruising, Europe, Food, Food & Wine, Ireland, UK

Hungry and Thursday – funny food

Food should be fun and taken out of the hands of foodies… and chefs.

I’m writing this while eating my Swedish ‘vacuum cleaners’ or dammsugare for fika. These are named after the tube-shaped vacuum cleaners of the Fifties.

I had been given them in my godispase, or goody bag.

Clean sweep

The godispase had come courtesy of the Stena Estrid, Swedish ferry cruise company‘s http://www.stenaline.ie and www.stenaline.co.uk maiden journey between Holyhead and Dublin.

It is, in truth, the closest I will get to a vacuum cleaner but it shows the Swedes’ sense of fun.

The Swedish dammsugare

To name this sweet after a common household gadget.

And it’s good to see that the world has been watching because it’s not for nothing that Jim Henson looked to Scandinavia for his madcap Swedish Chef.

You like your marzipan?

Music is the food of life

Now if that gives you a taste for Swedish food why not visit http://www.swedishfood.com/swedish-food-recipes-biscuits-cakes/376-arrack-rolls-or-vacuum-cleaners-punschrullar-eller-dammsugare?

The dammsugare got me thinking about other funny food you can pick up around the world.

Every city with a well-known red light district obvs like Amsterdam Pictures of Amsterdam and George Clooney and Amal’s Amsterdam hotel.

Where they also have Middle Eastern food skewered on an actual scimitar in Bazaar, a remodelled old mosque in fashionable De Pijp http://www.hotelbazar.nl/en/restaurant-bazar-amsterdam/ And www.iamsterdam.com.

Get a grip

But also unexpectedly in Portugal Centro Secret Portugal and www.visitportugal.com where I found a shop selling chocolate penises.

While this mug gives a new spin on your hot chocolate.

Get a handle on this

What else is out there I hear you ask.

And where are the sweetie cigarette, cigars and pipes we used to have as children?

Probably replaced with chocolate joints.

And, of course, any excuse to plug this fun for food fixture from my trip on Celebrity Edge around the Bahamas… www.celebritycruises.ie.

With I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out To Here.

The Germans are funny… full stop. Which gives a lie to the myth that they have no sense of humour.

And there is no elegant way to eat a hamburger… ich bin ein Hamurger Hamburgers and ships and www.hamburg-tourism.de.

While the Norwegians have a playful relationship with their trolls… The call of the fjords and www.visitnorway.com.

 

Fjord fiesta

With my very own Scary One… and MSC Cruises www.msccruises.ie.

While I love the taste of the sea too and few do it better than my own wee country Scotland and my adopted one Ireland, north and south…

 

Slurp it up

That’s www.visitscotland.com, www.discovernorthernireland.com and www.tourismireland.com.

With a tasting menu of the best of Scotland, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

 

With Catherine Fulvio at Ballyknocken

America http://www.visitusa.ie and http://visitflorida.com and is the country who put fun and funk into dysfunction and my safari food out with Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge http://www.disneyworld.disney.go.com in Florida brought me this nature feast below… it’s all natural.

 

And seeing we’re talking food then let’s finish on the country that leads the way on food… Italy.

With Italy specialists Top Flight www.topflight.ie and Catherine Fulvio at her cookery school in Ballyknocken, Co. Wicklow www.ballyknocken.ie

And some amateur cuoco…

 

Pasta master

OK, OK… mes amis in France http://www.atoutfrance.fr will disagree. And I don’t know what I was eating here but I was smokin’…

 

Send in your Fun With Food, what’s amusing to eat and where.

MEET YOU AROUND THE TABLE

Safari in Florida
The big smoke: In the French Embassy in Dublin
Countries, Deals, Europe

Holiday Snaps – Prague for under €100

It’s my own fault for not keeping a lock on my drinks cabinet… my Becherovka gets drained by the Son and Heir and his Daft Pals.

Of course when I rumbled him he had the answer. Not the answer but an answer.

He would buy me another bottle.

The only problem being the spiced liqueur that was invented in a pharmacy as a medicine is only made in the Czech Republic.

https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/06/24/czech-it-out-2/
Miracle water too… and beer and Becherovka

Lucky then that I’ve got pals in Czechland and that Cassidy Travel www.cassidytravel.ie have this super-duper short deal.

For two nights from March 9, and they also have Amsterdam Pictures of Amsterdam and www.iamsterdam.com from March 10 for the same price.

And to give you a taster of the Czechs Hope springs eternal and check out (I know) www.visitczech.com.

I’d like to say that he learned his lesson.

But the bottle of Croatian wine given to me by my friends at Croatia Tours www.croatia.ie for Christmas is testament to the fact that I can’t.

This is more like it

So that’s another trip I have to make… it’s one that I was on and off the bus for.

Maybe he’s really doing me a favour.

Chairman de la board

Which counter to move?

Long before gamers there were board gamers, of which I am one.

But I confess that I’d never heard of the ones Francophiles will be playing at Soiree Jeux at the French Library Dublin on Thursday (free from 6.30pm).

Now this is all French to me but mes amis at Alliance Francaise Dublin www.webmaster@alliance-francaise.ie are tempting me with Carcassone, Star Realms, Les adventuriers du rail and many others.

Now I’ve had my own adventuriers du rail on my post-school trip down to the French Riviera.

We slept on the platform in Paris St Lazare station.

Yes, of course we hit the naughty area

And were awoken by the gendarmes kicking our sleeping bags and brandishing their guns.

It would not be the last time that the gendarmes had cause to pull their guns on us.

After we (or let’s say I) stopped the traffic in Frejus.

While my adventuriers du rail were not finished there.

With me missing la traine because I was off trying to buy du biere.

The last I saw of my old pal Adam was 37 years ago.

When he was waving out the window of the train at me.

French Riviera watersports

Although I just missed out on the class reunion last month. I’d have had words to say.

I expect there will be board games in the restored chateau that Brittany Ferries http://www.brttanyferries.co.uk is pitching.

That’ll actually be a Mimosa

As part of its 20% off 2020 holidays in France.

You’ll be staying in Le Domaine de la Baie, not far from the centre of Audierne.

Book now and you can stay for just €177pp.

There are sand beaches, a surf and sailing school and a picturesque fishing harbour and marina.

Which to me means seafood. And Brittany too is well known for its cidre. Tres bien.

And for more on France, visit http://www.atoutfrance.fr.

And I know that you’re dying to know that I never did grow up and got into similar high jinks.

When I returned to the French Riviera 35 years later…. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-boat-dazur/

One foot in Algarve

Don’t forget the romance

Two point two children is the average but our two point three didn’t mean we were above average.

And we didn’t redeem ourselves to our Portuguese host when we broke her skylight in the Seventies.

Two point one is what Click & Go ate pitching… with seven nights in the 4* Estrela do Vau Hotel, Praia do Vau.

From €669 per family for Travel in May. Visit www.clickandgo.com.

And why Portugal is the perfect destination for fun and families…

https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/06/12/sportugal/ Secret Portugal.

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Flyday Friday – Philly charged

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… I’ll always go where people play and pray.

And wherever you find sportsfans you’ll see prayers being sent heavenwards for the success of their sportsteams.

Philadelphia, a real blue-collar city is one of America’s great sports hubs.

And if you were around in the Seventies and Eighties in particular you would have seen the City of Brotherly Love’s teams win…

Chinatown. Philadelphia

At baseball: the Phillies,

Ice hockey: the Flyers,

American Football: the Eagles,

Basketball: the 76ers.

But then Philadelphia forgot what it was and who they were and in a Tower of Babel moment they incurred the Curse of Billy Penn…

The city’s founding father.

Read how they won back Billy’s favour in Philadelphia Freedom and www.visitphilly.com.

Philly is the only American city on National Geographic’s top 25 places to visit this year…

Grand Canyon

Along with Grand Canyon National Park which I’ll always flag up… The grandest canyon.

Now I don’t need a reason to praise Philly but Aer Lingus has flights there from €189 as part of a return trip.

As part of a raft of special deals, both American and European.

For travel April 1 to June 15. Visit www.aerlingus.com.

Money back

Got your interest, well let’s progress.

Your flight is late and you just have to suck it up (how I hate that phrase).

And you know that if you’ve got a connection to make and that’s not going to happen.

Your plane just gone?

Then you need to know your EU Regulation 261/2004… http://www.citizensinformation.ie.

And we have much to thank Sturgeon v Condor Flugdienst GmbH and Bock and Others v Air France SA last year.

Now I’m imagining it’s not the Sturgeon who wants Scotland to be independent and stay in the EU.But whoever you are we salute you.

Sweet Amsterdam

It would be wrong though to knock our airlines because they are corporate Leviathans.

They are manned by real people and as tempting as it is in the stress of the moment.

Air France-KLM http://www.airfranceklm.com sorted out an oversight on The Scary One’s Dublin-Amsterdam tickets.

Which meant that she hit the canals smiling… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/pictures-of-amsterdam/ and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/george-and-amal-hotel/.

Lufthansa http://www.lufthansa.com and Aegean Airlines https://en.aegeanair.com also got me on the next connecting flight from Munich to Athens.

Old relics… Athens

After things had gone Der pear-shaped…

Though this relic did see his old Greek relic in the end.

Ryanair www.ryanair.com are the passenger’s favourite whipping boy but they too will help you out.

I know first hand having had a booking moved.

Because I had again messed up on not looking carefully enough at the return flight from Tobago https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/12/13/flyday-friday-caribbean-island-hopping/

And http://www.visittobago.gov.tt to London.

Because it was going to return the next day. It’s easier than you think.

Anyhoos try out www.airhelp.com for a wee help out.

Paris match

Window to the world: Ryanair

We’ll be giving it plenty in 2020… Ryanair, I know you love a good sales pitch so you can have that one for free!

Because you do keep us interested with your seat sales the latest of which offers 10% off one way flights for travel January-May.

Paris which is from €21.99 is a city I’ve yet to crack properly.

Because of mes misadventures.

I recall being kicked awake while sleeping on Paris St Lazare railway station.

When I was a callow 17-year-old on my way down to the French Riviera with pals after my school exams.

I travel in slightly better style these days… http://www.atoutfrance.fr and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-boat-dazur/

And then on our family holiday a few years back I had the bell rung in my ear at the Pere Lachaise Cemetery http://www.parisinfo.com.

Cafe culture

As we were rushing back from Edith Piaf and Oscar Wilde’s last resting place.

If I wanted ringing bells I’d have gone to the Notre Dame, merci bien, Monsieur.

Alas, of course, that wonderful church was ravaged by fire.

But mes amis in Paris tell me that they are working furiously to try to revive it to its former glory.

The Glasgow tongue

Our language is continually changing and that’s no bad thing.

But sometimes we forget that old words and definitions still hang around for an older Fifty Something generation.

My home city Glasgow www.peoplemakeglasgow.com is a case in point.

Just in from Glasgow Airport: ‘January Sale: save 20% on parking and the Lomond Lounge.

‘Book until January 8. Valid for arrivals until December 31.’

And then to reinforce the urgency… ‘It’s there and then it’s GONE. POOF.’

Visit www.hello@e.glasgowairport.com.

MEET YOU IN THE SKIES

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Moanday Morning – cars and petrolheads

The Scary One hasn’t let me behind the wheel for more than a dozen years… and counting.

She’s as nervous as a kitten in the passenger’s seat and has been known to grasp the handle tightly.

Before we’ve even left the driveway.

And so too did the owner of the classic Fiat 500 on the French Riviera.

Drive on…. on the course in France

I had been excited to see that we were being given the opportunity to drive around the Cote D’Azur when our Cannes itinerary came in.

Alas, the gears were hands controlled and I stalled not une, deux, mais trois fois que temps.

So Pierre took the wheel. And drove us safely around the cliffs.

The conversation was clipped with your Bandanaman in le huff.

Not my car! On Wicklow Mountains

And yes, typical male, my pride was dented and I did not take in the scenery the way I should have.

Even when we got to the beach for our picnic.

Where I sulked and skimmed stones. I’d recommend it but it may very well already be your stress-reliever.

And I was back to myself when we got in a big boat later for the drive back to Cannes.

And no I didn’t get to drive that but none of us did so that was OK.

This is what happened when I joined the Fast Set in Cannes… The Boat D’Azur.

Not even in a golf buggy… in Portugal

And guess what? My erratic driving (see, The Scary One even has me believing it) isn’t confined to the roads.

My fellow golfers on The Old Course, Cannes, were left ducking at my driving.

And I failed to follow golf etiquette by shouting ‘Quatre’!

And in Quinto da Lago I almost drove the Ryder Cup buggy into the lake! http://www.quintodalago.com and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/secret-portugal-classy-centro/

If you’re abroad and want your independence, and aren’t fazed by driving on the wrong side of the road, then go for Hertz… http://www.hertz.ie.

And maybe bring your Scary One with you.

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Holidos and Don’ts: When in Rome

Do like the Romans… or the French. Or the Americans… or the Asians… it’s Holidos and Dont’s: When in Rome.

These are the foreign customs that catch us out, but the trick is forearmed is forewarned.

And play it safe.

Back in the day when I was going to Italian classes I tried out an idiom in Rome on the concierge.

‘Buona notte e sogni d’oro’, says I, and the concierge would shoot a smile back.

When I returned to class Donata was aghast when I told her.

‘Good night and dreams of gold? You only say that to your girlfriend, Jim.’

So here’s a quick guide on other customs and sayings to keep you right:

Italian caffé

Italy: An easy one to start with. Never order a cappuccino after 11am.

Italians consider milk too heavy for after dinner or in the afternoon.

They will make an exception for macchiatos but that’s only a dash of milk.

And if you want an espresso, order a caffé (not a coffee shop) and that’s what you’ll get.

Check out my review of a walk through Lazio in Small Roads Lead to Rome… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/small-roads-lead-to-rome/

And check out all things Italian at the website www.italia.it

Faux-pas in France

France: In the land that gave us the faux-pas, simply greeting somebody is fraught with difficulty.

If you want to be French (mais, oui) then you’ll want to kiss the person you meet on the cheek.

It’s usually the left cheek but there are regional variations, and you wouldn’t want to end up kissing a stranger on the lips.

I’d just shake hands.

And this is all before you get to what time of the day you go from saying Bonjour to Bon Soir.

How do they do it in the chic Cannes. Read my review… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-boat-dazur/

And visit www.atoutfrance.fr for all things French.

Big in Japan

Japan: Etiquette is everywhere in Japan.

This one we like.

In Japan it’s the customer who should be thanked in restaurants so it’s not the done thing to tip.

Tips in America

Americans have been known to run after you if you don’t tip.

So, some general guidelines.

If you buy a drink at the bar, it’s probably a dollar, 15 to 20% in restaurants.

A fiver for the concierge, a dollar for the bellhop (don’t know why) and I usually leave a fiver for every night stayed for the housekeeping.

Where do I start with my American reviews.?

Why not the worst waiters in the world, those in Hollywood who would rather be waiting table for Spielberg. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/06/22/my-weekend-with-marilyn/

And check out Visit USA. http://www.visitusa.ie. www.visitusa.ie and www.visitcalifornia.com.

Bad hair day in Jordan

It was never going to apply to me but one of our party quickly stuck her hair in a bun.

Why?

Her hair was wet, and Jordanians think women going out with wet hair have loose morals.

Not sure what it’s like in other Arab countries but best check first.

And also check out my review from Jordan… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/petra-jordan-jesus-and-the-sands-of-time/

And the Jordan tourist board. www.visitjordan.com

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Hot D’Azure

It’s Hot D’Azure down in the French Riviera right now. How hot? Well today it is set to break all records in France for June with temperatures of 41C.

France’s two highest temperatures were recorded in the South of France, 44C, on two separate occasions on August 12 in 2003 so it’s not quite that just yet.

But for those down there at the moment there is that consolation, and the fact that you might have a sea breeze… and well, it is Cannes.

I did what all self-respecting visitors do and took a gigantic boat out onto the C’ote D’Azur. Read all about it in https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-boat-d’azur/(opens in a new tab)