Countries, Culture, Europe, Ireland, Music

Rainy Days and Songdays – Alps, Autry and America

High on a hill was a lonely goatherd, Lae Ee Od Lay Ee Od Lay Hee Hoo – The Sound of Music

And who hasn’t yodelled when they’ve found themselves in the foothills of the Alps? I know I hodelay-hodelay-hodelayhee-have.

Although we couldn’t get superstar septuagenarian and amateur yodeller Brigitte to clear her throat when she took us walking above Interlaken in Switzerland.

Yodel eh? In Austria

We did though get awesome octogenarian Arthut, or Ehrwald Presley as I coined him, doing his verbal gymnastics last year on our Top Flight for Schools trip.

Before the night ascended into an Irish wedding-type hooley.

Now your favourite music on our travels column has been over yodelling before in this series.

But on the occasion of 60 years of the Irish Austrian Society which we’ll celebrate tonight let’s explore how yodelling was carried on the wind around the world.

Gene genie

Gene’s gaffe: The Angels at Anaheim

If you’re of a certain age, or if you’re versed in cowboy movies, you’ll know all about Gene Autry.

The Singing Cowboy, who hit the heights from the Thirties through to the Sixties.

And became such a big star that he even bought himself a baseball team in 1961, the Angels, who in their current iteration are the LA Angels.

Playing for the jersey: Gene Autry, the Angel

Gene may be 22 years gone (an angel for ever now) this month.

But not, nor will he ever be forgotten, in Anaheim

There is a shrine to him at Angels stadium which you can visit ahead of a game.

The Angels held Gene in such high regard that they added him to the roster and then retired the No.26 number.

Hodelayhee-Home Run.

Yodelling meets Blues

Jimmie, Jimmie: Jimmie Rogers. www.countrymusichalloffame.org

Yodelling may have its roots in the Alps but the Americans bluesed it up with the likes of Jimmie Rogers.

And as we all know America, and particularly the Deep South us where music went into a big melting pot.

It gave us, Jazz, Blues, Country, Elvis and Soul.

And, to think it all started with a lonely goatherd, hee-hoo.

Countries, Culture, Europe, Ireland, Music, UK

Rainy Days and Songdays – Roll Over Beethoven

And because this week I’ll be hooking up with my German pals for a virtual celebration of Beethoven, this being the 250th anniversary of his birth, I give you the classics.

Ear, ear Beethoven

This one’s for Elise

Beethoven, Teplice, Czech Republic: And you’d expect to see Ludwig in this wellness town back in the 18th Century.

Because Bohemia was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Vienna and Prague were musical centres where Germans flocked to.

I paid my tribute to The Great Man this year at the Beethoven Spa Hotel in Teplice where he stayed, and his room is still there for him.

And he got treatment for his ears, tried out some funky horns and left his death mask.

We also tried out the titular cafe, and the hot chocolate and chocolate cake for research purposes. An empty piano awaited the maestro.

If Beethoven had written a Fur Katarina I’d point you to that in celebration of our host and my pal, but we have the equally enchanting Elise, so here’s Fur Elise.

Rock me Amadeus

Eine Kleine Sadie Music

Mozart, Salzburg, Austria: And, yes, the Austrian singer Falco toasted Mozart with this hit.

A Wiener, he was what Mozart wanted to be, though almost certainly not in musical terms, but certainly in his origins.

Wolfgang was no fan of his home place, Salzburg, which he thought had a small-town attitude.

High standards. We loved it on out ski trip to Soll (it is a Sound if Music Mecca too).

Although the museums are too spread out, you do get right under Wolfie’s skin ;and hair). Here’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, pretty much the only German I know.

Vivaldi’s Veneto

The Dragon, Constsnce and Bandanaman in Venice

Vivaldi, Padova/Veneto: And for many, particularly the Eighties generation, punk violinist Nigel Kennedy, and his rendition of Four Seasons, was it for classical music.

I don’t know if Kieran ‘The Dragon’ who was in our party in Padova was an aficionado but he took casual chic to a new level.

I take some responsibility as I’d wheeled him and fellow Venice newbie Constance out to Lagoon City.

We were back late but had each taken a change of clothes while Dragon was still in his boardies.

While the orchestra were kitted out and the waiters and waitresses too in the sumptuous Padova Botanical Gardens.

Anyhoo, here’s an excerpt of L’Autunno from Il Quattro Stagione.

Boheme Rhapsody

Raising the roof: Prague

Puccini, Prague: And long before rockers namechecked cities, the Classical composers were doing it.

Whisper it, the opera is set in Paris, the Bohemian bit is the fun label attached to what are modern-day Czechs.

And so, for me, the ideal place to watch Giacomo Puccini’s Classic is the State Opera in Prague.

Everybody loves to party in Prague, monks in the Strahov Monastery Brewery and priests swigging Champagne during the intermission at the State Opera.

Handel with care

No cats or mice allowed

Handel Dublin: And George Handel chose Dublin, the second city of the Empire, because he felt the London audiences had started to take him for granted.

No shrinking violet George, there was a statue to him erected in Dublin while he was still alive.

The premiere was packed and ladies were asked not to wear hooped dresses so as to allow more in.

That show was performed at the Musick Hall in Fishamble Street. Now you’ll want to go to Christchurch Cathedral for your opera fix.

But not the place for a cat or a mouse whose mummified remains are on display in the cathedral’s crypt…. they’d got stuck in the organ.

It’s immortalised in James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake.

Anyhoos Christ Church Cathedral puts on recitals and thanks to my friends at Travel Department we channeled old Handel one balmy evening.

Countries, Cruising, Europe, Ireland

What a picture – my award-winning photographer wife

Every picture tells a story and this is ours.

World Photograph Day yesterday saw me trawling through my Travel memories with my award-winning photographer wife.

Sarah Frost as she was when she won two UK Royal Photography Awards.

And still is under her working name, before taking on my mantle.

Now The Scary One, as I affectionately and rather fearfully refer to her, has not been able to attend all my trips around the world.

A deserved reputation

Mostly because of the stipulations but sometimes I imagine because of reputation.

But when she has she has brought a colour to the trips.

Around Ireland…

Temple Bar

In our own garden county of Co. Wicklow, in Dublin, the iconic Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel at a famous Dublin 4 institution, and a haven too in Temple Bar, and in the heart of the Midlands in the border county of Monaghan.

And up north from where us Murtys hail and London and England where the Frosts hail.

2a6b943f-436b-4e6f-8e30-6b5e90b1ef9d
That way, Sweden

While she also caught the fun of skiing in Austria, wining and dining in Portugal Centro, cruising in the Norwegian fjords with stop-offs in Copenhagen and then a city trip in Hamburg.

And also at George’s and Amal’s Amsterdam hotel, her photographs have always enhanced the experience.

Though there was a time on board the MSC Preziosa when it was particularly slippy because of the Norwegian rain.

Photo album

And she looked as if she might fall overboard. I very nearly caught her too!

So opening up the album here are my Frostie’s Favourites and some of her creativity has even rubbed off on me. See if you can spot which are hers and which are mine?

The fjords

fullsizeoutput_1a8b 2
Which one’s the troll?

And She was up every morning bright and early to capture Norway’s waterfalls, inlets and try to spot trolls.

There was one still sleeping off the previous night’s wine, in our MSC Preziosa cabin room.

Bitesize Hamburg

_DSC2871
Walking on air in Copenhagen

And when She wasn’t putting her feet up in the beach bar in tbe Rieperbahn she was snapping life around the port.

Amsterdam by George

hdr
žCan I be trusted on a bike? In Amsterdam

And sometimes we make a rod for our own back because after staying at the Dylan Amsterdam where George and Amal stay then everywhere else is a disappointment.

Heart and Soll

IMG_1389
White delight: In Soll

I fell for you Heart and Soll as Cole Porter sang. And while I was falling down the slopes She was getting the ski boots off and capturing the SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser.

The power of Powerscourt

317d92ca-de04-49f8-aa9a-87eb5caac93b
Towering talent… one of mine

And the two things that She loves more than anything in life and neither of them are me are in Wicklow that’s gardening and shopping.

Powerscourt has them both... and don’t my credit cards know it?

hdr
One of Hers

 

IMG_5830
And one of Jose’s

And lastly here we are the picture of happiness as taken by our Portuguese guide, photography fan and pal Jose.

 

 

 

Adventure, Countries, Europe, Ireland, Music, Sport, UK

Rainy Days and Songdays – Austria you to me are everything

I could move a mountain when my hand is in your hand – The Real Thing

Whether The Real Thing had the Alps in mind I don’t know but they know the band all right in Soll… and Austria you to me are everything.

Songs often jump up and hook us randomly in the places we hear them the most.

And You To Me Are Everything rocked out every night at the Whisky Muhle.

I skied some of those mountains… yeah, right!

Where Alex Johnson, the singer, belts out rock classics, while the locals pour Jagermeisters down his gullet.

And he announces every night that You To Me Are Everything is the best song of all time.

And Alex does the ‘best song of all time’ justice, and a bunch of others with his ‘Candy’ well worth a mention.

I even forgave him saying that Paolo Nutini had ripped it off REM.

I’ll be in one of those huts

All this, and did I say that they have a game where you hammer a nail into a block of plywood with the acute end?

Which funnily enough you won’t see in the pubs of Glasgow, Liverpool or Dublin.

We travelled to Soll with ski specialists Top Flight and I have hiked up the hills with them too since.

And that’ll be the beer then

Top Flight, who also with good reason call themselves the Italy specialists, are suffering like so many in Travel.

And they had to make the heartbreaking decision to let some staff go last week.

Which I know from dealing with them would have been the last thing they would have wanted.

It may seem like all uphill right now while downhill doesn’t seem too appealing either.

And the locals are real friendly

But skiing proves that we can ride the bumps and come out still standing at the end of it all.

And there’s a Jagermaester at the end of it all at the end of it all and a rocking music set. It’s apres-ski and it’s everything.

*Everything – The Real Life Story which chronicles the career of the first all-black British band to reach No.1 in the UK charts screens on BBC Four on Friday at 9pm.

Africa, America, Asia, Australasia, Canada, Caribbean, Countries, Culture, Europe, Food & Wine, Ireland, UK

Green for go to these countries

And I’m already swotting up on New Zealand www.newzealand.com Thailand https://www.tourismthailand.org/landing and Vietnam https://vietnam.travel/home.

The UK is putting in a traffic light system for countries as we ease out of lockdown.

Greece is the answer to our prayers

And my favourites are all green-lighted for return:

Austria https://www.austria.info/en Barbados https://www.visitbarbados.org Croatia www.croatia.ie Germany https://www.germany.travel/en-mobile/index.html and Greece http://www.visitgreece.gr and https://athensattica.com are all go.

Out of quarantine

Translated that means returning travellers need not quarantine for 14 days.

I’m just glad Home Secretary Priti Patel finally listened to me.

Just swimmingly In Tenerife

You won’t have to be an amber gamblers either if you’re visiting a country on this list:

Australia, Belgium, Canada and Denmark France, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Portugal, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland and Spain.

Or cycling in the French Pyrenees

The hit list

And there’s been more than a sprinkling of love from most of them… https://visitbelgium.com, https://visit-canada.ca, https://www.visitdenmark.com, https://about-france.com/visit-france.htm, http://www.italia.it/en/home.html, https://www.holland.com/global/tourism.htm, www.visitportugal.com, www.myswitzerland.com and https://www.spain.info/en_GB/ https://www.spain.info/en/informacion-practica/oficinas-turismo-embajadas/turismo-exterior/oficina_de_turismo_en_dublin.html.

Bad luck though if you’re stopped at red:

Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Egypt, India, Israel, Mexico, Morocco, South Africa and the US.

With the last two turning my clown into a frown.

Having set in train all my trips this year around these countries I’m having to make do with North Berwick beach these past couple of months.

Barbados hotpots

You see I don’t fancy much being one of half a million on Bournemouth beach.

Give me one of Barbados’s beaches, and I’m reminded now of a tub of chicken stew and bottles of Banks beers in Bathsheba, St Joseph East… Let’s rumba in Barbados and My kiss with Rihanna.

Of course the beach is a Bajan’s dining room where the locals put up bars like we do brollies.

And where the flying fish jump out of the sea and onto your plate.

Fish of the day

There are many different varieties of cutters including liver, cheese, ham, egg and more.

Clubbing together: Club Barbados on the Platinum Coast

Or even easier are their fish cakes… do like a local and order a ‘bread and two’. On a bun.

The Bajans will be only too happy to show you how to cook up a treat…

And if you like it hot then here’s how they scare up a Pepper Pot… https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCUwplS8uhaieGiL_50XhJCg.

Africa, Australasia, Countries, Culture, Europe, Food & Wine, Ireland, UK

The Sunday Sermon – Covid covert love

Thou shalt not covert thy neighbour’s ass – The Ten Commandments

Aussie Di was on the next bus, Contiki https://www.contiki.com/six-two/bus-tour-seating-strategy/, and as everybody in coachworld knows Topdeck https://www.topdeck.travel and Contiki should never mix.

Only Di had golden shoulder-length hair and a smile as bright as the sun.

And I was the envy of all the bronzed Aussie dudes at the party because for the first time in my life I got the girl.

Longing for the Alps

All of which longings across a coachpark in Austria in the Eighties came flooding back to me.

As I digested the Covid times survey which said that four out of five of us are keeping our lovin’ to our own households just now.

I have oft times returned to those two carefree summer trips to the Oktoberfest and Austria.

And particularly when I have passed through Munich https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/01/hungry-and-thursday-the-munich-beerfest.

Sound of Music sites in Salzburg with my blonde for life, Sarah the Scary One

The magic bus

And in Austria with www.topflight.ie, Soll Mates and all across the Alps https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/04/27/rainy-days-and-songdays-yodeleeeee/amp/

Coach rides are still the best, and most economical, way for 18-35 year-olds to see the world.

I’d look back at other Topdeck routes between drinks on the coach which was reconditioned to include a kitchen, with the top deck bunks.

Got there: Port Elizabeth, South Africa

South African dreams

And I vowed that one day I would get down to South Africa, an ambition I realised last year when I visited Nelson Mandela’s state, the Eastern Cape https://www.southafrica.net/uk/en/ and What’s new pussycat? and Day in the life of a township.

I’d go again in a heartbeat.

And, in truth, it’s that sweaty mass of humanity (rather than the sweaty mass of the Son and Heir’s dirty washing) I miss most in this lockdown.

For the record I tried to revive my holiday romance with Di when I returned home.

Who’s for a beer? Topdeck

Difficult though it was with me in Aberdeen in Scotland and Di 400 miles south in London.

The prospect of the Topdeck reunion on the horizon kept me going though through all those cold Scottish nights.

Plenty more fish

When the time came I made our appointment in Trafalgar Square near the South African Embassy where a protest was taking place to free Nelson Mandela.

But Di was nowhere to be seen.

She was though at the reunion later in Earl’s Court (where else?).

With her Scottish boyfriend!

Adventure, Countries, Culture, Europe

Rainy Days and Songdays – yodeleeeee!

I’ve been known to sing songs aloud going down a crowded street and can do a whole concert these days.

Try it… you’ll feel liberated and you can belt out a lot of frustration.

Why do you think our friends in the Alps are so chilled?

One word: Yodelling.

Brigitte, our forever young walking guide from our Interlaken and Jungfraujoch perambulations https://www.myswitzerland.com/en-gb/ and Swhisskey on the rocks could warble with the best.

Ehrwald Presley

And by the best I mean Arthur our legendary warbler from the Hotel Sonneburg https://www.sonnenburg.at/en/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI1-D8v52I6QIVNoBQBh3LXweXEAAYASAAEgKjkPD_BwE in Ehrwald in the Tyrol.

Hot the floor: At the Sonneburg in Ehrwald, Austria

Octogenarian Arthur stepped in when their house singer had to pull out because of a fracture.

Being an Irish walking group we ratcheted it up by getting him to do Neil Diamond and Elvis Preskey.

The other Elvis

And Arthur became forever immortalised as Ehrwald Presley.

Eine kleine Nachtmusik

Back to yodelling and it would seem that it can carry a danger when you ‘climb every mountain’.

Which I did when stumbling upon a black run on our ski through the SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser… Soll Mates.

And had to walk down, skis in hand.

Tired, I fell asleep that night through the football on the telly in the Whiskey Muhle.

But awoke to hear Alex Johnson’s turn at the mic.

When he would bang out classic after classic while apres ski fans would pour shots into his mouth.

The Real Thing

My favourite of his set was Paolo Nutini’s Candy while he swore by The Real Thing’s You To Me Are Everything.

And so in tribute to Alex, who incidentally was back on the slopes the next day skiing away despite drinking the bar the night before.

Here it is… https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=yT1iDKkZNYU.

Topflight www.topflight.ie and Topflightforschools https://topflightforschools.ie are all over Austria.

Which songs are your souvenirs from your holidays. Share them here and we’ll have a good sing-song.

MEET YOU ON THE STAGE

Canada, Countries

Flyday Friday – Canada, eh?

We’ve been here before, flagging up Toronto and Canada and celebrating their favourite catchphrase. Eh!

I can’t say my brother returned from living for eight years in Toronto saying ‘Eh’ at the end of his sentences.

But he did talk about going for ‘errands’ and the ‘sidewalk’.

The great raconteur Peter Ustinov referred to Toronto https://www.seetorontonow.com and https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/visit-canada.html as ‘New York run by the Swiss’.

And, yes, Toronto doesn’t have the raw edge of NY, or graffiti, but it works for them and is still cool.

It’s a great sports city too.

And it has made its mark with two relatively new franchises in baseball and basketball.

We went to the ball park to watch the Blue Jays during the summer I worked in Boston in the Eighties.

And you could see that the Torontonians were taking to their new team.

Who went on to win back-to-back World Series, beating the best from across the border which went down quite well.

Star of the team was Dominican (he hailed from the Dominican Republic rather than being a monk) George Bell.

With the fans ringing a bell every time he stepped up to bat.

While this year the Raptors shocked everyone, and perhaps even themselves.

By beating the stellar Golden State Warriors, Steph Curry et al, to lift the NBA Championships.

All of the hoo-ha that greeted each victory Downtown Toronto I’m reliably informed is but a whisper.

Compared with how the ice-hockey daft Torontonians are when the Maple Leafs are on a run.

I’m just saying but I have game.

All of which is my usual tangental way of flagging up a Flyday Friday deal.

This time courtesy of Air Transat http://www.airtransat.com which has a St Stephen’s Day sale on.

With a round-trip from Dublin from €318 (April 14-20).

Montreal, Toronto’s great rival, with its Canadiens hockey team, is from €329 (April 14-20). Tres bien! Visit https://www.mtl.org/en and https://www.tourismvancouver.com

And Vancouver, who boast the Canucks, from €363 (April 28-May 17).

Book by December 31. No flights available from this month to March .

Three million New Year cheers

I’m up early for every deal (on your behalf).

And so are Aer Lingus who have a January sale just released at a minute past midnight earlier today.

Ireland’s national airline carrier has three million seats on sale.

With up to 30% off European travel and North America from €189 each way.

Valid for travel from March 1 to June 15.

While flights to North America are from just €189 each way, Travel valid between April 1 and June 15.

You know this is the blog to come to for America… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/21/old-new-york-hamilton/ https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/obama-washington-dc/ https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/philadelphia-freedom/

While also try https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/06/22/my-weekend-with-marilyn/ https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/disney-why-i-love-the-donald/

And all points in between.

Book by midnight, January 21. Visit http://www.aerlingus.com and http://www.visitusa.ie.

Januairy sales with Ryanair

Where Aer Lingus goes Ryanair follows although of course, they prefer to be out in front.

And the no-frills low-fares airline has up to 30% off too on return flights.

With 1 million seats to fit for travel between April and August.

Nice is from €24.99, Ibiza €28.99, Alicante €28.99, Faro €28.99, Malta €34.99 and Thessaloniki from €34.99.

Now let’s have a look at a couple of those from my visits there…

The French Riviera https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-boat-dazur/, Faro and the Algarve https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/06/12/sportugal/ and Greece https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/09/21/acropolis-later/.

And, yes, I know that that last post is on Athens but it’s just a teaser.

And on that trip to Athens, Kythera and the Attica region my colleague Dutch Bas flagged up what he thought was Greece’s best city, Thessaloniniki.

He obviously knows his stuff… it’s just I like to check these things out for myself.

Lauda and louder

I didn’t always turn the telly over when the Grand Prix came on… in the days of Nikki Lauda and James Hunt I did follow them around the chicanes (whatever the heck that is).

While, of course, the film Rush with Chris Hemsworth, also reminded us of the fantastic story of their rivalry and ultimate friendship.

I’m reliably informed by my female friends that Chris Hemsworth in a film greatly increases the enjoyment levels.

Nikki Lauda, who we lost this year remained a huge figure in Formula 1, broke into airplanes (and by that I mean launched his own livery rather than cracked the lock).

Ryanair’s fully owned Austria subsidiary Laudamotion is to increase frequency on its Vienna to Dublin route from daily to eleven times weekly from March 29-October 25.

And here’s a reminder of what Austria http://www.austria.info has to offer both in winter and in the spring, summer, autumn…

That’ll be https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/soll-mates/ and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/10/01/austrian-toilet-humour/ and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/10/03/__trashed/.

And seeing we’ve just put one election to bed in the UK and are preparing for an Irish election over here while the Americans also have it all to do next year too..,

How about? https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/11/25/moanday-morning-electioneering/

MEET YOU IN THE SKIES