America, Countries, Europe, Sport

Open again for golf

A lot has happened in the last two years since I sat drenched on the banks of the Royal Portrush greens but now we’re Open again for golf,

It is doubtful whether the demure folk of Royal St George’s in Sandwuch, Kent on the English south coast will holler their man home.

The way the Northern Irish did County Offaly’s Shane Lowry on that deluge of a day in County Antrim.

Champion Golfer

Open for glory in Belfast

Shane has been a unique Champion Golfer of the Year in that his reign has spanned two years.

After last year’s tournament was cancelled because of Covid.

A bit like your Travel Editor of the Year who was honoured by Irish Travel as their Travel Editor of the Year in 2019 before the world shut down.

And is yet to truly open again.

Ben Sayers outside my house in North Berwick

Golfers have, of course, been waiting excitedly to get their clubs packed again for foreign trips.

Shane knows he has little to worry from this direction as I usually stick to the driving range.

But here’s a mixed bag of my golfing misadventures abroad. Fore!

Quatre en France

Captain’s choice?

The Old Course, Cannes, France: And continental Europe’s oldest course is where to play with Cannes’ Fast Set.

You’ll even have la joie of traversing a small stream between holes on a boat.

But be sure to remember the international language of golf when slicing your shot.

As I was reminded by the match behind to shout Fore. Needless to say it wasn’t Bryson DeChambeau!

My Ryder

Are you watching Pádraig Harrington?

Quinta do Lago, Portugal: Word had obviously reached Paul McGinley and his Golf Academy in the Algarve.

That I was open for golf again.

My driving was better than my riding with me going off road on our cycle and almost ending up with the spoonbill birds.

Another round in Vegas

Hotshot: In Vegas

Topgolf, Las Vegas: And in Vegas the pitchers are the jugs of booze.

They come to your golf range table with chicken wings and dips. And it helps with your golf driving.

As I also found on a Liverpool course as a guest of Irish Ferries and Jameson Whiskey where a drinks trolley would come round every few holes.

What a Player

My pal Gary Player

Royal Liverpool, Hoylake, Wirral: The north-west of England rivals Scotland as Golfland and where I wrote a golf column.

And where I got the tip that a Japanese TV station were filming a round with Gary Player and would I like to join them.

While I channeled my inner Gary at the Press round before an Open and putted back off the clubhouse wall as Gary did in ‘74.

Turk that

Swing time in the TA lounge

Turkish Airlines Lounge, Istanbul Airport: And the dream of golf nuts who will find every opportunity to play…

An airport lounge driving range on the way back from Istanbul.

Just go easy on the cornucopia of food and drink at the TA lounge or you’ll follow through.

And fill up with Turkish treats

So we’re Open for golf again and there’s an Open invitation to you all to come and see us in North Berwick, East Lothian, Scotland.

Although my cousin Greg is still avoiding me after he stood too close to me on the tee box at North Berwick Golf Club

When we were kids and I clunked him on the head. Fore!

 

Caribbean, Countries, Europe

Bitchin’ Beaches… five around the world

The reopening of beaches in Europe has got us all talking about our own favourites.

And I guess I’m luckier than most in that I live on the coast – in North Berwick in Scotland.

And as we all slowly get back on the beaches here are my five faves on foreign shores.

Caribbean at last

Made it: Doing my best Robinson Crusoe

Englishman’s Bay, Tobago: The great thing about Tobago is, that all the beaches are public.

And its most famous adopted son Robinson Crusoe climbed up this very beach.

Before kindly leaving a hammock there for me.

See www.visittobago.gov.tt and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/02/09/on-your-marks-get-set-goat/.

Der beach

Strand Pauli, Hamburg: This is not what you expected, right?

In the heart of Hamburg, near the Rieperbahn, by the River Elbe they have put up a beach bar. Das ist Gut.

See www.hamburg.com, Hamburgers and ships and Why German trains always run on time.

Fort’s worth it

Fort Lauderdale, Florida: This is what jet lag is made for.

And the best time to get out on the palm tree-lined beach is early, early in the morning when it is deserted.

See https://www.fortlauderdale.gov/visitors and https://www.visitflorida.com/en-us.html. And https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/23/fort-lauderdale-and-miami-a-tale-of-two-sittings/amp/.

Sea plane

Kuramathi, The Maldives: The perfect place to fall asleep in a slumber when you’ve flown 18 hours by two planes and a seaplane www.turkishairlines.ie.

There is a smaller island still, 200m x 200m, Kandolhu.

Visit http://www.kuramathi.ie, and https://www.kandolhu.com. And https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/04/04/atoll-tale-the-maldives-2/amp/

Eau you beauty

Twirl power

Cannes, France: Where the Fast Set go but the pace is slow particularly in neighbouring Mandelieu La Napoule.

There you’ll see jet propellers and skiers and impossibly primped poodles. You belong!

See https://www.cannes-destination.com/discover, https://cotedazurfrance.fr/en/to-do/art-and-culture/visit-the-chateau-de-la-napoule-in-mandelieu/ and The Boat D’Azur.

Where is your favourite beach? Let me know and we’ll share a sandcastle.

MEET YOU ON THE BEACH

Caribbean, Countries, Culture, Europe

Give us this day – Hermits

Hermits have been one of the most pilloried sections of society, though really their very raison d’etre was to be outside of society.

Which is where you want to be just now.

Now hermits fall into three categories: The Lost, The Saintly and The Imprisoned.

The first of which I definitely am, the second I strive to be and the latter which miraculously I’ve been evading all these years.

Where is everybody? On the Via Francigena

The lost: Which is where I normally find myself on my travels.

Particularly if they put 100kms between me and my destination.

Which is the case on the last leg of the Camino in Galicia in north-west Spain www.caminoways.com and A pilgrim’s prayer.

Ciao, Roma

And on the Italian Camino from Viterbo into Rome www.FrancigenaWays.com.

Probably more so the Via Francigena, to be fair, where the irregular arrows can leave you abandoned, alone, in an olive grove.

Still, more time to talk to the Lord while you can squeeze the olives onto those rolls you bought that morning…

A perfect accompaniment for that half bottle of wine.

And here’s a celebration of being alone on the road… Small roads lead to Rome.

I’ve made land… in Tobago

For those who prefer the sea there are opportunities aplenty to get lost too.

Like Robinson Crusoe. Still there are worse places to get washed up on than Tobago.

He wasn’t totally alone though. Man Friday? No, the goats he trained.

And yes I got to race them… www.visittobago.gov.tt and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/17/ready-steady-goat-racing-in-tobago/

Halo there!

The Saintly: You can live like the Fast Set in Cannes and Mandelieu-la-Napoule.

Or like the Fasting Set on the hermit’s island of Ile Saint-Honorat where Saint Honoratus went for a little solitude and a natter with his boss.

Word got out and more of his monk pals came out…

He founded a monastery which drew the attentions of no less a luminary than St Patrick.

Today’s traveller skirts the island on a speed boat… well, you have to, don’t you?

The Fast Set in Cannes

Visit https://www.cannes-destination.com/discover and https://www.mandelieu.com and http://www.atout-france.fr/content/about-us.

And come join me as I make a splash on the Riviera The Boat D’Azur.

You’ve found us: Napoleon’s island Saint Helena. http://www.sainthelenaisland.info

Boney’s bones

The imprisoned: The best-laid plans des souris et Frenchmen gang aft a-gley.

And the most famous Frenchman of them all, Napoleon Bonaparte ended up here.

On Saint Helena, the second-most remote inhabitable island in the world.

Where I have been destined for this year.

No, not because after spending three weeks locked up with me she wants to send me 5,000 miles away.

But because I’d been planning a trip out there this year. See http://sthelenatourism.com.

MEET YOU ON THE ROAD