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

Who is beerier than Prague?

Whisper it around the Czech capital but they’ve relinquished their boozy crown. So who is beerier than Prague?

In a word Asheville. Ashe-where?

Asheville is a city in western North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains.

And it’s renowned for its arts scene.

Carolina on my mind

Asheville: In the Blue Ridge Mountains

Well they know already that they have more breweries per capita than any city in the US… that’s roughly 100 local beers.

But now they can add the prestiguous title of Best City in the World for Beer Drinkers as compiled by money.co.uk.

The researchers mark the cities on breweries per 10,000 people, bars, pubs and clubs per 10,000 and average price per pint in sterling.

Asheville scores 2.80, 7.86 and £3.58 from which I can only draw the conclusion… get me out there!

Czech out the beer

In the Strahov Monastery Brewery in the Czech Republic

Particularly as second and fourth on the list are beer cities I know well, Prague and Fort Collins, Colorado.

While the third beeriest is one The Son and Heir knows well, Krakow, Poland.

Where it was more ale than hail when he was a youth leader for World Youth Day.

While in Prague the most exercised you’ll get is walking back up from Wenceslas Square to The Castle.

But get this… £1.34 a pint.

Wade in with Colorado beer

Beertown Fort Collins

In Fort Collins you’ll be required to do some white water rafting although you’ll get the reward of a local brew at Paddler’s Pub.

And in FC that’s £2.87 a pint although you’d probably double that with the American tip.

It wouldn’t be a beery list, of course, without Dublin, and the Fair City comes in eighth.

Pure Genius: Guinness Storehouse

The Guinness Storehouse is on every tourist’s list in Dublin’s capital.

Although some local knowledge here and pick your way through tourist trap Temple Bar.

Where you can pay nearly double the £4.70 money.com relays.

Islands of beer

Auld Boozie: In Auld Reekie, Edinburgh

It seems we’re well off too in my local city Edinburgh too although the doors are only a few weeks reopened.

Auld Reekie comes in 16th and will glory in coming in well ahead of London, back in 39th of 40.

Beer bucket list

Blowing a trumpet for Denver

So, who is beerier than Prague? Well, maybe the question should be let’s set a beer bucket list.

And tick off all 40.

Amsterdam, Boston, Denver, Philadelphia, Rome (all again) and a number of others.

We’re only here for the beer.

America, Countries, Culture, Deals, Ireland, UK

Hungry and Thursday – Lobster for Thanksgiving

It was a time of plague and pestilence when frontiersmen reached out to new peoples in an act of trust.

And it is the best of America, its Thanksgiving Day.

Clouded in myth from what I can see there are two main contenders.

The 1619 religious feast on the English Puritans’ arrival in Berkeley Hundred, Virginia.

And the 1621 shared harvest meal between the settlers in Plymouth, Massachusetts and the Native American Wampanoag people.

Mass gathering

The indigenous people had helped the incomers get through the previous harsh winters.

The feast is akin to a Christmas meal with roast turkey the centrepiece.

And didn’t we all see the turkey get a pardon at the White House last week?… they’re coming back for the bird today.

But while you may go for turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, corn, and cranberry sauce if you want to be really authentic then here’s how to party like it’s 1621.

Walk like a Puritan

And If you want to walk like a Puritan then you need to get your hands on waterfowl, venison, lobsters, clams, berries, fruit, pumpkin snd squash.

Now because Thanksgiving is a celebration of Settler and Native-American unity, a fairly rare occurrence these 500 years let’s focus on the First Nations.

And other than getting out on a reservation (and I will) their representative body and my pals, AIANTA are the folks to go to for everything you need to know.

While the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC is the Smithsonian Museum which chronicles their history.

The pipes of peace: In Denver

The American story belongs to all those who have settled, been settled or resettled including more than a couple of Murtys and McNultys (my Mum’s people).

While not all got out to the Wild West, I did, as did Buffalo Bill Cody and his Plainsmen. Chief Sitting Bull was already there.

Wild West Road Trip

My friends at American Holidays know the way already.

And they are offering a Road Trip through Wyoming and my fave Colorado, who both claim Buffalo Bill’s bones, the two Dakotas, Montana and Utah.

All from €1499. They’ll give you 15 days RV rental with unlimited mileage, flights from Dublin to Denver and return from Salt Lake City.

With two nights in Mile High City, Denver, before your trip.

Buffalo Bill’s graveyard: Golden, Colorado

You’ll also get a Vehicle Provisioning Kit of cookware, crockery and utensils.

And personal kits for four people – bath towels, pillows and bedding.

And maybe in the spirit of Thanksgiving leave room for some lobster, venison, waterfowl and pumpkins.

America, Asia, Countries, Culture, Europe, Ireland, UK

Meditate on the world

There are some people whose company just sends you to sleep… and then there are the professionals like my pal SLM who put you into dreamland.

Travel and Yoga Nidra professional Sarah Lloyd-Morrison is one of those precious gems you discover on your life’s journey.

You know the type: chilled, funny and unstintingly patient.

And I’m glad to say that she’s not blocked me since we returned from Tobago www.tobago.gov.tt and https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/17/ready-steady-goat-racing-in-tobago/amp/.

Or at least this is what she told me to write when she had me under…. in her meditation class.

Tobago beyond: With SLM and pals in Tobsgo

And it’s just what I needed in lockdown and it’ll help me from killing my family.

Although there’s no guarantee that they’ll not kill me first if I say I’m meditating when there are chores to be done.

Of course now I can self-meditate I’m going to seek out a zen break.

Here are five of the best.

Rockies of ages

Shambhalah Mountain Center, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado: America’s hipster state where Brad and Dexter are so chilled.

Because of the Great Outdoors, the freestyle rock-climbing, white-water rafting, horseriding and maybe too the substances.

Where better then to zen out than Red Feather Lakes, 50 miles north-west of Fort Collins?

They’ve a variety of programmes from ‘Introduction to Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction’ to ‘The Path of Simply Being’.

And they also have nature-based programmes with astronomy.

Stay a month, week or weekend in a tent or lodge suite. Visit https://www.shambhalamountain.org www.colorado.comand The New Frontiersmen.

Portyogal

Shamballah, Sintra, Portugal: I’m reminded here of the friendly Wolverhampton masochist who had me contorted during yoga in the Algarve www.quintadolago.com, www.visitportugal.com and https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/28/sportugal-2/amp/.

Shamballah puts on a Yoga and Meditation Retreat.

And you know that Portugal is throwing its doors open again.

Before all this kicked off they were quoting three nights single room €350 per person. See https://www.shamballahretreats.com/retreats.

O Lotus Flower of Scotland

Kagyu Samye Ling. Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland: And this is the first Buddhist retreat in the west of Scotland.

They have all manner of accommodations including retreat rooms, camping and camper vans.

And five golden rules including: no killing, no stealing, no lying, no drink or drugs and no sexual impropriety.

You will, of course, be so zenned out you’ll love everybody because you’ll love yourself.

Or in the words of Choja Lama Yeshe Losal Rimpache: ‘Meditation means simple acceptance.’

See https://www.samyeling.org and www.visitscotland.com.

Ireland’s Garden County

Bobbio Centre, Co. Wicklow, Ireland: Now Irish sisters and brothers were a fixture of my upbringing.

My Dear Old Mum had a family of cousins who all went into the Holy Order.

And they would regularly turn up on our doorsteps in their long beards and shawls.

The Bobbio Centre in my beloved old stomping ground of Co. Wicklow is run by the Columbine Sisters.

They have 11 bedrooms and one en-suite single, special needs bedroom.

You have your meeting room and prayer room as you would expect and also a beehive which has created quite the buzz.

See https://www.columbansisters.org/bobbio-retreat-centre/ and www.visitwicklow.com..

Himalaya stayer

Vidya Niwas India Hotels, Himalayas: Hippies the world over will tell you that Dharamsala is where you need to go to find your inner zen.

And the Dalai Lama’s resident region in exile in India does have everything you need for meditation.

You can choose from the likes of The Rose Room, the Golok Princess Room, the Kotha Basant Room and the Sherpa Everest Room.

The views are gratis and the zen is guaranteed. See https://www.dalai-lama-dharma-dharamsala-miniguide.com/vidya-niwas.html

Where is your favourite zen retreat? Let me know and we’ll share.

And now we’re feeling all floaty here are some yoga guides… My Sporting Weekend International Yoga Day and Yoga-dabba-do – International Yoga Day.

Namaste: Sarah Lloyd-Morrison

And look out for my Meditation Diary with my Yogi Sarah Lloyd-Morrison in these pages.

MEET YOU IN NIRVANA

Adventure, America, Caribbean, Countries, Europe, Sport

My Sporting Weekend International Yoga Day

There’s no point trying to duck out and watch the yoga from the thicket outside… Derek!!!

And, of course, the women in our company, and the men to be fair, in Tobago https://www.visittobago.gov.tt and https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/17/ready-steady-goat-racing-in-tobago/amp/. were never going to allow him to be a bystander.

Tomorrow is International Yoga Day snd I’ll be doing a downward dog in Scotland.

When I could, of course, have been aoammmming in India.

It’s the kind of surprise and challenge I miss from my time in the office.

Bend over and stretch: In Tobago

When Incredible India called and invited me to send a member of staff to India for a few days…. only they needed a name by the next day.

And confirmation that they had an appropriate visa.

It would have been easier had I gone myself but big softie that I am I sent the ditziest, most entitled member of staff because she said she was a yoga nut.

A nut all right… she only threatened to report the PR I was dealing with to their superior while having me to sort out her mess.

And then dissing me further down the road.

All of which reminisces brings me around to what is being done around the world to tempt us for the future.

Red Rock Revellers

Yoga at altitude, Denver, Colorado: And where better to stretch your limbs than in the stunning backdrop of Red Rocks Amphitheatre.

We settled for watching down on high the early-morning exercisers while we did move our limbs later when OneRepublic entertained us.

Visit https://www.redrocksonline.com/yotr/, www.visitdenver.org, Go West and The New Frontiersmen.

Beach yoga, Huntington Beach, California: Zen out on the beach where Snoop Dogg plays sets.

And dogs go surfing.

Well it is the Californian life. See www.visitcalifornia.com, https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/03/holiday-snaps-surf-dog-huntington-beach/.

Laid-back California

LA Rooftop Yoga, West Hollyeood, California: Try rooftop yoga in laid-back WH where one Sunday per month you can join in a class at the Andaz West Hollywood.

They’ll even throw in a complimentary Zico (I thought he was a footballer) coconut water drink.

While you’ll also get 20% off bottomless brunches at the Riot House restaurant on the first floor. See www.visitwesthollywood.com and https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/19/my-weekend-with-marilyn-2/amp/.

It’s a stretch: Tobago

Tobago: And we’re back to the eccentric Derek who as well as trying to spy on us doing yoga also wore a suit on the hottest day of the year to one of Tobago’s most secluded beaches.

They also love to roll out the coconut water in the Caribbean. Stretch out and get yourself over next year. https://www.visittobago.gov.tt and https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/17/ready-steady-goat-racing-in-tobago/amp/.

Quinto da Lago, Portugal: Have you ever noticed that yoga teachers are sweet assassins.

Ours in The Campus, Quinta do Lago on the Algarve couldn’t have been smilier as she got us to use muscles that hadn’t been exercised in tears.

See https://www.quintadolago.com/en/sports-wellness/the-campus/ and https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/28/sportugal-2/amp/.

And I’ll be back tomorrow with some more yoga, this time from its spiritual home, Asia.

That’s unless I get a last-minute invitation to get out there myself. And guess what, I’m keeping it for myself this time.

Altogether now… aoam.

MEET YOU ON THE MAT

America, Countries, Culture

Father’s Day alert, y’all

It’s the one place where Daddys still hold their place at the pinnacle of the family…. Nashville.

From Dolly Parton looking up doey-eyed at her kind-faced Daddy.

To Kenny Rogers fishing and hunting and getting some home-spun philosophy from his.

With Johhny Cash, biting and spitting and brawling with his before hugging it out.

The new Nashville duo

Country Music has always been a safe, homely, old-fashioned throwback.

Where Dancing Dads go to lune-dance and wrap themselves up in fuzzy warm nostalgia.

You’ll see here that I want to get out to Nashville… and so to my hint for Father’s Day for Sunday, June 21.

I should already have been to Nashville already, last year.

But as seems to be the story of my life I was double booked.

Have boots, will travel

I was out instead in South Africa https://www.southafrica.net/uk/en/ What’s new pussycat? when I could have been visiting Keith Urban https://keithurban.net in the Home of Country https://www.visitmusiccity.com

Thankfully the folks from Nashville who took us to see Keith The Country To Country Weekend in Dublin last year haven’t forgotten us.

And they’re giving us the next big thing to being out there – vouchers for when we can get to Nashville.

Hitting all the right notes

Purchase a travel gift card for either $100, $250 or $500.

And you’ll get personalised service from a Nashville Visitor Specialist.

Travel funds can apply to lodging, attraction tickets or bundled hotel packages.

Power couple: Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman

And if you already have a trip planned, check out the Visitor Coupons & Special Offers.

Or check out the Music City Shop to gift authentic Nashville gear.

Pick out a Nashville t-shirt, koozie (stubbie-holder to you and me), hat or a Music City campfire mug.

Imagine yourself in that

Visit imogene + willie (I’m not making this up) for the perfect pair of local jeans.

While I’m reliably informed that you should check outHaymakers & Co. for the perfect button down and more.

Elvis and me: At his breakfast bar in Memphis

And what shouts Country more than a button-down shirt.

Personally I browsed Lansky Bros, the tailors to the King on Beale Street, Memphis for mine.

Don’t ask me why: Before the Keith Urban gig in Dublin

On my Tennessee and Mississippi odyssey… https://www.deep-south-usa.com and The Promised Land, The story of the Blues and The King of Kings.

Book your room in Nashville by visiting hotel websites for special deals and offers.

The Grand Ole Oprey

Such as: Dream Nashville,Noelle, Omni Nashville, Union Station,The Russell, Fairlane HotelThe Hermitage Hotel, .

Or purchase a Vacation Package through Visit Music City. Visit And see http://www.visitmusiccity.com/fathers-day-nashville 

Who needs a hat? On Issy in Colorado

And for more Cowboy action then here’s my Wild West journey  http://www.denver.org http://Go West. And http://www.colorado.com and The New Frontiersmen. And Like a Greystones cowboy… in Texas.

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Wake up, smell the flour – baking

If I knew you were coming I’d have baked a cake… or is that just me getting my Great British Bake Off vibe on?

It used to be the case that all we wanted from a holiday was sun, sea and sand.

But these days there are more of us seeking out learning holidays.

It’s not enough to sample the beautiful and varied foods we are introduced to around the world.

The expert: Jen of Ginger And Baker in Fort Collins, Colorado

Now we have to learn how to make them ourselves.

I love baking… I’ll gladly watch The Scary One and Daddy’s Little Daughter, although more likely I smell the wafts.

I’m usually in the next room watching the sport on the TV.

But I surprised myself when I did bake me a cake in Colorado… or an apple pie, at least.

Can I have a job?

I probably wouldn’t have got past the dough stage without the help of chef Jen at Ginger And Baker http://www.gingerandbaker.com and http://www.colorado.com.

While Paul and Pru would deffo put me last in the list.

No Star Baker me compared with the Furies rolling, patting, preening and preparing their pies next to me.

So you want to get flour on your hands and sun on your back.

These are the guys for you… www.bookculinaryvacations.com.

Mr Apple Pie… my creation

They are offering five days Sourdough and Artisan Baking in Saleres in Grenada, Spain from €465.

Four days accommodation with all meals included. The vacation is available all year round except July and August.

And here is my baking adventure in Colorado… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/29/the-new-pioneers/

I can testify to the Irish love of food and there is a kitchenful of top chefs ready and willing to bake you beautiful things.

Catherine the Great

Why not learn from the best? Catherine Fulvio’s Ballyknocken House & Cookery School in my own county of Wicklow.

Of course they do baking courses but the one I’m flagging up here is what they are pitching as What’s the Dill for September 14.

A celebration of the herb, it’s €50pp.

You’ll get tea, lemon balm scones and blueberry and lavender jam on arrival.

Then it’s aprons on for some baking.

There’s a light lunch and some herb and edible flower butter to take home. www.ballyknocken.ie.