Asia, Europe, Flying, UK

Flyday Friday – Flight to the Promised Land

God’s people had spent years in exile, facing down plague and pestilence to get to the Promised Land.

Sound familiar.

But they got there… and so will we.

The Holy City

Pegasus www.flypgs.com are resuming flights from Wednesday (three times a week) from London Stansted to Tel Aviv via Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen.

From €244.99 one-way or on the Pegasus mobile app.

And like the Chosen People I have waited for this.

G force

From the moment I was invited by G Adventures https://www.gadventures.co.uk/on a Jordan http://uk.visitjordan.com/mobile/Home.aspx and Israel two-week cultural trip.

Lie back and think of the Middle East

And herein a lesson to us all. I altruistically opted for the alternative Jordan trip rather than leave my workmates to cover me for another week.

It did allow me to empathise with Moses when he reached Mount Nebo and looked over The Promised Land but was forbidden to enter because of a row with God.

I’ve been trying to get on God’s good side praying furiously in lockdown… I don’t want to give HIM any reason to block me.

Auld Greeky

Echoes of Athens in Edinburgh

And this one you’ll get if you’re from Edinburgh or are a fan of the Scottish capital.

The city was known as Auld Reeky on account of the smell which came up from the lochs, or lakes, across from the Old Town.

Which was dredged and made into today’s Princes Street Gardens with bridges put over the new land to the newly-built New Town.

Athens of the North

And the architecture inspired the name Athens of the North.

And why am I telling you this?

Athens of the South

Because Edinburgh Airport is resuming flights again to Greece https://athensattica.com and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/dresdens-renaissance-martin-luther/europe/my-greek-odyssey/.

And France https://www.google.ie/amp/s/about-france.com/mobi/index-amp.htm, and Italy http://www.italia.it/en/home.html.

And here’s how I see it… The Boat D’Azur and The Lourdes prayer. And https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/04/11/padova-city-of-frescoes/amp/, Small roads lead to Rome and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/04/see-rome-on-e50/.

What a difference a year makes

Service with a smile behind the mask

I’m reminded that this time last year I was being entertained by Etihad www.etihad.com on board one of their planes in Dublin Airport,

And although none of us knew then what was coming down the tracks I was struck by how adaptable and innovative Etihad were.

And it will serve them well as they set out their plans for flying to more than 50 destinations worldwide.

The way it was: Etihad last year

Now with flexible fares and the opportunity to change the date of your flight for free if you need to.

Well, well, well

I’ve already told you about their Wellness Ambassadors at every point of your journey. And a wellness kit.

All’s well then!

MEET YOU IN THE SKIES

America, Asia, Australasia, Canada, Countries, Culture, Europe, Flying, Ireland

Flyday Friday – Etihad and Emirates

Their colours are unmistakable – the superstars of the Etihad and Emirates.

Only I’m not talking about the footballers of Manchester City and Arsenal here but the staff.

And guess who only put the wrong picture on the wrong airline… I think I’d had too many shandies at a liquid lunch.

Of course plane spotters and frequent fliers know that it’s chocolate brown and purple for Etihad www.emirates.com.

And cream and red for Emirates www.etihad.com.

Emirates rates

Ready for take-off

But I’m not here to talk about airline uniforms, though there would be no harm in it, and I will get back to you on that.

More importantly these behemoths of the skies are only getting us flying again.

Emirates will begin flying to and from Dublin from June 15.

In the frame

Among 16 other cities to Dubai, the others being Bahrain, Manchester, Zurich, Vienna, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, New York JFK, Seoul, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Jakarta, Taipei, Hong Kong, Perth and Brisbane.

Check Emirates’ website for conditions and prices and keep updated on Ireland’s travel rules.

All’s well that ends well

Welcome on board

There are worse ways to spend an afternoon than aboard an Etihad airplane in Dublin Airport.

Getting the full VIP treatment and winning air miles. Only I haven’t cashed them in yet.

But I will when the Scary One lets me get travelling again… and, no it’s nothing to do with COVID.

I’m eating alone

There’s always a big welcome from our friends at Etihad and they have introduced Wellness Ambassadors to deal with your every flying need.

Aer Lingus, the model airline

I’m flying the flag

I’ve spent many a happy afternoon in the company of Ireland’s national airline carrier Aer Lingus https://www.aerlingus.com/html/home.html.

They showcased their own livery rebrand and new uniforms in the last couple of years.

And they continue to keep us occupied and enamoured with foreign destinations.

Virtually for now such as through Seattle and the Olympic National Park.

Green for go

And the brilliant blue water blue water at Lake Crescent and hiking routes through Hoh Rain Forest only make us more impatient to get on that flight out to Seattle.

See www.visitseattle.org and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/category/deals/.

Now back to my lockdown indulgence, my complete series of Frasier.

MEET YOU IN THE SKIES

Asia, Countries, Culture, Europe, Flying, Food, Food & Wine

Flyday Friday – your lockdown Captain speaking

And when he can’t tell you you’re cruising at 15,000ft with the skies clear what does he do?

Our friends at Etihad https://www.etihad.com/en-gb/ have taken an alternate course for us while we are confined to barracks.

And the captain has got the cabin crew to do what they always do, excel at keeping the restless passengers occupied.

And so the purple-suited ones are encouraging us to learn a new language. Arabic anyone?

Etihad style: And plenty of room

It’s the first language in 25 countries around the world.

See https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=KHl80riQ65s&feature=youtu.be

It’s just a taster but a great idea nonetheless and it might just give me precious time when I am put on the spot.

One of our own

Like when I was off to the Black Sea and the crew member started talking Bulgarian to me because they thought I was a local.

With time hanging heavy on us all Daddy’s Little Girl has been badgering me to teach her Italian.

It is la bella lingua and one that I have dipped in and out of but I have little excuse now to get the tapes oit again.

Andiamo.

And particularly if my Laurie helps me with my Italian cooking.

Rusotto… in all its forms

I had already been given a crash course in making pasta from scratch by Italian specialist Catherine Fulvio.

At her Ballyknocken Cookery School https://ballyknocken.ie in my old stomping ground of Co. Wicklow https://visitwicklow.ie in Ireland.

In the company of Italian tour specialists Topflight www.topflight.ie.

The joy of ceps

Etihad also offer cooking tips with their in-flight chef rustling up a quick mushroom risotto… https://m.youtube.com/watch?segmentCode=&utm_campaign=version4_row_ramadan_230420_apr20&utm_source=guestsenen&utm_content=etihadguestoffer&bid=686619102&gsn=311934473&cid=ema%3Agst%3Aversion4_row_ramadan_230420_apr20%3Aguestsenen%3Aetihadguestoffer%3Aallsegments&v=-mcgkEULFx8&utm_medium=email

Fun guy him… and I do love an oul’ risotto Rome on €50.

I’ve seen first-hand on an inspection tour of their fleet at Dublin Airport just how they look after the little ones.

And you can download a number of family activities from their site.

Jet-propellled: In Jordan

Which is all good to know as we’ll want to occupy ourselves in our own seats as much as we can.

When we take to the skies again.

Are we there yet? Well, I’m in no hurry… I’m on an Etihad airplane.

Shukran Etihad.

Jaunty Jordan

And shukran too to my Jordanian host Zuhair, G Adventures www.gadventures.co.uk and Visit Jordan www.visitjordan.com who took me a whip-crackin’ away to Petra,.

And also the desert and the Dead and Red Sea last year The water of life, Petra, and the sands of time.

Give a little bit

Keep flying high: Virgin Atlantic

Now there’s always a bit of resentment that creeps in when we see someone as visible as Richard Branson asking for a dig-out.

But before we jump on the bandwagon it’s worth remembering the work that he and other airlines have been doing for years for charity.

In the Third World.

We may all be strapped for cash just now but when, and if, we can we should remember that when we next board a flight.

To fill the envelope.

MEET YOU IN THE SKIES

America, Asia, Caribbean, Countries, Europe, Flying, Food, Food & Wine, Ireland, UK

In defence of… air travel

If you’re reading, Greta Thunberg and the Flygstam (or flying shame) brigade…

I can’t tell you how many air miles I racked up last year.

I was away more than a dozen times with everywhere from Tobago www.visittobago.gov.tt and Ready, steady GOAT… racing in Tobago

Through the Oo Es of Eh www.visitusa.ie and https://www.visitusa.org.uk and living the California life www.visitcalifornia.com My Weekend With Marilyn and Stair Wars.

Down to South Africa www.visitsouthafrica.com What’s new pussycat? and up to Jordan www.visitjordan.com The water of life, Petra, and the sands of time.

I only mention them over the other equally fabulous and welcoming destinations who hosted me because they were at the extremities of my Travel footprint.

Do I feel guilty, or should you? Well, yes. How could we not the way Greta goes on?

Of course there’s a multitude of evidence out there on the world wide web to back up Greta.

And like everything on the net you can find anything to support your view.

But I wax taken by the research done by https://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/how-bad-is-air-travel-for-the-environment-51166834/ on the subject.

And their contention that air travel was better for the environment than car travel.

They estimate that the world’s drivers go through 1 billion gallons of fuel a day against 750 million gallons for air passengers.

Of course the fact that one form of transport is less harmful than another is not a strong enough argument.

Against that I would propose the positive effects of air travel… in expanding our minds, our frontiers and our appreciation of other peoples.

While fielding the accusations of the Flygskam brigade that the world is only in lockdown because of selfish air travellers who carried it across the globe…

In big monstrous metal birds.

Just imagine though a world in which our possibilities were restricted by a lack of air travel, or if you will, the past.

A world where we only learned about other peoples through the books and information we are given.

Now I’m not suggesting Boris Johnson or Donald Trump are feeding such a narrative but here is a cautionary tale of what could happen when we close ourselves off from others…

Legend has it that the people of Hartlepool in the north-east of England hanged a monkey who they mistook for a French spy during the Napoleonic Wars.

I have always believed that we are at our best as humans when we are being progressive rather than regressive.

While obviously being respectful of the world around us and those with whom we share it.

And being aware of our limitations with many a salutary tale out there from time immemorial of when to pull back.

Such as the tale of Icarus who flew too close to the sun only for the wax on his wings to melt.

This, and many more moral fables of how we should live with the natural environment around us, are all around you in Greece.., https://athensattica.com and My Greek odyssey.

But like Odysseus I have gone off on a tangent.

I will deal with the other forms of transport in the next parts of my ‘In Defence of’ series which will include cars,.

And no car hater me… how could I be? I should by rights be driving through the Florida Keys right now.

But to leave you on an up… the South Africans have discovered a balancing solution to carbon emissions under their feet.,, This plant can save the world.

And our shared history has shown too that our medicinal cures too can be found in the natural world.

So here’s to when we can all travel again.

And a shoutout to all our friends in the aviation industry who are our dreamcatchers… #DontPanicPostpone.#loveairtravel.

Africa, America, Asia, Countries, Deals, Europe, Ireland, UK

Flyday Friday – It’s Baltic

Quite why people from Chilly Jockoland (or Scotland to you or me) should tease Baltics people about the cold is anyone’s guess.

But tease them we do with every cold day referred to as ‘Baltic’.

I guess we’ll just have to find out for ourselves, particularly as Air Baltic have a fantastic sale on.

St Petersburg

How about Tallinn from €59 and Riga from €69?

Those cities will be familiar to us as being part of the Baltic States.

Stockholm

But that also applies, of course, to Scandinavia, and Stockholm and Helsinki are also pitched at the same price.

And to St Petersburg. From €85. And Moscow which is nowhere near the sea (but we’re not going to tell) from €89.

Helsinki

The sale finishes at 23:59 on Thursday. For travel until December 17. Visit www.airbaltic.com.

Hamburg

Now it’s where you kick off your Baltic cruises The call of the fjords.

And from where you’ll jump off en route to Hamburg Hamburgers and ships.

Camel ye to Abu Dhabi

And they’re off

Right, I’ve done the goat racing in Tobago. Now for the camel racing.

So that means Abu Dhabi although I might leave that to the experts as you can see.

I’m a bit shoogly on Humpy here in the Wadi Rum desert in Jordan The water of life, Petra, and the sands of time.

Etihad www.etihad.com has Abu Dhabi as your sole destination or as a stop-off.

Anyone betting on me?

Return tickets from €947.

And if you go further afield as part of a multi-city flight deal then Etihad will put you up in an Abu Fab premium hotel for free.

Sentimental journey

Hey, Lady

Aer Lingus www.aerlingus.com has been going on a sentimental journey of its own with its first new uniforms in 22 years.

So I guess that was what was behind the musical background for their January Sales deal.

It has 30% off Europe and North America from €188 as part of a return deal.

Planes or trains

I may be away for some time

I can’t, and won’t, as a Travel writer preach on flygskam ‘flying shame’.

But I will say that as a cruise fan that FlyBe www.flybe.com has always provided an invaluable route from Ireland to Southampton.

Amid the navel-gazing over FlyBe’s problems one thought: make trains cheaper!

Asia, Countries, Deals, Europe

Flyday Friday – Yoga and New Delhi

No, seriously, this temple of a body isn’t made for yoga.

Which is why I sent another to India in my place, a yoga nut who then sent me nuts when she got her visa application mixed up.

Beret nice thank you: Etihad service

And got narky with the Travel providers… a red line in my book.

And this is why, boo-hoo, I didn’t get to India back then and why I am still waiting…

Waiting too for the bottle of booze from the aforementioned writer who had left me with all her crap to deal with.

That’s the way to do it. Photo by Abhishek Saini on Pexels.com

And guess what? I have air miles which I won when Etihad kindly showed me around their business class at Dublin Airport last year.

Visit http://www.etihad.com. And you judge for yourself whether you think my yoga has come on since.

From my Portugal http://www.visitportugal.com and Tobago http://www.visittobago.gov.tt adventures.Visit https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/06/12/sportugal/ and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/12/05/robinson-crusoes-tobago/

Look at that Lotus, I’m so relaxed I’m almost sleeping

Something happened on the way to the Forum

The heavens opened on the way to the Forum… and just as in Classical Rome, I had to shelter in a bus shelter.

Of course where I most wanted to be was the Pantheon with its open Dome.

Which I informed the couple I was huddled in with… ‘sure there’s only one place you’d want to be in Rome when it’s raining, ‘ says I.

Saye he in his rich Northern Irish brogue: ‘Aye, the pub.’

Throwing my money away: Well I did spend less than €50

Rome is an eternal joy, particularly at Aer Lingus prices… http://www.aerlingus.com.

Among its January Sales deals it has Rome down from €66.99 to €39.99.

And here’s how you can save on your walk to the Forum, Colisseum or Spanish Steps…

And retrace the footsteps of the ancients… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/04/see-rome-on-e50/ and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/small-roads-lead-to-rome/

Ibiza beezer

Party island. Ibiza. Photo by Sebastian Coman Photography on Pexels.com

I don’t know what it was about Spain that turned my Dickensian strict Dad into…

A screaming liberal.

Maybe it was the sun, but Ibiza meant half a glass of wine for this seven-year-old at dinner.

And I remember vividly the waiter who served it to me, Pepe.

Of course it gave me a taste for the grape that has never left me, particularly when it’s sparkling.

And you’ll certainly have more money in your wallet or purse to splash out in Ibiza.

After saving on your Ryanair flights which are from €28.99 with the low-fare airline’s latest seat sale which ends Midnight Sunday.

They’ve also thrown in Malta at the same price https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/malta-easer/ where there was much Champagne flowing after I made Miss F the happiest woman in the world…

I went back years later to see if I could cash in on the unfinished bottle.

Check out all the deals at http://www.ryanair.com

MEET YOU IN THE AIR

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Flyday Friday – Abu Dhabi do

Beep, beep! Fiftysomethings, like your impossibly youthful looking Travel blogger, spent half their childhoods watching Wile E. Coyote chase the Road Runner.

Stay there

And Bugs Bunny (a bit smart ass for me). I loved Sylvester, Tweety Pie, Yosemite Sam, Foghorn Leghorn and Daffy Duck though.

I haven’t a Scooby why I haven’t got to Warner Bros World in Abu Dhabi before.

Although I do know why I missed out on Warner Bros. Studios Tour in Hollywood… I say, I say, I say I do know.

What’s up Doc?

I reckon it was the calamari in Venice Beach which turned me green. Almost put me off it, almost!

Warner Brothers World Abu Dhabi should be on your to do list if you stop off there on your long-haul.

I’m collecting mosques (Istanbul) Wham bam, thank you Hamam (and Sarajevo) Sarajevo – the Scot that was heard around the world.

Is it really winter there? Photo by Iva Prime on Pexels.com

And the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque looks like one I need to get down on my knees on their magic carpet to give thanks for.

Book a two-night stopover in Abu Dhabi and get your second night free. Visit www.etihad.com.

Now I’ve also found something else interesting in my inbox. Ten nights in Phuket’s 4* Baumanburi Resort & Spa with Escape2 http://www.escape2.ie two free nights in the 5* Sheraton Abu Dhabi Hotel & Resort.

Prices from €1149pp. Offers based on travel in February. Other dates available.

Sheikh it up TUI

The other side of Egypt. Photo by chepté cormani on Pexels.com

It’s often the trips that you pass up, or are passed up for you, that stick in the mind.

Such as the invitation to go out to Sharm El Sheikh which came around a few years ago.

And which I kindly gave to a colleague.

Such were the instabilities then that a couple of weeks later Sharm El Sheik was hit by a terrorist atrocity.

With all such things the people on the ground in the industry are also victims and it is good to see that TUI http://www.tui.co.uk and Red Sea Holidays http://www.redseaholidays.co.uk have reopened its market there from the UK.

Fire and ice in Iceland

Photo by Gabriel Kuettel on Pexels.com

It doesn’t look like it is good breeding ground for modern beat combo music but there are good vibes coming out of Iceland.

AWAL and Icelandair will include an ‘A World Artists Love’ showcase at Iono on November 7 at 8pm.

I’m told Millie Turner (UK), Joesef (UK), Yaeger (Sweden), Warmland (Iceland), Joipe x Kroli (Iceland).

Ice one: Of Monsters And Men

The festival’s big headliners are Of Monsters And Men who the Son And Heir only interviewed recently when they came to Dublin.

And the Irish are flying the flag too with Dundalk’s Just Mustard. Dublin’s Pillow Queens and AE Mak who are also from Dundalk.

Icelandair packages to Airwaves start from €293 including flights from Dublin to Reykjavik and a festival pass. https://www.icelandair.com/en-ie/vacations/city-breaks/iceland-airwaves/.

And also visit http://icelandairwaves.is for the full line-up and other news.

The fountain of youth

Part of the picture: In Rome

Pet hate… commentators who try to make a name for themselves by throwing out controversial opinions.

Such as The Leaning Tower of Pisa is not all that and that Big Ben is just a bell (it’s actually the Great Bell but I’ll let them off that) and that they were underwhelmed by the Trevi Fountain.

On my first trip to Rome, a surprise 40th birthday gift from La Scary Una, she was most excited to show me Trevi Fountain.

And so as we turned into piazza after piazza I gasped at the fountain before me which she was only too pleased to tell me was not the Trevi Fountain.

Aer Lingus who have launched a ‘November deals to gorgeous cities’ offer, among which is a five-star city break in Rome.

You’ll get return tickets Dublin to Rome with three nights at the 5-star Radisson Blue Es Hotel.

You’ll be paying a discount price of €2286.80pp. Visit http://www.holidayswithaerlingus.com. And here’s some Rome love for you… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/04/see-rome-on-e50/.

And https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/small-roads-lead-to-rome/.

MEET YOU IN THE SKIES

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Flyday Friday

Mariaclaudia is not una donna to mess with.

She protects the town of Padova like one of her bambini and she is right to… she is beautiful and precious.

Which is why she smelt un ratto when the bould one on her press trip asked for himself and his colleagues, let’s call them Constance and Kieran (for that’s their names) off at the train station when we were given the afternoon off from our itinerary.

Sheepishly I had to admit that I was leading a recce to Venice but swore that I’d have them back in four hours for that evening’s grand reception in the Botanical Gardens.

I’d figured of course without the particular idiosyncrasies of the local rail network.

And so six hours later our motley crew arrived back with one of our number, Kieran, still in his T-shirt and Hawaiian boardies. At least Myself and Constance had taken a change of clothes.

At the risk of offending Mariaclaudia again, and I wrote a glowing letter to her bosses on my return, Aer Lingus has up to 20% off Venice and other hot destinations which makes it €81.99 one-way.

Travel between 21 July and October 16. Book by 22 July. Visit http://www.aerlingus.com.

And I’ll dig out that article on Padova… Padova, Mariaclaudia, do you hear?

Border country

Cypriot wonders. Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Hard border, soft border… is any other island split like us and faced with this interminable headache.

We don’t have to look too far for the answer in Europe.

Cyprus which even has a buffer zone.

If you’re fascinated by borders check it out. The taxi driver father of a soldier who was stationed out there told me that if either flag was higher and bigger than the other it would cause a diplomatic incident.

Ryanair has 20% off its seat sale for Autumn to Paphos and other destinations. In all it is offering these discount prices on 50,000 seats.

A tip on babies on board

It’s an old wife’s tale but it works. Damp teabags over a baby’s ears to ease the pressure on flights.

And just one of the tips that are passed on down the line by more experienced air stewards to their younger companions.

So as the KLM stewardess gets earache for asking a customer to cover up when breastfeeding, (and I’m not going to slaughter an airline who I’ve flown with and enjoyed,) it’s worth remembering how often families and other passengers are helped out by cabin crew when a baby makes its needs known.

Check with your airline before you travel on all aspects of childcare.

And while I’m on the subject I should flag up Etihad’s Flying Nanny Service. Visit http://www.etihad.com.