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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.


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.


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


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 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 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 has always provided an invaluable route from Ireland to Southampton.

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


The Hebridean

Finlay, my Hebridean pal smiled as we recalled how the religious girls in the flat upstairs would stamp on the floor when we’d hold one of our late-night parties.

‘Ah, Jim, they never stood a chance.’

His giant frame was more stooped, his melodic voice more of a whisper now, but it was the same old Finlay.

It was the last I saw of Finlay but I remember him today, and other days, and when I do I smile too.

Who dressed me up in that? Finlay and pals

Finlay was a Hebridean, a Western Islander from the last Scottish rocks before North America.

Many other crofting families ended up there and one woman even begot a son who is running the world now.

Finlay wouldn’t have approved of him.

Finlay, a native Gaelic speaker, also ‘emigrated’ too, to the Scottish mainland.

The Skye is the limit

Hence his sonorous voice and the way he pronounced everything perfectly.

It was there at Aberdeen University that we became firm friends and flatmates.

And there that he looked after me, and us.

Like the time he stopped me getting a beating from Aberdeen football fans – I deserved the beating.

I’d hoped he’d come along with me to the Beerfest in Munich but those parties up in our flat, and others, drained his savings.

We did rave it up together in Skye at the annual Folk Festival when we emptied Broadford’s supermarket of booze.

I’m chasing the birds

And again when I showed off my new girlfriend around the Western Islands.

I didn’t expect to see him strolling down the main street on Skye.

Homeward bound

But he was looking to get back to his home island of North Uist.

I wouldn’t have been much of a friend if I hadn’t helped him.

And he in turn gave us an unforgettable night on North Uist.

Finlay is my youth, and that of my friends, but of course he is most missed by his wife Jaqui, his brother Archie and sister-in-law Elsie.

Over the sea to Skye: Photo by Pixabay on

An chuid eile den tsíocháin mo chara.

The Hebrides, or Western Islands, is Gaelic Scotland.

It is unspoilt with beautiful beaches, ancient stone circles, fresh farm to fork food and is the home of whisky.

And people who are just like Finlay.

Isle be there

See, and

You can get to the Islands by plane from Glasgow, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Manchester Visit which of and serves you best.

The destinations are Stornoway on the biggest island Lewis, the Isle of Barra where you land on the beach, and Benbecula between North and South Uist.

There has been a bridge over to Skye for years now but you can take the bonny boat too.

Caledonian MacBrayne was traditionally the Islanders’ umbilical cord to the Mainland and is still the best way to arrive.

And when they got there, to Glasgow, their meeting place was under the Central Station railway bridge ‘The Heelanmam’s Umbrella’.

Read my review of my home city