Asia, Countries, Europe

Give us this Day – the wee chapel

Our places of worship have shrunk with the lockdown but we can still give thanks to Our God from here in our homes.

Our forebears did during the days of repression in the Catholic and Protestant wars.

And the oppression of the Jews and discrimination against Muslims.

I saw evidence for it myself in Ann Boleyn’s Hever Castle in Kent in the south of England, through a hidden door behind a closet.

Where they boasted what was one of the smallest chapels and where, on occasion, they celebrated Mass clandestinely

Point towards Mecca

While Christians rely on their set Sunday services Muslims who cannot get to mosques can build their own places of worship.

With stones and a keen sense of direction for Mecca.

Set yourself up a mosque

Which I found in the Wadi Rum Desert in Jordan www.visitjordan.com.

With my ethically-responsible tour providers www.gadventures.com The water of life, Petra, and the sands of time

Small churches too can be found just around the corner when you go walkabout in a city.

Prague Protestants

As in Prague https://www.czechtourism.com/home/ and Hope springs eternal  from where Jan Hus and the first Protestants http://Give us this Day – The First Protestants (of Prague) hailed.

And the holy man stands with his back to you.

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Prague Protestant history

Again on Mount Lycabettus where stands the highest church in Athens, https://athensattica.com St George and My Greek odyssey.

Athena herself is said to have built the hill herself so she could inspect the erection of the Parthenon herself.

Ice love you

Small churches can be found anywhere really.

That they can put up a cross and one of the funkier churches was an ice one.

In Soll in Austria Soll Mates and https://www.wilderkaiser.info/en/destination-austria/region-wilder-kaiser-skiing-tyrol.html with Top Flight www.topflight.ie.

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Ring of truth: In Austria

While in Italy it helps if you’ve got your own chapel with your hotel.

Which I discovered on my Via Francigena www.ViaFrancigena.com and Small roads lead to Rome.

While in The Vatican http://m.museivaticani.va/content/museivaticani-mobile/en/visita-i-musei.html itself you can always find a small chapel.

In one of the alcoves of St Paul’s Basilica.

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Your own hotel chapel… in Lazio

Where my own Scary One disturbed my peace at the end of my Via Francigena by phoning me up to give out about my phone bills!

Me, I’m off down to my own carefully created Wee Chapel in my back garden.

Where sits a wooden grotto with a holy water bottle from Lourdes and http://www.lourdes-france.org The Lourdes prayer.

MEET YOU IN THE AISLES

Africa, America, Europe, Ireland

Elections – a general view around the world

Ireland has a proud record as a democracy, one of the oldest in Europe with its first elected MP, Constance Markiewicz.

Your choice

And this weekend Ireland goes to the polls although whichever parties form the next government they will have to do it without me.

Contender: He’s had three parties already

Because I’ll be back in Scotland… anything happen in the 13 years since I’ve been gone?

I always vote.

Man down

Not just because it’s hard to keep me quiet but because of the struggles my forebears and others have endured for this privilege.

Gone, but not forgotten: Saddam in Jordan in the Middle East

I heard first hand from the black South Africans in the Eastern Cape how they queued overnight in the Voting Line in 1995.

Any visit to South Africa will bring you nose up to the glass of Apartheid history. www.southafrica.net

Port Elizabeth’s Voting Line

And where better to start than in Nelson Mandela’s home province of the Eastern Cape… What’s new pussycat?

Where you can learn the unique Xhosa clicking language… https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=KZlp-croVYw.

With Freedom Fighter Amos

Of course democracy is a fragile way of life.

And it is eerie to think that you can see Saddam Hussain propaganda in peaceful Jordan… The water of life, Petra, and the sands of time.

On a G Adventures trip www.gadventures.com to Jordan www.visitjordan.com.

Well, he is half-Scottish

I had also been around four years previously with la famille.

For a New York Halloween www.nycvb.com where they were carving Obama’s face into pumpkins.

They prefer ski jumping here

And visited the Austrian Tirol on the day of their election. And Gamisch-Partenkirchen in Bavaria where Hitler held the 1936 Winter Olympics.

With Topflightforschools… www.topflightforschools.

But this on German National Day where it was as quiet as a monastery.

MEET YOU IN THE BOOTH

Africa, America, Countries, Europe, Flying

13 years an Irishman

Some people just get more handsome with age…

The last piece of the jigsaw: With Laurie at the start

Purple reigns

Barbados: Foreday Morning at the Crop Over carnival and rum.

Meeting the legendary Brian Lara and asking if he liked cricket, rum.

Winning a limbo competition. Soca music. And rum. Let’s rumba in Barbados and My kiss with Rihanna. Visit www.visitbarbados.org.

Our war heroes

My Great Uncle’s grave in Flanders

Flanders and the Somme: Presenting the wreath at the Last Post at Menin Gate.

Finding my Great-Uncle’s grave in Ieper and his brother’s name on the Thiepval arch.

Drinking one of Tom’s 100-plus beers in Tom’s Bierhaus out of a horn in a wooden clasped implement. In Flanders fields.

And https://gtitravel.ie and https://www.visitflanders.com/en/?country=en_GB and https://www.visit-somme.com/great-war.

Natasha, LA and I

Los Angeles and Southern California: These words are her own… Natasha Bedingfield.

Marilyn, Donald Duck, The Beach Boys, Jason Derulo.

And Star Wars’ Galaxy Edge. California, the Golden Globes State. Visit https://visitanaheim.org, https://disneyland.disney.go.com/destinations/disneyland/?CMP=OKC-dlr_themeparks_gmap_38.

Better Dead than Red

Mud, glorious mud

Jordan: Floating in the Dead Sea, obviously. Snorkelling in the Red Sea.

Site of John the Baptist’s baptism of Jesus Jordan/Israel and Moses looking out onto The Promised Land in Mt Nebo.

Petra, Indiana Jones et al and Wadi Rum and Lawrence of Arabia. See G Adventures www.gadventures.com and www.visitjordan.com. The water of life, Petra, and the sands of time.

American Trilogy

With Fannie Lou Hamer in Misssissippi

Memphis and Mississippi: Martin Luther King, Myrlie Evers, The Underground Railroad.

BB King, Beale Street, Stax Records.

Elvis, Graceland, Sun Studio.

Visit https://visitmississippi.org and https://www.memphistravel.com. And my American Trilogy… The Promised Land, The story of the Blues and The King of Kings.

Under African skies

Sisseko, me and Nelson

South Africa: Tigers, Springboks, rhinos with their horns sawn off.

Bottlenose blue dolphins, spekboom, the magic plant which is countering climate change.

Nelson Mandela, xhosa, that clicking language which our guide Sisseko and Madeba speak and the Voting Line sculpture in Port Elizabeth.

And I’ve only scratched the surface… What’s new pussycat? And www.southafrica.net.

Tomorrow: My Sporting Five

America, Countries, Culture, Europe, Food

The best hot chocolates

I’d given up on finding my ciocolatta di calda densa after the owners of Campo de Fiori in the next town went home to Italy,

But Tomasso at Caffe Delle Stelle here in Greystones, Co. Wicklow, put a bit of colour into my grey winter’s day.

Chocolate is a gift from the gods so much so that the Incas believed it had magical spiritual powers.

So who am I to disagree?

And here are a few of my favourite hot chocolate dens.

The Caffe Pedrocchi, Padova https://www.caffepedrocchi.it Venice has its St Mark’s Square and Rialto Bridge and its masses but there’s a quieter, hidden Veneto city.

Where Giotto’s handiwork inspired Michelangelo and you can find St Anthony’s tongue!

This grande cafe dates back a hundred years and hits the right note between posh and prego.

And for more Padova perambulating… Padova – city of frescoes.

The Old Chocolate Shop, Bruges, Belgium: I can’t recall Colin Farrell sipping hot chocolate here in the cult movie In Bruges.

But he would have been more chilled if he had.

This canal city is famous for its choccies but don’t press your noses up against the windows… come in.

The Old Chocolate Shop https://www.oldchocolatehouse.be looks straight out of a nursery rhyme… and you should deffo try the gingerbread and truffles too.

And Bruges is a great release at the end of my World War One Battlefields Tour with https://www.gadventures.com. A pilgrim’s prayer

Jacques Torres Chocolate Shop, New York: I’ve developed a mantra as I’ve evolved… only choose friends who hail from wonderful places.

And it also helps if they have fantastic jobs… as is the case with my old University pal Kate.

She is the Editor of a Food and Drinks magazine in her native New York and took La Famille Murty to…

Jacques Torres’ Chocolate Shop https://mrchocolate.com/blogs/locations/soho-hudson near Greenwich Village where we sampled the rich and silky Wicked.

That is after sampling the bacon-flavoured chocolate in their tasting kitchen. We left with a hamper. And you know what I think of New York but here’s a reminder… Old New York: Hamilton

The Cafe Savoy, Prague: Everyone raves about Vienna, and it’s not to be missed.

But cafe society permeated throughout the whole of the old Austro-Hungarian Hapsburg Empire.

And finds itself stamped all over Prague… Hope springs eternal

The Savoy http://cafesavoy.ambi.cz/en/ is the place to go for your hot chocolate (or two hot chocolates)!

Its Savoy Hot Chocolate which uses hot milk hails from the Dominican Republic; the Savoy dessert hot chocolate is made of Valrhona chocolate and hot chocolate.

It is served with whipped milk and you can add it to the cup to melt with the chocolate.

Hot chocolate is one of life’s little gifts to yourself.

Barcelona for hot chocolate

It can be drunk in hot and cold weather despite what my waitresss Mardy Maria thought as we lunched inside from the 30C Barcelona heat… Surfing the seas in Barcelona

My Catalan isn’t that great but her hand gestures suggested f****** eeji or something like that.

Tell me where your fave hot chocolate is and I’ll share the love.

MEET YOU IN THE CAFE

Adventure, Culture, Pilgrimage

Give us this Day: the day Jesus was baptised

You’d be glad of a cool down in the 30C heat of a Jordan May. but Jesus wasn’t complaining.

Today is designated the sacred day when we commemorate The Baptism of the Lord.

It is in truth a little cooler in Jordan than when I went, at 11C but I can’t imagine the Lord was shivering.

So for the day that’s in it let’s take a deeper look into baptisms.

The first question is: where exactly was Jesus baptised.

The Jordanians claimed that he was doused further inland at Al-Maghtas.

Here in ‘Bethany beyond the Jordan’ in what is modern-day Jordan.

The Israelis for their part believe that he was baptised on their banks.

And this is where the Russian Orthodox Christians believe there are healing waters and they go full immersion.

The Jordanians claim Jesus was baptised here

All of which I learned on my G Adventures trip to Jordan last year…. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/culture/petra-jordan-jesus-and-the-sands-of-time/, http://www.visitjordan.com, http://www.gadventures.com.

While decide for yourself which you think it is…. or like me just soak it all up and maybe sneak some holy water… http://www.baptismsite.com

So for us Gentiles it’s worth reflecting that of course John, Jesus and all those who were being baptised were all Jews.

And that John though the most famous baptist would not have been the first.

Today at Mass

Ritual immersion had been part and parcel of Jewish culture, or mikvehs for some time.

Jews would ritually immerse themselves for spiritual purity before worshipping.

Washing is, of course, central to the daily and spiritual life of Muslims.

Water of Islam

As I have found out on my trips to Marrakech http://www.visitmarrakech.com and Morocco http://www.visitmorocco.com.

And more recently in Istanbul www.visitistanbul.com and Turkey www.goturkeytourism.com.

And Sarajevo in Bosnia & Herzegovina www.visitsarajevo.ba

The boys in the Blue Mosque

It is, of course, a primal act to wash as well as being hygienic.

And you can find it in Sikhism through Amrit Sanskar.

While in Hinduism they like to immerse statues of Durga and Ganesh during the final stages of the festivals Durga Puja and Ganesh Charturthi.

Water of death

And purification is as much part of death as it is a spiritual birth.

A ritual bath in pure water is performed for the dead in many religions including Judaism and Islam.

For more on this pilgrim’s progress… read https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/culture/petra-jordan-jesus-and-the-sands-of-time/ https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/pilgrimage/camino-a-pilgrims-prayer/, https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/small-roads-lead-to-rome/ https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-lourdes-prayer-pyrenees/ and Fatima in https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/secret-portugal-classy-centro/

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The faces of 2019 – Crossroads of history

What do you do when you’re at a crossroads? Look both ways.

Which is what the Croatians and Bosniaks, the Turks and the Jordanians have done throughout their history.

And they continue to do so.

It was no coincidence then that it was Sarajevo http://www.visitsarajevo.ba where the First World War broke out.

It was there that a Bosniak Muslim separatist Gavrilo Princip assassinated the heir to the Catholic Hapsburg Empire, the Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

Because Sarajevo is where the Ottoman Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire met.

It may be 105 years ago.

But it is little changed from the August day when Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophia’s carriage was halted by the bridge across the Miljacka River.

And you can see the very gun schoolboy Princip used and other historical artefacts from the day that changed the world for ever… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/10/21/sarajevo-the-scot-that-was-heard-around-the-world/

The Museum of Crimes against Humanity and Genocide http://yihr.hr/en/the-sarajevo-museum-of-crimes-against-humanity-and-genocide-1992-1995-learning-from-the-past-through-emotional-overwhelm-2/ provides a heart-rending and thorough examination of a difficult subject but is a must-visit in Sarajevo.

And you should look out too for how a Hollywood action man played his most important role too.

In showing his softer side to victims of the conflict.

At the heart of Sarajevo is the beautiful Bey’s Mosque.

It stands comparison with any of the great Islamic temples anywhere… https://sarajevo.travel/en/things-to-do/gazi-husrev-beys-mosque/176.

The Blue Mosque is Istanbul’s https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/wham-bam-thank-you-hamam/ and https://visit.istanbul greatest calling card.

And while it is epic I want to sing the praises like a call to prayers of the Hagia Sophia https://www.hagiasophia.com.

It is revered both by Muslims and Greek Orthodox Christians.

The latter who place it as the headquarters of their church (they still call it Constaninople).

Hakan’s tales

Better still if you have a guide like Hakan who will place you in a Medieval daytime soap opera of life in the Great City with the Great and Good.

Which is every bit as enthralling as Game of Thrones.

There’s a story too to be told in Athens around the Acropolis… and that’s just the taxi drivers Georg and Antony… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/09/21/acropolis-later/and https://www.hagiasophia.com

You can find the Orthodox influence, the Romans and the Nabataeans in Jordan... https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/petra-jordan-jesus-and-the-sands-of-time/ and http://www.visitjordan.com

What Zuhair and G Adventures http://www.gadventures.com don’t know about Petra, the Dead and Red Sea and Wabi Rum isn’t worth knowing about.

The turn of the year is a crossroads for us all but for those who live at the junctures of the world every day is a crossroads.

And the wonderful guides who share their cities and countries with us show us the way.

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Flyday Friday extra – Laid-back in Portland

When the hippies had had enough of Haight Ashbury they moved up to Portland.

Which is what the cult American TV comedy series is all about which boasts the best of the Saturday Night Live crowd.

I know it’s my kind of place from their American Travel Fair parties www.ipw.com where we whacked back whiskey and ‘let her buck.’

And my Dad’s cousins are out there too.

Portland hoved into view with the announcement that British Airways www.ba.com will fly five times a week to beautiful Oregon from London Heathrow.

With return fares from €540 in World Traveller.

Visit www.travelportland.com and www.traveloregon.com. And it’s great for cruises… www.portlandspirit.com

Al have some of that

The Israelis are more used to waiting than the rest of us… in fact it’s the story of their people.

We in Ireland have been waiting too for a direct route out to Tel Aviv.

But it is now only a few months off with non-stop flights starting from May 26… http://www.elal.com.

The closest I got to Israel was 20ft across the Jordan and in the Red Sea in Jordan… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/petra-jordan-jesus-and-the-sands-of-time/. With G Adventures… http://www.gadventures.com.

Now to make that long-awaited next step.

Swede Christmas

It’s the time of year when you surf the channels trying to find something that hasn’t got Christmas lights on it.

Which is how I came across an Abba programme on Sky Arts.

Of course the Abba Museum is one of the most popular sites in Stockholm.

But it’s not the Swedish capital we’re flagging up here.

But hailing from a second city myself, Glasgow https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/04/15/sportstraveltraveltravel/ it’s second city Goteborg, or Gothenburg to you and me, that I’m flagging up here.

And Ryanair’s http://www.ryanair.com early Christmas presents…€9.99. While Frankfurt is the same price.

So let’s thrown in some Scandinavian and German memories here…

With https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-call-of-the-fjords/, https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/04/29/ich-bin-ein-hamburger/. And https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/dresdens-renaissance-martin-luther/

MEET YOU IN THE SKIES

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Holidos and don’ts – parking

It’s one of the prices you have to pay for marrying a Murty – there are many!

Being dragged out to look for the car which we’ve forgotten where we parked it.

Which happened to my Dear Old Dad on honeymoon in Paris.

Which is probably why he didn’t kick up too much of a fuss when I asked him to drive me around the east end of Glasgow.

Photo by David McBee on Pexels.com

Late at night to look for the car I had parked after a Celtic match.

To cut a long story short, the Scary One had to come back the next day by train from Edinburgh, to find the car which was on a wasteland.

But thankfully still in one piece. Miracle!

It wasn’t a one-off. I had a works car towed outside Dundee United’s ground, Tannadice.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

And every time at the shopping mall I would forget where I’d parked the car.

Usually when I had The Son and Heir and Daddy’s Little Girl with me.

Thank goodness then that I now take a photograph of the parking space though I often get let down because my phone runs out of charge.

One of the reasons then why I have never driven outside Britain or Ireland.

Unless, of course, you mention my attempts at driving a Fiat 500 on the French Riviera.

Stalled again!

It was the stand-out on a terrific itinerary when I stayed at Mimosas Resort http://www.mmv.fr/provence-cote-dazur on the Cote D’Azur.

Alas, the gear stick was on the dashboard and after I’d stalled it in the car park for the third time the owner of the firm decided to take the wheel.

Some small talk later and stone-skimming on the shore to get rid of my huff and I was on a boat whizzing around the Millionaires’ shore.

Someone else was driving.

Which means they have to remember where they park the car, although an extra problem is that I have to remember if I go off-piste.

Boats on the Red Sea

I did get a shot at driving the boat on the Red Sea on my G Adventures trip http://www.gadventures.com to Jordan… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/petra-jordan-jesus-and-the-sands-of-time/

The pilot did take the wheel back when I got too close to Israel.

It wouldn’t have done to be towed away there!

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Give us this Day – We are what we wear

It’s their stage when holy men get a chance to dress up and play the diva.

Still there’s probably some religious significance there too.

And fancy dress is clearly one of the upsides of the role.

It also includes a job for life and care right up to the end.

And you’ll get straight entry into heaven, and life everlasting.

These were many of the reasons why I flirted with becoming a Catholic priest when I was a boy.

OK, I didn’t make it to the seminary probably because I wanted to make it with girls.

That’s something which you can do if you want to go on to become a vicar or minister, rabbi or imman.

With Catholic priests, of course, you get to wear the dress too.

I was sorely tempted too to buy the vestments I saw for sale in the window of a shop in Medjugorje.

Where I’d gone on a Marian Pilgrimages http://www.marianpilgrimages.ie tour just last month…. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/10/18/medgugorje-whats-your-story/

Clothes maketh the man, some might say, and I have been drawn to all kinds of cultures because of theirs.

Jesus in a skirt, yes. In a church in Tenerife https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/tenerife-walk/ with http://www.CanariaWays.com.

While I also witnessed a promised Land of Hasidic Jews (if that’s the collective noun) passing through the world’s biggest through hub for Jews and the world’s best airport, Istanbul. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/wham-bam-thank-you-hamam/

With Turkish Airlines’ business lounge being the jewel in the crown… http://www.turkishairlines.com.

Crossroads of history

Istanbul is one of the world’s great cities for any number of reasons but definitely because it is a crossroads city where cultures and religions meet.

Like the beautiful Sarajevo https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/10/21/sarajevo-the-scot-that-was-heard-around-the-world/ and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/10/24/sarajevo-revisited/

Which the Bosnian city has had its Catholic and Orthodox visitors where you’ll see both religious and secular dress.

Jordan is another crossroads where you only have to stand by the river with Muslims on the side of Jordan country https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/petra-jordan-jesus-and-the-sands-of-time/.

While also seeing white robed Russian Orthodox Christians douse themselves in the river in deference to Jesus who they believe was baptised at that spot.

Which I witnessed on my G Adventures trip to the Middle East… http://www.gadventures.com.

Talking of Orthodox Christians then you an always turn up in Greece, while waiting for a lift.

In an InterContinental Hotel in Athens http://www.intercontinental.com on an Attica Region trip and http://www.athensattica.com and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/09/22/give-us-this-day-greek-orthodox/.

He was beautifully adorned in his black vestments and donned a beautifully coiffured white beard.

Now there’s a look I can definitely pull off.

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Give us this Day – poppy collections

They collect for everything at my church in Co. Wicklow but not poppies.

Which is all part of the antipathy in some quarters in Ireland towards Remembrance Sunday.

Because while it was born out of the trenches and is predominantly associated with the First World War.

My Great-Uncle Willie

It also covers the of British and Commonwealth conflicts, and there it jars with Irish nationalist history.

Only the Irish, including my two Fallen Donegal Great-Uncles, died in their tens of thousands in the Great War, both Catholic and Protestant, North and South.

So no poppy collection then, but two, count them, offertory collections at Mass.

Which brings me to how they do offertories over there.

It was on my trip to Ieper on my World War I Battlefields with G Adventures www.gadventures.com.

To Flanders www.visitflanders.com and the Somme https://www.visit-somme.com/great-war that I saw how they did it.

And my Great-Uncle Willie

The Flems in Ieper, for example, send their wee old stooped women in to collect your money, in their white robes.

Where they carry small pots with felt at the bottom.

Why felt? Well, I’m thinking that it’s along the lines of the Rev. Ian Paisley’s Silent Collection.

Where coins would make a sound.

There’s another aspect to offertory plates (they’re reed baskets at our church) that bothers me.

The public shame, the sniffs and withering eyes when you make your contribution.

Prayer time: In Istanbul

And a word to the wise here, don’t sit by the aisle where you will be first to put in your donations.

Then there’s the question about what you should give.

Here I’m going to pass the buck, and that’s probably not even enough, and say that Islam does it better.

By requiring that you donate 2.5% of your income (Zakat) to alms-giving.

Which way’s Mecca? In Amann, Jordan

Which is probably what they’re saying here in their Call to Prayer which you get constant reminders of when you travel.

In Istanbul Wham bam, thank you Hamam with http://www.turkishairlines https://visit.istanbul.

And Jordan Petra and the sands of time and http://www.visitjordan.com.