America, Canada, Countries, Europe

Happy Brownie Day from Amsterdam

And why not treat yourself to a space brownie today, Brownie Day…? you deserve it after the year we’ve had.

The Brown Cafe is something of a rite of passage for youngsters visiting Amsterdam.

And your favourite Travel blogger took one for the team on my first trip to the Dutch city…. all for research purposes you understand.

Brownies and whities

Dam right: With The Scary One in Amsterdam

More of a whitie than a brownie to be honest in my case.

And the Amsterdam cafe I visited didn’t help the non-user by operating a toilet system.

Because surely I’m not the only customer who turns a whiter shade of pale and then has to take the shame.

Of asking the owner to press the little white button under the counter.

So to mark Brownie Day I’m flagging up a the Brown cafe where you can get more than just a sugar rush… just don’t overdo it.

And maybe also other other places on my visits where a friend with weed is a friend indeed.

High old times

Get down, give me a Brown

Paradox: The district of Jordaan is a Boho favourite of tourists to Amsterdam.

With its narrow bars, boats and cycle routes.

And while you’re in the neighbourhood to visit the Anne Frank House and others of the marvellous museums in Amsterdam.

Such as the Amsterdam Tulip Museum and the Amsterdam Cheese Museum

Then try out canalside cafe Paradox where they tempt you in with board games and rich coffee…

And remember the Dutch brought the stuff here through the Dutch East Indies Company.

Paradox’s excellent website has a section for Social Paradox with a picture of the ubiquitous Amsterdam bicycle.

While they also tum you through everything you need to know including how to roll a joint – and edibles.

Bake your own

Now even in those other liberal hotspots we’ve all come to know around the world, you won’t get this eating experience.

I’m thinking Denver, California, Canada, Hamburg.

You’ll have to take your weed home and bake your own.

Now this has never made the technical challenge on Great British Bake Off…

Noel and Matt are already giddy enough although I’d pay money to see Prue and Paul off their faces.

So let me give you you the Bandanaman Brownie Friend With Weed recipe.

The recipe

The ingredients: An eighth of an ounce of cannabis. Or three tablespoons.

Three-quarter of a cup of butter.

Four ounces of unsweetened chocolate.

One and three quarters coconut sugar.

Half a teaspoon of salt.

Two teaspoons of vanilla extract.

Three large eggs.

One and three-quarters cups of all-purpose flour.

Two-thirds cup chopped walnuts.

Ready, steady, bake

1. Preheat oven to 240°F (115°C). Spread cannabis evenly on a baking sheet. Bake 50 minutes (if using less cannabis, check oven after 35 to 40 minutes). Remove from oven and set aside.

2. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add decarboxylated (oven-baked) cannabis and lower heat to a simmer. Cook for 45 minutes, then remove from heat.

3. Strain cannabutter through a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth into a small glass measuring cup or bowl. Discard strained cannabis solids or save for cannabis tea.

Out of my tree?

4. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C) and grease a 9-by-13 inch glass baking pan with cooking spray.

5. Place chocolate in a large glass mixing bowl and melt in the microwave or over a saucepan of boiling water.

6. Add cannabutter to melted chocolate and mix until combined, then mix in coconut sugar, salt, and vanilla.

7. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until fully incorporated.

8. Mix in flour, and walnut and/or mint, if using.

9. Pour batter into prepared baking pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool slightly, then cut into 16 pieces. Store leftovers — clearly marked if there are others using your kitchen — in the refrigerator for up to a week, or in the freezer for several months.

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

Hungry and Thursday – Liverpool scouse

And if you’ve felt too silly to ask what it is, the food that gives its name to Liverpudlians as in Liverpool scouse, this week’s Hungry and Thursday is all about Liverpool scouse and stews around the world.

Scousers have been getting their voices heard (and what’s new there?) these past few weeks, culminating in their fireworks party as they lifted the Premier League title at Anfield yesterday.

But seeing this is a food and drink post, and I already give you a sporting post, My Sporting Weekend every weekend, I’ll stick to scouse.

In a Stew

Which will stick to you teeth or in them. Because it’s really just stew with extras.

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Ally in red, naturally

I first had myself a plate of scouse in Albert Dock, Liverpool, as I waited for my interview at the Liverpool Daily Post back in the 1990s.

I had pulled a sickie to attend and was to go on and stare inside the studio where the British morning magazine programme This Morning was televised, only for the camera to turn on me.

Just the job

Which is when I got a shiver down my back as I thought of my boss’s wife watching from up in Aberdeen and reporting to Jim that I was really down on Merseyside when I should have been at my desk.

Still, I got the job so it wouldn’t have mattered.

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Back to the scouse and the word derives from ‘lobscouse’ which was a Scandinavian and Northern German stew brought to Liverpool by sailors.

The Liverpudlians, of course, reciprocated and sent exports of their own to these parts… The Beatles. And you can hear all about that in the city they made their home, Hamburg.

Hamburgers… and stew

On Stefanie Hempell’s Beatles tour (and you won’t get better).

While scouse isn’t the only comfort food that the Hamburgers have exported with great success. See Hamburgers and ships.

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A Star in Hamburg

So what’s in Scouse?

Scouse consists of mutton, lamb (often neck), or beef with vegetables, typically potatoes, carrots, and onions. Serve with pickled beetroot or pickled red cabbage and bread.

Ethiopia and the world

While I leave my Liverpool-born son to make his way back from the festivities to Scotland, or indeed the phone call to bail him out of jail, I’ll take you on a gristlestop tour around the world of stew.

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With the queen of Ethiopia, Meseret

Meat of Africa

Ethiopian chicken stew: And I’ll miss those Ethiopian  New Years in Dublin which I shared with my friends Carole, Lorcan, Tony and my Queen of Ethiopia Meseret.

Because Enkutatash runs to the old calendar which means that you actually lose time. I, of course, lose all sense of time when the wine starts flowing which I only do to soak up the Ethiopian stew which you eat with your hands soaking it up with bread.

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And you can get a fancy dish too

Balkan bellies

Bosanski Ionac, Bosnia & Herzegovina: And they love their homely food in the Balkans and it unites the different cultures and traditions.

Whether you’re with the ultra-Catholic Croatians of Medjugorje of Marian Pilgrimages  or in Muslim Sarajevo in the Bey Mosque district What’s the story, Medjugorje? Wouldn’t you like to know?.

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Let’s waffle on about Belgian stew

Belgian bulge

Carbonnade, Flanders, Belgium: And the brave soldiers who went to the Front in the First World War would take their pleasures where they could.

So that meant wine, women and song… or in Ieper, dark beer (there’s lots of it in this dish), women (they’re the same the world over) and drinking shanties. All right up a Tommy’s street and the best people to go with are GTI Travel and Visit Flanders.

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Catch of the day: Fish stew

Portuguese please

Caldeireada, Portugal: And if you’ll eat anything as long as it swims in the sea then Portugal and Quinta do Lago SPORTUGAL and Portugal Centro  is the place for you.

Load your plate up with shellfish and don’t be liberal with the squids and octopus.

You’ll need a rich base of onions, white wine, olive oil, and tomatoes, and season with a variety of fresh herbs and spices such as saffron and nutmeg.

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They’ll be the dumplings then

Cesky goulash: Not to be mistaken for Hungarian goulash. All right, it is quite similar. Mop it up with the obligatory Czech dumplings and sauerkraut.

And, of course, Pilsener Urquell.

They had a big post-lockdown feast on the Charles Bridge in Bohemian Prague recently and I[m hoping there were leftovers!

And with apologies to Irish stew and other meaty greats from around the world.

Heck for fear of being force-fed vegetarian I’ll return to this subject.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Countries, Culture, Europe

Rainy days and songdays – Der Beatles

There are places I’ll remember. All my life though some have changed

– THE BEATLES

John Lennon would clearly recognise Liverpool, his home city, today.

By its riverfront and the iconic Liver Birds. But the area around The Cavern Club has changed out of hand.

More gentrified than even I remember it.

From the year I spent on Merseyside in the Nineties when the Son and Heir was born.

While the Cavern Club www.thecavernclub.com isn’t the sweaty cavernous throb of humanity it was at its Mersey Beat height.

But well worth visiting, as is Liverpool https://www.visitliverpool.com.

Beatles fans will know that while John Lennon acknowledged (how could he otherwise?) that he hailed from Liverpool…

He actually grew up in Hamburg.

Where the Rieperbahn remains relatively unchanged.

Since the days that John, Paul, George, Stuart and Pete learned their craft.

Of course we know that John’s best pal Stuart stayed behind with German girlfriend Astrid.

When the boys went back to Liverpool.

And that Ringo who was with another English band in Hamburg at the same time went onto replace Best.

Let’s sleep on it: Beach Club in Sankt Pauli

All of which, and more, you can learn on Stefanie Hempel’s Beatles-Tour http://www.hempels-musictour.de/en/.

See the door that Lennon was pictured in front of for his Rock ‘n’ Roll covers solo album.

Stefanie riffs away Beatles songs on her ukulele (George’s favourite instrument), on the tour.

Guten Morgan: The Reichshof in Hamburg

And takes you around Beatles haunts.

And ends up performing a set at the Sankt Pauli Museum https://sankt-pauli-museum.de.

Stay in the historic Reichshof… http://www.reichshof-hotel-hamburg.de/?utm_source=GoogleMyBusiness&utm_medium=ButtonWebsite&utm_campaign=GoogleMyBusinessReferral

In Lennon’s life, he truly did love Hamburg more.

And you can learn more in Hamburgers and ships while you should also check out https://www.hamburg.com/visitors/.

Africa, America, Asia, Caribbean, Countries, Cruising, Culture, Europe, Flying

In defence of Travel people

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts – Mark Twain

Cathy’s clown: DC Easy DC and www.washington.org

The next time you see a cinema usher, a football steward.

Ave Maria: www.CanariaWays.com In defence of Travel people

Or if you even run into a sports writer, then I trust you’ll pick them up on getting in for free!

Muriel, my pal: With Muriel Bolger

Only you won’t because you’ve got class.

King Louis: Friends of racing in Tobago, Louis, Nadine and Clem. www.visittobago.gov.tt Ready, steady GOAT… racing in Tobago

And you know that they’re doing their job.

Kythera: My Greek odyssey www.athensattica.com

And that they’re good at what they do or else they wouldn’t get asked.

Herr for the beer: Hamburgers and ships and www.hamburg.com

My friends

I ran a gauntlet of abuse on my way to becoming Ireland’s Travel Editor of the Year – and from the very people I was helping, my own staff.

Aer we go: With Paula and Aer Lingus www.aerlingus.com

Who would, and to be fair it wasn’t all of them, put me down when I was on my Travels (in my own time).

Oo Es of Eh: www.visitusa.ie and www.kennedyspacecenter.com

And snidely refer to my trips which always produced articles, written on time and to the brief I was given, as…

Wooah. Barbados: www.visitbarbados.org Let’s rumba in Barbados My kiss with Rihanna

Junkets, Jollies, Beanos, freebies.

Of course it didn’t apply when I sent them.

Fab Four: With Maria www.spain.info/en Eoghan www.travelextra.ie and Sharon www.ttc.com

And they would be the ones who would be late with their copy.

Petra time: With Zuhair… www.vistjordan.com and The water of life, Petra, and the sands of time

Sometimes even embarrassing themselves and a host.

Your Onur: And www.turkishairlines.com and Wham bam, thank you Hamam

While their articles would often have to rewritten..

Your USA: With www.visitusa.ie

And all because it was a ‘junket’ and not given the same attention as any other article.

I would then have to apologise profusely to the providers who thankfully and very generously considered me worthy of the ultimate accolade…

Your South Africa www.southafrica.net: With Siseko in Dublin What’s new pussycat?

Their Pleasure To Work With award which was sneered at when I got back to the office.

LA story: Universal Studios’ www.universalstudioshollywood.comJon, The Scottish Sun’s Heather and Tickets Direct’s www.ticketsdirect.com Kate. And My Weekend With Marilyn and Stair Wars.

Back then, and it’s only a year ago, I would call on the services of the finest freelancers who never let me down.

Star women: The Irish at IPW

On the other side

Now I’m on the other side of the fence I have been glad to say that the holiday providers I cultivated then and many writers and editors remain the best of friends.

Zach the lad: My old pal Zach from my Deep South The Promised Land, The story of the Blues and The King of Kings odyssey www.deep-south-usa.com,

And you always know who your friends are in your time of need.

Give it a twirl: At Pic du Midi. www.hautes-pyrenees.com and The Lourdes prayer

Don’t Cancel

So that’s why I’ll not rest in promoting our industry which, like Twain, I believe is vital to the human condition.

Live like a Royal: Messi around on the water In Barcelona www.barcelonatourisme.com withPaula and www.royalcaribbean.com.

And that’s why I’ve been sprinkling this polemic with pictures of us around the world.

Grand oul tome: With BA’s Tara and Queen of Vegas Tryphavana. And www.lvcva.com and www.ba.com. And Strip… the light fantastic and The grandest canyon.

So join me to support #DontCancelPostpone and #tourismstrong.

Countries, Food, Food & Wine

Hungry and Thursday – the best bar none on my travels

I’ve yet to introduce myself to my new local in my new billet in North Berwick, near Edinburgh, or the landlord I’ll clink glasses with.

But it’s got me thinking of my five favourite bar stops on my travels.

Anything, as long as it’s beer

On the horns of a dilemma: Simon and myself in Ieper

The Hopperie, Ieper (or Ypres): Now that I’ve reached this advanced age I tend to repeat myself, repeat myself.

So this tale from Tom’s Bierhaus gets another outing… Muriel, that’s her real name, ordered a G&T.

To Tom’s bafflement… ‘This is a bierhaus I have more than 200 beers and I can tell you about them all.’

She got water.

To my disappointment I found out when googling that Tom’s has shut so I’ll divert you to Bruges and Le Trappiste http://www.letrappistebrugge.com.

Where they have nearly 200 beers. So no danger of being as quiet as a Trappist monk.

And, of course, we toasted the Fallen… In Flanders fields.

The best Glasgow bar

Scots Wahey: Kirsten and me

Glasgow Bar, Tobago: Just ask for Karl and tell him Jim from Glasgow sent you.

Only that there have been hundreds of Glasgow Jimmys who have passed by and asked for a selfie with Karl Glasgow.

Who has never been to Glasgow, or Scotland.

Although he knows a dreadlocked man he introduces me to who has come in to do some repairs who was in a band in Fort William in the Scottish Highamds.

Try the mahi-mahi (like swordfish) which obviously comes with macaroni cheese (everything does).

With Carib or Stag beer or rum punch.

It’s unlike any Glasgow working man’s bar I’ve ever been to, and I’ve been to a few, and with knockout views of Parlatuvier Bay.

See www.tobagogov.tt and let’s do it all over again in On your marks, get set, GOAT in Tobago.

Mrs Ippi and Mr Ippi

The home of the Delta Blues

A honky tonk near the Marriott Hotel, Cleveland, Mississippi: Don’t ask me the name, there had been Southern Pecan Nut Brown Ale and Bulleit bourbon taken.

But it’s across a bridge and is where my Travel buddy, Ireland’s Travel Writer of the Year, Isabel Conway and I stayed for late-night drinks.

After I had spotted a fella lassoing the waitress in while watching the rodeo on the TV.

We joined them, he showed us his dogs and horses on his phone, and Issy and I agreed he was a good ole’ Country Boy.

And here’s where you can read about the whole adventure, my American Trilogy… The Promised Land, The story of the Blues, The King of Kings.

And much more besides at https://www.deep-south-usa.com and https://visitmississippi.org.

Vegas baby

I can snuggle up in the crook of Cami’s neck

Carneval Court, Las Vegas: I’m heading back to Vegas in May to see my fiancée, maybe wife Cami, from Utah.

We danced at Carneval Court https://www.caesars.com/harrahs-las-vegas/things-to-do/nightlife-carnaval-court?utm_campaign=GMB&utm_source=google&utm_medium=local&utm_term=CarnavalCourt&utm_content=bar#.XkRmBCSnzYU to Eighties Covers band The Whip Its https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=NYEYxH6l1uQ.

And the barmen poured drinks in an arc into the mouths of women and squirted cream foam into women’s cleavage.

While women dressing in playing cards stood guard at the door.

Visit https://www.lvcva.com and join me around Vegas… Strip… the light fantastic.

Hamburgers and pints

A room for the night

Strand Pauli Beach Club, Hamburg: I’ve drunk at many a beach bar, Barbados, the French Riviera, Majorca, Greece… but it’s Hamburg for me.

The Strand Pauli Beach Club https://www.strandpauli.de on the shore near the Rieperbahn where you can dine on burgers, obvs, and Astra beer.

Before sleeping it off in a double bed.

And here’s what else happens in Hamburg Hamburgers and ships.

Countries, Culture, Europe

Thirteen years an Irishman – five top cities

For fear of causing an international diplomatic incident, here’s five more of my favourite cities.

In Northern Europe although, in truth, they stand comparison with any in the world.

So let’s get started with some of that rock’n’roll music… and…

Hamburger city

Hamburg (https://www.hamburg.com/visitors/): The Rieperbahn obviously but also the Elbphilormonie, or Elbe https://www.elbphilharmonie.de/en/… it’s not just for the stuffed shirts.

Then there’s Stefanie Hempell’s Early Beatles-Tour, her infectious smile, Der Fab Four anecdotes and songs on her ukulele… http://www.hempels-musictour.de

And, of course, eating hamburgers like a local in Dulf’s Burger https://m.facebook.com/dulfsburger/. Hamburgers and ships.

And a model railway museum which could seriously turn me… Why German trains always run on time.

I Amsterdam

Pictures everywhere

Amsterdam: Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Breughel, the tulip museum and the story of the world’s best flower… and cheese, and a cheese not a cheesy museum.

The Ann Frank Museum and a stirring reminder of how we need to remain vigilant against racism.

Canals, narrow bars and Middle Eastern food… who even needs to visit the Red Light District.

Visit www.iamsterdam.com and read Pictures of Amsterdam and George Clooney and Amal’s Amsterdam hotel.

Prague springs

Give peace a chance

Prague: Lennon’s wall and the Astronomical Church, obviously, but also the Castle which is really a district.

The Charles Bridge with its sculptures and jazz musicians.

The world’s second ugliest attraction, from Communist days, and they’re very proud of it. And one of my favourite statues ‘Piss’.

Visit https://discover-prague.com/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIuJH_8KCz5wIVRrTtCh0ofAEHEAAYAyAAEgKhOvD_BwE and https://www.czechtourism.com/home/. And read Holiday Snaps – Prague for under €100.

Bergen’s charms

A lager is how much?

Bergen: The old wharf and traditional Norwegian buildings of Bryggen where you can always find a wooden (or real) troll.

The Floyen mountain with funicular and breathtaking views of the fjord and your ship.

And the Kode museum http://www.kodebergen.no with its Munch and Dahl (the landscape artist whose paintings drew the first 19th century cruises) exhibitions.

Visit https://en.visitbergen.com/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIiM-726Wz5wIVSrDtCh3vLQROEAAYASAAEgJIZvD_BwE and The call of the fjords.

Uncategorized

Here’s to beer

It’s beer o’clock… who am I kidding? Any hour of the day is beer time on this International Beer Day.

And that’s why I’m saying… here’s to the Brewery and Two Goats Deli in Nieu Bethesda, Dulf’s Burger in Hamburg, Tom’s Bierhaus in Ieper in Belgium.

And where ever your local boozer is.

But firstly would you let me take you to a dusty Karoo town in the Eastern Cape of South Africa?

Because it was there that I spent a very pleasant afternoon in the baking sun, drinking samples of stouts and ciders.

And before falling asleep on the swing bed.

That said, they are good memories that I hark back to on this International Beer Day.

Bok to the beer

This is where I sampled South Africa out of a glass… or five.

For more visit http://www.karooconnections.o.za/tours/nieu. And check out my review of the Eastern Cape… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/home/whats-new-pussycat/

And here’s a couple of other pics of me drinking beer…

Burger and beer

In Germany, obviously, with a local Astra Pilsener lager and a hamburger. It must be Hamburg. Let’s relive it… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/hamburgers-and-ships/

Belgian beer

And a large one with Simon in Tom’s Bar in Ieper in Belgium.

It was a poignant trip finding my Great Uncles who fell in the War.

But this was downtime… and I bet Willie and Patrick drunk the beer too. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/firstworldwar-in-flanders-fields/

The Virginian

Virginia in the US: And this is a blonde I picked up in Bristol. A beer that is. visit http://www.virginia.org.

So why don’t you join me on my day out in Virginia which was billed as Beer and Battlefields and took me back in time to the days of Stonewall Jackson. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/home/easy-dc-2/

We’ll leave it at that for just now… I’m thirsty.

Dear Jesse

Apart from to say, a big thank you to Californian Jesse Avshalomov for giving us the excuse.

Because it was Jesse who founded the thing in 2007 in Santa Cruz, Southern California.

And since its inception it has grown into a worldwide phenomenon (which I’m catching onto now) spanning 207 cities, 80 countries and six continents.

Prost!