Countries, Culture, Europe

My Sporting Weekend – Iceland big knobs

You’d be forgiven for thinking it’s members only at the Icelandic Phallological Museum but the truth is they welcome all shapes and sizes.

Iceland hosted England yesterday in the European Nations League for the first time since they shocked the world.

By beating the Three Lions 2-1 at the 2016 European Championships.

Now football is not the same without the fans.

And the Viking Army was sadly missing in Reykjavik, the Icelandic fans lighting up the European Championships with their Thunderclap.

Hang your hat on it

Playing away

Which isn’t a transmitted disease but the ritual applause which they bestowed on their favourites.

Back to the Phallological Museum now.

And for the very odd dedicated few who continue to follow England to the ends of the Earth.

Even if they have to self-isolate and can’t even get into the game…

From the Stone Age… the original cock and balls

Well, the Phallological Museum, oh heck let’s just call it the Penis Museum, is an attraction that is open for visitors, though with restricted hours.

So what do you get?

It’s the bollocks

The big knobs at Team Phallus boast (and, yes this is a subject where you do boast) that their museum contains 215 penises.

And penile parts (we’re imagining bollocks here and maybe foreskin, soz).

The Phallus Team

In their bumph they dazzle us with numbers (and again this is currency in this field).

With 56 specimens from 17 different kinds of whales (who knew?)

Poles apart

One from a rogue polar bear, and that you’d think would be thin from all the rubbing their paws together to keep out the cold.

And 36 from the seven different types of seals and walrus.

And 115 from 20 different kinds of land mammals.

Giraffe Penis
We’re thinking this is very old

The museum also considers itself fortunate to have received legally certified gift tokens for four specimens (whatever that means) belonging to Homo Sapiens.

That’s you and me!

It’s probably just as well that the masses of England football fans aren’t there.

Stand up if you’re England

Yes, they’d probably pack the place out but then you know football fans they’d probably want to prove their manhood.

Although I doubt they’d measure up.

Now if you want to get out to Iceland we’d suggest Icelandair and we always like to highlight the Land of Fire and Ice.




Canada, Countries, Culture, Europe, Ireland, UK

Canadian high

Has Stay Alert or Stay at Home inspired you.

Or would you have been more enthused by say, the Canadians’ Caremongering call to arms?

Our Canadian friends have successfully positioned themselves as a chilled, right-on destination.

And that is no surprise to those of us whose links with the Land of the Maple Leaf run deep.

The sky is the limit

It helps if you can pass the first Canadian test… spotting that they’re not Americans.

You see Canadians say ‘Eh’ at the end of EVERY sentence.

And they don’t take themselves too seriously even branding it on their merchandise.

I’ll surely pick up a souvenir T-shirt then with ‘Toronto Eh’ on it.

When I pay a return to the city for the first time in more than 30 years.

Air Canada will be operating a four day a week service from Dublin to Toronto from July 2.

The CNN Tower

While passengers who had originally booked for Dublin-Montreal and Dublin-Vancouver will be offered interconnecting flights.

An Eh-1 service I think you’ll agree. Visit

And here are some other thoughts on Canada

The freedom of Iceland

A riot of colours

I’t’s the quintessential experience of travelling through an airport, grabbing that sample shot of whisky.

Only in these COVID times you’d make do with a free test.

Which is just what the Icelanders are doing at Keflavik Airport.

The Icelanders, who were all over this virus before the rest, are planning to reopen their borders by June 10.

If it’s positive they will be asked to quarantine for 14 days.

If travellers can prove that they have already taken a coronavirus test, and are negative, they will be exempt.

Iceland like in the pictures

Everyone, however, will be asked to download Iceland’s contact tracing app, which tracks users movements 

So you’ll soon be off to Iceland… you lucky geysers.

And when you do, fly with Icelandair

America, Countries, Europe, Flying, Food, Ireland, UK

Flyday Friday – Trains and automobiles

With British Transport Secretary Matt Hancock sanctioning against closing airports for 48 hours due to coronavirus my attention turns to trains and automobiles.

It’s not that I’m joining the clamour away from airports… until they build a tunnel between Britain and Ireland and the US that is.

But there’s no harm in mixing your transport.

And search out the Middle Eastern fare

Eurostar has announced the launch of its new Eurostar service from London St Pancras to Amsterdam Centraal from April 30.

It will cut the journey time down by an hour to four hours and nine minutes.

We flew to Amsterdam Pictures of Amsterdam with KLM

But here’s what we missed in what was otherwise a packed and enjoyable programme with our IAmsterdam card…

Dylan promise

Complimentary bikes: With the Dylan. Zoom by the canals of Amsterdam, shouting ‘bike’ at the tourists.

Bloemenmarkt: The world’s only floating flower market. Something for the wife!

In the picture: With Rembrandt

Foodhallen: From tempuras to tacos to hotdogs with truffle mayonnaise, try from one of 21 stalls. And check out the Middle Eastern food.

Cheese tasting: At Henri Willig’s store, near the hotel. Well, you are in Amsterdam.

Visit and

Swiss sustainability

Holy cow

SWISS are doing their bit too with attractive prices for bikes and sports equipment on board.

Swiss fly from London Heathrow, London City, Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh (seasonal during summer), Dublin and Cork.

And if you want to know what happens when a middle-aged Scot races down an Alpine road on a kiddie’s scooter… Swhisskey on the rocks. Also visit www.myswitzerlandcom.

Designs for Iceland

Wrap up well

I’ve got designs on a stopover in Iceland en route to North America in May.

But if you can’t wait until then, DesignMarch is on from March 25-29.

The festival, one of six big festivals in Reykjavik this year,

Whether it is fashion design, graphics or architecture, Iceland’s capital lives and breathes design.

And Icelandair want to do the work for you and advise you put in a ‘Build your own Iceland package’ in the booking engine.

They also have a five-day suggested itinerary with their online offer at €269 round-trip from Dublin.

Visit and


America, Countries, Deals, Europe, UK, Uncategorized

Flyday Friday – Iceland rocks

The Daughters of Reykjavík will be waiting for you off your Icelandair flight.

And Andy Svarthol. And your Dry Cleaning.

If that sounds quite a party it’s because it is… these are just some of the bands who will be playing.

At the 22nd edition of Iceland Airwaves from November 4-7.

Turn the lights on: Iceland

Travel packages are available for 2020 and include festival pass. round-trip flights and hotel accommodation.

Packages with departures beginning November 2 are available, starting at €325pp for airfare from Dublin with festival pass.

Hotel inclusive packages are also available.

Icelandair also flies from Dublin via Iceland to 18 gateways in North America.

Including Anchorage, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Edmonton. Minneapolis. Montreal, New York (JFK & Newark), Orlando, Philadelphia, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, Tampa. Toronto, Vancouver and Washington DC.

And here’s a reminder of a couple of them… Go West. Aaawlando… Orlando, the rollercoaster capital and Easy DC.

Hamburgers and Londoners

Tuck in

Not that Londoners are any bigger fans of hamburgers than anywhere else… more that they are both great port cities.

And that our friends at Aer Lingus have up to 25% off deals.

So that’s Hamburg at €34.99 one-way from Dublin.

And London from Dublin at €25.99 one-way, from Cork at €34.99, Shannon €39.99 and Knock €25.99.

Book by March 2 and travel before April 20.

And here’s why I love these port cities so much… The London life and Hamburgers and ships.

Adventure, Countries, Europe

Iceland – land of fire and skiing

Iceland, the land of fire and skiing? Because you’d never want to be skiing in a land of fire and ice.

We don’t immediately associate Iceland with skiing despite there being great opportunities.

Our friends at Icelandair are always flagging up new sides to Iceland and thank Thor that they do.

Snow under your feet

And there’s also an internal carrier in Iceland (who knew?)

Iceland excels in off-piste skiing which I stumbled on…

When I accidentally veered into a black run in Austria… Soll Mates and

The resorts’ names are as challenging and fun as the skiing itself.

The mountains to yourself

So, let’s try Iceland’s highest mountain, the 6,923ft Hvannadalshnjúkur, for the experienced skier.

Or visit Eskifjordur in the ‘Alps of the East Fjords’ where sits Oddsskarð. It is known for its Easter Festival.

And you can enjoy Reykjavik before hitting the two resorts that lie less than a half-hour drive from the capital.

And attract snow-loving city-dwellers.

Blajfjoll is the larger option, Skalafell is also popular.

Now I’ve got you in the mood for quirky ski destination let’s return to an old fave, Colorado… Go West and

On the right tracks

Winter Park Express at Winter Park, Colorado:

This is the only ski train in the USA, taking passengers direct from Denver Union Station direct to the slopes of Winter Park in just two hours.

Running on select dates until March 29, the Winter Park Express features ski and snowboard storage.

As well as a lounge car for those wanting to start the apres early.

America, Countries, Deals, Europe, Flying, Ireland

Flyday Friday – Shannon’s Irish Coffee?

I’m indebted to one of my Bandaninis, (as I’ve Christened this site’s followers) Michael Kelly.

For raising the rival claim of Shannon Airport to Jackson’s Hotel, Ballybofey, Co. Donegal as the birthplace of Irish Coffee.

Forger the coffee, Just whiskey for me

After reading Thirteen years an Irishman – My five Irish homes my farewell to Ireland as I return to Scotland.

The Shannon story, which is said to date from 1942, goes that a woman arrived in the middle of Ireland on a wintry night needing warmed up.

And chef Joe Sheridan came up with the bright idea of putting whiskey in her coffee.

The Jackson’s tale dates also from the War years and surrounds a merchant seaman, Joe Jackson.

Joe’s corner says he adapted a Mediterranean recipe and was already making it in 1946 after buying the hotel.

A last look at Belfast… hope it’s not an omen

And that an article in a Scottish newspaper, which hung in the hotel, backed this up.

So I’m happy to give both claims their due, particularly as it bigs up Shannon Airport.

And the excellent work Declan Power and his staff are doing there.

Shannon has two new routes for 2020, to Paris and Barcelona.

And you can check out some thoughts here on the Catalan city… Smooth sailing around the Western Med.

TAP into this

And there are boats too
TAP Air Portugal tapairportugal carried 1.23 million passengers in January, 145,000 more than this month last year. Its biggest destination is, of course, Portugal but it also flies to Europe, North America and South America. Rio by the sea-o anyone? Of course we’re all big fans of Portugal around here… Secret Portugal.

Women’s Day in Iceland

Light up

Isn’t it just typical, I went and missed Bondadagur, the start of the Porri season (on January 24), again.

Bondadawhat I hear those of you who are not either Icelanders or Icelandophiles ask. Well it is Men’s Day and as luck would have it, for Herself, Women’s Day is still to come… on February 22. That’s Konudagur then and it’s when men pamper their women and give them flowers. Which maybe I’ll keep from The Scary One – she’s got Valentine’s Day coming. And I’ve already taken her out for a night this year… and it wasn’t even her birthday either.
Bobble hats compulsory

Icelandair flies daily to Iceland while it also has 18 gateways to North America.

Aer we went

Fly the flag

The good news (for me, heck and for you too) is that I’ll be back in Dublin in mid-March.

Don’t tell the Scary One but I’m hoping to be back a lot sooner. I’ll be flying Stobart Air, partners of Aer Lingus from Edinburgh and Aer Lingus, from Dublin to Miami. And when I can I always will. I’m only hoping that as a loyal Aer Club member and a proud kiltie wearer I can rack up enough points to earn me one of their super-duper new crew skirts. Anyhoos, back to their deals: London, Amsterdam and Paris from €27.99, Toulouse or Bordeaux and much more besides. Usual conditions apply. Visit And don’t you just know I’ve played and prayed all over these fab destinations… The London life, Pictures of Amsterdam and George Clooney and Amal’s Amsterdam hotel. And The Lourdes prayer and The Boat D’Azur.

And not forgetting Ryanair

Ryanair has just released its early bird summer fares. MEET YOU IN THE SKIES

America, Countries, Culture, Food, Food & Wine

Portland – Let er buck

Scholastica sounds a pretty severe name for a woman and, as it happened, she was an English teacher… from Portland, Oregon.

But Scholastica, my Dad’s Sixtysomething second cousin, and this 14-year-old Scot had something in common… Tolkein.

I don’t know for sure that JRR didn’t visit Oregon but he would surely have been impressed by their Giant Redwood Trees.

Cool: Portland

Tolkein, for all you who don’t know, had walking, talking trees.

Portland and Oregon is known also as where all the Hippies from Haight Ashbury left for.

And so, yes, they probably see marching trees too.

Me? I stick to their very good whiskey which I was introduced to at the American Travel Fair.

Whiskey pals

‘Here’s a stetson hat, a whiskey, now you clink glasses and say ‘let er buck.’

All which stuff and nonsense I took to the table at the Woollen Mills in Dublin when the good people of Portland popped into town.

Queen of Portland Laura and Portland Bandanaman

Now, you’ve probably latched onto the fact that this iteration of me is Bandanaman.

And God help you, those who knew me when I wore a raccoon hat in my head, called ‘Lola’.

The whiskey and bon homie was flowing again last night.

And, of course, all talk centred around the North-West Coast state.

Flying high

Now, this was always going to be Westward whiskey, the pride and joy of Portland.

Stick it on me ead

Portland is unique in many ways, not least for boasting the world’s first-ever distillery-focused tasting room at the airport.

Fly me there… and Icelandair will through Reykjavik where you can also have a stop-off.

While British Airways flies there from London and Delta from Dublin through Amsterdam

And Aer Lingus flies to Seattle which is approximately three hours drive to Portland.

The Portland hat

Portland also boasts the world’s largest bookstore Powell’s

Which must have room for the blockbuster that is gathering dust in my drawer.

And you know what’s holding me back? Lazy nights drinking whiskey.

I’m made for Portland. Let er buck as they say over there.

I’m working my way up the west coast from LA California, the Golden Globes State and am hoping to see San Fransisco in May.

So Portland is getting closer.


Flyday Friday – the Northern Lights

The Northern Lights of Aberdeen

Are home sweet home to me

The Northern lights of Aberdeen

Are where I long to be

I’ve been a wanderer all of my days

And many’s the sight I’ve seen

But hark the day I’ll be on my way

To my home in Aberdeen

Pick a colour, any colour. Photo by Tobias Bjørkli on

In nine years in the Granite City I saw bright lights (more nightclubs than libraries) but never the Northern Lights.

It wasn’t an Aberdonian at all who wrote the Northern Lights but Londoner Mary Webb who had never even been to Scotland’s third city.

She wrote the song with her husband Mel for a homesick friend Winnie, at the hospital where they worked.

While I’ve been a wanderer all of my days I did get to return to my home in Aberdeen A light in the north.

House about that?

But not to Iceland where the Heavenly Dancers have a shindig almost every weekend from the looks of it.

I’ve kept up close links with the Icelanders since I started this scribbling lark.

And sent many a scribe to the Land of Fire and Ice, and many then onto the Oo Es of A.

Our friends at Icelandair have given us the lowdown on all things aurora borealis.

The best time to see them is between October and March.

Green for go

But they have also been spotted as early as August and as late as April.

To save me more verbal diarrhoea let me just point you to these websites…

For the aurora forecast from the Veorstofa Islands, the Iceland Meteorological Office

Icelandair fly daily to Reykjavik. And it has 18 gateways to the US.

And looking at Icelandair’s list if what to bring I’ll have to leave a lot at home.

No, The Scary One’s coming with me… more baggage allowance, you see.

The bells, the bells

The wheel deal: Edinburgh

My first Hogmanay in Edinburgh I goosed a random lassie at the Mercat Cross at the Bells.

Which means at my first New Year in Edinburgh I kissed a random girl at the Market Cross when the clock turned midnight.

It was where people went then back in the early Eighties before it was turned into the big music party that it is now.

It’s still Hogmanay but it has lost a little bit of its identity, its old traditions of moving from house to house, flat to flat for a party.

And you would put yourself forward as the tall, dark man with the lump of coal and dram (short) of whisky which signifies health, wealth and happiness.

It has a castle too

Edinburgh is one-way from Ryanair from €14.99. I know it’s overdue but I will give you a city guide of the place I called home for ten years.

And here’s one I prepared earlier of the Dear Green Place, Edinburgh’s great rival, Glasgow, from €9.99 one way, where I spent the first 17…

And Hogmanay? Well, maybe it’s not as Scottish as we think.

Glasgow for the World Bagpipes Championships

And that Mary, Queen of Scots, who was brought up in France introduced it.

The drinking she left to the locals which after much practice they perfected.

And while we’re at it just off the blocks… Ryanair have a saving of up to 25% off selected flights.

If you book before midnight on Sunday.




Purple reigns, purple reigns… in Minneapolis, Barbados, LA. Everywhere.

You heard it here first… the twin cities are THE American cities to go to this year.

You can rock to Prince at his Paisley Park home just as I did with Di-Di, above, at Barbados Crop Over, visit great shopping malls, eat at top restaurants with delicious craft beer and go out into the Great Outdoors and enjoy more wonderful Park life.

I also partied with Natasha Bedingfield who gave a stirring version of Purple Rain to us in LA at the American Travel fair IPW. She picked me out in the crowd and stroked her chin in reference to my purple beard and we wound down afterwards at the after-party.

Icelandair flies to Minneapolis for €185, one-way based on a return fare and travel 26 August 2019 – 24 March 2020. And that includes a stopover in Reykjavik. Visit

Icelandair also has:

New York                €158*

Boston                      €193*

Chicago                    €198*

Seattle                      €210*

Vancouver               €210*

Book by midnight, Sunday 16th June 2019 23:59pm.

The Wonder of You…

… And you

She is my wonder of the world… and her above too. In fact The Wonder of You was our First Dance music at our wedding reception 25 years ago.

Petra, of course, is another wonder of the world, one of the Modern Wonders of the World and it is everything that they say as I found out on my recent G Adventures trip And

Our friends at Ryanair have compiled a Seven Wonders of the World guide for us. I’d recommend my Jordan musings which I will compile for multiple media outlets soon and also in this blog over the coming weeks.

The other Wonders you’ll be wanting to tick off on your way… you can go by camel if you want too… are the Temple of Olympian Zeus, Athens, the Colosseum, Rome (tick), the Dead Sea (tick, tick), La Sagrada Familia Barcelona (tick, tick, tick), Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia (they’ve been onto me) and Lagoa do Fogo, the Azores (big fan of Portugal).

And yes, they all give me ‘strength to carry on.’

See for its guide, and also for other top deals.

A million love songs

Wheely great: Laura and Graham

Congratulations Laura McGrory and Graham Woods who won an upgrade to Business Class and two complimentary Aer Lingus flights from North America to a European City of their choice with Aer Lingus.

And what did they have to do? Only be the 1 millionth transatlantic guest to fly with the national airline carrier this year. The recently married couple from Dunleer in Co. Louth made the milestone trip travelling from Dublin to Seattle.

All of which begs the question. 1 millionth means one person. Ah, true love when two becomes one.

Enough song titles already?


Daddy’s Little Girl is just back from Amsterdam and absolutely loved it… it is one of my favourite short-hop city breaks too.

Sassy and classy, it has the perfect mix of high and low culture.

The food and drink are also great and I’m always won over by idiosyncratic ways of serving booze, with the Dutch custom of skimming the heads of beer with plastic knives always a winner. And mayo on chips? You should try it.

Aer Lingus likes a list too… as do I, unless of course it’s a shopping list.

Its top ten picks starts with Amsterdam, I guess it always will, and also picks out Barcelona, Birmingham, Berlin, Dusseldorf, London, Milan, Madrid, Manchester and Vienna.

See for yourself on but it’s billing its autumn getaway as ‘fly from €25.99’. And here’s my recommendation in a new tab). in a new tab)

Fares are one-way including taxes and charges. Valid for travel from August 1 until September 30. Book by June 17.

Must fly, I’ve got to book.