America, Countries, Culture, Sport

My Sporting Weekend – Reagan, The Gipper and the Super Bowl

Ronald Reagan and George HW Bush will be watching the Super Bowl on a cloud up there shouting ‘One more win for the Gipper’.

Ronnie’s most famous acting role, other than as the 40th President of the USA, was as Notre Dame great George ‘The Gipper’ Gipp in the 1940 film Knucke Rockne, All American.

And like all the best method actors he even took it into his own life off the screen, adopting the persona in his political campaigning.

As we mark Reagan’s birthday today (he would have been 110) we can look forward too to the Super Bowl tomorrow too.

It features the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

And while nobody is saying Ronnie was a Patrick Mahomes nor Tom Brady, he had some American football acumen having turned out as a lineman for Eureka College in his native Illinois.

And like both he boasted Irish heritage.

Ronald Reagan’s Irish heritage remembered in his Library

The Great Communicator made California his home, of course.

And that’s where you’ll find him now, and where everything Reagan related is kept at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. in Simi Valley 40 miles from Downtown Los Angeles.

Keepers of the Reagan flame

Just like Ronnie himself, the keepers of the Reagan flame are charm personified as I soon discovered at the American Travel fair, IPW.

And like the best friends they always stay in touch.

The good folk at the Library have put on a virtual event which does justice to the Great Man, livestreamed on YouTube at 12.30pm Pacific/3.30pm Eastern.

Portrait of the Great Man

The commemoration includes brief remarks, a three-volley salute, musical entertainment, and the laying of the Presidential Wreath on President Reagan’s gravesite.

A word or two from Ronnie

Of course as it should be Ronnie, his life, achievements (and remember he oversaw an economic boom and helped end the Cold War), and words are to the fore.

His old office: A replica of the Oval Office

True to the wit of the man, the Library has adapted a famous story from his life to mark the 110th in their spiel for the Big Day.

‘President Reagan would have joked that it is the 71st anniversary of his 39th birthday. As President Reagan quipped on his 73rd birthday ”Even though this is the 34th anniversary of my 39th birthday, those numbers don’t faze me at all. I believe Moses was 80 when God first commissioned him for public service. And I also remember something that Thomas Jefferson once said. He said, ”We should never judge a President by his age, only by his works.” And ever since he told me that, I’ve stopped worrying.’

And someone else who fills out the seat of office

Ronnie’s distinguished Vice President and a future President himself, George HW Bush spoke emotionally at the Republic Convention in honour of his great friend in 2004.

He’s up there somewhere

When he exorted the audience by saying ‘this time we can truly win one for the Gipper.’

George HW Bush passed away a couple of years ago when I was in his adopted state of Florida.

I saw then the affection then in which he, and ex-Presidents, are held there and across the country.

So tomorrow, whoever wins, let’s here the clarion call: ‘Just one more win for the Gipper.’

 

 

 

Africa, America, Countries, Europe, Ireland, UK

A year on – Ireland and Scotland and further afield

That was the year that was – it’s 12 months now since I left my beloved Ireland for my first love Scotland.

I had though little intention of spending all my time in Scotia.

And instead had a long list of destinations to fill out the year.

So to mark the anniversary I’ll share the year that never was.

Off to a flier in Czech Hoptown

In the Strahov Monastery Brewery, Prague, in the Czech Republic

The Chinese lady with the mask on in the airport in Prague Airport seemed a curio at the time, a reminder of the latest virus that only affects Asia.

A few weeks later the fun and intimacy of the Czech Republic  were but a warm embrace I clung onto as I entered lockdown in Scotland for the first time.

As I came out of isolation I engaged with my Czech friends again over the new-fangled Zoom app we were all compelled to use and toasted each other in time-honoured fashion Na Zdravie.

I was heartened to see them lay out a table for a feast along the Charles Bridge in the early summer and wished that I was back there again in Prague or in the Czech Republic’s Hoptown, Zatec.

I know this though that the Czechs will get through this because they have the best beer in the world, Pilsener Urquell.

Trump steals my Keys

Limin’ at a Key Lime shop in the Keys

Suitcase packed, bandana on, I was all set for my fly-drive around the Florida Keys when Donald Trump (remember him) closed the country to visitors while encouraging Americans to gather… at his rallies.

And so Hemingway’s six-toed cats, key line pie, Florida sunsets and easy living will just have to wait.

Of course the beauty of it is that Papa’s pussies won’t have had any idea that anything was even different about the past year.

Exile me in St Helena

Napoleon was here

And another on the back-burner is Napoleon’s island. No, not his birthplace, Corsica, or the one the British sent him to initially, Elba, but the one where he ended his days, St Helena.

St Helena, 1200 mile west of southwestern Africa is one of the most remote inhabitable islands in the world and is an ecological dream.

All of which makes you think that exile was a pretty good option back in the day. And if I end up needing to self-isolate anywhere then I’ll be back in touch.

Vegas or bust

What happens in Vegas: With Cami

Now I’ve always felt bad about leaving Cami from Utah at the bar at Harrah’s Las Vegas a few years ago and knowing she goes down there every weekend knew that she’d be there when I revisited in June.

The American Travel Fair was scheduled for Neon City and I was all booked and ready, my chips at the ready to make my million.

But alas I had to leave Cami waiting again and to get my fix of Vegas I had to make do with watching the world’s greatest band The Killers perform from the ceiling of Caesars Palace on YouTube.

The fair, IPW is slated for the Fall, and I’ll be expecting an Access All Areas ticket, Brandon.

And maybe even reprising my Mr Brightside from the Rising Star Karaoke Bar, CityWalk at Universal Orlando a few years ago.

The Norman request

Perfect for a selfie?

I would have put my Monet on getting to Normandy

for the Monet festival back in late summer.

And even get a painting lesson in his back garden.

But as the UK travel corridor policy became as chaotic as the Spinal Tap boys trying to get to their gigs, again I found myself blocked.

Now what is the French word for cup-de-sac?

Bergamo go, go, go

Bergamo fountains

And just as the year was petering out and I was resigning myself to my best chance of a trip down to North Berwick beach, Mamma Mia but one came off.

And in spectacular style.

The journalist in me had me tracking the evolution of Bergamo through the pandemic, it being the gateway to the virus in Europe.

And just in time I got over to Northern Italy to talk to the Bergamaschi and ask how they had got through it all and their advice on how we should all progress now.

There was specialist Lombardy food and wine, culture, history Donizetti music and art aplenty.

But the most beautiful picture was that of the emboldened Bergamaschi in the backdrop of their historic city, both in Citta Alta and Citta Bassa, the High and the Low City.

Now there are worse places to have spent this last year, with the view of the Firth of Forth from my window, Bass Rock bookending the beach and Edinburgh just along the road.

I’ve chosen to live by the sea all my adult life. It’s a primal thing knowing that exciting lands lie beyond.

I know that we’ll visit them again soon, and hopefully I can fill in the blanks above and add San Francisco, Chicago, New England and a host of other trips I had planned last year, and many to come.

All for your enjoyment.

MEET YOU ON THE ROAD

 

 

 

 

America, Countries, Culture

Inauguration and US Precedence

Or when they sealed off the National Mall for me.

You know you’ve arrived when they do that for you, believe me.

And that is exactly what they did when I visited DC as a guest of the American Travel Fair, IPW.

The 47th President of America: In Washington DC

The National Mall, for those of you watching the inauguration of President Joe Biden today, is the grassy stretch of land from  the Washington Monument to the domed US Capitol.

The White House is to the north.

And flanked by all of this are the magnificent Smithsonian museums.

King for a day

US Capitol and Reflecting Pool, Washington DC

Out on that balmy May evening in Washington we were given the run of the place.

And we were treated to Aloe Blacc singing for us on stage, we were given a reception in the National Air and Space Museum.

Honest Jim and Honest Abe in Washington

The Reflecting Pool which many of you will know from Forrest Gump is the artery from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial.

And, of course, it was the backdrop for Dr Martin Luther King.

I have a dream: The unfinished Martin Luther King statue in Washington DC

And the climax to the Civil Rights March on Washington in 1963 when he delivered his I Have A Dream speech.

Today Joe Biden spoke of unity from a platform in front of the heavily fortified US Capitol.

It is the very same seat of government that was besieged two weeks before.

Civil War memories

Ne-Yo in Washington

Only this year was different.

With Covid and the security threat since the Storming of the Capitol meaning it was a completely different audience.

Only dignitaries, soldiers and the symbolic flags of the 400,000 casualties of the virus in the eye line.

Much has been said about America and the times we are living through.

And President Biden is an eloquent man in his own right and has a team of speech writers to finesse his sentiments.

American hero: In Washington DC

The circumstances of this inauguration and the militarised zone have been likened to the Civil War.

And that naturally conjures up the spirit of Abraham Lincoln.

With malice toward none

View of Washington from Arlington

Lincoln has been channeled regularly by his successors who wish to establish their line to the Great Man.

Few have done him credit.

Only time will tell if President Biden will be able to fulfil the lasting mission of Lincoln.

But the challenge for him and any President is to honour the pledge given on Saturday, March 4, 1865…

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds,

 

 

 

 

 

 

America, Countries, Culture, Europe, Ireland, Music, UK

Rainydays and Songdays – the American musical

Give my regards to Broadway, Remember me to Herald Square, Tell all the gang at Forty-Second Street, that I will soon be there.

Because it’s come to my notice that they’re making a movie out of Hamilton for release next year and we’ve been binge-watching musicals during lockdown.

I’m taking a Yankee Doodle Dandy dander through the American musical with a stop-off in London’s West End and Dublin’s Theatreland too.

Come all: Come From Away. www.broadway.com

Away, away, away, away

Come From Away: Which is all visitors coming into North America anyway.

These ones, of course, were the 38 planeloads who had to land in the small Newfoundland town of Dander after 9/11.

And found out a lot more about each other as I did when I saw it in Denver.

We all come from far away and have become friends over the years at IPW, the American Travel Fair, who bring the best of Broadway to whichever town is in town.

And here’s one from the show worth coming for…. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=p8JI70eXjG8.

Peak form? Wicked. https://www.wickedthemusical.co.uk/

Wicked stuff

And this one cones to you from Dublin and New York and Oz.

Which is, of course, the thing about musicals, they transform you to other lands.

Dublin was where Disney on Broadway invited us to take in Wicked.

But if you can’t get to the show this will warm your heart up… https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=HEnQY_66GZc

She’s all heart: The Carole King Musical. www.broadwaydirect.com

King of London City

Beautiful – The Carole King Musical: I felt the earth move when I caught the story of the greatest female songwriter of all time in London.

And that was just from my kids holding an unsanctioned party back in Greystones in Co. Wicklow in Ireland.

And our next-door neighbour texting us to tell us they had called the Gardai

Didn’t stop me throwing shapes though. It could wait until I got home before I threw my weight around!

And Carole.., What a natural woman!

All you need is…, Las Vegas. www.cirquedesoleil.com

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE

The Beatles LOVE: And this being Cirque de Soleil you just know it will be an interactive experience.

With trapeze artists and dancers twirling about… Vegas, baby!

All to the background of Liverpool‘s finest, the Fab Four.

And you’ll be lucky and see a guy in the sky with diamonds (or sequins at least).

Of course, the best musical is the one about a half-Scottish New Yorker who made good and led his country to great things.

This is my pick from the various productions out there.

America, Countries, Culture, Deals

The Sunday Sermon – a Vegas wedding

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” – 1 Corinthians 13: 4-5.

Which may have been your wedding reading – it was ours, but on the weekend we can finally marry again I’d rather do it differently this time.

No, not with a different partner though I can’t say if the same goes for herself.

But in a different setting.

Vegas baby

And that means Las Vegas https://www.gracelandchapel.com www.lvcva.com rather than Kintbury, Berkshire in the south of England.

Which means Vegas where two of our party. camped it up for a ‘mock’ wedding (they hope).

Brendan Duffy will be your Elvis and he will assure that it is now or never.

And ask you to love each other tender and be a hunk of burning love.

And if you do say ‘I do’ you’ll be joining a host of well-known loving couples.

All who have tied the knot at Graceland Chapel which bills itself as the first Elvis wedding venue.

Including Billy Ray Cyrus, Jon Bon Jovi and Aaron Neville.

A range of weddings

You’ll be offered a range of wedding specials but I’ll kick you off with the lead-in one;

Viva Las Vegas – $199

  • Use of chapel
  • Elvis will escort the bride down the aisle
  • Elvis will sing two songs.
    Rose presentation and Rose Boutonnière.
    Copy of Elvis and Priscilla’s marriage certificate
    Professional photography (prints and digital images sold separately.
    Additional fees: Officiants fee $60.
    Suggested photographer’s tip $20.
    Sales tax.

I, of course, should have new memories of Vegas by now.

Back next year

I was booked for the American Travel Fair www.ipw.com but that has been postponed until next year.

When I’ll be back and maybe Utah Cami from Harrah’s https://www.caesars.com/harrahs-las-vegas/hotel?utm_source=google&utm_medium=ppc&utm_term=harrah%27s+vegas&utm_content=harrahs+vegas-exact&utm_campaign=LVM-LAS-Occ-Branded-INTL-9FA-Exact-Prospect&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI5O6Tm9C06gIVitKyCh3dYwglEAAYASAAEgIFIvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds.

Who I might just have made a promise to meet at Graceland Wedding Chapel the next day.

Well, there had been shots taken up at the bar.

America, Countries, Culture

Rainy Days and Songdays – Dogg days in California

Sweet dreams are made of this… who am I to disagree? – Annie Lennox

And they love a dog… and a Dogg in the Southern Californian beach resort town of Huntington Beach.

Which I discovered in Dublin D4 eatery Roly’s Bistro and on the golden sands of California.

When the good people of Huntington Beach invited me out for breakfast in the Iriah capital.

To tell me about their new hotels, restaurants, bars.

All of which they have in abundance as I found out first hand when I eventually got out to Surf City USA https://www.surfcityusa.com

Including Girls Allowed Derry Girl Nadine Coyle’s bar diner.

But best of all they have a dog surfing competition there where the puparazzi gather.

And Garett McNamara and Brazilian labrador Bono lead (sorry) the way.

Although this Bono doesn’t wear shades.

Rapper DJ Snoop does though and he put on a party DJ set for delegates from the American Travel Fair www.ipw.com.

In Anaheim https://disneyland.disney.go.com and https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/23/stair-wars-4/amp/.

His own stuff and modern standards from the likes of Rihanna, will.i.am and Annie Lennox.

And, of course, this being California there was a make-up artist on hand if you wanted your beardie dyed.

Which got me an introduction to Natasha Bedingfield which is another story.

Which I will get back to again… and again and again.

America, Countries, Culture

Rainy Days and Songdays – Ban-ban-ban Bandaman

Ban-ban-ban-Bandanaman, Ban-ban-ban-Bandanaman, Take my hand, You got me rockin’ and a rollin’. Rockin’ and a rollin’. Bandanaman.

One of the most seminal pop bands in history, a California travel convention and the reunion of my Scottish poetry group and Edinburgh Festival faves.

It’s great when a Bandana plan comes together which is what happened when I channeled my alter ego for a Zoom meeting with my old poetry grouo.

And showcased my Beach Boys pastiche of their hit Barbara-Anne.

img_2143

Because it was nearly a year ago that the Beach Boys https://www.thebeachboys.com gave me and my Travel friends a private concert at the American Travel Fair in Anaheim, California www.ipw.com.

Touching times 

At the American Travel Fair in Anaheim, California http://www.ipw.com and  http://www.disneyland.disney.go.com and http://www.visitcalifornia.org.

Where I rushed to the stage after lunch between convention meetings.

img_3661

And the great man Mike Love touched my outreached hand… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3y44BJgkdZs

The lunchtime entertainment at IPW is always the highlight of my Travel year… http://Stair Wars.

And while the identity of some acts was closely guarded others were released with fanfare which you would do with the Beach Boys.

It is my chance to destress from the year to date and I move heaven and Earth to make myself known to the act… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=09dQmeB_NgU.

Which I did in my first year in Washington DC http://www.washington.org and http://Easy DC.

When Ne-Yo threw his towel into the crowd and I stretched out to garner it to my chest.

Killer tunes

Cathy Keefe Reynolds, who looks after all the Travel journalists with the care you would would your own children (and we often behaved as such), marked the moment.

On video.

This year in Las Vegas we were promised another cracker.

Vegas baby

Only for COVID-19, who in another lifetime might be a boyband, put paid to our Las Vegas gig… http://www.lvcva.com and Strip… the light fantastic.

I’d been holding out for Vegas’s favourite sons, The Killers.

Their new album Implode the Mirage is out on Friday.

So they’ll be honed to perfection for next year’s Travel Fair.

If you can make yourself available, boys. Visit http://www.thekillersmusic.com.

America, Countries, Culture, Europe

Hat’s the way to do it

We’ve long forgotten that it was milliners Dunn & Co who came up with the brand ‘If you want to get ahead get a hat’ in the 1940s.

But it’s the enduring appeal of the power of a slogan that it endures,

It has also become something of an unconscious personal mantra.

I’d even go as far as to coin my own slant: ‘put on a new hat, put on a new you.’

Hatta boy!

So an entirely unscientific trawl through five hats on my travels and why when I put them on I’m transported right back there.

The tail of Denver

Remember the Jimbo

Davy Crockett hats, Denver, Colorado: And a reacquaintance two years ago with an old friend, a raccoon hat in Denver www.denver.org and Go West.

I got a reputation for myself in my alma mater, chilly Aberdeen Aberdeen – a light in the north for wearing said hat.

Forward fast to San Antonio, Texas, and the Alamo town www.visitsantonio.com hosts the US Travel fair www.ipw.com in 2023.

And I’ll blend in with all the other Davy Crockett impersonators.

Does this car look big in me? The Cote d’Azur

In the Cannes

Trilby hat, Cote d’Azur: Well it is Cannes and it’s what they’ve come to expect of me out there.

A classic Fiat 500 is obligatory too. Visit www.mandelieu.com and The Boat D’Azur.

Sailor boy: In West Hollywood

Sail away in California

Hello sailor, West Hollywood: It’s nautical but nice and in Pride Week in camp WeHo you have to make an effort.

I strutted like a peacock after getting a compliment from a queen.

I was on my morning constitutional www.visitwesthollywood.com and https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/19/my-weekend-with-marilyn-2/amp/

Buen Camino

Camino hat, Santiago de Compostella, Rome, Tenerife, the Austrian Tyrol: And if you’ve walked the Camino then it’s important to tell everyone after.

It also keeps the sun off your head but that’s secondary.

Visit www.CaminoWays.com, www.FrancigenaWays.com. www.CanariaWays.com and www.tyrol.com. www.topflight.ie and www.topflightforschools.ie.

And A pilgrim’s prayer, Small roads lead to Rome, A walk through the ages… Tenerife.

If the hat fits

Cowboy Jimmy

Cowboy hat, Washington DC: Like a Greystones cowboy, riding out on a horse in a star-spangled rodeo.

It was given to me by my Portland, Oregon https://www.travelportland.com friends and I showcased it with a glittery beard in DC https://washington.org and Easy DC.

And on the hottest day of the year carting luggage around New York https://www.nycvb.com and https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/28/old-new-york-hamilton/amp/.

MEET YOU IN A HAT

Uncategorized

In 2020 bring the world to you in Vegas

The Bells, the Bells! And that’s just the Bell’s whisky!

In the words of the world’s most famous binman, that great sage Coronation Street’s Norman ‘Curly’ Watts:

‘Who told the Scots that they owned New Year?’

Being of the Scots variety myself I’d just taken it for granted that it was ours.

So like the rest of us Caledonians I partied over the TWO (count them) public holidays.

But what of the other places around the world where they hold New Year’s parties too.

All Greek to me

Athens: They’ve been waving their togas around and clinking vessels of wine while we were still scratching ourselves and drawing on walls.

And they still are up at the Acropolis (although I can’t swear to the togas bit).

But there are few better backdrops for a New Year’s fireworks party than Athens’ most iconic landmark… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrlU10r2zOA 

I know all about the Acropolis having endured a modern-day Odyssey to get there in the autumn of last year (still sounds funny to write that).

Read all about it as you plan your travel itinerary for this year… Acropolis later and http://www.athensattica.com.

I can’t recommend Lufthansa http://www.lufthansa.com and Aegean Airlines http://www.aegeanair.com highly enough after they got me out of a jam. Which is why it was an odyssey.

Never sleeps

New York: The Big Apple is a film set at any time of the year and we all know the tradition of the ball drop in Times Square (and I thought that was all behind me as a teenager).

But regardless of what you might be told it’s not just us tourists who pack out the square on the last day of the old year… my  own NY rellies do too.

Of course the neon lights, billboards and skyscrapers are worth seeing any time of the year.

And if you do then check out my pal Tom’s Beacon Hotel, the jewel of the Upper West Side. He loves all visitors but especially the Irish…. https://www.beaconhotel.com 

While check out the New York websites and avail of the City Pass too for the best way around the great city… http://www.nycvb.com and http://www.citypass.com

The great thing about Ireland and the States is just that… but also the pre-clearance.

A dam good party

Amsterdam: The Son and Heir’s pal Amsterdam Andy, although he hails from Bray he’s been given the moniker (by me) on account of working there now.

I’m well jel.

The Rembrandtplein is one of the best squares in a city where there is no shortage of them.

Mainly on account of the sculpture recreation of the Nighwatch https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/pictures-of-amsterdam/which you can place yourself in for a photo… of course we did.

If you’re feeling flush then fork out for the Dylan Hotel which is where George and Amal stay…. you deserve it https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/george-and-amal-hotel/

Visit http://www.iamsterdam.com.

There’s another Scotland

Glasgow: I know all about Edinburgh having lived ten years there and Daddy’s Little Girl being born there.

And I also enjoyed more than my fair share of Hogmanays (don’t ask me why) at Merkat Cross in my student days before the whole action was moved up to the Castle and Princes Street.

But while Edinburgh prides itself on its New Year celebrations, its great rival Glasgow has a party every weekend.

The George Square party in 1990 was legendary as it heralded in the Dear Green Place’s year as European City of Culture.

When two likely lads stood in Princes Street in Edinburgh with a signpost saying ‘you are only 55 miles away from the European City of Culture.’

Stay at the http://www.carlton.nl/en/hotel-george-glasgow. In typical first-footing welcoming style they will leave you a bar at the top of the hotel in your private lounge too!

And visit http://www.peoplemakeglasgow.com, the website which does what it says on the tin.

Vegas, baby

And only because my year is revolving around my IPW American Travel Fair trip http://www.ipw.com to host city Las Vegas http://www.lvcvb.com.

It’s the ultimate party city at the ultimate party time of the year.

A travel colleague was in touch as soon as the bells had rung to talk about what we were going to do.

I don’t know but I’ll be on the lookout for Cami, a Utah transvestite who I might just have proposed to.

But what stays in… well, you know the rest.

Stay at the Palazzo at The Venetian http://www.venetian.com. And read all about my adventures in https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/vegas-strip-the-light-fantastic/

Because if you can’t get around the whole world at New Year or any time of the year (and I am trying my best) come to Vegas.

Where the world is on your doorstep… Paris up the road, Venice here and even ancient Egypt too.

I love it… fly out with British Airways, I did http://www.ba.com.

And I’ll be giving it plenty in 2020.

Uncategorized

The faces of 2019 – Adventure

I’d like to say it’s been a walk in the park, and it was, but it’s also been a walk up mountains and through rain forests.

And desperate dashes through airports to catch (and miss) airplanes!

But someone’s been smiling on me.Because I didn’t miss one trip and got to race with goats in Tobago, ‘Bandanaman’, whom I got to christen.

He’s a winner too.

And some even giddier goats: take a bow ‘Auntie’ Ali, ‘Uncle’ Kenneth, Marsha, Phil, ‘Porridge‘, Ean and Ian and ‘Santa’ Brendan.

And here’s our moment of glory.., Ready, steady, goat… in Tobago and www.visttobago.gov.tt.

It’s been all go and the shoe leather has taken a beating.

In Europe’s most popular national park Teide in Tenerife.

And the hills up to Afur in the midday beating sun which our guide Maria took in her stride.

And even had some ooomph left at the end to give us a pilates demonstration at the top of the mountain.

With CanariaWays.com in Tenerife… http://www.visitingtenerife.com.

And through the Alps from Ehrwald in Austria http://www.tyrol.tlinto Germany with mountain man Reini… where naturally I had a run-in… Water rip-off – a German pit stop

But, of course, I’ll be back in Bavaria https://www.bavaria.by.

It is a region I have loved since first going to the Oktoberfest 34 years ago.

The coming of the Lord

And where the Messiah himself graces them with his presence next year…  Oberammergau and https://www.passionsspiele-oberammergau.de/en/home

And I’d recommend you go on your trekking holiday with https://topflightforschools.ie.

We were, of course, always back in time for the entertainment.

It’s now or never

The lederhosen-clad Septuagenarian singer Christened Ehrwald Presley.

On account of his oompah, waltzing and keyboard renditions of The King.

Not all walks worked out alas and I missed out on the trek up the Hollywood Hills.

Because of a 24-hour sickness bug.

But I made up for it in style all across LA, West Hollywood and Anaheim www.visitcalifornia.com, www.attractiontickets.com.

As part of the American Travel Fair www.ipw.com and My weekend with Marilyn and Stair Wars

Just gone swimmingly

With all that walking I definitely earned myself my dips.

Not a natural swimmer I was glad of the chance to cut corners and the Dead Sea and the Nylon Pool gave me that.

Where I laid back, read a book and dreamt of Jordan http://www.visitjordan.com.

And stood in the sand back in the crystal waters of the Caribbean deep in the sea in Tobago It’s Robinson Crusoe’s very own Tobago limin’ with other revellers.

I’ve tried to conquer some water sports demons.

And went searching for submarines and tanks in the depths of the Dead Sea… Petra and the sands of time

And found out why snorkelling isn’t me… my moustache blocks the airways!

Which is why I dispensed with the snorkel and just used the goggles to see me some rainbow fish in Tobago.

Everybody’s gone surfing

It wasn’t all just corner-cutting. I did learn to paddle board on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas off Barcelona…. https://www.barcelonaturisme.com/wv3/en/ and Surfing the seas in Barcelona

And http://www.royalcaribbean.com

While our Sligo pro surfer Gearoid taught me how to stay up on the surf in RC’s simulator FlowRider.

Well for three seconds at least.

Fun, fun, fun

I’d been practising with the Beach Boys you see in Surf City, Huntingdon Beach.

Enjoy your adventures in 2020. And…

MEET YOU ON THE ROAD