America, Countries, Cruising, Europe, Food, Food & Wine, Ireland, UK

Hungry and Thursday – funny food

Food should be fun and taken out of the hands of foodies… and chefs.

I’m writing this while eating my Swedish ‘vacuum cleaners’ or dammsugare for fika. These are named after the tube-shaped vacuum cleaners of the Fifties.

I had been given them in my godispase, or goody bag.

Clean sweep

The godispase had come courtesy of the Stena Estrid, Swedish ferry cruise company‘s http://www.stenaline.ie and www.stenaline.co.uk maiden journey between Holyhead and Dublin.

It is, in truth, the closest I will get to a vacuum cleaner but it shows the Swedes’ sense of fun.

The Swedish dammsugare

To name this sweet after a common household gadget.

And it’s good to see that the world has been watching because it’s not for nothing that Jim Henson looked to Scandinavia for his madcap Swedish Chef.

You like your marzipan?

Music is the food of life

Now if that gives you a taste for Swedish food why not visit http://www.swedishfood.com/swedish-food-recipes-biscuits-cakes/376-arrack-rolls-or-vacuum-cleaners-punschrullar-eller-dammsugare?

The dammsugare got me thinking about other funny food you can pick up around the world.

Every city with a well-known red light district obvs like Amsterdam Pictures of Amsterdam and George Clooney and Amal’s Amsterdam hotel.

Where they also have Middle Eastern food skewered on an actual scimitar in Bazaar, a remodelled old mosque in fashionable De Pijp http://www.hotelbazar.nl/en/restaurant-bazar-amsterdam/ And www.iamsterdam.com.

Get a grip

But also unexpectedly in Portugal Centro Secret Portugal and www.visitportugal.com where I found a shop selling chocolate penises.

While this mug gives a new spin on your hot chocolate.

Get a handle on this

What else is out there I hear you ask.

And where are the sweetie cigarette, cigars and pipes we used to have as children?

Probably replaced with chocolate joints.

And, of course, any excuse to plug this fun for food fixture from my trip on Celebrity Edge around the Bahamas… www.celebritycruises.ie.

With I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out To Here.

The Germans are funny… full stop. Which gives a lie to the myth that they have no sense of humour.

And there is no elegant way to eat a hamburger… ich bin ein Hamurger Hamburgers and ships and www.hamburg-tourism.de.

While the Norwegians have a playful relationship with their trolls… The call of the fjords and www.visitnorway.com.

 

Fjord fiesta

With my very own Scary One… and MSC Cruises www.msccruises.ie.

While I love the taste of the sea too and few do it better than my own wee country Scotland and my adopted one Ireland, north and south…

 

Slurp it up

That’s www.visitscotland.com, www.discovernorthernireland.com and www.tourismireland.com.

With a tasting menu of the best of Scotland, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

 

With Catherine Fulvio at Ballyknocken

America http://www.visitusa.ie and http://visitflorida.com and is the country who put fun and funk into dysfunction and my safari food out with Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge http://www.disneyworld.disney.go.com in Florida brought me this nature feast below… it’s all natural.

 

And seeing we’re talking food then let’s finish on the country that leads the way on food… Italy.

With Italy specialists Top Flight www.topflight.ie and Catherine Fulvio at her cookery school in Ballyknocken, Co. Wicklow www.ballyknocken.ie

And some amateur cuoco…

 

Pasta master

OK, OK… mes amis in France http://www.atoutfrance.fr will disagree. And I don’t know what I was eating here but I was smokin’…

 

Send in your Fun With Food, what’s amusing to eat and where.

MEET YOU AROUND THE TABLE

Safari in Florida
The big smoke: In the French Embassy in Dublin
Countries, Culture, Deals, Europe, Uncategorized

Cruiseday Tuesday – Cruise year resolutions

This is the year you’ll go cruising… now you’ve said it there’s no going back.

It’s never been cheaper according to our friends at Click&Go http://www.clickandgo.com.

They reported a 23% increase in 2019 with prices down by €136pp year on year.

Most popular destinations are Barcelona, Copenhagen and Palma.IMG_4161All of which I know a thing or two about…

https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/23/surfing-the-seas-in-barcelona/ and The call of the fjords. The most popular month for cruising is October, followed by September and November. And seeing that our wedding anniversary is September and I only went and worked on our 25th then I probably owe her big!

Keepers of the Flam

35D95376-E141-409C-9808-6C9617E55E57.JPGMy father-in-law taught Casey Jones all he knew.

And then passed it onto his daughter, often at the end of a wind and rain-splattered platform.

Copying down train numbers.

Which is why we keep finding ourselves seeking out all manner of train-related nonsense when we’re away.

A lot of which is pretty good it must be said.

Such as Flam Railway in Norway on our MSC www.msccruises.ie trip up the fjords.fjord_boat.jpgOf course dipping our toes in the fjords only left us wanting to submerge ourselves in the whole country.

Travel Department will complete the odyssey with Oslo as well as Bergen which I’ll be only too happy to revisit.

So you’ll cruise (let’s make that we’ll) along the UNESCO World Heritage site of Naeroyfjord.

You’ll see the glaciers and waterfalls of the former Viking stomping ground of Hardangerfjord.

And stand on a mountain top to take in the Eidfjord.

Naeroyfjord.jpg

Before you enjoy the Flam Railway, one of the world’s most besutiful and steepest normal-gauge railway lines.

It was foggy when we went (it won’t be when you go) so we couldn’t see those mischievous trolls!

Prices start from €1569pp for seven nights including return flights.

B&B/half-board accommodation, guided excursions, a fjord cruise and a Flam railway journey.

Depart April-October 2020. Visit www.traveldepartment.ie.

Cruise with my first love

You’d think after 30 years she’d know me better.

That’ll be my first Travel love, TUI, whose newspaper branch I started this scribbling.

Or perhaps they know me too well with their list of five Travel New Year Resolutions they have set for me this year.

So they suggest that I do this:

Explore somewhere new. Tick.

Be more prepared. Mmmm… I thought that’s what you had people for!!!

Eliminate the stress. See above.

Pack smarter. Now, I am ahead of the eight-ball here having only taken on hand luggage, a rucksack, to go to Tobago.

Try it, you don’t need that DJ or cocktail dress, or full kilt.

Look your best. Again one change of clothes and the washing facilities of where you stay.

Or take something that you can leave and exchange for some clothes you buy,

11So we’re all prepared let’s go cruising.

TUI is offering a saving of €200 per booking for seven nights in an inside cabin with Spanish Delights from Cork to Majorca on the Marella Dream. 

From €1,079. Use code CRUISE200. For sailings from May-October 2020.

MEET YOU ON THE SEAS 

Adventure, Deals, Europe

Fairytale deals to Copenhagen

Once upon a time there was an airline carrier which offered wonderful deals to Scandinavia.

But guess what we still live happily ever after with these deals from Scandinavia Airlines http://www.sas.com.

They offer Stockholm from €41, Copenhagen from €44 and Oslo from €37.

Our ship down there: MSC in Norway

We got our first taste of Scandinavia https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-call-of-the-fjords/ when we cruised around Denmark and Norway and got a tantalising look at Sweden on our MSC tour of the fjords… http://www.msccruises.ie and http://www.msccruises.co.uk.

Where we also popped in an old friend in Copenhagen … well, yes him. But him as well, my old university mucker American Tom.

Fairytale story: With Tom and The Scary One

It was invaluable having local knowledge for that day trip with Tom being able to show us where you can buy a coffee for under a tenner.

And also tell us which rides to go on and which not in the Tivoli Gardens http://www.tivoli.dk which we all know Walt Disney used as his inspiration for his Disney theme parks http://www.disneyparks.disney.go.com.

BTW I’m up there somewhere and did get a fabulous view of the whole of Copenhagen http://www.visitcopenhagen.com and our ship.

Tom knew all the cool parts, Vesterbro (you’re very welcome).

Dance away: In Copenhagen

Where local artists use industrial holders to play out their modern interpretative dance moves.

And yes Bandanaman was throwing some shapes from the back of the crowd too.

Sweden is tantalisingly close when you sail off from Copenhagen on your way to Norway.

And when you do visit Stockholm http://www.visitstockholm.com you will, of course, hit the dance floor at the ABBA The Museum http://www.abbathemuseum.com.

Munch break: In Bergen

And I will also catch up with my old friend Agnetha… though again not that one. A long story which I’ll return too. And a salutary lesson too!

But while we only dipped our toes into Denmark and barely at all Sweden we did jump in head first into the Norwegian fjords. And will be back.

Dahl boy: Norwegian landscape painting

And this time having sampled the art of Munch and the drama of Ibsen it’ll be full sail for Oslo… http://www.visitoslo.com.

Cruising in the fjords became popular in the 19th century through the works of Hans Dahl and there began an influx of tourists there on the back of it.

Mind you they would have got there quicker and cheaper with SAS.

Uncategorized

Cruiseday Tuesday – pedalloes and fireworks

Come what may, April would be late or go in the wrong direction – she was delightlfully ditzy and I felt I had found my kindred spirit.

April may have had an excuse on account of her diabetes which made her drowsy but she never used it as an excuse.

It all came to a head when we went out on the pedalloes in Majorca.

On my first cruise, from Nice to Palma, Majorca, via Barcelona.

Majorca. Photo by Kai Pilger on Pexels.com

When despite the huge expanse of the Mediterranean she almost bumped me (and others, mostly Scandinavian or German) in Soller in the north of the island.

We played it safe and gave her a story when we got invited to the bridge to see the captain and play with his wheel.

Majorca is much, much more than Magaluf and TUI know it.

They have Hidden Gems, seven nights all-inclusive Cork to Majorca on June 23 on Marella Dream from €11149pps.

To Book: Visit https://www.tuiholidays.ie. Call 1850 45 35 45 or visit a TUI Store / travel agent.

A Grandiosa old ship to sail with

River of lights: MSC Grandiosa. Photos : Vallbracht for MSC Cruises.

Hamburg is one of the world’s great port cities… it’s where the Beatles grew up after all, and don’t just take my word for it. John Lennon said that.

The German city on the Elbe was where it was at last weekend when Sophia Loren christened MSC Grandiosa to a lot of fanfare (it is Sophia after all).

I wasn’t on the 93m-long Mediterranean prom deck (the Scary One had chores for me at home) but many of my colleagues were.

We’re on that ship: In the fjords

This being MSC though they like to include everyone even if they aren’t there.

And this being Hamburg, the Hamburgers love a ship (and I know from having been on MSC that their ships love hamburgers and their passengers too).

So the locals 5,000 of them, celebrated too in the MSC Village on the banks off the river.

The main event was the special blue lightshow and fireworks as Grandiosa passed by the Elbphilharmonie.

It’s got me all nostalgic for our unforgettable trip up the fjords https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-call-of-the-fjords/

And our stop-off when we decided to take in Hamburg… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/hamburgers-and-ships/. And https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/09/09/the-beatles-in-hamburg-with-stefanie-hempel/

The MSC Grandiosa starts her seven-night programme in the Western Mediterranean on November 26 with six embarkation ports.

Calling Genoa, Civitavecchia, Italy; Palermo, Sicily; Valetta, Malta; Barcelona, Spain and Marseille, France. Visit http://www.msccruises.ie

MEET YOU ON THE SEAS

Uncategorized

Cruiseday Tuesday – Trolls and the fjords

You never forget your first love which is why I make no apologies in revisiting our unforgettable trip to the Norwegian fjords last year.

Me, The Scary One and MSC.

It was our first dip into cruising as a couple (no, not that and again why has that word been hijacked?)

I swam in the fjords… well, not exactly the deep blue sea but in a swimming pool on board.

As the mists enveloped the mountains and inlets and hid the trolls from view.

Of course there’s plenty to do inside should you want to stay out of the soft drizzle.

And it doesn’t always rain, it was just that we went in September which made it all the more dramatic.

There are a host of spa, gym, food and drink and restaurant options and great bars.

And if you want to unleash your inner karaoke singer you can do that too, although you’d have to be really lucky to be there when Bandanaman is singing Chuck Berry’s Memphis, Tennessee.

The Scary One wasn’t!

Now, of course there are wonderful on-shore excursions in Norway and a day in Copenhagen too. Wonderful!

So, here’s the deal:

7 Night Norwegian Fjords Fly + Cruise on MSC Meraviglia from €899pp, departing May-August 2020.

Balcony cabin upgrades from €200pps.

Itinerary: Copenhagen, Denmark – Hellesylt/Geiranger, Norway – Alesund, Norway – Flaam, Norway – Kiel, Germany – Copenhagen, Denmark.

Price Includes:

Return flights from Dublin, seven-night cruise, all meals and snacks, entertainment, service charge,

Visit Click & Go www.clickandgo.com/holidays/cruise/cruise-deals.

Christmas on the river

Christmas Market Dusseldorf Marktplatz – with a Christmas tree as a backdrop.

Just 71 sleeps until Christmas so plenty of time to escape…

Our friends at Travel Department will help you get away from Auntie Mary and Uncle Joe and all those annoying little nephews and nieces.

Not to mention your own family!

Christmas Rhine River Cruise (Cologne-Cologne)

Hop on-board the 4 star MS Amadeus Silver II and sail through Germany.

Visit Cologne, Dusseldorf, Koblenz, Strasbourg and Mainz along your cruise.

Beat the drum: Dresden and the Elbe

Stop in Speyer where you will have free timBe to explore the former imperial town or attend Christmas Mass before a Christmas party on-board the ship with dinner and entertainment. 

Departing December 22. Visit http://www.traveldepartment.ie

Cruising in Germany is a delight which I should have done more of, but here is Dresden, a boat trip and much, much more… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/dresdens-renaissance-martin-luther/

Uncategorized

It’s our 25th Wedding Anniversary!

The world has changed a lot in the last 25 years but we’ve not… unless it is to get even more handsome and pretty.

Twenty-five years ago today Sarah and I (yes, that’s her name, the Scary came later) formed a modern-day Scotland and England union.

Match of the day

And as the fractures in the older United Kingdom have threatened to pull that union asunder, ours has survived and thrived.

And begotten two heirs… and lost a whole lot more hairs.

We’re hitched

Which brings us to the holiday bit… we honeymooned in Corfu and it will be poignant that I will be returning to Greece this week.

Alas without my goddess… but I did try, honest!

The Greeks, or Hellenes as they liked to call themselves, are of course an ancient people.

So the economic (a Greek word) problems they’ve suffered are just a blip in their history (another Greek word).

I’ll visit the Acropolis and of course get a selfie with the obligatory caption ‘An Old Relic and the Acropolis’.

It must have worked: A lucky charm

But I’ll also be taking in the greater Attica region and visiting the beaches.

Before rounding it all off with a visit to Aphrodite’s island, the one she was born on, Kephyra.

And I’ll bring back a souvenir of my trip, the thing I know my Sarah loves better than anything else.

ME.

In the meantime here are a couple of unforgettable trips we’ve been on which coincided with past anniversaries.

Beach boy and girl: In Aveiro in Portugal

Central Portugal above… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/secret-portugal-classy-centro/ Visit http://www.visitportugal.com

And the Norwegian fjords below… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-call-of-the-fjords/ See http://www.msccruises.ie and http://www.msccruises.co.uk.

The fountain of youth: In Bergen

And Hamburg… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/hamburgers-and-ships/ Visit http://www.visithamburg.com.

And why not?
Uncategorized

Holidos and don’ts: kids on holiday

You can’t live with them… you can’t leave them behind on holiday. Your kids.

One of the biggest stress points on holiday is the need to entertain your children.

Which does not come cheap.

I mean you have to feed and water them, and they’re not like plants, these guys are always grazing.

Big kids too

I’ve no evidence for this but I think boys are worse.

I remember well one city break in Rome when we were on a tight schedule.

And had to be at the Vatican for a tour of the Raphael Rooms by a certain time.

When the Son And Heir decided, nay demanded, that he get fed.

Chess, who’d have thought it? In New York

Not just a pezzo either (a small piece of pizza) on the go, but a sit-down two-course meat dinner and dessert at a trattoria,

And don’t think you can turn to Herself. She’ll always support Him.

So when I anxiously looked at my watch and opined that if he didn’t hurry up I’d gladly throw him in the Tiber…

She told me to stop making a scene and that people were watching.

Now we could be in Outer Mongolia and She would still be worried that people’s first concern was our business.

Swings and roundabouts

And so when we arrived at the Vatican She decided that she was no longer in the mood.

And I had to plead to every one of those saints to intercede and get her to change her mind.

Hence the forced smiles here in the photos.

So, what to do with kids?

Leave them behind with their grandparents. Yes, if you’ve enough capital good will.

But if you HAVE to bring them with you then don’t think the Kids’ Club will save you.

Animals are magic

The idea of kids as fun-loving, gregarious and societal is for the movies.

Mostly they are sullen, complaining and suspicious of little Johnny or Mary, or, these days, Jaydon and Meghan.

But don’t despair, there are solutions at hand.

One I’ve written about recently and make no apologies in returning to is Hotel Magnolia http://www.themagnoliahotelqdl.com and The Campus in Quinta do Lagohttp://www.quintadolago.com in Portugal.

And I’d bet the kids will take to the sport of paddle, a cross between squash and tennis.

There are an abundance of sports camps out there.

They will tire out your kids and you might just get time to yourselves at the bar at night.

Alternatively why not try a cruise?

We’d made up by then. In the Vatican

Anybody who is new to cruising is always taken aback by their size.

Which means kids get a chance to run around aimlessly which is one of their favourite things to do.

And being limited by where they can go because there’s an ocean out there then they won’t get lost.

And there is helpful staff to tell you where everything is on the ship.

The permanent access to food takes away that headache.

While they’ll be in and out of the pools all day, they’ll love things like the Royal Caribbean FlowRider on Oasis of the Seas.

And the water chutes and ziplines.

Choose from Royal Caribbean http://www.royalcaribbean.co.uk, Celebrity Cruises http://www.celebritycruises.ie and MSC http://www.msccruises.ie for good clean family fun while I’ve roadtested the Princess Cruises’ OceanMedallion http://www.princess.com magic key.

And I reckon it would open up a magic kingdom for me.

And here’s a few trips to get you in the mood https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/im-a-celebrity-get-me-out-to-here/ https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-call-of-the-fjords/http://A Royal Party

While of course every Tuesday is Cruiseday Tuesday. Here’s the latest offering https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/20/cruiseday-tuesday-transatlantic/ and me as Medallion Man https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/07/30/cruiseday-tuesday-the-princesss-medallion-man/

So that’s the kids sorted out… now for an even bigger challenge.

NEXT WEEK: WIVES

Uncategorized

Cruiseday Tuesday – My Princess

It’s a couples’ dream… cruising. The lingering glances over dinner, the dancing, the spectacular shows, the moonlight walk on the top deck.

Of course, we wouldn’t be human if we didn’t occasionally disagree. I find the best advice is the one She gives: ‘When I want your opinion I’ll give it to you.’

So cruising has the advantage too of being big and varied and entertaining enough to give you both enough space to calm down if you get tetchy with each other. Best not have a quarrel on the top deck though, it can get slippy up there sometimes!

I owe Her a trip to the Bahamas after having had a spin around there last December and Sunway and Princess Cruises have the very thing.

They are offering a seven-night Bahamas & Virgin Islands Cruise on board the Regal Princess on February 29…. and you know what that means – Leap Year and all you loved-up ladies can propose to your gentlemen.

You’ll get all-inclusive drinks – Ocean Medallion (I’ll tell you more about that when I get on a Princess Cruises ship in Dublin later this month), wifi, gratuities and $200 onboard spend.

Price is €1599pp and includes return flights from Dublin, one night pre- cruise hotel stay, plus seven night cruise based on two sharing an interior stateroom, all taxes and fees. Transfers are extra. Visit http://www.sunway.ie/cruise-holidays or call (01) 231 1868. Visit http://www.princess.com.

Sand and sea

Dubai reaches for the skies: Photo by Aleksandar Pasaric.

Cruising always leaves you wanting more.

We had a choice last autumn of MSC cruises – the beautiful fjords or dazzling Dubai and the Emirates. We don’t regret catching the fjords, of course, but as the mist and rain drew in I did give a thought to how sunny Dubai would have been. And I settled on doing both.

Temperatures in Dubai hover between 23 and 33 degrees in December which is when you’ll go with Abbey Travel and MSC.

Leaving on Wednesday, December 11 and paying €589.00, you’ll get:

  • 11 nights cruise on board MSC Lirica in an interior cabin.
  • Free tea, water and coffee package and Wi-Fi Social Package.

Add on a Fantastica package from €30pp.

To book call 01 804715, visit http://www.abbeytravel.ie. Flights are extra but enquire at time of booking. Visit http://www.msccruises.ie.

Here’s a reminder of how good MSC cruises are from that fjords trip. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-call-of-the-fjords/(opens in a new tab)

Ich bin ein Hamburger

As I famously said when I visited Hamburg last year at the end of that fjords trip.

Hamburg is a city that was very much to my taste and I’m sure you’ll be the same.

Royal Caribbean International is offering a seven nights’ Dutch and French Adventure on Explorer of the Seas, departing October 18 from Southampton, taking in Hamburg, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Paris/Normandy and Le Havre.

From €649 per person based on two people sharing. €1,298 for two guests. Sailing on October 18. Flight required.

And, of course, you’ll get the chance to walk on water with FlowRider which I road tested (again) on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas recently in Barcelona and which I’ll tell you more about real soon. And much, much more. Visit http://www.royalcaribbean.ie.

And get your teeth into Hamburg… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/hamburgers-and-ships/(opens in a new tab)

Your cruise

So just tell them what you want. It should be easy, right?

Norwegian Cruiselines and American Holidays know it and are tailoring your trip to your needs with their Feel Free at Sea deals.

Design your own bespoke holiday adding your choice of valuable benefits and luxuries.

For example I’ll be catching up with my friends from the Deep South tonight and tomorrow here in Dublin and have a particular itch to scratch… New Orleans.

Among its packages, NCL and American Holidays offers New Orleans Stay and Western Caribbean Cruise from €1,869 per person for next February. From €1,869pp.

So you’ll get all flights including one checked bag per person round trip.

Three nights at Le Pavilion Hotel, New Orleans. Seven nights cruise on-board Norwegian Getaway (based on Guarantee Ocean View Stateroom – add on Free at Sea upgrade from €120pp). Based on two sharing.

Call (01) 673 3804. Visit http://www.americanholidays.com. Visit http://www.ncl.com.

And you will, I know, but New Orleans breakfasts are gumbo and Sazeracs. You’re on holiday and on a cruise so there’s no point in being dry.

MEET YOU ON THE SEAS