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, Ireland, Sport, UK

My Sporting Weekend – my sporting New York

And as the best golfers in the world hack their way around Winged Foot on the outskirts of New York I’ll drive you around one of the world’s great sports cities with my sporting New York.

Anyone for Tennis

Flushing Meadows, Queens: And we’ve just put down our rackets at the Billie Jean King Center

Home to American tennis’s biggest tournament since 1978 it became a big deal to the residents of Queens obvs and especially my NY rellies.

To whom it gave casual work when they would dream of booming down winning serves.

 

The US Open is a treat awaiting me when I next pitch up there. And it’s hot dogs rather than strawberry and cream.

The Garden

The Mecca for boxing before Vegas and in many traditionalists’ eyes still the place to trade punches.

But I’ve not come here, to Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, for a fight, but a dance.

It’s a Halloween and we’re staying in SoHo and I’ve brought my nine-year-old daughterie here for an ice-skate. Like a real New Yorker.

And like a real New Yorker you’ll be wanting to follow the Rangers in the Garden.

It means something else in New York than in Glasgow, and it’s ice hockey so that’s OK.

Knickerbockers… how sweet!

You’ll know them as the Knicks, New York’s basketball team but the original name was the Knickerbockers.

Knickerbockers are what Americans call plus-fours.

Father Knickerbocker was the symbol of New York, channeling the Dutch influence because they too wore their trousers to just below the knee.

Now all you need is one of those vests (hell, the Americans call them waistcoats) but you know what I mean. And a big foam finger.

Yes, they too play at the Garden.

And Brooklyn has a team too

Brooklyn Nets, Brooklyn: Brooklyn is a proud borough (aren’t they all?) which we probably know best for its bridge and the now defunct and romantic baseball team, the Brooklyn Dodgers.

But here they have a basketball team too. And the name that jumps out from their roster here is All-Star Kevin Durant.

So that leaves the Yankees and the Mets

New York Yankees, The Bronx, and the New York Mets, Queens: And what they all dream of in New York is a subway series which is a derby to you and me.

Although obviously it turns into a nightmare if you end up on the losing side. My old New York brother and sister friends Tom and Kate informed me that if we were to remain friends then I’d have to pull for the Mets.

I even have the baseball bat and ball here with me on my desk to remind me.

While Kate has few illusions about her beloved Mets who lost the World Subway Series of 2000 to the ‘Damned’ Yankees. ‘They always break your heart, those Mets,’ she sighed.

Their football

Even before we got into the Kevin James sitcom, the King of Queens, I was already being pulled this way by my Uncle Eddie on my first trip to New York, after school.

Uncle Eddie, a proud son of Donegal, now living in Long Island supported the neighbouring Queens teams and particularly the New York Jets.

Whisper it but they’re no longer a Queens team, playing their games in New Jersey. As do their great rivals, the New York Giants. Yes, the same stadium, and that’s another subject we’ll get into sometime.

Then there’s ours

And the New Yorkers look to have embraced our football having flirted with it back in the day with Pele, Beckenbauer and the New York Cosmos.

New York City only has the one team their fans will be quick to tell you, in much the same way that their sister franchise Manchester City supporters will inform you that is the case in Manchester, with United playing in Salford.

New York Red Bulls, the older club, play their games in New Jersey.

This tie-up is as close to a grudge soccer match as you’ll get in the US.

You want more New York… then check out this Old New York piece of old.

MEET YOU AT THE GAME

America, Countries, Ireland, Sport, UK

My Sporting Weekend – slam dunk, the NBA

I was immediately marked out as a spectator and not a player.

When my cousin Maura threw me into a game of pick-up basketball with her boyfriend John in Queens, New York.

Basketball had always been a novelty game for milk bottle white Scotsmen whose only connection with the game was The Harlem Globetrotters.

A free throw anyone?

Until I got to America.

And saw the importance of the game on that visit to see my cousins in New York and then four years later in Boston.

Where I would pass by the statue of Boston Celtics’ legendary coach Red Auerbach.

Outside Quincy Market at Faneul Hall where I was a bus boy at GuadalaHarry’s and ice cream salesman at a parlour.

Anyhoos I had myself my basketball team.

And despite warming to all the teams in North American cities I’ve passed through in the years since.

The New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets, Toronto Raptors, Denver Nuggets, Washington Wizards, Philadelphia 76ers, Memphis Grizzlies, LA Lakers and Clippers, Miami Heat and Orlando Magic.

nba-orlando-magic-mickey-mouse-basketball.jpg

I was a Celtics fan. Which wasn’t a huge jump from my young days following a football team, Celtic in Glasgow.

This was my year for my long-awaited return to Boston 33 years but COVID has stalled that on the plate.

When I would also fulfil an ambition I didn’t even know I had.

The home of baseball: Fenway Park

To walk the Fenway Park Green Monster perimeter where I’d seen the Red Sox hit their home runs that 1987 season.

The NBA play-offs are playing out in a DisneyWorld bubble in Orlando.

And you should catch it on whichever channels you pick up.

MEET YOU ON THE COURT

ancient architecture attraction buildings
America, Countries, Culture, Europe

The multi-generation game

If I’d a pound, euro or dollar for every time someone asked me what ‘the new normal’ would be like I’d be the richest man in the world.

And be able to take the whole family on holiday.

Because that’s what I took out of the Family Travel webinar this week.

Where I was told that from now on ‘the children will get a big say in where we go on holiday.’

It’s called ‘pester power’.

And all of us who have been blessed/cursed with kids will know that the pestering starts from the moment you get the suitcases out of the attic.

Here are some random memories of holidays past and some admissions of bad behaviour…

The Scary One will tell you that was mostly me.

Men in Rome

Rome: And you’re rushing to make your audience with the Pope…

Well, visit to the Raphael Rooms and the Sistine Chapel. But you know what I mean.

When the Son and Heir decided that he needed to have some lunch. We had told to bulk up at breakfast.

Un pezzo, the slice of pizza Romans buy from pizza counters, wouldn’t do and he had to have pasta, meat and dessert.

‘If that boy doesn’t hurry up I’ll throw him in the Tiber,’ rasped his usually patient father who was immediately called out for making a scene.

Turns out though that Ally, or Alessandro as we’ll call him for these purposes, was just following the maxim ‘When in Rome,’

Because the Romans never like to be rushed.

See Small roads lead to Rome and Rome on €50 and https://www.rome.net.

The Big Grapple

New York: And I get that children want to head for the clothes stores when they’re in NY.

But despite our protestations The Son and Heir decided he wanted a new pair of trainers.

And had to wear them which meant we had to stop for him as he hobbled around Manhattan.

Now this isn’t all about The Son and Heir because when I took my Dear Old Mum out to NY for a family holiday she played up again.

She insisted that we spend forever in Macy’s.

She dissed my choice of a pink Guess handbag for my wife and then rushed me through every site.

As I tried to get souvenirs for the family.

The next time I went I was on my own… Old New York: Hamilton www.nycvb.com

London Calling

London: Now sometimes even when you get a break from the kids they still spoil it.

We’d scored a weekend away in Theatreland, London’s West End, to watch Carole King’s Beautiful musical.

When the next door neighbours started phoning up towards the end of the show.

To complain that the kids were having a party next door and that they had called the police.

It would have been easier if they had just invited them…

And when the dust settled Daddy’s Little Girl was even invited to to babysit for her.

See Carole King… you’re Beautiful and https://www.visitlondon.com.

aerial seashore
Beach life. Photo by Mariia Kamenska on Pexels.com

Major Majorca

Majorca: And you’re having to keep two kiddies safe in a waterpark where salmon-pink potbellied Brits are whizzing down the chutes.

Myself and the Son and Heir mastered the Beast.

While Daddy’s Little Girl was hurt in battle and bravely soldiered on after we’d taken her to the first aid centre and got her plastered.

No, not that plastered, we’re not irresponsible parents…

Although the Scary One did calm down with some Rioja after all that.

Visit https://www.seemallorca.com.

And for another island experience try a Tenerife walking holiday (family fun as you wear them out) with http://www.CanariaWays.com and A walk through the ages… Tenerife.

Lovin’ the Louvre

Paris spree

Paris: And she can’t take me anywhere (https://en.parisinfo.com).

The Parisians’ famous rudeness was put to the test when I tried to take back a guide book I’d just bought.

The shipowner on the Left Bank did her best insouciant shrug and answered me back in English when I tried to speak French.

And, of course, the kiddie winkles didn’t go a bundle on being told that they could only have frites.

Because the prices in the fast-food stalls started hiking up when they heard our English accents.

Try the French Riviera The Boat D’Azur or the Pyrenees The Lourdes prayer and Water way to go in Biarritz instead.

MEET YOU WITH THE FAMILY

Culture, Europe, Food, Food & Wine, Ireland, UK

Hungry and Thursday – A dog’s dinner

No, I’m not complaining about the fare I’m being served up here during lockdown… I’ll leave that to the Son and Heir.

It’s just that my dog-mad extended Irish and American family have been preparing for the reopening of restaurants by flagging up how their pets have been coping in lockdown.

Well, is the answer if Harry and Coco are anything to go by.

Few are as barking about their pooches as the Americans and the Japanese but where they lead (sorry) the way we have followed.

So here’s my five top of the pups (there’s more of this!).

New Bark, New Bark

Paws for thought. Credit: Jenna Murray/IGC Hospitality

The Wilson NYC, New York: And where I first encountered puppy pampering and pedicures down on the block on Rockville Center in Long Island when I first visited the Big Apple in my first summer after school.

And only in America as they say because puppies never got their nails painted in Glasgow!

I’m glad to say that the New Yorkers still treat their pets as Top Dogs.

And Halloween gives them the perfect chance to dress their pups up as Superman, Batman and other superheroes down on Battery Park.

This Chelsea favourite sees the maitre d’ (for dog) put your pet up at the high table and treat them to a distinct dog menu.

With fancy options like a 16-ounce grilled ribeye steak for $42, pan-roasted salmon for $28, and grilled chicken breast for $16.

All on the restaurant’s side patio and front terrace, where their pet humans order their own steak off the regular menu. See https://thewilsonnyc.com, http://www.nycvb.com and Old New York: Hamilton.

Indian pup trick

Puppychino, New Delhi: The Indians have a religious love for their animals which is endearing but surprising for those not brought up around animals.

Such as my Dear Old Dad who baulked at the bus driver who stopped the No. 52 while a cow ambled across the road. Before getting off his coach to do a dump in the street and get back on.

This is Puppychino and it is one of many cafes and restaurants around India where the animal is put first, rather than in some establishments I’ve been in where you’re treated like an animal.

See https://www.zomato.com/ncr/puppychino-dog-friendly-cafe-1-shahpur-jat-new-delhi, http://www.incredibleindia.com and Yoga-dabba-do – International Yoga Day.

Japanese growl

Your table’s ready, Sir

Mame-Shiba, Cafe, Harajuku, Tokyo: Now Japan’s culture of low tables and sheer eccentricity lends itself admirably to dog cafes and restaurants.

And these guys are in doggie heaven…

The entry fee covers entrance, a drink and a time slot of 30 minutes with your favourite furry friend. Get there early to avoid long queues. See http://brangista.j-server.com/BRAOWLCATF/ns/tl.cgi/http://owls-cats-forest.com/free/mameshiba-harajuku?SLANG=ja&TLANG=en&XMODE=0&XCHARSET=utf-8&XJSID=0 and https://www.gotokyo.org/en/index.html and https://www.japan.travel/en/uk/.

Don’t mess with Le Toutou

You big softie

Le Toutou, Brussels: So Le Toutou means doggie, but you knew that, right?

And there’s no distinction between doggies and humans here.

With both being treated to a choice of dishes from pasta or rice to vegetables, beef or chicken, all being high in fibre and low in salt.

The pooches though get their own beer, as they should, Red Dog.

It’s an energy beer which is described as the ‘subtle taste of bone marrow’. Visit https://visit.brussels/en and In Flanders fields.

Old Barkie

Dog-tired

Edinburgh Chihuahua Cafe: Billing itself as Scotland’s first dog cafe its owners are barking about two things…

Cakes and dogs, and chihuahuas to be precise.

They advertise that resident Chihuahuas will roam freely amongst guests.

For you to pet, cuddle, play with, take photos or simply observe and enjoy.

Just what Edinburgh’s most famous doggie, Greyfriars Bobby, would think of the Chihuahuas getting all this pampering…

Don’t worry though Bobby, you’re still No. 1.

Bobby and Jimmy

And we’ll never stop patting you, although kissing his nose has left it to wear away!

See https://edinburghchihuahuacafe.co.uk/product/thanks/ https://edinburgh.org, http://www.visitscotland.com and Edinburgh – an old friend and Putting these statues on a pedestal.

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

America, Countries, Culture, Deals, Europe

Covid-day Snaps – Canarian ‘safe’ passports

Nobody likes their passport pic, particularly now we can’t even smile.

Mine’s looks like it could have been taken more than 100 years ago when they were first introduced.

But we don’t even flinch at being asked now for it and I suspect we’ll quickly get used to the technology being rolled out by the Canary Islands to get us back travelling.

The Canary Islands (Spain) and the World Tourism Organisation have agreed a flight in July for the world’s first ‘safe’ flight using the Digital Health Passport, developed by Canarian firm Hi + Card

I can just taste that Tenerife Shakespearean wine Malvasia.

CanariaWays www.CanariaWays.com will make you earn it with their walking holidays but it’s worth it. Also see https://www.hellocanaryislands.com/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI5dWNgOam6QIVCLLtCh2C-AsBEAAYASAAEgLfaPD_BwE

My other family

Family business:: I feel I know these LA folk

If your family is driving you up the wall you may be taking sanctuary in a TV family… me, I’ve been a fly on the wall at the Pritchards and the Dunphys in LA.

Our first introduction to American cities was througb the gogglebox… The Streets of San Francisco https://www.sftravel.com, Cheers in Boston https://www.bostonusa.com, Miami Vice https://www.miamiandbeaches.com and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/23/fort-lauderdale-and-miami-a-tale-of-two-sittings/.

Colorado rocks

Denver’s Dynasty www.denver.org Go West and Mork and Mindy in Colorado www.colorado.com and The New Frontiersmen Pawn Stars in Las Vegas www.lvcva.com and Strip… the light fantastic and House of Cards in Washington www.washington.org and Easy DC.

And New York www.nycvb.com where my Uncle Petie became a superstar in my eyes when Kojak filmed in his bar.

From Missouri to happiness today: Cam and Mitch

I always make a point of annoying the Scary One by pointing out that I’ve been there which is probably why she doesn’t watch Modern Family…

The climax of which is playing out in a two-parter.

Gay parents Mitch Pritchard, an uptight lawyer and Cam Tucker, a hillbilly football coach steal the show.

Hello sailor: In West Hollywood

But it is time for them to move to Cam’s Missouri and leave behind LA https://www.discoverlosangeles.com and I dare say to West Hollywood, the chillest, gayest part of LA https://www.visitwesthollywood.com and https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/19/my-weekend-with-marilyn-2/amp/.

Where I was complimented on my sailor’s hat and bandana combo.

And if we you feel like the only news you’re getting out of the Oo Es of A is bad then I’ll redress the balance.

So hold on and I’ll let you know how among others my Native American and my Deep South pals are meeting the challenges and prevailing.

We’ll wait for you, Princess

Cruise liners were a sitting target for their critics when the virus first visited.

But they have shown a self-sacrificing responsibility and a willingness to change and I believe they will come back stronger.

Princess www.princess.com has announced the cancellation of select 2020 summer sailings.

And this is a reminder of what we’re all missing and will enjoy again https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/07/30/cruiseday-tuesday-the-princesss-medallion-man/amp/.

We stayed open

Health is wealth: At the Buchinger Wilhelmi

Our European friends pride themselves on their spas and scientific holiday retreats.

And the Buchinger Wilhelmi http://www.buchinger-wilhelmi.com medi-spa, which overlooks Lake Constance and the Alps and prides itself.

On its therapeutic fasting and integrative medicine, has stayed open through this crisis.

They have a ten-day fasting programme from £2340pp.

And it includes two consultations with a doctor, daily nurse, check-ups, food/drink, fasting provisions and daily activities.

Now, I love an oul’ spa and retreat and my friends, the Czechs know them better than most… www.czechtourism.com and Hope springs eternal.

MEET YOU ON THE ROAD

America, Countries, Culture, Food, Food & Wine, Ireland

Hungry and Thursday – New York’s Irish Cottage

A little corner of Queen’s, New York, will forever be Co. Donegal.

For 60 years ex-pats and people who aren’t called Pat but love their craic have chosen The Irish Cottage as their place of refuge.

From the humdrum and their troubles at home.

A Donegal dream

Here Danny and Kathleen McNulty would make them feel part of their family and as close to being in Donegal https://www.govisitdonegal.com as you could be… 5,000kms from Ireland.

An emotional moment: At the Irish Cottage

Full disclosure here, Danny and Kathleen McNulty are my uncle and auntie.

The force of Nature that she was, Auntie Kathleen, passed onto the great Irish Cottage in the sky last month.

Where Uncle Danny would have been waiting for with her favourite drink.

Cottage industry

I first visited the Irish Cottage in 1983 before I could even legally drink but it didn’t stop Auntie Kathleen have me moving kegs out back.

King of Queens: Andy Murray, US Open champion In 2012

All the cousins were employed there to varying degrees over the years.

The canopy was lowered on a Queen’s institution – Steve Buscemi (of Boardwalk Empire) is a patron – last month to mark Auntie Kathleen’s passing.

Break soda bread together

I have a wealth of memories of the Irish Cottage.

Particularly the last occasion we broke (soda) bread there.

And the McNultys got the greater family out from Long Island.

And we had their famous Surf ‘n’ Turf… I could still be trying to finish it now.

The Lady and the scamp

Visitors to New York https://www.nycvb.com will obviously and rightly take in the iconic sites…

The Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty. the Rockefeller Center, Broadway er al.

Hamilton’s home

Me, the history buff that I am walked in the footsteps of Alexander Hamilton https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/28/old-new-york-hamilton/.

If you have time (and if you don’t, make it) then head out to the borough of Queens.

Another famous New Yorker

And Flushing Meadows https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/flushing-meadows-corona-park.

Open and shut case

Where the US Open tennis https://ustanew2.gotennissource.com is a unique experience and where another famous Scot (Andy Murray) rocked NY when he won the men’s title in 2012.

You should also check out the New York Hall of Science https://nysci.org, the Museum of the Moving Image http://www.movingimage.us and Rockaway Beach.

While I’ll also pay a visit and dwell and think about the most famous residents of the Irish Cottage at 10807 72nd Avenue, Forest Hills.

MEET YOU IN NEW YORK

Africa, America, Asia, Countries, Culture, Europe

Murty’s further adventures of Tintin (or Jim Jim)

So what do I have in common with Boris Johnson? The art of scribbling, of course, but also Hergé’s The Further Adventures of Tintin.

It transpires that the most famous ginger boy journalist in history has been keeping the convalescing British prime minister’s spirits up.

Because rather than poring over government papers and that pesky bug the premier has been gorging on Tintin adventures.

Encore Tintin

In French obviously!

More Tintin… this time in English

Maybe though he’s looking for inspiration on how to beat the bug because this coronavirus really could be a script out of a Tintin book.

Un pour Boris

One for Boris

Tintin and the Curse of COVID-19

The one where Tintin and Snowy head for Wuhan and the white fox terrier is captured by wet market traders who want to sell him for food.

And he also exposes a laboratory which is harvesting viruses.

We all need a scientist

All the gang come out, or are there already…

Thomson and Thompson are on a lecher tour, while Bianca Castafiore is performing to adoring Chinese ausiences.

And ‘blistering barnacles’ Captain Haddock is getting into all kinds of scrapes while Professor Calculus is researching a cure.

My journalist hero (no, not Boris)

Of course Tintin has been a hero for Fiftysomething journalists all over the world.

With the BBC Security Correspondent Frank Gardiner even retracing Tintin’s steps for a TV special.

Hergé, interestingly, never left Belgium and his grasp of the world came from a photographer friend.

A joke in every line

Which means that the settings were somewhat stylised and his characters stereotyped.

But the adventures were, and still are captivating, and inspired a love of travel in all of us.

His adventures

The first of his 24 books was Tintin In The Land Of The Soviets which he wrote in the Twenties and where Frank revisited. Which you should do… https://www.visitrussia.org.uk.

While Hergé, like many young men in the Twenties was transfixed by America.

Tintin in America saw the Wee Man ride off into the Wild West. Sure you have to… www.colorado.com and The New Frontiersmen.

While he also took on the gamgsters of the Prohibition era.

And you can learn all about the real ones at the Mob Museum in Las Vegas https://themobmuseum.org. Also visit www.lvcva.com and Strip… the light fantastic

Tintin in the Far East

And he rocks a kilt

Tintin does travel out to China https://www.chinadiscovery.com in The Blue Lotus and other exotic destinations Cigars of the Pharaoh and The Crab with the Golden Claws in Northern Africa.

I got a glimpse of Egypt which just stirred my passion to get out there (I had passed up on Sharm el-Sheikh a couple of years ago) from the Jordan side of the Red Sea.

See www.visitjordan.com, www.gadventures.co.uk and http://www.egypt.travel.

Hergé Museum

And I had the type of misadventure that Hergé couldn’t even make up, and which I might even reprise when I stir up some courage again… https://www.visitmorocco.com/en.

The best place to see Hergé, of course, is in his homeland, the Hergé Museum in Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve outside Brussels https://www.museeherge.com/en.

These days we are all confined to barracks and in the case of Boris Johnson bed-ridden by COVID-19.

So why not, do like Boris and let Tintin take you around the world.

MEET YOU ON THE ROAD

America, Asia, Countries, Culture, Europe, UK

Teddy Bears’ window to the world

Every bear that ever there was… is in somebody’s window.

And the children of my neighbourhood are checking them off in an Easter hunt.

Of course we have a ‘hug’, or ‘Roosevelt’ of teddies, if either if those is the collective noun, vying for space on our window sills.

We all know that the bear was named after the-then US American President.

Who refused to shoot a tethered bear in Mississippi.

 

A Lara, Lara love

The home of the Blues and Elvis and Medgar Evers, it truly is the state that keeps on giving The Promised Land, The story of the Blues and The King of Kings

But it’s news to me that Richard Steiff from Berlin https://www.visitberlin.de/en has a counter claim to Brooklyn, New York www.nycvb.com Morris Michtom as the inventor of the bear.

All of which silly, willy, nilly all stuffed with fluff is just an excuse…

To talk about my favourite bear Winnie The Pooh (don’t tell Paddy) and other Teddy Bears around the world.

Bear with us here. http://www.teddybearmuseum.co.uk/the-museum

First port of call is the Teddy Bear Museum https://www.teddybearmuseum.co.uk/the-museum in Dorchester, Dorset which is 30 years old this year.

First opened in 1990 as The Bournemouth Bears it moved to Dorchester five years later and is Britain’s oldest Teddy Bear museum.

We’re told that Edward Bear (his Sunday name) will welcome you.

And that you will be treated to a range of vintage bears.

From the earliest prototypes by The Ideal Toy Company.

As well as Steiff, Farnell, Merrythought, Deans, Chiltern, vintage Chad Valley and many others.

Including Winnie the Pooh, Rupert, Paddington, his Aunt Lucy and Sooty.

Furs and stripes

In America where Teddy was born the best place to go is Morris’s adopted New York State (he was born a Russian Jew).

And The Den of Marbletown, Kingston, Ulster County. Visit https://www.syracuse.com/life-and-culture/g66l-2019/03/eb88eaf1a6864/have-you-heard-of-the-teddy-bear-museum-in-the-hudson-valley.html.

Teddy Bears’ Tea Party

Owned and operated by Nan and Steve Ferri it boasts more than 5,000 Steiff teddy bears and animals, Madame Alexander dolls, Barbie dolls, and hand-carved wooden toys.

WunderBear

Of course if you’re a Steiff fan the best place to go is the Steiff Museum in Berlin https://www.steiff.com/de-de/steiff-shop-outlet#.

And here purists may baulk at it but as well as the Steiff bears there is Disney and Harry Potter merchandising here too.

Now Germans are known for their efficiency so just a detour here to flag up the Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg https://www.miniatur-wunderland.de.

Catch of the day

Big in Japan

Back to the bears and the Japanese who are a soppy bunch too and daft as brushes have the Izu Teddy Bear Museum in Ito, Shizuoka.

My Japanese needs some brushing up.

But take a look at these pictures and when you’re next in the Land of the Rising Sun catch http://www.teddynet.co.jp/izu/. Also visit https://www.japan.travel/en/uk/.

Thai high Teddies

As a qualified Tedologist I’m obviously all over the Teddy Bear Museum Pattaya in Thailand http://Teddy Bear Museum Pattaya, Thailand. And see https://www.tourismthailand.org.

And Pattaya is a world of wonders.

With zones throughout including a China, Europe, Dinosaur, Inca, Underwater and Space Super Hero among others.