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…



Moanday Morning – Bank Holidays

Yes, I grant you that it’s odd to rail against holidays in a Travel blog, but there you are, we lead rather than follow.

Bank holidays aren’t worth getting out of bed for which is why I’m not.

Besides, nothing is open. And why do bankers need extra days off anyway?

Do they not get enough already and did they not take enough off us anyway?

You might say that we all get the bank holidays off.

Well, no. When I was a wage slave I had to work them and I got them back in lieu but never when I wanted them.

Let’s blow our own trumpets: National Days

I’m not against holidays (as if) and national days are a focal point for people to reflect on their shared identity.

I’ve had the good fortune to be in many a country when they’ve been celebrating their national day and it is is a joy.

Last month it was German Unity Day when I was in Garmisch in Bavaria.

And, of course, the Bavarians need little excuse to slip on the lederhosen.

Either there or in Oberammergau where they are getting ready for the renewal of the Passion Play http://www.passionsspiele-oberammergau.de/de/startseite next year.

Running up the flagpole: In Tenerife

Next month it’s St Andrew’s Day in Scotland and I know you’re all wanting to know why St Andrew is our patron saint.

Flying the flag

Well, we have to go back to 832 AD and a village in the east of the country which was still to be formed into Scotland.

King Angus of the Picts (basically the Highlanders) and a contingent of Scots (Lowlanders) was invading the Lothians.

They were run by the Northumbrians who were helped by Saxons, led by Athelstan.

Keeping up?

Angus, fearing he would be overrun said his prayers (you would, wouldn’t you) and it seems that St Andrew was the saint who was up.

Piping hot: At the Bagpipes Centre in Glasgow

A white diagonal cross, that being the shape St Andrew was crucified on, appeared against the blue sky.

Angus was suitably inspired to vanquish his enemy and repaid St Andrew by making him the patron saint of the soon forming Scotland.

There’s the quaintest St Andrew’s Flag centre in a doocot (where pigeons live) in Atheltstaneford which is 15km south-east of Edinburgh… http://www.scottishflagtrust.com. It is open from April to October.

Wrapping myself up in the flag

St Andrew’s Day is November 30.

I like to wrap myself up in the Saltire as much as the next Jock.

And next to the St Andrew’s flag there is probably nothing more Scottish than bagpipes.

Except they’re Persian but let’s gloss over that.

Here’s what happened when I went to the World Bagpipes Championships a few years ago… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/04/15/sportstraveltraveltravel/

Encore: At the French Embassy in Dublin

It is Europe’s oldest flag and has inspired even the Tinerfinos, the Tenerife natives, who have the very same flag as us.

You want to know why? Here’s a couple of explanations…. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/09/02/tenerife-and-scotland-wave-the-same-flag/

There’s not much else that we share but we do love to visit… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/tenerife-walk/

And you know how the French love avoir le denier mot. Well, they did when they won the World Cup two years ago.

And I was there at the French Embassy in Dublin which is technically France, and it was Bastille Weekend. Bravo! http://www.france.fr/fr.

And as a French Travel Writer of the Year winner you know Je t’aims La France…. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-boat-dazur/. And https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-lourdes-prayer-pyrenees/