Africa, America, Caribbean, Countries, Europe, Food, Ireland

Pie are squared and round

Excuse the grammar but the gag doesn’t work otherwise so on today’s National Pie Day let’s say Pie are squared and round.

And we’ll pick out six pies from around the world.

All because we’re an island here of pie lovers in Britain, and Scots up and down the country have grown up on Scotch pies and beans.

Then long before American fast food pork pies were the go-to snack in England, and not just for ploughmen.

Mr American Pie

Eat your heart out Prue Leith: In Colorado

Apple Pie: National Pie Day was started in the mid-1970s by a nuclear engineer, brewer and teacher (talented man) Charlie Papazian.

It was then that he declared his own birthday, January 23, to be National Pie Day and it took on.

So now fast forward to a Can’t Bake, Won’t Bake visitor to Ginger & Bake in nearby Fort Collins under the watchful eye of the ever-patient Deb.

Say it loud and say it stout

More please: Jamie Oliver’s Steak & Guinness Pie

Beef and Guinness Pie: If you’re like me (and the Irish) and feel that drink is the food of life then read on.

You see this variation on the British steak and ale pie in Ireland naturally is enriched with Guinness and bacon and onions.

And it s on every bar menu in Ireland… and inevitably in the ubiquitous Jamie Oliver’s cookbook.

Custard with that?

Bobotie on the menu: In South Africa

Bobotie pie: It’s a different world in the one-track town of Cradock in the Eastern Cape In South Africa.

That’s where the owner of the Die Tuishuise & Victoria Manor has put on a buffet of Karoo food that fuses easy.

So let me give you Bobotie pie, a curried raisin-infused Shepherd’s Pie with a savoury custard topping.

Pie Irie

Ruby, Ruby, Ruby: Cooking and baking in Barbados

Macaroni pie: And something from the Old World embraced by the new in the Caribbean.

It is known there just as pie or Bajan Pie in Barbados this is island comfort food.

This tubed pasta with creamy cheese sauce is served either as a main dish in Bim.

Or more likely to the side of their favourite chicken and fish. Irie?

Pizza and understanding

Slice of life: Pizza pie

Pizza pie: So when we first got a taste for the Italian staple on this island we would call it pizza pie.

The best pizzas which we know are in Pizza City, Naples.

But a tip here for those who might otherwise be stung dining out near the Spanish Steps or Pantheon in Rome.

Instead pick up the long miniature pezzos from stores scattered through the Eternal City.

Sweet pie

The Key to good living: Key Lime Pie

Key Lime Pie: Now just as many pies are sweet as are savoury.

And in the land of American pie there are as many variations as there are numbers after 3.14.

But as it’s darn tasty and the Florida Keys are on the radar.

For a long rescheduled road trip it’s Lime Key Pie for me.

And so whatever your pick it’s good to know pie are squared and round and make the world go round.

Africa, America, Asia, Australasia, Canada, Caribbean, Central America, Countries, South America, Sustainable Tourism

Where to drink the water

And all the focus on COP26 just along the road in Glasgow has got us all thinking about water, the source of life… and prompting us to bring you Holidos and don’ts where to drink the water.

And particularly when we think back on how we were always warned against drinking the water when we were abroad (mostly in those days, Spain).

Sup up: And something to clench your thirst

The fact though is that Spain is safe to drink from the tap and so there is no need to buy plastic bottled water from the supermercato.

Even better, of course, is to find yourself a stream in the country, and better still if you can stumble upon a Camino along the way and follow it through the Santiago.

Water of Rome

Flask resort: Flasks are always better

The same applies incidentally in Italy where you’ll find crystal clear streams on your Via Francigena into Rome.

La Citta Eterna, of course, prides itself on its water.

The fountains which are around every corner and in every piazza.

But also the beautifully adorned taps with carvings of Romulus and Remus and their wolf mother which proliferate around the city.

Wolf down the water: With La Famiglia underneath the wolf and Romulus and Remus

In the cloying humidity of a Rome heatwave you’ll be glad of a tap to fill up your flask.

And didn’t Silvio Berlusconi just know it when our guide told us that he wanted to start charging the locals for the water… something not even Benito Mussolini dared try.

Back to our friends at Globehunters and they reflect that the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Northern and Western Europe, the US and Japan have the best water.

All of which means that you need to take more care in south-eastern Europe, much of Asia, Africa, Central America and South America and it pains me to say the Caribbean (although ‘rum is mi only medicine’ there).

Holy water

Water of life: In the Pyrenees

There are, of course, parts of the world, those where Our Lady has visited, where the water is straight from Heaven.

And yes, I know, that all water comes from the heavens, although a politician in Ireland when I was living there didn’t.

When he railed against the idea of water charges by saying just that ‘that it was’t as if water fell from the heavens’.

The Maryest of Marian sites is, of course, Lourdes, where the Pyrenees water in Cauterets is among the purest and spirited of anywhere.

So be sure to sup from the streams and the waterfalls.

Your own water

Wait for it: Guinness and its magic Irish water

It was always a matter of great pride that your own country had the best water.

And this has always been credited as the magic ingredient of Ireland’s famous Guinness stout.

And Scotch and Irish whisk(e)y.

So now we’re all back out on the road then look out for the taps in towns, and the streams and waterfalls in the country.

And fill up your flasks.

Ditch the plastic

Heat map: Of where is best to drink your water

It also tastes better when it’s not out of a plastic bottle.

And the fishies in the seas, my old pal Mother Turtle Vanessa in the Maldives, and our future generations will thank you.

Be warned too that now we’re all travelling again I’m hardly going to stop here with Holidos and don’ts where to drink the water.

And I’ll back with more Holidos and don’ts… in the blog that’s not all blah, blah, blah.

Well, at least, not the type of blah that will destroy our beautiful blue planet.

 

 

Countries, Culture, Music, UK

Britannia? Yacht to try these UK sites instead

You know when you live somewhere but never visit that famous site, like me and the Royal Yacht Britannia in Edinburgh.

It can’t be because I take a stand against lavish palaces or ostentatious wealth… I love Rome and the Vatican.

Comfort is the watchword

So, I’ll need to get myself along and see how the other half live.

One would like tea for two

Heck, who am I kidding? It’s how I like to live when our killjoy leaders aren’t closing down all the borders.

But for now, and in the spirit of the Which survey of the best of the top 50 most-visited attraction I give you…

My entirely scientific and undeniably definitive five UK attractions.

Cottage industry

Anyone know a poem? Burns Cottage

Alloway, Ayrshire: Well, if it was good enough for Wordsworth and Shelley and Muhammad Ali to visit!

Robert Burns’ home village in Ayrshire, the centre point of which is the cottage in which he was born in the 18th century, is a truly spiritual place.

Check out the statues of Tam O Shanter, Souter Johnny, Burns’ father’s grave, the statue of a mouse and Brig o’ Doon.

Robin reliant

Boy and the Hood: Nottingham

The Robin Hood Experience, Nottingham: It takes an outlaw to know an outlaw.

You’ll immerse yourself in Sherwood Forest in an un prepossessing building near Nottingham Castle and get a chance too to twang your arrow.

While actors dressed in costumes of those heroes of legend interact with you.

Chocs away

The best bar none for chocolates

Cadbury World, Birmingham: And you thought Willie Wonka was an invention, you Willie Wonka.

You can take a cart through the history of cocoa in this chocolate heaven in Bournville (yes, really), Birmingham.

On your tour, you’ll see how chocolate is made and best of all are sent away with a handful of bars.

Daddy’s Little Girl took two handfuls.

Churchillian speech

Mapping out a day out… in the War Rooms

The Churchill War Rooms, London: And deep within the vaults in Whitehall in the heart of London, Winston and his pals waged the Second World War.

You can see his bedroom, the map room, the decoders.

And when we found all the other sites were closing up for the day they let us in. Well, we were on the right side!

Get back!

Fab Four in Liverpool

The Beatles Story, Liverpool: If The Beatles had been American then they’d have turned their home city into a visitors’ attraction.

Which may seem like a step too far although it does work in Graceland because it is outside of Memphis.

Yes, it’s great to have the museum down by Albert Dock in Liverpool, the bus tour, Penny Lane and the Eleanor Rigby statue.

But the idea that the Cavern Club should be in danger of closure because of financial troubles is a local and national disgrace.

Over to you Paul McCartney… don’t let it be!

America, Asia, Caribbean, Countries, Culture, Europe, UK

Top of the shops – my five best around the world

My Dear Old Mum washed her hands of me… and not for the first time (or last) when we went shopping in New York.

I had bought The Scary One a pink Guess handbag in Macy’s and Mum told me in no uncertain terms Sarah wouldn’t go for it.

It’s still in her wardrobe a dozen years later which is something, seeing most things are usually chucked out after 12 months.

So with clothes shops here in the UK reopening here’s a trawl around the world of some favourite clothes shops.

It’s now or never

Dress like a King

Lansky Bros, Beale Street, Memphis, Tennessee: And what else would you expect in Elvis’s home city but button-doen shirts.

Lansky does a range called ‘Clothier to the King’ and this is no idle boast.

The Lanskys did clothe the King when he was a wannabe prince off to his Prom.

Then onto the Ed Sullivan Show, on screen for Jailhouse Rock while his last suit was a Lansky too.

And visit https://www.lanskybros.com, https://www.deep-south-usa.com and The King of Kings.

All clothes lead to Rome

Shirt hot

Dan John Roma, Via del Corso, Rome: Si, Milan gets all the cred for its fashion but the Via del Corso knows its threads too.

So when in Rome, and because la donna wants new clothes and when la donna wants la donna gets, I followed suit.

And bought myself a red shirt with a white colour.

We won’t go into how some pink underwear turned that collar rosé when we got back.

Visit https://www.rome.net, http://www.italia.it/en/home.html and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/04/see-rome-on-e50/ and Small roads lead to Rome.

Sweet Barbados

If the shoe fits: Bridgetown, Barbados

Cave Shepherd, Bridgetown, Barbados: An Old Bridgetown old institution and where you want to come for some old Barbados elegance to take home.

For herself.

Cave Shepherds are spread throughout the island.

And if you’re staying on the Platinum Coast and don’t venture beyond (not guilty) you’ll find them there too.

And you’ll even get a 💋 from Rihanna My kiss with Rihanna www.visitbarbados.org.

Al-Fayed’s old pad

Putting on your best front: Harrods

Harrods London: And just like Macy’s in New York when you’re in London you have to visit Harrod’s.

The first thing that struck me about Harrods when I lived down there and visited was the memorial to Princess Diana and Dodi Al-Fayed.

Now since Mohamed Al-Fayed sold the world’s most famous store to the Qataris it now resides in his home.

Buy the cheapest thing in the food court (not the caviar) so that you can get your Harrods bag to put your Tesco shopping in.

Visit https://www.harrods.com/en-gb, www.visitlondon.com and The London life.

How bazaar!

Blockpurrster: Istanbul

The Grand Bazaar, Istanbul: The original shopping malls.

And these have the authentic spices of the East, proper Turkish Delight and dress-up stores where you can make like a Sultan.

As well as the beat shopping alley. Why best? Because cats sprawl out on the tables in the Midday Sun.

See https://visit.istanbul, www.turkishairlines.com.

Where is your favourite store? Let us know and we’ll share.

MEET YOU IN THE SHOP

Countries, Culture, Europe, Ireland

Thirteen years an Irishman – My capital cities (and Istanbul)

I belong to Glasgow,

Dear Old Glasgow toon,

But there’s nothing the matter with Glasgow

Because It’s going round and round.

I’m only a common-or-garden chap,

As anyone here can see.

But when I have a couple of drinks on a Saturday,

Glasgow belongs to me

I’m a city boy, always have been, always will be, and am going back to one of my favourites.

Edinburgh, or Embra as we say in Scotland.

But what of the others, I’ve been keeping you going with my top cities so here we go again:

Capitol idea

Washington DC: Four score and seven years ago (well, three years in my case) I fulfilled a lifelong ambition by visiting the US capital.

It’s still to be beaten for me as an American city.

The Lincoln Memorial, the Martin Luther King Memorial, the Washington Monument.

All the Smithsonians, and particularly the National Museum of African American History and Culture https://nmaahc.si.edu/splashify-splash and the National Museum of the American Indian https://americanindian.si.edu.

Arlington https://www.arlington.ie, the Kennedy graves, Robert E. Lee’s house, Frederick Douglas’s house. Oh, and the Capitol https://www.visitthecapitol.gov and the White House https://www.whitehouse.gov too.

Visit https://washington.org/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIx66X0f2v5wIVh7HtCh1YpQ9FEAAYASAAEgL9uvD_BwE.

Roman holidays

I’ll be back… and I was

My former colleague and still my pal, the office PA, Rebecca, is in Rome and asked me for some pointers.

Well, she’ll know the Trevi Fountain, the Colosseum, the Forum, the Spanish Steps.

St Paul’s Basilica, the Raphael Rooms and the Sistine Chapel.

But she should try out the Capuchin Crypt where the bones and skulls of dead monks were used to build the three altars. Now that’s eternal.

Visit http://www.cappucciniviaveneto.it and https://www.rome.info and Small roads lead to Rome.

And before Rome there was Athens

An old relic… and the Acropolis

Socrates was here and so was I and two very helpful taxi drivers who got me here after I was late the first time… a case of Acropolis Later.

Athens is beautifully chaotic which is why I feel I belong there, there where you can get stuck in a restaurant lift for half an hour.

And walk in on an elderly couple post-coitus because the rooms were mixed up and the manager sends you up a couple of bottles of wine as an apology.

Visit Athens www.athensattica.com/things-to-see/ and My Greek odyssey.

And the crossroads – Istanbul

With my good pal Onur from Turkish Airlines

The crossroads of Europe and Asia and where I’d planned to get engaged 25 years previously.

On the Bosphorus where I made up for last year.

On a boat cruise with me singing along to Abba’s Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy (A man after midnight) and my pal did his Dancing Ian.

And, of course, the Hagi Sofya, the Blue Mosque, the Grand Bazaar, whirling dervishes and the hamam where Florence Nightingale and Kate Moss went (https://www.cagalogluhamami.com.tr.

Visit https://www.turkishairlines.com/en-int/index.html?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIu9Tm8aSw5wIVhbTtCh3HQwB5EAAYAiAAEgIwDPD_BwE and https://visit.istanbul and of course Wham bam, thank you Hamam.

Harbour of my dreams

Valletta, a safe betta

I’m going to have to put this in as it was Malta where I actually did get engaged. I’d bent down to tie my laces and she yelled ‘Yes’.

The harbour is the most beautiful in the world… my survey and you should sail between the islands.

And Valletta’s Fortifications and the Caravaggio in the St John Co-Cathedral.

Visit www.maltaireland.com and Malta easer.

And tomorrow, five more from Northern Europe.

Uncategorized

Popes on the run… Castel Sant’Angelo

Where does a Pope go to when he is being besieged?

Thankfully, it is is not a question that we need to answer any more, and long may that continue.

And much of that is down to the Swiss Guards.

The Great Protector: Archangel Michael

Now they don’t look very scary with their yellow and blue jester plus-four outfits and their helmets with the feather plumage.

But believe me these guys are some of the most specially trained killing machines on Earth.

Yes, they’re armed with something far more powerful than a Swiss Army knife.

Because they know how to disarm you and cause you serious harm.

Say a little prayer: With the Son and Heir

And yes, they have history, and are 100% dedicated to preserve the life of their boss, Il Papa.

Let me take you back to 1527 when the troops of the Holy Roman Empire sacked Rome and Pope Clement VII had to flee for his life.

So how did he get away?

Well, the Swiss Guards bought him time and laid down their lives for him.

The Aelian Bridge: Don’t tell the Holy Roman Empire where I am

While he disappeared along the 2,600ft long corridor Passetto di Borgo which links the Vatican City to Castel Sant’Angelo.

That Clement knew how to get away was down to the fact that it was a tried and trusted escape route.

Used by his predecessor Pope Alexander VI in 1494.

The Castel Sant’Angelo is thus named because the Archangel Michael appeared atop the mausoleum.

He was sheathing his sword as a sign of the end of the plague of 590, you see.

The statue of the Archangel provides a beautiful backdrop for selfies.

Chariot racing: Daddy’s Little Girl and some oul’ relic

And indeed the best views of the Vatican are from the top of Castel Sant’Angelo.

Also known as the Mausoleum of Hadrian it’s where the great Wallmaker and his family had their ashes kept as did future emperors.

Angels and Demons

You probably know the Passetto from Dan Brown books and Assassin’s Creed II.

Me, I know it from being my favourite vantage point in Rome.

And where I tried to escape for two minutes of peace on a family holiday and have myself an espresso.

They found me.

I guess I wouldn’t have been very good back when the Holy Roman Empire were on the prowl.

If you want to know more about Rome read my https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/small-roads-lead-to-rome/ and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/04/see-rome-on-e50/.

And here are a couple of websites to help you on your way… http://www.castelsantangelo.com and http://www.rome.info.

NEXT WEEK: Another castle