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

Countries, Culture, Europe, Food

Hungry and Thursday – sweet, sweet ice cream

King Henry VIII’s Greensleeves means two things to me… Miss F’s slow wedding march and the ice cream van.

Just why Tudor music should be the go-to tune for ice cream vendors I’ll put out there for you to chime in with an answer.

But I rather enjoy the image of Henry running out in his padded garb for his 99.

And I suppose it could happen… on a film set. And I dare say Jonny Rhys Meyers and Damian Lewis like a double nougat or a screwball.

Porty’s finest

Did you know though that the 99 was created just up the road from here?

In my old stomping ground of Portobello, Edinburgh’s town beach https://edinburgh.org and www.visitscotlsnd.com.

Arcari claims to be the birthplace of the 99 with the number that of their address in Portobello High Street.

Where Stephen Arcari broke a chocolate flake in half and put it on the ice cream

Hundreds and thousands please

An alternative explanation is that it comes from slang, 99 meaning excellent and alluding to an elite guard of 99 soldiers who served the King of Italy.

The Pope’s fave

Now I don’t know about the King of Italy but our Popes have been partial to a gelato, or ice cream.

We have the Good Book, the Vatican Cookbook, as our holy scripture here which tells us that Pope Francis loves an Argentine fave dulce de leche and its caramel flavour.

And he knows his flock loves gelati too, being known to hand out 3,000 ice creams to Rome’s poor and homeless.

And some raspberry sauce

All of which kept my mind occupied as I stood socially distanced in my queue.

Walk this way

And for a quick and invaluable guide on Rome and how to get there by foot with Francigena Ways see www.FrancigenaWays.com, https://www.rome.net and Small roads lead to Rome.

MEET YOU IN THE QUEUE

Adventure, America, Countries, Culture, Europe

Look before you Leap – where to propose

I had been planning it for a year since Miss F’s best pal had got married – and it ended up being Malta.

I had a vision that it would have been Istanbul on the Bosphorus but that wasn’t to be but there’s water around Malta. Right?

Only as we traipsed around Bugibba I couldn’t find the restaurant with a piano on the front which I’d been looking for.

Miss F being fair was getting tetchy in the beating sun and the atmos wasn’t conducive for a proposal.

But I went ahead anyway (I still maintain I was only down on one knee to tie my shoelace) and she yelled yes.

The sands of time

I’ve been back (without her, but I hasten to say not with someone else) Malta easer.

If I was to do it all over again, and in this a Leap Year here’s where I’d hope she’d ask the question.

Turkish delight (obviously!)

Istanbul: I fulfilled a lifetime‘s ambition last year by visiting the majestic Turkish city which straddles Europe and Asia… Wham bam, thank you Hamam.

And it surpassed even my wildest expectations.

Yes, Herself knows I like the flesh of an animal and Sultanahmet Koftecisi http://www.sultanahmetkoftesi.com does the best kofti meatballs in the city.

But if she really wants to romance me she’ll take me on the Bosphorus with TTG Travel (Turkish Travel Group) www.turkeytravelgroup.com.

And we’ll have a boogie…

For more on Istanbul visit https://visit.istanbul and, of course, when I head east it’s always my pals at Turkish Airlines www.turkishairlines.com.

The heart of America

He’s lent me his desk

Washington DC: My favourite US city although I’m open to have my mind changed.

Seeing that DC’s most famous resident is half-Scottish I’d say he’d lend us a room.

But where I’d really like to have my romantic moment is at Robert E Lee’s house in Arlington.

Where the National Guard never miss a Passing of the Guard.

And where John F Kennedy told an aide, in perhaps a prescient moment, that when he died he would want to be buried looking down on DC.

Visit www.washington.org.

I love you too Tobago

Wetting my whistle

Tobago: With apologies to Barbados but Id be worried the Scary One would run into Dee-Dee.

I can’t think of many more romantic places to get a proposal than Nylon Beach where Princess Margaret said the sea was as clear as her stockings.

And where you can stand in a sand bank in the middle of the Caribbean with a glass of bubbly or Carib lager in your hand.

Dee-Dee and Me-Me

Still, maybe best that the 5ft 5ins Mrs M doesn’t get down on one knee there.

Visit www.tobagogov.tt and read On your marks, get set, GOAT in Tobago.

All ring roads lead to Rome

I’ll be back for change later

Rome: Because it’s here where She took me for my 40th as a surprise and we returned as a family.

And I, eventually, found the Eternal City, at the end of my Via Francigena pilgrimage www.viafrancigena.ie.

If only there was some roads that lead to Rome!

On my perfect day we’d take in an AS Roma match at the Olympic Stadium, visit the Pantheon where it would rain and she would pop the question.

Visit www.rome.net, http://www.italia.it/en/home.html and read my misadventures Small roads lead to Rome.

Malta and the altar

Valletta, you betcha

Malta: Of course nothing beat that moment we got engaged… she told me to say that.

And our place is still there. Malta remains one of the gems right under our nose.

English-speaking. English-friendly (and Scottish, Irish, et al) you can also day-trip to Sicily.

And beautiful Gozo and Comino. Visit www.visitmalta.com.

Just a few romantic spots I’m proposingtell me yours.

MEET YOU ON ONE KNEE

Countries, Ireland, UK

My Sporting Weekend – Rugby’s VAR and away days

The rugby Test match has come a long way since my days in the Schoolboys Enclosure at Murrayfield.

When programmes were 20p… they’re now about €15 although I’m grateful to the Irish Travel Agents Association for paying for me.

Both that and the ticket for the Ireland v Scotland match at the Aviva and the lunch before.

Remember to ground the ball

And the earpiece that hooks up to the referee and the action on the pitch.

As football tears itself apart over video assistant referees it seems that rugby has had the answer all along.

This magic earpiece, which you can buy at the ground, lets you into the decision-making on the pitch.

Both the referee and the captains’ response.

That the players eff and blind a bit so be it… we’re all grown-ups.

And I’ve got the kiltie on: With my Travel pal Michelle Jackson

That the crowd can hear the decision quickly and with clarity keeps us all informed.

And surely that is all we ask for.

Of course it can’t stop Scottish captains dropping the ball on the try line.

So here is my answer… let the spectator talk to the players on the pitch via a mouthpiece.

So where are we on a Travel blog with this? Edinburgh that is… where I now live again.

It’s the great thing about life and Travel…

Football can learn a lesson

Last week here I was at the Aviva this week I’m watching the Scotland v England game in Edinburgh.

Now I know the Scary One will get me back for that!

A girls’ weekend away

It struck me though, and my brother reminded me of it, that my adult life has spanned Britain and Ireland.

Get on your bike… for Rome

If only I’d progressed from being captain of the C team at school.

London goes round and round

See https://www.visitlondon.com/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI4JqL2cHA5wIVF-DtCh1BsQ7HEAAYASAAEgLTtvD_BwE And read The London life and Carole King… you’re Beautiful.

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Give us this day – holy water fonts

You get a name for yourself… just by going to Mass.

And before you know it people are referring to you by that awful definition ‘religious’.

Then you’ve been approached to be a reader at your church.

And to give out the host.

It all culminates in being bought a holy water fount for Christmas.

Oh, well, She had waited 25 years to get her own back.

After I’d bought her a non-stick frying pan, bacon, sausages, eggs and black pudding for our first Christmas.

This holy water fount is from Lough Derg, St Patrick’s sanctuary.

In my Dear Old Mum’s homestead of Co. Donegal in Ireland…. https://www.loughderg.org.

So what of the history of the bénitier?

Well, it’s a fancier and Frenchier way to describe a holy water font.

So you’ll not be surprised to know that it’s… found all over Gaul-land http://www.atout-france.fr in very ostentatious style.

It is often adorned with, say, Our Lady.

In olden days too rosary beads were often draped around the fonts.

Although in Marian sites Fatima https://www.fatima.pt/en and https://www.visitportugal.com/en/content/the-best-of-portugal?gclsrc=aw.ds&ds_rl=1258950&ds_rl=1252939&gclid=CjwKCAiA9JbwBRAAEiwAnWa4Q0nu0ByiGL2UMA94MnpCYcRAgaCRJQGmKM10FZv5yTiIEiAU8YjfzRoCym8QAvD_BwE, Lourdes https://www.lourdes-france.org/en/Medjugorje https://medjugorjelive.org you would do well to prise them out of the hands of the pilgrims.

You see I have seen it too first hand.

Stoups, of course, are most likely to be found in churches.

But did you know that they can sometimes be found above the bed? Passion killer, n’est ce pas?

I make a habit of seeking out places of worship wherever I go.

They have the best art in Rome http://www.rome.netand sometimes also the best craic… Give us this Day – Sunday School, Tobago https://www.visittobago.gov.tt

But while I like to pray I love to play.

And no saint me. I have been known to fill bottles.

Vatican rules

With holy water from St Paul’s Basilica at the end of my Via Francigena pilgrimage… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/small-roads-lead-to-rome/

And in St James’s Cathedral in Santiago de Compostella http://www.caminoways.com and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/camino-a-pilgrims-prayer/ after walking 100km from Sarria on the Camino.

Now, in the interests of full disclosure, I’ve also taken holy water from.

Water, water everywhere

A font by the River Jordan… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/petra-jordan-jesus-and-the-sands-of-time/ and http://www.visitjordan.com.

A Greek Orthodox church on Mt Hybanthus… http://www.athensattica.com and Give us this Day – The Iconic Greek Orthodox

The Frauenkirche in Dresden http://www.dresden.de and Dresden’s renaissance under the eye of Martin Luther.

The cathedral in La Laguna in Tenerife… http://www.visitingtenerife.com and A walk through the ages… Tenerife

And these are just the sample charges.

I’d better get some prayers in then… maybe Our Lady will intercede on my behalf!