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

Carole King… you’re Beautiful

There are some mornings I wake up without a smile on my face to show the world all the love in my heart.

Today though is not one of them.

Today, I have the widest smile on my face.

Because today I am going to see Beautiful The Carole King Musical.

She’s Beautiful (as is my wife).

Carole King and her breakthrough 1971 solo album Tapestry has been something of a soundtrack to my adult life.

Since I first heard it in a record store as an 18-year-old and asked them to play it again…

You’ve got a friend

Before buying it there and then before going on to wear out the needle.

Will You Love Me Tomorrow? summed up my feeble attempts at wooing… of course, they didn’t even love me that night,

Then it was You’ve Got a Friend when She came along,

So Far Away was when she was pregnant with the Son and Heir in Aberdeen.

And trying to sell the house and me starting a new job in Liverpool.

Close-up? Selfie time

And since then Home Again as we have taken an Oydyssean journey around these islands.

It is the beauty of this timeless album that I won’t be the only one for whom it tells a personal story.

Of course, it’s Carole King’s story that Beautiful tells.

It is a story that begins with her selling her first song while still at school.

Through the ups and downs of her marriage to songwriting partner Gerry Goffin.

To her grand redemptive performance at Carnegie Hall in her native New York.

Hands on decks: Some ambient music at the Radisson Blu

Along the way we thrill to the Sound of the Sixties which she and Goffin and their friends Cynthia Wiel and Barry Mann shaped.

With such classics as On The Roof, Locamotion, One Fine Day, Pleasant Valley Sunday and You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling, On Broadway and a bunch of others.

At the end of a fast-paced joyful paean to Carole who has inspired generations of singer-songwriters and still performs to this day, she had performed Tapestry in full with her daughter Louise.

I feel the earth move

Up the road at Hyde Park in the summer, I’m up dancing and clapping wildly to I Feel The Earth Move.

While I’m here at the Aldwych Theatre in London’s West End to pay homage to Carole King there’s time enough for some other kings.

And some queens and princes too at the Tower of London.

Pasta master: Fill yourself up

William the Conqueror built it nearly 1,000 years ago to fortify the capital of his new kingdom, King Henry VIII had two wives beheaded here.

Near to where I’m standing by the Bloody Tower where King Richard III had his two nephews suffocated in their sleep,

Another queen, Lady Jane Grey, was also executed here…

She spent only five days as monarc.

Before she had to make way fro Queen Mary, or Bloody Mary if you will who then made way for Queen Elizabeth.

Beefeater anyone?

It’s another Queen Elizabeth we’re chiefly here to see, the current queen, Britain’s longest serving monarch at 64 years and counting.

Or more accurately we’re here to see her bling, the Crown Jewels.

Talking of counting, try counting the number of gems in her crown.

On your walk around or the number of salt bowls or how many drinks you could get out of that punch bowl.

All of which can make you quite thirsty.

Fat as a king

I feast like a king at my palace for the weekend, the Radisson Blu Edwardian in Mercer Street, Seven Dials, near Covent Garden.

Our breakfasts are king-sized.

Instead of choosing buffet or continental they do both while evening meal is a Peruvian/Italian tapas fusion.

It works and the DJ with his decks and his ambient music add to the vibe.

A watery grave: Olde London

Fat as a king, I need to work off the half a dozen meat, fish and pasta tasting dishes and rich Peruvian chocolate dessert which means a stroll around the city of Westminster.

It is a ten-minute walk from Seven Dials across Waterloo Bridge and along the South Bank.

I try to ignore the garish and overpriced Dungeon and Shrek tourist traps and opt instead two read William Wordsworth’s thoughts inscribed on the walkway.

What a Wordsworth!

The great Romantic poet loved London and waxed lyrical about the Thames gentled gliding by.

I despair then at what today’s town planners are doing to this great old city.

With their London Eyesore and Gherkin (and who builds something in the shape of the bit of the burger nobody wants?)

The West End: And that boy Potter

I avert my eyes and, of course, am drawn instead to the Mother of all Parliaments. I cross Westminster Bridge and think on Wordsworth’s Upon Westminster Bridge.

And I consider knocking on Downing Street to give Theresa May a piece of my mind.

But Big Ben’s chimes tell me it’s too late, baby, it’s too late. I have an urgent appointment with another wordsmith.

What a picture: Herself

HOW TO GET THERE

Fly to Gatwick airport with Ryanair… http://www.ryanair.com

WHO TO GO WITH

We had two nights on a SuperBreak https://www.wowcher.co.uk/travel/hotels/uk-hotels/ package in 2016 and took in the Beautiful: The Carole King Story at the Aldwych Theatre in the West End of London.

Don’t despair though there are one or two other offerings still running!!!

Visit https://www.nederlander.co.uk/aldwych-theatre

Save, save, save

Save 30% on theatre tickets with a hotel and ticket package from SuperBreak. http://www.superbreak.com. Also visit www.radissonblu-edwardian.com/MercerStreet‎.

This article was first published in the Irish Daily Mail in November 2016.

And don’t you know I only got to see the next best thing to Carole, Jessie Mueller, who sang three songs from the musical only centimetres from the American Travel Fair in Washington DC… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/obama-washington-dc/.

While for more Tales from the Thames… The London life

Countries, Europe, Flying

Holidos and don’ts – know your airport

Now, it would be silly to suggesr an airport is as familiar as a train or bus station while it is considerably more complicated.

But knowing your airport can take the stress out of your holiday: start badly and it’ll set your break off wrongly.

And as I begin a new journey from a new (old) airport here in Edinburgh www.edinburghairport.com my first thought is that this does save the legs.

An old fave, Turkish Airport, at Edinburgh Airport

Anybody who has been through Dublin Airport (www.dublinairport.com) knows the long hike to your airplane.

It almost feels like you are taking the strain off the plane by walking halfway to your holiday destination yourself.

So leave yourself plenty of time. while it’s easy to mix up your Ryanairs and Aer Linguses.

Flyinair

So don’t leave yourself having to sprint between terminals: Ryanair (www.ryanair.com) Terminal 1 and Aer Lingus (www.aerlingus.com).

Apply this logic too to even bigger airports where it might involve buses between terminals, or even trains.

And ALWAYS read the small print on your information… you may be flying with an auxiliary airline from Munich to Athens.

And the main airline where you are is in another terminal in the airport.

Yes, guilty, and I am forever grateful and still terrified of the Lufthansa (www.lufthansa.com) reservations manager I had to break the news to… My Greek odyssey.

Countries, Culture, Europe

Crocus gold… Valentine’s in Amsterdam and Ireland

When it’s Spring again we’ll sing again ‘Crocuses from Co. Waterford’.

Yes, I would and, when I can afford it, do cover my flower beds with tulips from Amsterdam.

And one we enjoyed on our visit to Amsterdam Pictures of Amsterdam and George Clooney and Amal’s Amsterdam hotel.

Dylan promise: At the Dylan in Amsterdam

Where we also took home ice cream tulips (think raspberry ripple colours) from the Amsterdam Museum https://amsterdamtulipmuseum.com.

And got a Spring out of them before we handed over the keys of chez notre maison in Ireland.

To someone we can only hope appreciates the opportunities as we did.

My wee flower in Amsterdam

The history of the crocus is also captivating.

We can date the crocus back to the Egyptians, Greeks and Menoans.

With a few pounds of corn served as a loan of gold and jewels.

The best place to see crocuses in Ireland is the Mount Congreve Gardens in Co. Waterford.

Purple reigns… in Co. Waterford

The gardens will open early this year on Valentine’s Day, February 14.

To showcase more than 20,000 crocuses in flower at the beautiful gardens located just ten minutes from Waterford City.

Which is a two-hour drive south of Dublin.

Which we all know is served regularly by our friends at Aer Lingus www.aerlingus.com and Ryanair www.ryanair.com.

For more on what the gardens have to offer throughout the year visit www.mountcongrevegardens.com.

The crocus story doesn’t finish there.

The Crocus Project from Ireland

The Crocus Project was launched in Ireland in 2005 by the Holocaust Education Trust Ireland.

Intended for pupils aged 11 and over it provides schools with yellow crocus bulbs.

To plant in memory of the one million and a half Jewish children.

And thousands of other children who died in the Holocaust.

The yellow flowers recall the yellow Star of David all Jews were forced to wear under Nazi rule.

Which Anne Frank had up on her wall of the attic house she, her family and friends hid away in from the Nazis during the War.

A giant: Anne Frank in Amsterdam. http://www.twitter.com

On this the 75th anniversary year of the liberation of Bergen-Belsen, where Anne and her sister Margot died, and Auschwitz were liberated, pay tribute…

By either visiting those sites or the Anne Frank Huis in Amsterdam… https://www.annefrank.org/nl/.

And also make use of the wonderful city pass https://www.iamsterdam.com/en.

While all major airlines fly to Amsterdam I like to promote national airline carriers and recommend KLM www.klm.com.

Me, I’m off to buy crocuses and tulips for someone who deserves them… and also The Scary One.

And I’ll get back to you on Friday, Valentine’s Day, with more blooming marvellous places to visit for gardens and flowers.

America, Countries, Deals, Europe, Flying, Ireland

Flyday Friday – Shannon’s Irish Coffee?

I’m indebted to one of my Bandaninis, (as I’ve Christened this site’s followers) Michael Kelly.

For raising the rival claim of Shannon Airport to Jackson’s Hotel, Ballybofey, Co. Donegal as the birthplace of Irish Coffee.

Forger the coffee, Just whiskey for me

After reading Thirteen years an Irishman – My five Irish homes my farewell to Ireland as I return to Scotland.

The Shannon story, which is said to date from 1942, goes that a woman arrived in the middle of Ireland on a wintry night needing warmed up.

And chef Joe Sheridan came up with the bright idea of putting whiskey in her coffee.

The Jackson’s tale dates also from the War years and surrounds a merchant seaman, Joe Jackson.

Joe’s corner says he adapted a Mediterranean recipe and was already making it in 1946 after buying the hotel.

A last look at Belfast… hope it’s not an omen

And that an article in a Scottish newspaper, which hung in the hotel, backed this up.

So I’m happy to give both claims their due, particularly as it bigs up Shannon Airport.

And the excellent work Declan Power and his staff are doing there.

Shannon www.shannonairport.ie has two new routes for 2020, to Paris and Barcelona.

And you can check out some thoughts here on the Catalan city… Smooth sailing around the Western Med.

TAP into this

And there are boats too
TAP Air Portugal tapairportugal carried 1.23 million passengers in January, 145,000 more than this month last year. Its biggest destination is, of course, Portugal but it also flies to Europe, North America and South America. Rio by the sea-o anyone? Of course we’re all big fans of Portugal around here… Secret Portugal.

Women’s Day in Iceland

Light up

Isn’t it just typical, I went and missed Bondadagur, the start of the Porri season (on January 24), again.

Bondadawhat I hear those of you who are not either Icelanders or Icelandophiles ask. Well it is Men’s Day and as luck would have it, for Herself, Women’s Day is still to come… on February 22. That’s Konudagur then and it’s when men pamper their women and give them flowers. Which maybe I’ll keep from The Scary One – she’s got Valentine’s Day coming. And I’ve already taken her out for a night this year… and it wasn’t even her birthday either.
Bobble hats compulsory

Icelandair http://www.icelandair.com flies daily to Iceland while it also has 18 gateways to North America.

Aer we went

Fly the flag

The good news (for me, heck and for you too) is that I’ll be back in Dublin in mid-March.

Don’t tell the Scary One but I’m hoping to be back a lot sooner. I’ll be flying Stobart Air, partners of Aer Lingus from Edinburgh and Aer Lingus, from Dublin to Miami. And when I can I always will. I’m only hoping that as a loyal Aer Club member and a proud kiltie wearer I can rack up enough points to earn me one of their super-duper new crew skirts. Anyhoos, back to their deals: London, Amsterdam and Paris from €27.99, Toulouse or Bordeaux and much more besides. Usual conditions apply. Visit www.aerlingus.com. And don’t you just know I’ve played and prayed all over these fab destinations… The London life, Pictures of Amsterdam and George Clooney and Amal’s Amsterdam hotel. And The Lourdes prayer and The Boat D’Azur.

And not forgetting Ryanair

Ryanair www.ryanair.com has just released its early bird summer fares. MEET YOU IN THE SKIES

Asia, Countries, Deals, Europe

Flyday Friday – Yoga and New Delhi

No, seriously, this temple of a body isn’t made for yoga.

Which is why I sent another to India in my place, a yoga nut who then sent me nuts when she got her visa application mixed up.

Beret nice thank you: Etihad service

And got narky with the Travel providers… a red line in my book.

And this is why, boo-hoo, I didn’t get to India back then and why I am still waiting…

Waiting too for the bottle of booze from the aforementioned writer who had left me with all her crap to deal with.

That’s the way to do it. Photo by Abhishek Saini on Pexels.com

And guess what? I have air miles which I won when Etihad kindly showed me around their business class at Dublin Airport last year.

Visit http://www.etihad.com. And you judge for yourself whether you think my yoga has come on since.

From my Portugal http://www.visitportugal.com and Tobago http://www.visittobago.gov.tt adventures.Visit https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/06/12/sportugal/ and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/12/05/robinson-crusoes-tobago/

Look at that Lotus, I’m so relaxed I’m almost sleeping

Something happened on the way to the Forum

The heavens opened on the way to the Forum… and just as in Classical Rome, I had to shelter in a bus shelter.

Of course where I most wanted to be was the Pantheon with its open Dome.

Which I informed the couple I was huddled in with… ‘sure there’s only one place you’d want to be in Rome when it’s raining, ‘ says I.

Saye he in his rich Northern Irish brogue: ‘Aye, the pub.’

Throwing my money away: Well I did spend less than €50

Rome is an eternal joy, particularly at Aer Lingus prices… http://www.aerlingus.com.

Among its January Sales deals it has Rome down from €66.99 to €39.99.

And here’s how you can save on your walk to the Forum, Colisseum or Spanish Steps…

And retrace the footsteps of the ancients… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/04/see-rome-on-e50/ and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/small-roads-lead-to-rome/

Ibiza beezer

Party island. Ibiza. Photo by Sebastian Coman Photography on Pexels.com

I don’t know what it was about Spain that turned my Dickensian strict Dad into…

A screaming liberal.

Maybe it was the sun, but Ibiza meant half a glass of wine for this seven-year-old at dinner.

And I remember vividly the waiter who served it to me, Pepe.

Of course it gave me a taste for the grape that has never left me, particularly when it’s sparkling.

And you’ll certainly have more money in your wallet or purse to splash out in Ibiza.

After saving on your Ryanair flights which are from €28.99 with the low-fare airline’s latest seat sale which ends Midnight Sunday.

They’ve also thrown in Malta at the same price https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/malta-easer/ where there was much Champagne flowing after I made Miss F the happiest woman in the world…

I went back years later to see if I could cash in on the unfinished bottle.

Check out all the deals at http://www.ryanair.com

MEET YOU IN THE AIR

Uncategorized

Flyday Friday – Philly charged

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… I’ll always go where people play and pray.

And wherever you find sportsfans you’ll see prayers being sent heavenwards for the success of their sportsteams.

Philadelphia, a real blue-collar city is one of America’s great sports hubs.

And if you were around in the Seventies and Eighties in particular you would have seen the City of Brotherly Love’s teams win…

Chinatown. Philadelphia

At baseball: the Phillies,

Ice hockey: the Flyers,

American Football: the Eagles,

Basketball: the 76ers.

But then Philadelphia forgot what it was and who they were and in a Tower of Babel moment they incurred the Curse of Billy Penn…

The city’s founding father.

Read how they won back Billy’s favour in Philadelphia Freedom and www.visitphilly.com.

Philly is the only American city on National Geographic’s top 25 places to visit this year…

Grand Canyon

Along with Grand Canyon National Park which I’ll always flag up… The grandest canyon.

Now I don’t need a reason to praise Philly but Aer Lingus has flights there from €189 as part of a return trip.

As part of a raft of special deals, both American and European.

For travel April 1 to June 15. Visit www.aerlingus.com.

Money back

Got your interest, well let’s progress.

Your flight is late and you just have to suck it up (how I hate that phrase).

And you know that if you’ve got a connection to make and that’s not going to happen.

Your plane just gone?

Then you need to know your EU Regulation 261/2004… http://www.citizensinformation.ie.

And we have much to thank Sturgeon v Condor Flugdienst GmbH and Bock and Others v Air France SA last year.

Now I’m imagining it’s not the Sturgeon who wants Scotland to be independent and stay in the EU.But whoever you are we salute you.

Sweet Amsterdam

It would be wrong though to knock our airlines because they are corporate Leviathans.

They are manned by real people and as tempting as it is in the stress of the moment.

Air France-KLM http://www.airfranceklm.com sorted out an oversight on The Scary One’s Dublin-Amsterdam tickets.

Which meant that she hit the canals smiling… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/pictures-of-amsterdam/ and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/george-and-amal-hotel/.

Lufthansa http://www.lufthansa.com and Aegean Airlines https://en.aegeanair.com also got me on the next connecting flight from Munich to Athens.

Old relics… Athens

After things had gone Der pear-shaped…

Though this relic did see his old Greek relic in the end.

Ryanair www.ryanair.com are the passenger’s favourite whipping boy but they too will help you out.

I know first hand having had a booking moved.

Because I had again messed up on not looking carefully enough at the return flight from Tobago https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/12/13/flyday-friday-caribbean-island-hopping/

And http://www.visittobago.gov.tt to London.

Because it was going to return the next day. It’s easier than you think.

Anyhoos try out www.airhelp.com for a wee help out.

Paris match

Window to the world: Ryanair

We’ll be giving it plenty in 2020… Ryanair, I know you love a good sales pitch so you can have that one for free!

Because you do keep us interested with your seat sales the latest of which offers 10% off one way flights for travel January-May.

Paris which is from €21.99 is a city I’ve yet to crack properly.

Because of mes misadventures.

I recall being kicked awake while sleeping on Paris St Lazare railway station.

When I was a callow 17-year-old on my way down to the French Riviera with pals after my school exams.

I travel in slightly better style these days… http://www.atoutfrance.fr and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-boat-dazur/

And then on our family holiday a few years back I had the bell rung in my ear at the Pere Lachaise Cemetery http://www.parisinfo.com.

Cafe culture

As we were rushing back from Edith Piaf and Oscar Wilde’s last resting place.

If I wanted ringing bells I’d have gone to the Notre Dame, merci bien, Monsieur.

Alas, of course, that wonderful church was ravaged by fire.

But mes amis in Paris tell me that they are working furiously to try to revive it to its former glory.

The Glasgow tongue

Our language is continually changing and that’s no bad thing.

But sometimes we forget that old words and definitions still hang around for an older Fifty Something generation.

My home city Glasgow www.peoplemakeglasgow.com is a case in point.

Just in from Glasgow Airport: ‘January Sale: save 20% on parking and the Lomond Lounge.

‘Book until January 8. Valid for arrivals until December 31.’

And then to reinforce the urgency… ‘It’s there and then it’s GONE. POOF.’

Visit www.hello@e.glasgowairport.com.

MEET YOU IN THE SKIES

Canada, Countries

Flyday Friday – Canada, eh?

We’ve been here before, flagging up Toronto and Canada and celebrating their favourite catchphrase. Eh!

I can’t say my brother returned from living for eight years in Toronto saying ‘Eh’ at the end of his sentences.

But he did talk about going for ‘errands’ and the ‘sidewalk’.

The great raconteur Peter Ustinov referred to Toronto https://www.seetorontonow.com and https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/visit-canada.html as ‘New York run by the Swiss’.

And, yes, Toronto doesn’t have the raw edge of NY, or graffiti, but it works for them and is still cool.

It’s a great sports city too.

And it has made its mark with two relatively new franchises in baseball and basketball.

We went to the ball park to watch the Blue Jays during the summer I worked in Boston in the Eighties.

And you could see that the Torontonians were taking to their new team.

Who went on to win back-to-back World Series, beating the best from across the border which went down quite well.

Star of the team was Dominican (he hailed from the Dominican Republic rather than being a monk) George Bell.

With the fans ringing a bell every time he stepped up to bat.

While this year the Raptors shocked everyone, and perhaps even themselves.

By beating the stellar Golden State Warriors, Steph Curry et al, to lift the NBA Championships.

All of the hoo-ha that greeted each victory Downtown Toronto I’m reliably informed is but a whisper.

Compared with how the ice-hockey daft Torontonians are when the Maple Leafs are on a run.

I’m just saying but I have game.

All of which is my usual tangental way of flagging up a Flyday Friday deal.

This time courtesy of Air Transat http://www.airtransat.com which has a St Stephen’s Day sale on.

With a round-trip from Dublin from €318 (April 14-20).

Montreal, Toronto’s great rival, with its Canadiens hockey team, is from €329 (April 14-20). Tres bien! Visit https://www.mtl.org/en and https://www.tourismvancouver.com

And Vancouver, who boast the Canucks, from €363 (April 28-May 17).

Book by December 31. No flights available from this month to March .

Three million New Year cheers

I’m up early for every deal (on your behalf).

And so are Aer Lingus who have a January sale just released at a minute past midnight earlier today.

Ireland’s national airline carrier has three million seats on sale.

With up to 30% off European travel and North America from €189 each way.

Valid for travel from March 1 to June 15.

While flights to North America are from just €189 each way, Travel valid between April 1 and June 15.

You know this is the blog to come to for America… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/21/old-new-york-hamilton/ https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/obama-washington-dc/ https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/philadelphia-freedom/

While also try https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/06/22/my-weekend-with-marilyn/ https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/disney-why-i-love-the-donald/

And all points in between.

Book by midnight, January 21. Visit http://www.aerlingus.com and http://www.visitusa.ie.

Januairy sales with Ryanair

Where Aer Lingus goes Ryanair follows although of course, they prefer to be out in front.

And the no-frills low-fares airline has up to 30% off too on return flights.

With 1 million seats to fit for travel between April and August.

Nice is from €24.99, Ibiza €28.99, Alicante €28.99, Faro €28.99, Malta €34.99 and Thessaloniki from €34.99.

Now let’s have a look at a couple of those from my visits there…

The French Riviera https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-boat-dazur/, Faro and the Algarve https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/06/12/sportugal/ and Greece https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/09/21/acropolis-later/.

And, yes, I know that that last post is on Athens but it’s just a teaser.

And on that trip to Athens, Kythera and the Attica region my colleague Dutch Bas flagged up what he thought was Greece’s best city, Thessaloniniki.

He obviously knows his stuff… it’s just I like to check these things out for myself.

Lauda and louder

I didn’t always turn the telly over when the Grand Prix came on… in the days of Nikki Lauda and James Hunt I did follow them around the chicanes (whatever the heck that is).

While, of course, the film Rush with Chris Hemsworth, also reminded us of the fantastic story of their rivalry and ultimate friendship.

I’m reliably informed by my female friends that Chris Hemsworth in a film greatly increases the enjoyment levels.

Nikki Lauda, who we lost this year remained a huge figure in Formula 1, broke into airplanes (and by that I mean launched his own livery rather than cracked the lock).

Ryanair’s fully owned Austria subsidiary Laudamotion is to increase frequency on its Vienna to Dublin route from daily to eleven times weekly from March 29-October 25.

And here’s a reminder of what Austria http://www.austria.info has to offer both in winter and in the spring, summer, autumn…

That’ll be https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/soll-mates/ and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/10/01/austrian-toilet-humour/ and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/10/03/__trashed/.

And seeing we’ve just put one election to bed in the UK and are preparing for an Irish election over here while the Americans also have it all to do next year too..,

How about? https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/11/25/moanday-morning-electioneering/

MEET YOU IN THE SKIES

Uncategorized

I’ll vouch for a last-minute gift

It’s the night before Christmas so there’s still plenty of time to buy your present.

In fact no self-respecting bloke will even think about his gift until now.

It was important that I keep my gift for the Scary One fresh.

The bacon, sausages and eggs and tray of puddings.

Frying tonight

You see I couldn’t very well give her just the non-stick frying pan.

Which in my defence she had told me earlier in the year that she wanted.

Though not necessarily for her Christmas.

And the next year… I got her a spa voucher.

Oh, that’s the spot

Vouchers may seem prosaic but they really do the job.

Better somebody gets to buy what they want.

Than they have to gamble that it’s a surprisingly good gift.

Ryanair www.ryanair.com vouchers start at €25. And with flights from as low as €9.99 you’ll be quids in.

If like me you live in Leinster in the east of Ireland. Or if it’s one of your favourite places.

Flyin’ tonight

Then you’ll know all about the InterContinental http://www.intercontinentaldublin.ie  and from my stay there… The InterCon… what a Ledge!

The Dublin 4 institution is offering the chance of winning an overnight stay in an executive suite including Full Irish breakfast.

If you buy a voucher. From €25 up to €500.

Likewise Lusty Beg Island (now there’s a name) and Enniskillen Hotel. From €50-€500.

Visit www.reservations@lustybegisland.com and info@enniskillenhotel.com.

And if you’re sights are set on the US for next year, mine’s always are…

Then American Holidays www.americanholidays.com have vouchers for sale to make your American dream come true.

And if you’ve found you’ve missed the boat get your coloured pencils out and draw a voucher.

In lieu of the gift you’re giving. And it’s got your imprint on it.

Uncategorized

Flyday Friday extra – Laid-back in Portland

When the hippies had had enough of Haight Ashbury they moved up to Portland.

Which is what the cult American TV comedy series is all about which boasts the best of the Saturday Night Live crowd.

I know it’s my kind of place from their American Travel Fair parties www.ipw.com where we whacked back whiskey and ‘let her buck.’

And my Dad’s cousins are out there too.

Portland hoved into view with the announcement that British Airways www.ba.com will fly five times a week to beautiful Oregon from London Heathrow.

With return fares from €540 in World Traveller.

Visit www.travelportland.com and www.traveloregon.com. And it’s great for cruises… www.portlandspirit.com

Al have some of that

The Israelis are more used to waiting than the rest of us… in fact it’s the story of their people.

We in Ireland have been waiting too for a direct route out to Tel Aviv.

But it is now only a few months off with non-stop flights starting from May 26… http://www.elal.com.

The closest I got to Israel was 20ft across the Jordan and in the Red Sea in Jordan… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/petra-jordan-jesus-and-the-sands-of-time/. With G Adventures… http://www.gadventures.com.

Now to make that long-awaited next step.

Swede Christmas

It’s the time of year when you surf the channels trying to find something that hasn’t got Christmas lights on it.

Which is how I came across an Abba programme on Sky Arts.

Of course the Abba Museum is one of the most popular sites in Stockholm.

But it’s not the Swedish capital we’re flagging up here.

But hailing from a second city myself, Glasgow https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/04/15/sportstraveltraveltravel/ it’s second city Goteborg, or Gothenburg to you and me, that I’m flagging up here.

And Ryanair’s http://www.ryanair.com early Christmas presents…€9.99. While Frankfurt is the same price.

So let’s thrown in some Scandinavian and German memories here…

With https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-call-of-the-fjords/, https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/04/29/ich-bin-ein-hamburger/. And https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/dresdens-renaissance-martin-luther/

MEET YOU IN THE SKIES

Uncategorized

Flyday Friday – Caribbean island hopping

The best thing about giving advice, in this case aisle seats, is that you don’t have to follow it yourself.

And yes, I would have been better with a window seat so I could have looked out over Saint Lucia before we landed.

Jerry, the Big Rapper, who entertained us all in Wabi Rum in Jordan earlier this year, had promoted his island big time.

But here was I missing sight of the mountain that announces Saint Lucia to the world.

Saint Lucia is one of two alternative stop-offs on your Virgin Atlantic flight from London Gatwick to Tobago.

Tantalisingly, you wait on the plane for about an hour for a new crew to come aboard for the 20-minute trip to Tobago.

And never get off… still, can’t complain because Tobago is reward enough.

And yes, I’ve been entertaining you all with my adventures which put Robinson Crusoe’s to shame…

With It’s Robinson Crusoe’s very own Tobago, Ready, steady, goat… in Tobago and I should cocoa – Christmas in Tobago.

Virgin www.virginatlantic.com flies from London Gatwick from £496pp return. British Airways www.ba.com also flies from Gatwick, from £475pp.

The eleven hours will fly by with good food, wine and movies.

But I’m remembering why I prefer an aisle seat as my colleague Anthony was zonked out for most of the journey.

And I had to climb over him to get to the loo.

Thankfully he didn’t stir. Otherwise he’d have got a shock, waking up to me straddling him!

Ryanair’s Christmas gifts

Photo by Kristina Paukshtite on Pexels.com

I do wish airlines would stop putting on flights to the same city, London in this instance, on at the same time…

It was Athens with Lufthansa and Lufthansa and Aegean Airlines out of Munich during the summer… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/09/20/flyday-friday-averting-a-greek-disaster/.

And I was less lucky on that occasion, ending up missing my connection.

Photo by Negative Space on Pexels.com

Either they all change or I grow a brain.

I got myself in a pickle (again) between the Ryanair flights to London Gatwick and London Heathrow.

Cut me some slack… I hadn’t had any sleep, it being the early flight.

Still Ryanair did help me out of a booking mix-up when I was arranging tickets from Dublin for my Tobago trip.

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Connections? I’ve got a loose one.

Better direct flights then. Ryanair www.ryanair.com has these Christmas crackers for travel in the New Year.

London from €9.99, Goteborg (which you and I know as Gothenburg) from €9.99, Cologne from €12.99, Luxembourg the same and Warsaw and Santander from €14.99..

Now, I’ve a Travel buddy who says he won’t go to the US while ‘that man’ is in charge.

By the same principle he won’t then be going to the UK. London is one of the world’s great cities and whoever inhabits No.10 Downing Street you won’t keep me away.

And here are some precious memories… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/06/23/carole-king-youre-beautiful/. And https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/07/31/londons-punch-and-judy-show/

MEET YOU IN THE SKIES