America, Asia, Countries, Culture, Deals, Europe, Food, Food & Wine, Ireland, UK

Hungry and Thursday – super soup

My Dear Old Dad would never tire of telling us that he studied Higher Spanish.

So when the gazpacho was served up in the hotel in Ibiza on our family holiday he insisted he knew that it would be cold.

A meat and two veg man, my Mum was up all night with him, cradling him as the gazpacho came back up.

Anyhoos, here are five soups around the world…

Vietnamese please

Vietnamese Beef Noodle soup: In Belfast

Vietnamese Pho: No, that particular pleasure awaits me but who knows as we plan to visit the Far East next year?

So, Son and Heir get yourself out to teach English there so we can come visit.

Ally introduced us to a Vietnamese speciality Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup in, of all places, Belfast at Madame Pho’s.

And when we do get out there we will, of course, go to our friends Wendy Wu first.

Bustin’ Boston

Catch of the day

Boston chowder: American diners give a special flavour to food.

And while San Francisco has its harbour and Florida its Keys, you never forget where you had your first chowder.

And for me that was in Boston where I spent a summer after university and would set myself up for night work.

With Boston chowder and a sealed packet of crackers.

Johnnie Fox‘s. the highest pub in Ireland, up in the Dublin hills, runs it a close second. With a pint of Guinness, of course.

Life is a minestrone

Yes to the second bowl www.bbc.co.uk

Minestrone: As Manchester 70s band 10CC said…

And that staple of your Mum’s cupboard is unrecognisable from the real thing.

Try any trattoria you like but mine’s is in Padova, upstreaam of Venice.

Onion bag

Ooh la la

French Onion soup: Talking of your Mum, or maybe it was just mine but French Onion soup was always her go-to for dinner parties.

Not too heavy to fill you up before your main meal.

And if you want to get really fancy then top it off with bread and gruyere cheese.

It should be gooey. Like it is in Biarritz.

Cock a leggie

And you want a third bowl

Cock-a-leekie: Now anything that conceals the taste of leeks which seem like just a green receptacle for water.

This is eaten at traditional dinners like Burns Suppers and I’d recommend the Sheep’s Heid in Duddingston, Edinburgh.

And the Yacht Club in Bray, Co. Wicklow particularly when Yours Truly is giving his Toast to the Lassies.

Out of India… and England

Creme de la creme

Mulligatawny: Now that surprised you, yes!

But as Indian curry is the English national dish then this isn’t such a big leap.

Its got carrots, potatoes, celery and much else as well but most important is the curry powder and that it’s creamy.

MEET YOU AT THE FIRST COURSE

Countries, Culture, Europe, UK

UK’s Canaries quarantine – no gracias Senor Johnson

My friend and emiment Travel writer Matthew Hirtes educated me on the time difference between mainland Spain and the Canaries where he lives.

One hour… you see, they’re nearer Western Sahara than Spain.

The Canaries are on the same Greenwich Mean Time as us in the UK.

Hear the bells ring out in Tenerife

And yet, Boris Johnson and our politicians know so little.

And seem to care even less about the Canaries where they are clear of COVID-19.

But yet they are put on the same quarantine list as mainland Spain.

Walk this way

Despite Santa Cruz de Tenerife where I trekked with www.CanariaWays.com being 2,000kms south of the high alert regions of Navarre and Aragon.

Which is where the lightning quarantine changes inflicted on tourists, our Travel agents friends and Spain are so unfair.

Nobody for miles

And while our hearts go out to the poor Canarians we equally feel for our pals in the Ballearics who are also coming out of COVID.

Because England is not being similarly penalised for Leicester having gone into lockdown.

No gracias Senor Johnson.

Africa, America, Asia, Australasia, Canada, Caribbean, Countries, Culture, Europe, Food & Wine, Ireland, UK

Green for go to these countries

And I’m already swotting up on New Zealand www.newzealand.com Thailand https://www.tourismthailand.org/landing and Vietnam https://vietnam.travel/home.

The UK is putting in a traffic light system for countries as we ease out of lockdown.

Greece is the answer to our prayers

And my favourites are all green-lighted for return:

Austria https://www.austria.info/en Barbados https://www.visitbarbados.org Croatia www.croatia.ie Germany https://www.germany.travel/en-mobile/index.html and Greece http://www.visitgreece.gr and https://athensattica.com are all go.

Out of quarantine

Translated that means returning travellers need not quarantine for 14 days.

I’m just glad Home Secretary Priti Patel finally listened to me.

Just swimmingly In Tenerife

You won’t have to be an amber gamblers either if you’re visiting a country on this list:

Australia, Belgium, Canada and Denmark France, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Portugal, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland and Spain.

Or cycling in the French Pyrenees

The hit list

And there’s been more than a sprinkling of love from most of them… https://visitbelgium.com, https://visit-canada.ca, https://www.visitdenmark.com, https://about-france.com/visit-france.htm, http://www.italia.it/en/home.html, https://www.holland.com/global/tourism.htm, www.visitportugal.com, www.myswitzerland.com and https://www.spain.info/en_GB/ https://www.spain.info/en/informacion-practica/oficinas-turismo-embajadas/turismo-exterior/oficina_de_turismo_en_dublin.html.

Bad luck though if you’re stopped at red:

Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Egypt, India, Israel, Mexico, Morocco, South Africa and the US.

With the last two turning my clown into a frown.

Having set in train all my trips this year around these countries I’m having to make do with North Berwick beach these past couple of months.

Barbados hotpots

You see I don’t fancy much being one of half a million on Bournemouth beach.

Give me one of Barbados’s beaches, and I’m reminded now of a tub of chicken stew and bottles of Banks beers in Bathsheba, St Joseph East… Let’s rumba in Barbados and My kiss with Rihanna.

Of course the beach is a Bajan’s dining room where the locals put up bars like we do brollies.

And where the flying fish jump out of the sea and onto your plate.

Fish of the day

There are many different varieties of cutters including liver, cheese, ham, egg and more.

Clubbing together: Club Barbados on the Platinum Coast

Or even easier are their fish cakes… do like a local and order a ‘bread and two’. On a bun.

The Bajans will be only too happy to show you how to cook up a treat…

And if you like it hot then here’s how they scare up a Pepper Pot… https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCUwplS8uhaieGiL_50XhJCg.

Countries, Culture, Europe, Ireland, UK

Flyday Friday – Aerport dos and don’ts

They make them hardy in Ireland as anybody who has had to walk the miles and miles to the departure gate will know.

So we won’t be fazed then by some new regulations that Aer Lingus www.aerlingus.com have brought in to get us all back up in the air again.

The national airline carrier wants us to scan our own boarding passes.

Fly the flag: And now to get back up in the air

And face coverings (eh, which one of my drawer of bandanas will I go for).

And, of course, a multitude of other measures, none of which will faze the Irish.

Because as they say in these parts… You’ll never beat the Irish.

Follow this video for more info… here.

We’re off again to sunny Spain

A window to an old new world

And you’ll never beat Ryanair for offers.

A shout-out here then to Michael O’Leary who has been flagging up budget prices as aviation ‘experts’ scare us with sky-high prices.

On account of their projection of a third full airplanes.

When modifications, airline health and hygiene advancements, new passenger habits and face masks hold the key to getting enough of us back on planes.

While protecting us and Travel as we used to know it.

Anyhoos, July 1 is the big date when Ryanair www.ryanair.com will be releasing 1,000 flights per day with flights to Spain from €39.99.

Say a little prayer: La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona

All the old favourites are there… Barcelona https://www.barcelonaturisme.com/wv3/en/, www.royalcaribbean.com and https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/24/messi-around-on-the-water/amp/.

And Mallorca https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/01/21/smooth-sailing-around-the-western-med/amp/.

Isle be there: Tenerife

While Tenerife with its multiple climates and terrains is a dozen holidays rolled into one…. https://www.visitingtenerife.com, www.canariaways.com and A walk through the ages… Tenerife.

But there are, of course, many many Spanish delights I have yet to savour.

Whisper it but I’ve still to visit Madrid https://www.esmadrid.com/en, https://www.visitasevilla.es/en/official-webguide-seville and https://www.visitvalencia.com/en.

Espana por favor. And also see https://www.spain.info/en/informacion-practica/oficinas-turismo-embajadas/turismo-exterior/oficina_de_turismo_en_dublin.html and https://www.spain.info.

MEET YOU IN THE SKIES

America, Countries, Europe, Ireland, UK

A big Squeezy for Mother’s Day

I kid my Dear Old Mum that she IS Nan, the Catherine Tait character who is as sweet as pie one minute and then lays into that person the next.

I came up with the nickname ‘Squeezy’ Teasy (short for Teresa) for her after one incident.

She had let one young family through in the ice cream queue in the local park.

Only to then turn on them a second later. I knew it was coming when she raised her hand to give me a squeeze on the shoulder.

And on this occasion she was regaling that woman from the poorer side of the park and their accent… ‘Brendan, stay away from the wahhhhter!’

We’ve had our moments, me and Mum and on this Mother’s Day when I’m not allowed in to see her at her Nursing Home…

Here are some of our adventures…

Home for the holidays

Ireland: My mother’s homestead and more adventures than clumps of peat in her beloved Donegal www.govisitdonegal.com

Of course she always gets bold when she’s back among her own people.

Like the time we were staying in our go-to hotel Jackson’s In Ballybofey.

And my Mum turned to my cousin and said: ‘I have four brothers and three sons and James (my Sunday name) is the most selfish of the lot.

All within earshot of me… me who had brought her all the way up from my home in Co. Wicklow www.visitwicklow.com.

Star in stripes

America: The Oo Es of Eh was always the Promised Land for my Mum.

Whose aforementioned four brothers had emigrated there in the late Fifties.

She only abandoned me when I was just 13 for three weeks so she could go out to see them.

Never mind that she cooked three weeks of meals for us… the cleaning woman who came in to look after us while Dad was at work made off with half of them.

We went back, Mum and me, together ten years ago for my cousin’s wedding in New York… www.nycvb.com and www.visitusa.com.

Where she insisted on paying for every meal (a very Irish trait) and treating me like a wee boy) – see above.

We had promised to get down to see Fave Cousin in Washington, and I did… Easy DC. Mum had been there before and the National Guard remembered her!!!

Viva Espana

Spain: One year it was Ireland the next it was Spain, that was how it was with summer holidays as a kid.

My Mum is more than likely Black Irish, a descendant of Spanish Armada sailors who were washed up and intermingled with the locals.

And she liked little better than tanning herself on a Spanish beach.

When she wasn’t trying to stop my elder brother teaching me to swim by throwing me in the deep end.

And, of course, it has left me with a lifelong love of Spain… visit https://www.spain.info/en_GB/.

And walk this way A pilgrim’s prayer and A walk through the ages… Tenerife with www.CaminoWays.com and www.CanariaWays.com

Scotland the motherland

Scotland: And she has been repeating her desire to come home to Ireland, and that Scotland isn’t her place despite being 70 years away.

There’s been a lifetime of experiences from her rearing me in Scotland where I’ve now returned to to live.

But as I’ve relocated to Scotland’s Golf Coast then here’s one from when I took her to the Open at St Andrews.

And my Mum sent a randomer into the Portaloos because I was taking too much time.

I got my own back by giving her the slip at the Swilcan Burn when I rushed with the crowd to the apron of the 18th to see Tiger Woods sink the winning putt.

See www.visitscotland.com and My Sporting Weekend – Golf and social distancing

HAPPY MOTHERS DAY TO ALL OUR MUMS

And remember…#DontCancelPostpone.

Countries, Ireland, UK

Scotland-Ireland – Other bridges of highs

Blowhardery from Boris Johnson or another feat of Scottish engineering to match the Forth Road and Rail Bridges?

The proposed £40billion bridge between Portpatrick in Scotland and Larne, all 20 miles of it.

Above Beaufort’s Dyke which was a munitions dump from the Second World War.

Is this all being blown out of all proportions… let me know.

In the meantime, here are five bridges which connect countries.

Svinesund Bridge

Sweden to Norway: The Svinsund is more straightforward, connecting Norway with Sweden.

Opened in 2005, its total length is 2310ft.

Sweden felt tantalisingly within reach when we cruised from Kiel in Germany to Copenhagen and up the Norwegian fjords The call of the fjords.

See www.visitsweden.com and www.visitnorway.com.

The Oresund Bridge

Sweden to Denmark: These Scandinavians really do love their bridges.

Opened in the Millennium year 2000 the Oresund is a bridge that turns into a tunnel.

The idea is that it runs nearly five miles to the artificial island Peberholm in the middle of the strait.

Before it transfers to the two-and-a-half-mile Drogden Tunnel to the Danish island of Amager.

Also see www.visitdenmark.com.

Guadiana International Bridge

Spain to Portugal: Or more precisely from Ayamonte to Castro Marim.

Opened in 1991, there’s more of it on the Portuguese than Spanish side. All in it’s 2185ft.

And, of course it’s the oldest continuous border in continental Europe.,. Secret Portugal.

And see www.visitportugal.com and https://www.spain.info/en_GB/.

Libertador General San Martín Bridge

Argentina to Uruguay: And this one runs between Puerto Unzué snd Fray Bentos.

Opened in 1972, it spans 3.7 miles and means you get your Fray Bentos meat pie all the quicker.

See https://www.argentina.travel/#!/global/home?lang=en and https://turismo.gub.uy/index.php/en/.

Tancredo Neves Bridge

Brazil to Argentina: Another that bridges two South American rivals… and is better known as the Fraternity Bridge.

Crossing the Iguassu River it stretched 1604ft and was opened in 1985.

And was inspired by the construction of the Friendship Bridge between Brazil https://www.visitbrasil.com and Paraguay in 1965.

And back to an Ireland-Scotland bridge, don’t tell Stena https://www.stenaline.co.uk, a Swedish firm remember, who are my bridge between my two countries.

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Holiday Snaps – Winter sun

I know I’m wishing the seasons away but it’s time to plan for winter sun.

Yes, we know that the sun comes out 360 days a year (sorry 350 days a year).

So that’s a virtual guarantee of good weather. Although it would be just my luck to be there when it does rain.

That’s what we’re after: Photo by Ignacio Palés on Pexels.com

Let’s tempt you then with the Costa del Sol, 7 nights, 25th October, €1788 (€447pp)

You’ll be well set with the Timor Sol Apartments which are on the beachfront next to the Paseo Marítimo promenade.

And there’s a waterpark nearby too.

Visit Travalue.iehttps://itaa.ie/2019/09/10/costa-del-sol-offer/!

Let’s take time here too to share some of sunny thoughts from Spain… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/09/03/vegging-out-in-tenerife/

OK, here are some more. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/09/05/jocktails-tenerife-coffee-liqueurs/

And also visit our friends at http://www.spain.info

Portugal is an answer to your prayers

Photo by Helena Ije on Pexels.com

I love a Portuguese village.

And the best thing is the welcome from the locals..

A favourite destination for Irish visitors this is Albufeira, 7 nights, 7th November, €389pps.

From https://itaa.ie/2019/09/10/portugal-winter-sun-all-inclusive/ the price includes Flight from Dublin to Faro with Aer Lingus, http://www.aerlingus.com.

Yum, yum. Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

See Travel Escapes and Cruisescapes: https://itaa.ie/2019/09/10/portugal-winter-sun-all-inclusive/

Portugal? We love it.

And as our wedding anniversary comes into let’s take a look back at this romantic break… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/secret-portugal-classy-centro/

And a shout-out to the ever-helpful Portuguese Tourist board http://www.visitportugal.com