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, Food, Food & Wine

Hungry and Thursday – the best bar none on my travels

I’ve yet to introduce myself to my new local in my new billet in North Berwick, near Edinburgh, or the landlord I’ll clink glasses with.

But it’s got me thinking of my five favourite bar stops on my travels.

Anything, as long as it’s beer

On the horns of a dilemma: Simon and myself in Ieper

The Hopperie, Ieper (or Ypres): Now that I’ve reached this advanced age I tend to repeat myself, repeat myself.

So this tale from Tom’s Bierhaus gets another outing… Muriel, that’s her real name, ordered a G&T.

To Tom’s bafflement… ‘This is a bierhaus I have more than 200 beers and I can tell you about them all.’

She got water.

To my disappointment I found out when googling that Tom’s has shut so I’ll divert you to Bruges and Le Trappiste http://www.letrappistebrugge.com.

Where they have nearly 200 beers. So no danger of being as quiet as a Trappist monk.

And, of course, we toasted the Fallen… In Flanders fields.

The best Glasgow bar

Scots Wahey: Kirsten and me

Glasgow Bar, Tobago: Just ask for Karl and tell him Jim from Glasgow sent you.

Only that there have been hundreds of Glasgow Jimmys who have passed by and asked for a selfie with Karl Glasgow.

Who has never been to Glasgow, or Scotland.

Although he knows a dreadlocked man he introduces me to who has come in to do some repairs who was in a band in Fort William in the Scottish Highamds.

Try the mahi-mahi (like swordfish) which obviously comes with macaroni cheese (everything does).

With Carib or Stag beer or rum punch.

It’s unlike any Glasgow working man’s bar I’ve ever been to, and I’ve been to a few, and with knockout views of Parlatuvier Bay.

See www.tobagogov.tt and let’s do it all over again in On your marks, get set, GOAT in Tobago.

Mrs Ippi and Mr Ippi

The home of the Delta Blues

A honky tonk near the Marriott Hotel, Cleveland, Mississippi: Don’t ask me the name, there had been Southern Pecan Nut Brown Ale and Bulleit bourbon taken.

But it’s across a bridge and is where my Travel buddy, Ireland’s Travel Writer of the Year, Isabel Conway and I stayed for late-night drinks.

After I had spotted a fella lassoing the waitress in while watching the rodeo on the TV.

We joined them, he showed us his dogs and horses on his phone, and Issy and I agreed he was a good ole’ Country Boy.

And here’s where you can read about the whole adventure, my American Trilogy… The Promised Land, The story of the Blues, The King of Kings.

And much more besides at https://www.deep-south-usa.com and https://visitmississippi.org.

Vegas baby

I can snuggle up in the crook of Cami’s neck

Carneval Court, Las Vegas: I’m heading back to Vegas in May to see my fiancée, maybe wife Cami, from Utah.

We danced at Carneval Court https://www.caesars.com/harrahs-las-vegas/things-to-do/nightlife-carnaval-court?utm_campaign=GMB&utm_source=google&utm_medium=local&utm_term=CarnavalCourt&utm_content=bar#.XkRmBCSnzYU to Eighties Covers band The Whip Its https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=NYEYxH6l1uQ.

And the barmen poured drinks in an arc into the mouths of women and squirted cream foam into women’s cleavage.

While women dressing in playing cards stood guard at the door.

Visit https://www.lvcva.com and join me around Vegas… Strip… the light fantastic.

Hamburgers and pints

A room for the night

Strand Pauli Beach Club, Hamburg: I’ve drunk at many a beach bar, Barbados, the French Riviera, Majorca, Greece… but it’s Hamburg for me.

The Strand Pauli Beach Club https://www.strandpauli.de on the shore near the Rieperbahn where you can dine on burgers, obvs, and Astra beer.

Before sleeping it off in a double bed.

And here’s what else happens in Hamburg Hamburgers and ships.

Adventure, America, Countries, Europe

Thirteen years an Irishman – My Sporting Weekend Five

There’s a symmetry to my long farewell arriving at the Aviva today and Ireland v Scotland in the Six Nations Rugby Championship.

And here’s me full-throated and fully tanked getting into the spirit of it… https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=7LM0FaU5rDw&feature=youtu.be

Scotland and Ireland are, of course, the two countries that are in my blood.

I’ve developed it as a mantra on my travels to go where the locals play and pray.

I’ll do the praying bit tomorrow… well it is Sunday, but today it’s five of the best of Bandanaman at play.

Judy’s a smasher

Murray and Murty in Portugal

Quinto da Lago, Portugal: Tennis (and dancing) lessons with Judy Murray, and padel, the squash-tennis hybrid beloved of John Terry and Max Evans.

Paul McGinley’s Golf Academy where I knocked it into the next country.

And getting my name emblazoned on my back at The Campus, the hi-tech training camp used by Premier League and international teams.

And visit https://www.quintadolagocc.com/en/special-offer-winter?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIgOuMk7-t5wIVx7HtCh1z6wW-EAAYAiAAEgLkYPD_BwE.

Get your skis on

Franz Klammer, eat your heart out

Austria: Trudging down the black run in Soll after getting off the gondola.

And hammer and nail games in the Whisky Muhle bar https://www.wilderkaiser.info/en/soell/info/whiskey-muehle.html. Soll Mates.

And tearing the arse out of my trousers sledding In Ehrwald with Topflight https://topflightforschools.ie.

Racing with goats

Tobago: As you do… it’s their Cheltenham, and my goat is Bandanaman, obviously.

And racing (well, crawling) with crabs, the animal that is, not the ailment.

And swimming under the waterfalls. https://www.visittobago.gov.tt/go-experience

Meet you at the ball park

America: In the batting pen at the Washington Nationals https://washington.org/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIvqm8-cet5wIVmKztCh36xg_8EAAYASAAEgLLX_D_BwE, Easy DC,

Inside the Colorado Rockies stadium in Denver https://washington.org/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIvqm8-cet5wIVmKztCh36xg_8EAAYASAAEgLLX_D_BwE and at the game at the Los Angeles Angels https://visitanaheim.org.

With my cheerleaders at the Denver Broncos Go West and with Wildwing (don’t ever call him Donald) at the Anaheim Ducks.

Get on your bike (or car)

Bring on the Tour

Cycling up the most used route on the Tour de France!!

On my trip to Lourdes (I’ll get onto the praying tomorrow) and the Pyrenees https://visitpyrenees.com.au and The Lourdes prayer.

MEET YOU AT THE GAME

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

Uncategorized

Tobago… ready, steady, goat.

My Dear Old Mum would sometimes chide me for being a bit of a giddy goat.

Nothing much changes, she’s still my Dear Old Mum, although a year older, and dearer, on Saturday, while I’m even giddier and even goatier…

With white hair hanging from my chinny-chin-chin.

We’ve had some travels, me and Mum, and I often think how much fun we’d have had together in some others.

A tartan band: She’s small but mighty

Like Tobago.

Tobago ‘our little dot on the map’ as one local called it lies just off Trinidad and just off Venezuala.

But it’s in a world of its own with a tropical rainforest, its own national dish ‘crab and dumpling’.

That’s my kind of beach

And TV chef Ainsley Harriott was there to try some for himself.

Sunday School, which is anything but… it’s actually a street party held in Buccoo every Sunday night.

When our friends from Tobago visit every year it is always a highlight of the Travel circuit.

Last year they brought us up to speed with the many unique cultural aspects of the island.

This year they wanted to stress the nature, animal and birdlife and sustainability of the island.

Carnival time

The best animals, of course, are the goats.

The Tobago Goat Race was started by Bajan Samuel Callender in 1925 as an more everyman’s alternative to horse racing.

Those goats again

It runs every Easter Tuesday… and I’m looking to get out there next year to run too.

And some cooking… here’s Yzanne Williams Chance

Am I kidding? You’ll need to keep following to find out.

See http://www.tobagobeyond.com, http://www.visittobago.gov.tt and here’s a neat site I found too http://www.buccoo.net.

How to get there

Virgin Atlantic flies from Manchester and Gatwick http://www.virginatlantic.com

And British Airways flies from Gatwick http://www.britishairways.com.

Now you want to read about my adventures in the Caribbean? Thought you would https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/rihanna-in-barbados/

And https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/my-kiss-with-rihanna/

And you want to see how I got on when I tried to learn how to cook Caribbean-style…