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.