America, Countries, Culture, Europe

Hat’s the way to do it

We’ve long forgotten that it was milliners Dunn & Co who came up with the brand ‘If you want to get ahead get a hat’ in the 1940s.

But it’s the enduring appeal of the power of a slogan that it endures,

It has also become something of an unconscious personal mantra.

I’d even go as far as to coin my own slant: ‘put on a new hat, put on a new you.’

Hatta boy!

So an entirely unscientific trawl through five hats on my travels and why when I put them on I’m transported right back there.

The tail of Denver

Remember the Jimbo

Davy Crockett hats, Denver, Colorado: And a reacquaintance two years ago with an old friend, a raccoon hat in Denver www.denver.org and Go West.

I got a reputation for myself in my alma mater, chilly Aberdeen Aberdeen – a light in the north for wearing said hat.

Forward fast to San Antonio, Texas, and the Alamo town www.visitsantonio.com hosts the US Travel fair www.ipw.com in 2023.

And I’ll blend in with all the other Davy Crockett impersonators.

Does this car look big in me? The Cote d’Azur

In the Cannes

Trilby hat, Cote d’Azur: Well it is Cannes and it’s what they’ve come to expect of me out there.

A classic Fiat 500 is obligatory too. Visit www.mandelieu.com and The Boat D’Azur.

Sailor boy: In West Hollywood

Sail away in California

Hello sailor, West Hollywood: It’s nautical but nice and in Pride Week in camp WeHo you have to make an effort.

I strutted like a peacock after getting a compliment from a queen.

I was on my morning constitutional www.visitwesthollywood.com and https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/19/my-weekend-with-marilyn-2/amp/

Buen Camino

Camino hat, Santiago de Compostella, Rome, Tenerife, the Austrian Tyrol: And if you’ve walked the Camino then it’s important to tell everyone after.

It also keeps the sun off your head but that’s secondary.

Visit www.CaminoWays.com, www.FrancigenaWays.com. www.CanariaWays.com and www.tyrol.com. www.topflight.ie and www.topflightforschools.ie.

And A pilgrim’s prayer, Small roads lead to Rome, A walk through the ages… Tenerife.

If the hat fits

Cowboy Jimmy

Cowboy hat, Washington DC: Like a Greystones cowboy, riding out on a horse in a star-spangled rodeo.

It was given to me by my Portland, Oregon https://www.travelportland.com friends and I showcased it with a glittery beard in DC https://washington.org and Easy DC.

And on the hottest day of the year carting luggage around New York https://www.nycvb.com and https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/28/old-new-york-hamilton/amp/.

MEET YOU IN A HAT

Asia, Countries, Europe

Give us this Day – the wee chapel

Our places of worship have shrunk with the lockdown but we can still give thanks to Our God from here in our homes.

Our forebears did during the days of repression in the Catholic and Protestant wars.

And the oppression of the Jews and discrimination against Muslims.

I saw evidence for it myself in Ann Boleyn’s Hever Castle in Kent in the south of England, through a hidden door behind a closet.

Where they boasted what was one of the smallest chapels and where, on occasion, they celebrated Mass clandestinely

Point towards Mecca

While Christians rely on their set Sunday services Muslims who cannot get to mosques can build their own places of worship.

With stones and a keen sense of direction for Mecca.

Set yourself up a mosque

Which I found in the Wadi Rum Desert in Jordan www.visitjordan.com.

With my ethically-responsible tour providers www.gadventures.com The water of life, Petra, and the sands of time

Small churches too can be found just around the corner when you go walkabout in a city.

Prague Protestants

As in Prague https://www.czechtourism.com/home/ and Hope springs eternal  from where Jan Hus and the first Protestants http://Give us this Day – The First Protestants (of Prague) hailed.

And the holy man stands with his back to you.

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Prague Protestant history

Again on Mount Lycabettus where stands the highest church in Athens, https://athensattica.com St George and My Greek odyssey.

Athena herself is said to have built the hill herself so she could inspect the erection of the Parthenon herself.

Ice love you

Small churches can be found anywhere really.

That they can put up a cross and one of the funkier churches was an ice one.

In Soll in Austria Soll Mates and https://www.wilderkaiser.info/en/destination-austria/region-wilder-kaiser-skiing-tyrol.html with Top Flight www.topflight.ie.

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Ring of truth: In Austria

While in Italy it helps if you’ve got your own chapel with your hotel.

Which I discovered on my Via Francigena www.ViaFrancigena.com and Small roads lead to Rome.

While in The Vatican http://m.museivaticani.va/content/museivaticani-mobile/en/visita-i-musei.html itself you can always find a small chapel.

In one of the alcoves of St Paul’s Basilica.

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Your own hotel chapel… in Lazio

Where my own Scary One disturbed my peace at the end of my Via Francigena by phoning me up to give out about my phone bills!

Me, I’m off down to my own carefully created Wee Chapel in my back garden.

Where sits a wooden grotto with a holy water bottle from Lourdes and http://www.lourdes-france.org The Lourdes prayer.

MEET YOU IN THE AISLES

Countries, Culture, Europe, Food, Food & Wine

Hungry and Thursday – pasta masta

Was it you who took all the pasta from the supermarket shelves?

Who knew that that was our go-to food in time of crisis.

Italian Mammas, of course, have been serving pasta as a cure-all since Julius Caesar were a lad, with that special ingredient of love.

And with Bandanaman’s l’amore to Italia and to flag up our friends, the travel providers, who have taken us there for years www.topflight.ie, www.tuiholidays.ie and www.sunway.ie among others.

Here’s a dishy Italian treat…

Aperitivo

Now this one is the easiest of the lot with Prosecco or Campari as a kicker… or my choice the Venetian favourite, the Aperol Spritz: Prosecco, Aperol and soda water.

Antipasto

Bruschetta, Central Italy: Or maybe as far back as Classical Rome with the Latins’ verb ‘bruscare’ meaning ‘to roast over coals’.

But you knew that?

The bruschetta is what you make it, and you will have all this around your cucina.

Garlic-rubbed grilled bread, salt, pepper, tomatoes, basil leaves and oil.

Primo

Risi e Bisi, Padua: Now it’s always good to know that you have the Anthony Bourdain seal of approval.

I was also guided to Anthony’s fave Risi e Bisi by my hosts in Padua.

It looks easy too and in fact is so this is something you can rustle up in double jig time.

Now I’m reliably informed by Anthony that the peas and rice float in a vegetable broth made from a simple base of onion and pancetta — the fatty, cured-pork cut.

And that it was always served at the Doge’s Banquet on April 25 which sounds like a good idea for an Italian-themed night at home.

Visit https://www.venetoinside.com/discover-veneto/plan-your-holiday-in-veneto/top-10-places-to-visit-in-veneto/ and http://www.italia.it/en/home.html.

Now this is where I get confused… my Italian friends variably tell me this is a main course.

But my old Italian teacher Donata said that it’s a primo and that the secondo be chicken, meat or fish along with the contorno of vegetables.

Secondo

Chicken cacciatore, all across Italy: Should you decide a bistecca is not for you and object to, or just don’t like, veal then pass up on the Bistecca alla Fiorentina.., besides its serving suggestion isn’t well done enough for mio.

The simple to make (and most Italian dishes are) chicken cacciatore which involves frying chicken cuts with base ingredients of onion, garlic and tomato is something even I could cook.

Particularly as I’ve been shown my penne from my tagliatelle by my friend Catherine Fulvio at her Ballyknocken House & Cookery School https://ballyknocken.ie.

Dolce

Fragola Gelato, Rome: Now, you might be expecting a tiramisu here but I’m not a coffee, creamy signore… in fact the only cream I like is ice cream.

So dish me up a fragola (strawberry) gelato and you’ll not get a peep out of me (well, maybe!). See https://www.rome.net.

Caffe

And I’m going to deviate from the script here with una ciocolatta calda densa, a hot chocolate that is more of a thick chocolate pudding.

Digestivo

A Grappa perhaps, or a Limincello… and the latter has made it over in our move from Ireland to Scotland.

And returned to our freezer. And now that mia moglie has gone into the distilling business with her alcohol sanitiser then it’s a small step surely to making Limoncello.

Now we just need some lemon trees and a Mediterranean diet.

Vino

Of course a full Chianti or Valpolicella is usually what il dottore ordered.

But instead I’ll opt for a pinot grigio seeing that it’s a white meat dish.

And seeing that I want to evoke Rome and an al fresco family meal just outside the Pantheon.

Then I’m going to plump for due bottiglie di Lazio Pinot Grigot Cantina Gabriele.

And we’ll maybe slap on some Vivaldi and look up at our painting of the Castello Sant’Angelo in Rome and know that we’ll be back.

Because, of course, we threw some coins into the Trevi Fountain.

Lire, naturally… I am Scottish!

And here’s my love letter to Rome… Small roads lead to Rome and https://www.rome.net.

Adventure, Africa, Countries, Europe, Food, Food & Wine

Holiday Snaps – Gardaland, Marrakech, Dubrovnik

For those of us who have Irish blood running through our veins Lake Gardaland sounds like a police theme park (ask an Irish relative).

Pigtales: Peppa. www.peppapig.co.uk

For everyone who books one of their Lake Garda family properties for the summer season.

Souk it up

Souk it up

They say that if you fall off a horse (or camel) you should just hop back on.

Well, maybe after 17 years it’s time for me to climb aboard again in Morocco.

My trip to Marrakech and the Atlas Mountains brought a new meaning to ‘ill-fated’.

And I’ll need a stiff drink to relay it but it definitely does fall into the category of ‘accidental tourist’.

Better leave it to the professionals… www.inspiringtravelcompany.co.uk.

They are flagging up a week in the Royal Mansour Marrakech from £5995 two+two family (kids under 12).

There’s all kind of luxury: riads, hamams, fine dining.

As well as lots for the adventurous sort such as dune surfing, horse and carriage ride through the city, riding camels.

And a Bedouin tented dinner under the stars. Oh, yes, I know that one all right!!!

Dubrovnik – to do list

Balkan beauty

And I should have seen all this with my own eyes.

Only I had my old passport on me with my US visa in it rather than my new one sitting back in my Medjugorje hostel.

So I had to get off the bus before the border and head back to Medjugorje.

So I have to get back to do it, and when I do it will be with Croatia Tours https://croatia.ie/croatiaspecials.asp?emailID=5061F645-D5EC-4D7C-9F71-90EB3B944A4A through Mostar which will run in July and August on Wednesdays.

Seven nights to the lushly forested Mljet Island and Dubrovnik, staying at a 3* on June 18, with flights from Dublin from €887.

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

Culture, Food, Food & Wine

Hungry and Thursday – cook around the world

A sallow 17-year-old, I was sent away with a recipe book, and not a clue how to cook – that’s an Irish Mammy for you!

Of course, I was never afraid to seek guidance, knocking on my flatmate’s door to ask how to make an omelette.

When he had his girlfriend around!

Well, you can’t make an omelette without cracking eggs.

I’m still checking out how the experts do it: when the Scary One allows me into her kitchen.

Here are my cookery demos from around the world:IMG_0964

It’s got arms and legs

Pulpo; The driver transporting me from Santiago de Compostella on my Camino would repeat two words on our 100km drive.

Albergo (hostel) and pulpo (octopus) .

Eating pulpo with Galician tomato sauce (not the stuff out of the bottle) sitting on a high stool with a vase of Rioja…

Bueno!

My friends at the Spanish Tourist Board in Dublin took us to Cookery School to show us how it’s done.

It looks like just boiling: something I could master.

Visit CaminoWays www.caminoways.com and read A pilgrim’s prayer

And obvs salty pulpo was the first dish I ordered in Tenerife with CanariaWays www.CanariaWays.com.

Where they taught us how to make mojo rojo, a fancy tomato sauce! A walk through the ages… Tenerife.

Ruby’s a gem:

Barbados Okra: Cooking in the Caribbean is a shared experience.

Which is why Ruby enlisted me as her assistant at Club Barbados http://www.thelubbarbados.com

To make Barbados Okra.

This is how to do it… heat the butter in a saucepan and sauté onion and garlic until soft and nicely smelly.

Add okra, salt and remaining water. Cook for ten to 15 minutes on low heat or until okra is cooked. 

 

Of course Ruby had something to say.

Also see www.visitbarbados.org and www.tropicalsky.ie.

And here’s my misadventures in Barbados Let’s rumba in Barbados and My kiss with Rihanna.

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Pasta masters

Pasta: Catherine Fulvio is Ireland’s pasta master.

And she’s now got me, of course, too whenever she needs some advice at her www.ballyknocken.ie.

Catherine and her kitchen were good enough to teach me how to make my own pasta and more.

When Top Flight, the Italian specialists, brought us along to showcase their new brochure www.topflight.ie.

Italy is a culinary dream and everyone returns with tales of their favourite restaurant and dish.

Mine’s is a risotto ai piselli in Padua… Frescoes

Cooking with Auntie

Curry favour: Or more accurately Uncle…

The uncle in this case being Uncle Kenneth at the Blue Crab restaurant in Scarborough, Tobago http://www.tobagobluecrab.comand http://www.visittobago.gov.tt

Uncle Kenneth let me help him cook the chicken curry… there’s a big Indian culinary influence on the island.

Auntie Alison was the real entertainer (hilarious) though telling the womenfolk how to keep their men interested.

Auntie Alison was the real entertainment (hilarious) though telling the womenfolk how to keep their men interested.

Here’s a peek, and some of my ramblings on the island made famous by Robinson Crusoe and, er, Ainsley Harriott… ainsley.

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How to boil an egg

Egg fried rice: The obvious one. But in the hands of a professional cook, and entertainer, it’s pure comedy.

And on Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas they’ll do just that with their open kitchen.

What these guys can do with an egg… we’ll actually hatch a chicken in their chef’s hats.

While starting a singalong.

Visit www.royalcaribbean.com. And here’s a Royal party for you A Royal Party.

Uncategorized

Hungry and Thursday – Pasta con Fulvio

The Scary One’s been laid low so I had to make my own meal!

Thank goodness then I’ve got Catherine Fulvio to call on.

At her cookery school up the road in Ballyknocken in Co. Wicklow https://ballyknocken.ie/catherine-fulvios-cookery-school-ballyknocken-house-cookery-school-accommodation-wicklow-ireland/.

With Italian specialists Top Flight www.topflight.ie.

Woah there! David lends there

Food is integral to Italian life with Catherine sharing with us tales of her Sicilian mother-in-law rustling up beautiful dishes when she visited.

From what was lying around the kitchen.

There was a pasta-making machine lying around our table top… the only thing though was we’d have to make the pasta.

Or rather Laura, an Italian on our table, would.

Shredding it

She did, of course, put me to work on the sticky stuff which is kneeding the dough and the egg.

The expert gets it into a nice ball, the amateur (ie. me) wears it on their fingers like a glove.

And that’s even before you learn how to use the pasta-making machine.

Now this one’s really got my brain scrambled (or should that be mangled). And the cup after cup of Prosecco wasn’t helping.

Maggie comes to the rescue

You’ve got to thread the strips through the machine which is kind of difficult when you’re turning the handle in the wrong direction.

And then change the settings on the side to make it thinner.

I could just hear Bruce Forsyth or Larry Grayson guffawing at my efforts (ask your parents).

Maybe I’d be better at the oven-baked Pancella & red pepper Risotto… the only trouble was that I was chopping my celery stalks too thick.

The wooden spoon

And Laura had to take over the garlic cloves because I was going too slowly.

The open Ravioli with Chicken Mushroom Sauce would have been a mush without Kevin’s help.

But I did manage to mix the Amaretto Truffle Torte in its bowl and lick the spatula and the Amaretto.

Time then to make my excuses and leave…

But not before giving you a sample of what Top Flight has to offer in its Italy brochure.

Old Sicily. Photo by Chiara Caldarola on Pexels.com

And in a nod to Catherine and the Sicilians… why not from the Top Flight brochure Taormina.

They are billing Delicious Sicily & Cooking Class as an excursion.

You can stay at the Hotel Ariston. Seven nights B&B two pps, flying from Dublin. From €999 to €1299. Visit http://www.topflight.ie.

You’ll be near the centre of the old town, ten minutes’ walk to the cable car for the beach (an uphill walk from the resort centre) next to the bus terminal.

And here’s a Dad joke to lighten your day…

Patient, Doctor, I feel like an Italian island.

Doctor: ‘Don’t be Sicily.’

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Germany leaves me gratified

One of the greatest national misstereotypes is that the Germans have no sense of humour.

When they have the funniest language in the 6,500 spoken around the world.

I dig it: The tunnel

English can be a hoot too, by the way.

And what is my yardstick?

Well, the rude words you find in the dictionary (schoolboys are the best judge of this I think you’ll find).

And I’m reminded here of when the Son and Heir asked me shortly after we had relocated to Ireland to tell him some dirty words.

I dare say because he didn’t want to be caught out st school.

Wank mountain

Which happens.

I recall being tricked on the bus home when I was asked if I was a homosapien…

To which the 10-year-old Jimmy obviously said ‘No’.

Different times.

Back to the Son and Heir and he could probably teach me some dirty words now.

Wankhuis

Now what were we talking about again?

Ah, yes, those funny Germans.

I have been onto them ever since my first trip to Germany, for the Oktoberfest when I was 19, and I returned when I was 20.

I noticed straight off (I have a radar for such things) that they put fahrt at the end of many of their words.

And my eagle eyes honed in on the sign in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Bavaria.

Peaking: At the German-Austrian border

Wanktunnel… I didn’t see that coming.

But there it was, a big sign for the erection (warning, there will be plenty of this) of the tunnel.

Which is due to be finished off next year.

Now I did a few mountains on my Topflight www.topflight.ie trip to Ehrwald, Tirol and Garmische-Partenkirchen.

With Daniela in Ehrwald

I had a Zugspitze, a Berwang… but I didn’t have a Wank.

I don’t know why, I imagine you feel breathless after it.

Its 1780m climb.

Still you can relax at the peak in the Wankhaus.

Now the website is all in German but there are pictures…

Of a beautiful mountain hut where I dare say they boast any number of different-sized, coloured and shaped sausages.

Lie back and think of Germany: In the Coburger Hutte

And serve some meaty treats in the restaurant too.

Now that I’ve got a warning sign for surfing the net for Wank and am anticipating some dodgy emails, I’ll just leave you with this challenge.

Can you find me the Selbstbefriedigung Mountain in Germany?

They find this a lot funnier in Germany than we do their name.

Flushed: Austrian humour

If you like your toilet humour I’ll get to work on loo signs around the world.

But for now here are some Austrian loo thoughts… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/10/01/austrian-toilet-humour/ And https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/10/03/__trashed/

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Hungry and Thursday – the worst bar none

Chocolate is better than men because… we’ve all seen those posters and mugs.

But sometimes it goes wrong.

Such as with the branding you sometimes get with sweets and chocolate.

My trip to Bosnia & Herzegovina with Marian Pilgrimages http://www.marian.ie gave so much, an audience with Our Lady in Medjugorje, a history lesson in Sarajevo.

And an insight into the peoples of this region, the crossroads of East and West in the Balkans.

In Medge they are Croatians with the only thing vying for space with Our Lady in the shops Croatian flags and football tops. Medjugorje, what’s your story?

My old mucker from university, Davor, a Croatian-Scot was my first introduction to them.

But I have come to know them better through Croatia Tours http://www.croatia.ie on the River Liffey in Dublin…

And joining them before the World Cup final against France for wine and lunch (it was never a penalty!)

Thankfully there was none of the chocolate I found in a petrol station on the way to the airport in Split.

Name blame: Sweets in the Balkans

There’s just no amount of thumbs-up with Victorian dandy that makes this right.

I’m guessing they’re lozenges but I put them back on the shelf.

I can’t imagine for a minute that they meant any harm but…

Then there are those brand gaffes where there’s just been no quality control.

Not what you expect: ISIS chocolate

Such as this chocolate bar http://www.isischocolates.be in Brussels Airport on my way back from my tour of the World War I Battlefields… In Flanders fields.

With GTI The Group Travel Specialists www.gtitravel.ie.

Now the sentiment is right and before you think it’s cashing in on the War just remember that chocolate would have been a treat for the Tommies.

No, it’s just the acronym for the people who make it… ISIS!

It’s always an awkward one here, the quality control at TravelTravelTravel.

What to put in and what to leave out.

I think I’m on safe ground here though with this one which is a particular delicacy for Salzburgers.

And it was something that the indomitable Mrs M was particularly taken with…

Mozart’s Balls, or Mozartkugel http://www.mozartkugel.at on a Top Flight http://www.topflight.ie skiing trip to Austria… Soll Mates.

Send me the branding that goes wrong..

And in the Travel blog that brings you the best in toilet humour more to add to the annals of… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/10/01/austrian-toilet-humour/

And https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/10/03/__trashed/. Look out for the name of the Bavarian tunnel I never saw coming… coming soon along the tracks.

It would make Our Lady blush!

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V for Vegan

No cheap digs here about Vegans… just me flagging up World Vegan Day next month.

Vegans get a bad name when it should be the very opposite.

And like all things which we don’t know we tend to sneer.

Elaine ‘Black Magic’ as I nicknamed her (I gave everyone on our walking trip a mantle as is my way) has her own look.

She wears black, likes piercings and is a vegan.

But she doesn’t shove it down your throat.

In fact the exact opposite. To quote the quietly-spoken and truly warm Black Magic: ‘I’m entering your world.’

Which is why she never kicked up once on our Topflight trip www.topflight.ie to Ehrwald and Garmisch-Partenkirchen about the food.

And, to be fair, mine host Daniella, did cater admirably for her at the Hotel Sonneburg www.hotelsonneburg.com.

Which brings us back to World Vegan Day… which incidentally is on November 1.

With much else on lifestyle California leads the way.

West Hollywood www.visitwesthollywood.com is on point in so many ways so it comes as little surprise that it’s right up there for vegans.

Fine dining

Gracias Madre on Melrose Avenue http://Gracias Madre is the place to go.

It offers 100% organic plant-based Mexican cuisine.

And it’s chic too with hand-woven chairs, wrought-iron fixtures, embroidered fabrics and hanging fabrics.

I found WH one of the most embracing and chilled places I’ve been too.

I promised myself I’d return with our host Kate and my pals Jon, Helen and Heather.

To recreate the Beatles Abbey Road pic… on their rainbow zebra crossing.

Here’s what I thought of WH… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/06/01/california-screamin-my-weekend-with-marilyn/

If California is all about fitness and health then here’s another state which I’d pitch as even more Outdoorsy… Colorado.

Where man-banned, tattoo-sleeved men called Brad or Dexter make vegan food at their eateries in the morning, climb a mountain free-style in the afternoon and then white-water raft before it gets dark.

Casual dining

Santana’s Vegan Grill http://Santana’s Vegan Grill is proof that these aren’t people from another planet where things are logical and they have pointy ears.

So we’re looking at the only vegan drive-thru in Colorado Springs.

Which serves up plant-based alternatives for bacon cheeseburgers, hot dogs and buffalo chicken strips. Visit http://www.colorado.com.

And here’s how I got on with the hipsters in Colorado…

https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/go-west-denver-buffalo-bill/ and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/29/the-new-pioneers/

Sweet stuff

You want some sweet treats. Well Portland, Oregon where some of us Murty’s live is the place to go.

Doe Donuts Doe Donuts is the city’s first dedicated vegan donut (they spell it without the ‘gh’) shop.

Look out for the house-made strawberry soy milk and a signature chocolate raised doughnut topped with gold pearls, chocolate shavings and ganache.

Portland is also home to the world’s first vegan mini-mall where visitors can enjoy dining, shopping and even vegan tattoos.  travelportland.com