Africa, America, Asia, Caribbean, Countries, Cruising, Culture, Europe, Flying

In defence of Travel people

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts – Mark Twain

Cathy’s clown: DC Easy DC and www.washington.org

The next time you see a cinema usher, a football steward.

Ave Maria: www.CanariaWays.com In defence of Travel people

Or if you even run into a sports writer, then I trust you’ll pick them up on getting in for free!

Muriel, my pal: With Muriel Bolger

Only you won’t because you’ve got class.

King Louis: Friends of racing in Tobago, Louis, Nadine and Clem. www.visittobago.gov.tt Ready, steady GOAT… racing in Tobago

And you know that they’re doing their job.

Kythera: My Greek odyssey www.athensattica.com

And that they’re good at what they do or else they wouldn’t get asked.

Herr for the beer: Hamburgers and ships and www.hamburg.com

My friends

I ran a gauntlet of abuse on my way to becoming Ireland’s Travel Editor of the Year – and from the very people I was helping, my own staff.

Aer we go: With Paula and Aer Lingus www.aerlingus.com

Who would, and to be fair it wasn’t all of them, put me down when I was on my Travels (in my own time).

Oo Es of Eh: www.visitusa.ie and www.kennedyspacecenter.com

And snidely refer to my trips which always produced articles, written on time and to the brief I was given, as…

Wooah. Barbados: www.visitbarbados.org Let’s rumba in Barbados My kiss with Rihanna

Junkets, Jollies, Beanos, freebies.

Of course it didn’t apply when I sent them.

Fab Four: With Maria www.spain.info/en Eoghan www.travelextra.ie and Sharon www.ttc.com

And they would be the ones who would be late with their copy.

Petra time: With Zuhair… www.vistjordan.com and The water of life, Petra, and the sands of time

Sometimes even embarrassing themselves and a host.

Your Onur: And www.turkishairlines.com and Wham bam, thank you Hamam

While their articles would often have to rewritten..

Your USA: With www.visitusa.ie

And all because it was a ‘junket’ and not given the same attention as any other article.

I would then have to apologise profusely to the providers who thankfully and very generously considered me worthy of the ultimate accolade…

Your South Africa www.southafrica.net: With Siseko in Dublin What’s new pussycat?

Their Pleasure To Work With award which was sneered at when I got back to the office.

LA story: Universal Studios’ www.universalstudioshollywood.comJon, The Scottish Sun’s Heather and Tickets Direct’s www.ticketsdirect.com Kate. And My Weekend With Marilyn and Stair Wars.

Back then, and it’s only a year ago, I would call on the services of the finest freelancers who never let me down.

Star women: The Irish at IPW

On the other side

Now I’m on the other side of the fence I have been glad to say that the holiday providers I cultivated then and many writers and editors remain the best of friends.

Zach the lad: My old pal Zach from my Deep South The Promised Land, The story of the Blues and The King of Kings odyssey www.deep-south-usa.com,

And you always know who your friends are in your time of need.

Give it a twirl: At Pic du Midi. www.hautes-pyrenees.com and The Lourdes prayer

Don’t Cancel

So that’s why I’ll not rest in promoting our industry which, like Twain, I believe is vital to the human condition.

Live like a Royal: Messi around on the water In Barcelona www.barcelonatourisme.com withPaula and www.royalcaribbean.com.

And that’s why I’ve been sprinkling this polemic with pictures of us around the world.

Grand oul tome: With BA’s Tara and Queen of Vegas Tryphavana. And www.lvcva.com and www.ba.com. And Strip… the light fantastic and The grandest canyon.

So join me to support #DontCancelPostpone and #tourismstrong.

America, Asia, Caribbean, Countries, Europe, Flying, Food, Food & Wine, Ireland, UK

In defence of… air travel

If you’re reading, Greta Thunberg and the Flygstam (or flying shame) brigade…

I can’t tell you how many air miles I racked up last year.

I was away more than a dozen times with everywhere from Tobago www.visittobago.gov.tt and Ready, steady GOAT… racing in Tobago

Through the Oo Es of Eh www.visitusa.ie and https://www.visitusa.org.uk and living the California life www.visitcalifornia.com My Weekend With Marilyn and Stair Wars.

Down to South Africa www.visitsouthafrica.com What’s new pussycat? and up to Jordan www.visitjordan.com The water of life, Petra, and the sands of time.

I only mention them over the other equally fabulous and welcoming destinations who hosted me because they were at the extremities of my Travel footprint.

Do I feel guilty, or should you? Well, yes. How could we not the way Greta goes on?

Of course there’s a multitude of evidence out there on the world wide web to back up Greta.

And like everything on the net you can find anything to support your view.

But I wax taken by the research done by https://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/how-bad-is-air-travel-for-the-environment-51166834/ on the subject.

And their contention that air travel was better for the environment than car travel.

They estimate that the world’s drivers go through 1 billion gallons of fuel a day against 750 million gallons for air passengers.

Of course the fact that one form of transport is less harmful than another is not a strong enough argument.

Against that I would propose the positive effects of air travel… in expanding our minds, our frontiers and our appreciation of other peoples.

While fielding the accusations of the Flygskam brigade that the world is only in lockdown because of selfish air travellers who carried it across the globe…

In big monstrous metal birds.

Just imagine though a world in which our possibilities were restricted by a lack of air travel, or if you will, the past.

A world where we only learned about other peoples through the books and information we are given.

Now I’m not suggesting Boris Johnson or Donald Trump are feeding such a narrative but here is a cautionary tale of what could happen when we close ourselves off from others…

Legend has it that the people of Hartlepool in the north-east of England hanged a monkey who they mistook for a French spy during the Napoleonic Wars.

I have always believed that we are at our best as humans when we are being progressive rather than regressive.

While obviously being respectful of the world around us and those with whom we share it.

And being aware of our limitations with many a salutary tale out there from time immemorial of when to pull back.

Such as the tale of Icarus who flew too close to the sun only for the wax on his wings to melt.

This, and many more moral fables of how we should live with the natural environment around us, are all around you in Greece.., https://athensattica.com and My Greek odyssey.

But like Odysseus I have gone off on a tangent.

I will deal with the other forms of transport in the next parts of my ‘In Defence of’ series which will include cars,.

And no car hater me… how could I be? I should by rights be driving through the Florida Keys right now.

But to leave you on an up… the South Africans have discovered a balancing solution to carbon emissions under their feet.,, This plant can save the world.

And our shared history has shown too that our medicinal cures too can be found in the natural world.

So here’s to when we can all travel again.

And a shoutout to all our friends in the aviation industry who are our dreamcatchers… #DontPanicPostpone.#loveairtravel.

America, Countries, Europe, Ireland, UK

My Sporting Weekend – Golf and social distancing

Because I’d often be deep in rough when my playing partner was down the fairway – yes, golf is the best sport for social distancing.

And also because nothing makes you want to keep your distance more than having to listen to your boss on the course talk about his share options or his new car.

Ir’s not that I dislike golf, or professional or amateur golfers. In fact I used to cover golf.

And was happy to revisit the Open when it returned to Northern Ireland www.discovernorthernireland.com last summer for the first time in neatly 60 years.

And even joined the legendary Gary Player around Royal Liverpool, Hoylake, as he played a round of golf for Japanese television.

North Berwick

It’s just social golfers that I try to avoid like the, er COVID-19.

Not the social golfers like my Dear Old Mum and Dad, you understand, who used to play on my Dad’s half-day.

The Golf Coast

Not that my Dad seemed to enjoy it all that much… he’d mutter away to himself and shake his head all round.

Here in North Berwick on Scotland’s Golf Coast https://scotlandsgolfcoast.com and www.visitscotland.com. you can play on 21 of 30 coasts.

Another home of golf

There was little that my Dear Old Mum and Dad liked better than playing golf in my Mum’s homestead of Co. Donegal www.visitdonegal.com and www.tourism.com.

While my old stomping ground of Co. Wicklow www.visitwicklow.com is more than a match.

If you like your golf then join me as I swung my way through…

The Old Course in Mandelieu-La Napoule in the French Riviera www.france.fr and The Boat D’Azur.

And at the Paul McGinley Golf Academy in Quinta do Lago www.quintadolago.com and www.visitportugal.com.

Just off the Strip in Las Vegas www.lvcva.com and Strip… the light fantastic.

And in the Turkish Airlines Business Lounge of Istanbul Airport www.turkishairlines.com and Wham bam, thank you Hamam

MEET YOU ON THE COURSE… AT A SAFE DISTANCE

#DontCancekPostpone.

Asia, Countries, Deals, Europe

Holidos and don’ts – keep it clean in Istanbul

No, I’m not talking about schoolboy humour, though I don’t blame you for assuming, but rather keeping it clean and germ-free on holiday.

And, of course, I must start with the Coronavirus.

Word reaches me from my friends at Turkish Airlines www.turkishairlines.com about the measures they take to disinfect your plane.

And let’s face it airplanes ate a magnet for germs.

Let it slide: At Turkish Airlines HQ

Well Turkish have sent us a video of their health guys in protective white suits spraying throughout the plane.

I’ve also seen first-hand from my visit to Turkish Airlines headquarters in Istanbul how far they go to protect our health and safety.

On my trip to the city Wham bam, thank you Hamam where their safety precautions are space age.

This is your captain speaking

There are pools with water the same temperature as the sea to replicate emergency conditions.

And slides, though these days you and me can’t whizz down them…

They’re right to worry that I’d get my stiletto heel stuck.

While, of course, in the event of the call going out for an emergency pilot I have had training on the simulator.

Turkish also put the fun into function with their multi-award winning Business Lounge at the swanky new Istanbul Airport.

Where you can eat and drink your heart out.

My cars faster than yours

And play golf, drive model cars, watch a movie or have a snooze…

A few more words on the Turks… they are one of the cleanest people I have ever met.

It’s their religion and culture and it is also true throughout the Middle East The water of life, Petra, and the sands of time.

And that’s probably why they make such good barbers – the good chat is free. Turkish barbers – and berbers

Now more information on the Coronavirus… I’m reliably informed that it doesn’t like the heat.

Turkey shoot at the TA Business Lounge

So guess where I want to go… well, you have to keep safe!

Our friends at TUI www.tuiholidays.ie have the very thing…

Dublin to Turkey: Seven nights, staying at the 4* Club Candan, Marnaris on a self-catering basis (family 2+1) from €1439.

And family 2+2 from €2019. Both for August 16.

Africa, Asia, Countries, Culture, Europe

Turkish barbers – and berbers

You’ll be seeing a little less of me from now on… my luscious beardie has been shorn, by order of the management.

And all credit to Gokhan, my new Turkish barber in my new home in North Berwick, near Edinburgh, for giving me a face finesse.

Gokhan, it transpires, hails from Bodrum, my first introduction to Turkey, on a family holiday. 17 years ago. And i fell in love with the country.

Turkish pal: Me and Onur

It was there that I had my first Turkish wet shave… back when I didn’t allow hairs to sprout from my cheeks.

And that and a million other things has made me a Turkophile.

Especially the generosity of my pal Onur from Turkish Airlines www.turkishairlines.com who calls me Jim Jim.

And shows off his home country to me… Wham bam, thank you Hamam.

A hamam will do nicely too

I never forgot how good my first Turkish shave felt in Bodrum and sought out a Turkish barber again when I visited Morocco 17 years ago.

Only to run into a charlatan – I suppose the clue was in the title ‘false guide’.

He took me around the alleyways before introducing me to his pal, Morocco’s Sweeney Todd.

And then when I challenged the cost of the haircut ahead of the cutting they tried to pin me to the chair.

Keep an eye out: In Marrakech

Loosening myself from my predicament I zig-zagged around the Mall to give my false guide the slip.

Only to see him waiting for me outside, shouting ‘thief’ at me… ‘you, pay me, I am your guide.’

I put on a sprint and ran through the Marrakech downpour into the arms of a Berber snake charmer who was anything but chatmimg.

Me-Me and Dee-Dee in Batbados

But more of that and other Moroccan mishaps another time…

just let me flag up here another cool people other than the Turks to get your hairs cut… the West Indians.

Or beardie pimped up.., Let’s rumba in Barbados.

Desmond’s, the old Channel Four Eighties sitcom set in a London West Indians’ barbers.

Dab it on: Irie, it’s Tobago

And so in Tobago On your marks, get set, GOAT in Tobago and www.visittobagogov.tt in December I had my last haircut before Gokhan.

Only he was out of red and black colouring dye for my beardie.

The search goes on although the Tobagonians do have a cool plant where you can colour your whiskers yourself…

This lovely bronze orange.

Countries, Europe, Flying

Holidos and Don’ts – saunas

Saunas are definitely a Holido… the best fun you can have with your clothes on, or off.

Us Brits, or Irish like to take our togs. trunks, bathers, bikinis with us to the sauna.

So here’s my sweltering saunas to relax in.

Aviemore

No, not that hut

Not, what you might expect but my first sauna experience, in the Scottish Highlands, left its mark on me.

And Clare, my then-girlfriend, who I ran over on the nursery slopes.

And whose thigh swelled up into a lovely rainbow colour.

I ended up spending the rest of the holiday on my own. Still the sauna was a great hiding place.

See www.visitaviemore.com.

Soll, Austria

I’ll slip off to the sauna

I moved on, and thankfully had learned my lesson, when myself and my Snow Queen went to Soll on a Topflight trip a few years ago.

Sarah didn’t fancy the sauna so I went myself and decided to go au naturel with the other Austrians.

Though I kept my eyes front and centre (honest!).

The next day I was sorely tempted to say to the handsome dude at the next table at breakfast (and within earshot of Sarah): ‘I didn’t recognise you with your clothes off’

Visit https://www.wilderkaiser.info/en/destination-tyrol/region-villages/soell-winter.html and www.topflight.ie.

And visit Soll Mates.

Czech Republic

Sweat off the beer

The pick of my Czech saunas has to be in Marianske Lazhny with Czech Tourism www.czechtourism.com.

When I took a Japanese woman’s bathrobe (and they’re small) by mistake, and she called me out.

Then there was Prague last week in my Aspen Hotel, the Golden Key… https://goldenkey.astenhotels.com/en?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI9azstJHy5wIVzbHtCh3vZQmYEAAYASAAEgI6GvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds and the Hotel Beethoven, Teplice.

Where the sauna, massages and medical treatments take years off you.

Some of the ninetysomethings looked like octogenarians.

Istanbul, Turkey

My cup of tea

Well, if it’s good enough for Florence Nightingale, Rudolf Nureyev, John Travolta, Kate Moss and East 17.

The 300-year-old Cagaloglu Hamam https://www.cagalogluhamami.com.tr is ornate and also offers trained assassins with karate chop hands for massage.

And then there’s the Turkish tea, or stronger. See www.visitistanbul.com and Wham bam, thank you Hamam.

Finland

It’s blowy outside

Kuusamo, where even Santa sheds his big red suit… don’t worry, he puts a towel over his lap.

At Kuusamo Airport, eight to ten people can sit comfortably on its U-shaped benches.

And while cooling down on the terrace, you can admire the views of the runway and the tiny Kolvanki Lake.

The basic fee is €50 (for two hours) + €10pp.. Extra hours are €15.

How to book? At . You can also call +358 (0)20 708 8810 or send an email to ania.murtovaara@finavia.fi .

You can also check out the saunas at Helsinki and Kittila. Visit https://www.finavia.fi/en/newsroom/2016/would-you-enjoy-sauna-airport

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

Uncategorized

Give us this Day – poppy collections

They collect for everything at my church in Co. Wicklow but not poppies.

Which is all part of the antipathy in some quarters in Ireland towards Remembrance Sunday.

Because while it was born out of the trenches and is predominantly associated with the First World War.

My Great-Uncle Willie

It also covers the of British and Commonwealth conflicts, and there it jars with Irish nationalist history.

Only the Irish, including my two Fallen Donegal Great-Uncles, died in their tens of thousands in the Great War, both Catholic and Protestant, North and South.

So no poppy collection then, but two, count them, offertory collections at Mass.

Which brings me to how they do offertories over there.

It was on my trip to Ieper on my World War I Battlefields with G Adventures www.gadventures.com.

To Flanders www.visitflanders.com and the Somme https://www.visit-somme.com/great-war that I saw how they did it.

And my Great-Uncle Willie

The Flems in Ieper, for example, send their wee old stooped women in to collect your money, in their white robes.

Where they carry small pots with felt at the bottom.

Why felt? Well, I’m thinking that it’s along the lines of the Rev. Ian Paisley’s Silent Collection.

Where coins would make a sound.

There’s another aspect to offertory plates (they’re reed baskets at our church) that bothers me.

The public shame, the sniffs and withering eyes when you make your contribution.

Prayer time: In Istanbul

And a word to the wise here, don’t sit by the aisle where you will be first to put in your donations.

Then there’s the question about what you should give.

Here I’m going to pass the buck, and that’s probably not even enough, and say that Islam does it better.

By requiring that you donate 2.5% of your income (Zakat) to alms-giving.

Which way’s Mecca? In Amann, Jordan

Which is probably what they’re saying here in their Call to Prayer which you get constant reminders of when you travel.

In Istanbul Wham bam, thank you Hamam with http://www.turkishairlines https://visit.istanbul.

And Jordan Petra and the sands of time and http://www.visitjordan.com.

Uncategorized

Flyday Friday – days at the airport

We’ve become so blasé about airports that it’s hard to imagine that back in the day folk would actually go there for a day out.

We did, when the Son and Heir was a toddler.

These days he has women, beer and football for fun.

Now, I’ve spent more time than the next man or woman at airports.

Probably because of the odd missed connection.

Or missing bags or waiting for connections, or rebooking tickets, or waiting for connections.

If you get stuck in an airport these are the ones you want to be stranded in:

GRANTLY ADAMS, BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS

Carnival time: With Dee-Dee at Crop Over

It’s baking hot, early evening in Barbados, and I’m in a snaking queue which isn’t snaking… https://www.gaia.bb

But we’re under an open canopy.

In the line are a motley assembly of all shapes, sizes and colours:

Returning Bajans, second generation Caribbean-English, white holidaymakers and Oompah-Loompahs.

One young woman stands out, a voluptuous mixed-race high-haired blonde-headed figure just in front.

Of course, me being me, unlike Laura, I didn’t see the board our host was holding up and so was last man left at the airport.

Early Angie, Laura Disorder, Hayley the Soca blogger, Ab Fab and Big Jim

Panic set in, as it often does, but through a combination of the friendly staff and my hosts I was soon in a car.

Hair-raising

Being driven to Turtle Beach By Elegant Hotels https://eleganthotels.com/turtle-beach?utm_source=local&utm_campaign=gmb&utm_medium=organic on Barbados’s south coast. Happy Days!

Where Laura (or Laura Disorder as I came to call her) was holding court.

Yorkshire’s finest, Laura, the CEO of House of Coco https://houseofcoco.net high-end lifestyle magazine, has just got engaged at the top of the Empire State Building, New York.

Irie, or well done Chuck!

And here’s that unforgettable Barbados adventure Let’s rumba in Barbados.

DENVER INTERNATIONAL

Rocky Mountain High

I didn’t think I’d be back spending so much time with Eats No Meat and Freckled Face when I climbed off my flight from Dublin.

But then I did have eight hours to kill at Denver International https://www.flydenver.com before my return flight to Dublin.

Miles better

Which gave me plenty of time to reacquaint myself with the Native Americans in the photographic exhibition.

Now if you’re going to be stuck in an airport anywhere this is one of the more scenic ones anywhere.

Where else can you play crazy golf on the roof in the apron of the Rocky Mountains?

Until it starts raining of course.

The only downside is the price of drinks at the bar but hey, ho, that’s airports everywhere.

Here’s more on that adventure in the Mile High City Go West and Colorado… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/29/the-new-pioneers/.

ISTANBUL AIRPORT

Drive-in: Istanbul Airport Turkish Airlines business lounge

Of course eight hours is no way enough time to enjoy Istanbul Airport’s Turkish Airlines’ Business Lounge… www.turkishairlines.com.

Because you have to eat and drink, have a massage, eat and drink, have a go on the golf driving range, eat and drink, go to the cinema, eat and drink.

And have a kip.

Although be careful not to miss your connection.

On second thoughts don’t rush! https://www.istairport.com. And here’s Istanbul for you… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/wham-bam-thank-you-hamam/.

AMSTERDAM SCHIPHOL

Toast to Schiphol

It’s been my good fortune to have a connection through Amsterdam,

It’s been my even better fortune to get to stay in the Netherlands’ biggest city.

The first thing that strikes you about Schiphol is the shops, restaurants and bars.

A masterpiece

In many airports they are branded, serve insipid takeaway quality food and sell stuffed toys and trinkets.

In Schiphol you can get authentic Dutch and international food, real Dutch keepsakes.

While being Dutch they value their beer… the Cafe Rembrandt, or ‘Schiphol’s living room’ is designed to look like a canalside cafe.

This being Amsterdam it is infused with East Indian influences, so try the chicken satay.

The Heineken Bar is every rugby fan’s dream while there is, of course, an Irish bar, Murphy’s.

Amsterdam is one of Europe’s, nay the world’s great cities… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/pictures-of-amsterdam/

And https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/george-and-amal-hotel/.

And this is one of the world’s great airports… https://www.schiphol.nl/en/

Slainté!

TARBES-LOURDES-PYRENEES AIRPORT

Oi, that’s my garden

There are some airports that have special considerations because of their very special destination.

Lourdes is one and the Tarbes-Lourdess-Pyrenees falls into that category.

Lourdes is second to none in caring for those who come here for Marian intervention and carry particular ailments and disabilities.

There are care rooms, specific medical facilities and bedrooms to cater for their every need.

This being France, of course, there is a proper restaurant with the best gastronomy. https://www.tlp.aeroport.fr/en.

And here’s my tribute to Lourdes and the Pyrenees… http://The Lourdes Prayer

Uncategorized

Toast Turkey

Cumhuriyet Bayrami.

Or Happy Turkish National Day.

OK, I’m a day late with Turkey turning 95 yesterday but what’s a day between friends?

I’m sure they’ll forgive me for my belated birthday wishes.

With my pal Onur from Turkish Airlines

I first fell in love with Turkey 16 years ago when our air hostess on our flight out to Bodrum mistook me for a Turk.

They took the Son and Heir for one of their own too on account of him being called Ally.

Istanbul in my heart

And every time we passed by the market the traders would call out his name with one even swinging him around.

I finally fulfilled a Travel dream this year when I got to Istanbul 26 years after I was supposed to.

Hamam slam

So a day’s late birthday wish is but a passing moment.

The big romantic gesture of a romantic proposal was meant to take place on the Bosphorus.

But we ended up in Malta instead… I told you I was hopeless with directions.

I guess the then Miss F must have been expecting something because when I bent down to tie my shoelace…

She screamed ‘Yes’.

My Bosphorus

Malta has remained in my affections ever since, as has Miss F.

And I had the good fortune to get back out there a few years ago Malta easer where I learned ‘our’ restaurant is still there http://www.visitmalta.com.

And enough time has probably passed that I can pull that trick again to get a free bottle of Champagne.

My next attempt at getting to Istanbul was in 1997 when we visited Bulgaria.

My TA Business Lounge

But the distance (there was an option) and the small matter of the Son and Heir who was in his Terrible Twos put the kibosh on that.

Now that I’ve finally got a taste for Istanbul Wham bam, thank you Hamam, one of the world’s great cities http://www.howtoistanbul.com I’ll not leave it so long in future.

And when I do go I’ll travel with Turkish Airlines www.turkishairlines.com.

And I’ll dally in their award-winning Business Lounge and maybe pay a visit to their headquarters.

To catch up with old friends, play on the flight simulator, and this time ask if I can slide down the aeroplane chute.