America, Countries

American winners

And we’re all American winners with the US borders reopening in November for UK and EU visitors.

But indulge me a minute to give a shout-out to my old pal Fionn Davenport, Editor in Chief of the Ireland’s Travel Trade Network.

Scroll of honour: Fionn Davenport

Prize guy

Fionn has only gone and won the major international Travel award at IPW, the American Travel Fair.

The only downside is that I wasn’t there in Las Vegas to see him receive it and share the celebrations.

With the British and Irish contingent who did make it out to the US on the International Exemption Order.

An exemption I was granted but which non-Travel writers or special sectors aren’t given.

Go Joe

Honest Joe: Joe Biden

Only from November there will be no need after Joe Biden at last gave us all the news we’ve been waiting so long to hear.

The word on the street is that we could all be over there by Thanksgiving (November 25) which is around the time of someone’s birthday (hint)!.

Irelando: With Fionn Davenport (middle)

While we, the travellers, are licking our lips my thoughts never veer far from our dream-makers, our Travel providers.

So imagine the excitement at Universal (Orlando and Hollywood), Disney (World and Anaheim), American Holidays, Tour America, Attraction Tickets, TUI, Hays.

And here in Scotland Barrhead Travel.

Digging out my new ESTA I already have my five-year visa, but belts and braces, I’m imagining those pancakes at a US diner.

Next stop Orlando

The 2022 renewal of the American Travel Fair is slated for Orlando in May.

But I’m free between now and then (hint!)

A postscript here and a return to Fionn’s award, for his article on California from the Travel Fair in Anaheim which I also attended.

Fionn is a popular name in Ireland but unheard of on the other side of the Irish Sea.

Pronounced Fee-on, it means ‘fair-haired’.

None of which, of course, the editor who drew the pages for an article from Fionn.

And he immediately assumed that it was a mistake and changed his byline to Fiona.

Now we all make mistakes and I’ve made most of them and being that soldier myself I felt for the editor.

Only one Fionn Davenport

Duck Tales: Next year in Orlando

They must have trawled back through the article to see if ladyfying Fionn might have inadvertently changed his orientations.

Thankfully though nothing to alarm the lovely Laura here.

And Lauren too

Prize gal: Lauren Jarvis

And in further breaking news, big hurrah to too another fave of our Travel Pack, international woman of mystery, Lauren Jarvis.

All of which brings me back to American winners, Fionn Davenport, Lauren Jarvis, us Travel writers and editors and our Travel providers.

MEET YOU ON THE ROAD

 

America, Countries, Culture, Europe

Meet the World – all turned out wellness in the end

Travel is, of course, good for your health… and health is good for your Travel.

That is the recurring theme coming out of the Meet the Media international Travel fair.

That our industry’s health depends on acknowledging that holidaymakers will now put our wellbeing front and centre of every trip from hereon in.

Veloci for Victory: In Orlando

And so every destination will need to show that they are safe.

And that social distances are observed, and discreet, so that we all feel we are actually on holiday.

As ever, our American Travel friends are leading the way with their innovative organisation.

And so in our usual scattergun way let’s see how the world is opening up again.

Ride on

We’re waiting for you: Universal Hollywood

Universal: And our friends at Universal, and that includes you Veloci and your VelociCoaster, are waiting for us in Orlando.

Even better than that, if that’s possible, is the reopening of Universal Studios Hollywood on Friday.

To Californians at first (drat!) but to us later (yeah!).

Hello Pet

Knight Rider at Universal Hollywood Studios

And a chance too to try out the all-new Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash and Jurassic World – The Ride.

As well as the famous Studio Tour.

Join the tour

Get your ticket to ride!

We’ll do a sweep of the States from Utah to Michigan to New York State as we go.

The morning after

But as is the way… the morning after the Meet the Media international Travel fair always comes with a monster hangover.

And this year’s digital get-together was no different.

All of which has me looking for some medical intervention!

Medical Czech

Ever since sipping from the magic sippy cup in the Czech Republic’s Spa Triangle I have been enlivened by this magical land.

You too can be born again by drinking from the magic waters from the ubiquitous fountains.

And the magic beer in Hoptown, Zatec,

Why not put the two together in the beer spas which are a thing around Central Europa.

Long Covid cure

Look at the head on that: Zatec, Czech Republuc

All of which shouldn’t come as a surprise because Beethoven among other luminaries of the day would come a-visiting.

You’ll not be surprised to see that the cutting-edge Czechs are leading the way too in pandemic treatment.

Such is their place as pioneers in medical tourism.

We’ll bring you more on how they’re addressing Long Covid and attracting inquiries from abroad from those of us who want a cure and the best beer.

MEET YOU ON THE ROAD

 

 

 

 

 

America, Countries, Culture

Twenty years of Shrek

Of course Happy Ever After can yield another and another and another in the movie fairytale world, particularly when it yields as many dollars as Shrek.

Shrek exploded onto our screens 20 years ago next month and it’s fair enough to say nothing was ever the same again.

More Shrek

And although we thought the release of Shrek Forever After, also called Shrek: The Final Chapter in 2010 would tie up the franchise why give up on the gift that keeps on giving?

They’re part of the audience. https://www.attractiontickets.com/en?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIu7Ol7bLz7wIVlIXVCh1NIgigEAAYASAAEgKsefD_BwE

And so we’ve had the spin-off Puss In Boots.

While Shrekkies were given a real treat when it was announced that there would be a Fifth Shrek film next year.

So where does Shrek live?

Shrek’s home

Well, when he’s not in his swamp, Universal Resort Orlando is where you’ll find him hanging out.

The dynamic duo

There are other action heroes who will leave you sickly green at Universal with their stomach-churning rides.

I’m talking you Hulk, my first corkscrew ride in Orlando with Attraction Tickets

Which makes you regret that omelette and stack of pancakes you took at breakfast.

He’ll be all right

No, Shrek 4-D is a tamer, more family fun interactive experience, but no less fun for all that.

Shrek’s ride

When we last left the layered one in Shrek Forever After he was grappling with fame in a Shrek lite theme park.

Before Rumpelstiltskin tricks him into giving it all up for just one day of his old life.

Big in Japan

Spoiler alert here.

But our favourite author extricates himself from his sticky moment and we caught up again in Universal Studios Hollywood on our superheroes’ get-together.

And both being of the Scottish variety, and both sharing some nasty habits we both got on like a swamp on fire.

Hear them roar

He’s invited me back so, of course, with a new film coming and Universal Resorts cranking up again for visitors.

With something new all the rime… I’m talking about you VelociCoaster me.

Shrek around the world

And because Shrek is beloved around the world and is big in Japan, our friends over there are enjoying him too.

Now for 2021 I’m thinking because it’s the Fifth Shrek we can have 5-D!

I’m on my way from misery to happiness ptoday, uhu-uhu-uhu-uhu!

America, Canada, Countries, Culture, Europe, Ireland, UK

Ireland, the friendliest place in Europe

Forget about that ridiculous ubiquitous Ed Sheeran,, Country star Steve Earle’s Galway Girl is the definitive tribute.

Some of my earliest longings and fumblings were for Galway girls, on holiday to a Salthill mobile home park.

Of course, in the late 70s and early 80s, the tradition for awkward, gawky Glaswegians was to sit in the corner and well, just gawk at the girls.

The Salthill Strand

Galway, this year’s European Capital of Culture, tops a Conde Nast Traveler Readers Choice Awards list of favourite cities.

And they’ll just love beating Dublin into second place.

The two Irish cities push the jewel of the Med, Valletta, into third.

The Maltese city boasts, for me, the most gorgeous harbour in the world.

And memories… I bent down there to tie my shoelaces 26 years ago, Miss F shouted Yes and one year later became the Indomitable Mrs M.

While my readopted city of Edinburgh also makes it onto the list at No.7 and the epic Athens at No.9.

Green Mickey

Ears to you, Mickey

Maybe y’all missed No Coal Burning Mickey, the eco-friendly alternative to Steamboat Willie, but Da Mouse is right on point with cleaning up the planet.

Mickey has come out on top of an Uswitch eco-friendly poll of the leading tourist spots around the world.

Who knew? Well, you do now.

Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney in Florida boasts a 270-acre 50+megawatt solar facility which operates enough sun to operate two Disney parks.

The solar facility has the power to reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by more than 52,000 metric tons.

Which is equivalent to removing 9,300 cars from the road each year.

Of course the warmest thing you can get at Magic Kingdom is a Mickey hug. And here’s to when we can all repeat this.

And, of course, his is a hug that wraps around the world, from Florida to California, to Paris, to Hong Kong.

All our old faves are on the poll, Niagara Falls, our pals at Universal, Universal Studios Orlando, Universal Studios Hollywood and SeaWorld Orlando.

And the others we’ll get round to when we…

MEET YOU ON THE ROAD

Countries, Europe, Ireland, UK

Rainy days and songdays

Music places us in a time, in a place, with friends…. and nobody knows that better than musicians which is why I give you Michael Rafferty.

Of Northern Irish powerhouses The Minnows and his covers band The Handsome Princes.

All while he is one half of a top duo, PR stalwarts Duffy Rafferty, with fellow Travel expert Lawrence Rafferty.

Stena style

They boast StenaLine www.stenaline.co.uk as one of their clients and they have literally continued to negotiate the stormy waters.

Still sailing

Continuing to sail from Ireland to Scotland and even delivering The Son and Heir, who had become an adopted Belfast Boy Belfast Chilled, back to us in Edinburgh.

Back to the story and Michael is putting a smile on all our faces with his daily songs and transporting us to dreamlands… and is also taking requests.

Homeward bound

Homeward bound: On Stena on the way back from Northern Ireland to Scotland

And you can check out The Minnows on their Facebook page… https://m.facebook.com/theminnows/.

A Rising Star

As for me and my singing prowess I was done up like a kipper at the karaoke concert hall in Rising Star in CityWalk Universal Orlando https://www.universalorlando.com/web/en/

When my hosts Fiona and Natalie put me up to sing Lady Marmalade, although I did not learn my lesson and reprised it with Mr Brightside.

No, I haven’t a Scooby either: At Universal Studios Hollywood

No, I don’t have a Scooby either. At Universal Studios Hollywood

You can read all about my Orlando adventures in Aaawlando… Orlando, the rollercoaster capital, Why I love The Donald,

And more Universal in Hollywood Studios https://www.universalstudioshollywood.com/web/en/us/ and My Weekend With Marilyn.

But back to video of Bandanaman singing.

Now where better than the Bosphorus on our visit to Istanbul https://visit.istanbul with Turkish Airlines https://www.turkishairlines.com.

And Wham bam, thank you Hamam.

And showcasing my pal Ian Bloomfield of Irish Travel Trade News… www.ittn.ie

Move aside Bjorn and Benny, we’re taking your places opposite the girls. Bagsy me Agnetha.

And I’ll bring you more songs that transport me back to fave destinations in the coming days.

Tell me too your songs from your holidays.

Uncategorized

The faces of 2019 – Marilyn, Natasha and Donald

The stars aligned in 2019 and I got me the walk-on I deserve.

When Natasha Bedingfield, fresh from wowing us at the American Travel Fair http://www.ipw.com, with a particularly stirring version of Prince’s Purple Rain, introduced me.

She pointed out my purple beard from the stage in the plaza in Anaheim http://www.visitanaheim.org.

You see I got purpled up in Huntingdon Beach http://www.surfcityusa.com the previous night when we had been entertained by Snoop Dogg https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/09/18/snoop-and-me-acting-the-goat-in-california/.

Well this is Southern California where the stars come out to shine.

We starspotted from the off in West Hollywood where we dined in Lisa Vanderpump’s PUMP Restaurant Lodge http://www.pumprestaurant.com and http://www.weho.org.

And Lisa herself graced us with her presence.

Walk of Fame

Sometimes, of course, you just want to be on your own and she was good enough not to come autograph-hunting.

Greta Garbo, of course, made a name for herself for ‘vanting to be alone’.

But, alas, she has to share the Walk of Fame with hundreds of other Hollywood stars.

There’s Donald Duck too and a host of Asian picture clickers have gathered around Michael Jackson’s star.

But it is Marilyn Monroe’s tribute that I’m here to see… we’ve been inseparable the last couple of days https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/06/22/my-weekend-with-marilyn/.

In Venice Beach http://www.venicebeach.com, at her last resting place and now here in Hollywood.

This being Southern California the Beach Boys obviously wanted to turf up and surf up.

And here they are at lunch during the American Travel Fair. And I made Mike Love’s day by holding out my hand to touch him.

Jason Derulo also swayed his stuff while the best of Broadway also trod the boards for us.

So what could possibly bring down the curtain on such a show. We’d had Harry Potter and a light show at Universal http://www.universalhollywoodstudios.com.

While Jimmy Fallon on an audio gave us a behind-the-scenes tour of the sets.

And we were also enthralled at the special effects show with stunt actors setting each other on fire.

But it was the Happiest Place on Earth for the finale… with Mickey in Da House with his Disney pals… http://www.disneyland.disney.go.com.

Oh, I’m the king of swingers… I don’t want this party ever to stop.