Caribbean, Countries

Beardie Burns and the Caribbean

Were The Scots Bard alive today he’d be liaising with the West Indians too… I give you Beardie Burns and the Caribbean.

But let’s rewind a second… beardie you say?

Well, the Beard Liberation Front are positing the view that Rabbie was rough aroon the chin.

And the clean-shaven look was manufactured to appeal to polite society.

Whether or not that was the case, we do know Burns was seriously considering decamping to the Windies.

To get out of his financial problems before the release and acclaim for his poetry sparked a rethink.

Jamaica my day

See you Jimmyaica: Let’s dance

Twas Jamaica that Burns wrote of in correspondence and verse.

He had the offer of a role as a bookkeeper.

But would a beardie Bard have been seduced by the island to the south named the Bearded One after its low-hanging plant?

I know this bearded Bard (Edinburgh Fringe 2002) was, on his trips to Barbados.

I have, in fact, been long intrigued by the Caribbean from a childhood love of cricket and their music.

Caribbeans to my door

Me-me and Dee-Dee at Crop Over in Barbados

My friends in the Caribbean have been throwing their arms open again to us now Covid is easing.

We all know about the new Virgin Atlantic out to Barbados.

And the good people at 02 Beach Club Barbados and the Sea Breeze Beach House and the South Beach Hotel are keen to show us their wares.

As I’ve mentioned here the Bajans’ most common question to visitors is what’s your favourite Caribbean island.

A challenge if ever I heard one.

Island hopping

Nylon Pool, Tobago

And with Tobago tucked under my belt and Jamaica and its many Scots links, and 60th anniversary of independence this year, I’m away island hopping.

With Montpelier Plantation & Beach on Nevis (sounds Scottish yes) coming calling.

I heart Belize: Central American delights

And Aruba (Aruba, Aruba, Aruba), Dominica and the Central American side of the Caribbean in Belize too.

It’s no coincidence that the Scots (and Irish) left a big footprint in the Windies and continue to do so.

So on today, his national day, we celebrate Beardie Burns and the Caribbean.

 

 

 

Asia, Australasia, Caribbean, Countries, Deals

Back in Black Friday

Now that we’re all travelling again my take on today’s saveathon is Back in Black Friday.

And Wu have we got some deals for you?

And with Wendy Wu you know that she will bring you the world.

Simply book one of our selected fully-inclusive group tours with just a £99 deposit per person and your partner Flies FREE on any departures in 2022 or 2023.

And if you’re travelling solo you can enjoy the same savings with 50% off you airfare.

And Wendy’s generosity doesn’t just stop at that. She’s including a free Airport Lounge Pass with every booking.

So without further AWu.

Wu deals

Shape of things to come: Japan

Japan –  Save up to £350 per person

Southeast Asia – Save up to £300 per person to Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and more

Central Asia – Save up to £400 per person to Uzbekistan, Georgia and the Silk Road

New Zealand – Save up to £350 per person

South America – Save up to £400 per person to Peru, Ecuador, Brazil and Argentina

Far East – Save up to £300 per person to South Korea and Taiwan

Middle East – Save up to £250 per person to Egypt,and Jordan.

Offer ends Monday 29 November. Book online or Call 0808 2580 600.

Sandals in the Windies PtI

Here’s to Sandals: And Barbados

Sharing is caring and I’m either full of Christmas spirit or just too damn kind.

Because i’ve passed over a place on the inaugural Virgin Atlantic flight from Edinburgh to Bridgetown so a Barbados virgin can get on board.

No, not one of them, but a work colleague who has never been to Bim like Bim Jim has.

It was luxury all the way with Sandals then and we have remained pals with the swanky hotel chain keeping me abreast of all their offers.

Like their Black Friday Flash Sale which offers customers the chance to save an extra £100 off your next Luxury included holiday with code BF100.

And so you’ll get change out of £2,000 at £1,949pp for seven nights at Sandals Royal Barbados for travel on September 22.

Where you’ll stay at the South Seas Crystal Lagoon Club Level Barbados Suite with Balcony Tranquility Soaking Tub. Including flights with Virgin Atlantic, of course.

Sandals in the Windies PtII

Of course the question you constantly get asked when you’re in a Caribbean island is which is your favourite.

To which you need to answer… I’ll tell you when I’ve been around them all.

Jamaica has to be next on the horizon and I’m always happy to flag up Scotland’s island in the sun. 

Sandals Ochi comes in at £1,399 for seven nights. You’ll be staying in a Butler Village Poolside One Bedroom Villa Suite. And again our friends at Virgin will be flying you there.

Book by midnight on November 30.

Yes, now we’re travelling again, I’m all behind the Back to Black Friday.

And I’ll give you more of our favourites over the weekend.  

 

 

Adventure, America, Countries

Say hi to Donald from me

Are you in America now it’s open again to UK and Irish visitors… if so, say hi to Donald from me if you’re in Orlando.

Orlando will be the first stop for visitors from these, and Irish shores, as our favourite US holiday destination.

We hooked up with our friends from Roller Coaster City.

And they took just enough time off the rides to update us on the thrilliest, spilliest place on Earth.

Stars in my eyes

Now in a Galaxy’s Edge far, far, away in Disney’s twin centre in Anaheim… well, two years ago I got a glimpse into the future in the first party to try out Star Wars world. 

And the future is here now in the present and ready for y’all to see it both in California and here in Orlando.

Of course Mickey, Donald and their pals have been celebrating since last month their 50th birthday (well, not theirs, they’re much older but Disney World’s).

On a theme

Rat-a-tat-tat: Food for thought

And the four theme parks and beyond have been in fine song.

Among the most anticipated attractions, and the ones we’ve zeroed in on are:

Disney Enchantment, a new all-new nighttime extravaganza at Magic Kingdom Park, featuring captivating Disney music, enhanced lighting, stunning fireworks and immersive projection effects that extend from Cinderella Castle down Main Street, U.S.A.

And we’ve danced along to Mickey’s In Da House party on that very street and can advise that you lose all inhibitions (or was that just me, Mickey and Donald?)

Then there’s Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure at Epcot, where guests shrink to the size of Chef Remy and race through Gusteau’s restaurant on a wild adventure.

You like your French gastronomeee, oui? 

Then La Crêperie de Paris is a new restaurant located in the France pavilion at Epcot which offers both table and quick-service options and features a menu from celebrity chef Jérôme Bocuse.

The Showbiz Lion and I

Scots wahey: With Bev in Orlando

Now as a veteran of the Orlando theme parks I know how nothing sits still (well, it wouldn’t with you twirled this way and that).

Personally, I prefer a wet one, as my old sparring partner, Lady Lyons, Bev, of Showbiz Lion fame, would say.

And so we both loved Aquatica Orlando. AO can now boast Florida’s first-ever duelling waterslide, Riptide Race, which opened in the spring.

You’ll start atop a 68-foot tower and race side-by-side at top speeds, navigating tight loops and accelerations through indoor and outdoor sections.

While Florida also loves its natural as well as animated animals. And it has those in abundance, particularly flamingos.

In the Pink

Pickin’ ma pocket: Flamingo time

The Flamingo Mingle at Discovery Cove is a new, exclusive animal experience where guests can feed and learn about our pink friends in an outdoor setting. 

Another old pal I met back then in Anaheim is The Jurassic Park VelociCoaster which opened in June at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.

The ride sends you catapulting up to 70mph and over 150ft in the air with the swiftest of prehistoric predators.

If you like your fun irreverent and green and ogre-like then you’ll love Shrek (guilty).

And his DreamWorks friends. So you’ll be excited about DreamWorks Destination, an all-new, interactive character experience, opened in the KidZone area of Universal Studios Florida.

Guests can interact, dance and be photographed with multiple beloved characters from DreamWorks Animation’s hit film franchises, including Trolls, Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda – all in one location.

And seeing it’s all about you in ’22 then here’s what’s still to come. 

Wet, wet, wet

Twirl power: SeaWorld Orlando

Ice Breaker, SeaWorld Orlando’s first launch coaster, will open in February and riders will shiver through family-friendly adventures featuring four launches, both backwards and forwards.

It all culminates in a reverse launch with a 93ft tall spike with 100-degree angle, the steepest vertical drop in Florida.

Aquatica Orlando’s newest water slide, Reef Plunge, will launch in spring with guests sliding through translucent cutouts and rings.

You’ll get to twist and turn though 330ft of fiberglass; and zoom past a vibrant array of marine life.

Commerson’s dolphins, leopard sharks, sardines, and a variety of other cold-water fish will be part of the new dynamic habitat.   

Peppa party

Hamming it up: Peppa and pals

Again, they like it pink in Orlando and LEGOLAND Florida Resort will open the world’s first Peppa Pig Theme Park  on February 24.

The standalone theme park will feature multiple rides, interactive attractions, fun live shows, themed playscapes and water play areas.

Phew, and you’ll be looking for somewhere to stay, but not just somewhere but the best Star Warsy place of them all.

Starry hotel

In control: Star Wars time in Anaheim

Walt Disney World has unveiled plans for its immersive Star Wars-themed hotel, Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, opening March 1.

Guests will “board” the starship Halcyon for an all-inclusive experience that puts them into the immersive world of Star Wars.

The hotel will debut as part of the new Disney 360 vacation concept that gives each guest a storyline upon arrival. 

So, plenty of stories of your own to tell, like mines the week I met His Royal Quackness.

So, say hi to Donald from me if you’re in Orlando.

And remember all our favourite airlines, Virgin, British Airways and TUI . And, of course. Ireland’s national airline carrier, Aer Lingus.

And Attraction Tickets who will look after your every care when you book with them. 

 

 

Caribbean, Countries, Flying

Netflix and chill in Anguilla with Timberlake

Well, if it’s good enough for Justin Timberlake who opined: ‘Forget your face, I swear I will, St. Barths, Anguilla anywhere I chill’. An invite then to Netflix and chill in Anguilla with Timberlake and the jet set.

JT isn’t alone in singing the praises of the British Overseas Territory in the Caribbean.

Just dance: Justin Timberlake

Paris Hilton is a fan of the Anguillans and called it her ‘secret island’.

She only revealed this was her dream getaway after she’d left.

Jay-Z and Beyonce decamped to Anguilla in the early days of their courtship.

Paris style: Paris Hilton

While Paul McCartney and his wife Nancy are visitors.

As are Denzel Washington, Liam Neeson, Leo DiCaprio, Sandra Bullock and Michael Jordan.

Yeah: Macca’s going to Anguilla

Although not that we know all at the same time.

For us we are restricted to watching on and living our dreams vicariously through things like Netflix.

Money to throw away: Leo DiCaprio

And such as the World’s Most Amazing Vacation Rentals Season 2.

Each episode explores one unique, one on a budget and one luxury option from destinations around the world.

On the Waterfront explores the ultra-luxury Long Bay Villas Anguilla.

And thanks to our friends at Anguilla Tourism we are reminded that the prices range from £180 to £24,000+ a night.

Flutter by butterfly

Lie back and think of… Anguilla

The Little Butterfly: And this is a one-bedroom luxury apartment on the mezzanine level of Papillon Villa.

Feel like an emperor or empress butterfly.

Social Butterfly: And you can be one

With a king-sized bedroom and Jacuzzi tub, open-plan living and dining areas, and an outdoor deck with vistas of the Caribbean and the mountains of St Martin. Prices are from £183 per night.

Cove love

Peace and quiet: At the Cove

Fletch’s CoveInspired by modern Mexican architecture, Fletch’s Cove is a two-bedroom oceanfront villa which opens onto a pool terrace with views of the Caribbean and the neighbouring islands.

Prices are from £320-£680 per night for two in one bedroom. And from £497-£760 per night for four guests in two bedrooms.

Long and short of it

Walk this way: The Long Bay Villas

Long Bay Villas AnguillaA celebrity spotters’ dream, only they’re secluded, so you’ll have to shell out the £2,500-£10,600 for your five bedrooms in this 7,000sqft villa complex.

The trio of these villas is title Sand, Sea and Sky… sounds ethereal.

You’ll have an oceanfront terrace with heated infinity pool and hot tub and exquisite living and dining areas.

Five-star bespoke services are provided by the butlers, beach attendants, house keepers and concierges.

Villa thrilla

Light up: The Cerulean

Cerulean VillaRight, that’s two at our end of the price budget but we do love to dream so here’s the exotic Cerulean Villa.

Sold in a private group basis, this is a nine-bedroom and multiple beachfront 20,000sqft villa.

With dining and lounging terraces, expansive pool deck, infinity pool, tennis courts, private gym and dedicated spa room.

Guests can choose one of two options: Cerulean A La Carte or The Cerulean Experience.

The Cerulean Experience offers a staff of 18 including a private chef.

Prices from £73,200-£124,425 per week for Cerulean A La Carte while prices for the Experience are on application.

Green for go

A corner of a British authority: Anguilla flies high

And the good news is that Anguilla is green from October 4 for fully vaccinated visitors.

British Airways (Gatwick and Heathrow) and Virgin Atlantic (Heathrow) fly out to Antigua followed by a short flight to Anguilla.

Or by KLM/Air France via Amsterdam/Paris  to St Maarten followed by a boat or plane transfer.

And our friends at American Airlines  which is launching twice-weekly flights between Miami and Anguilla from December 11.

So Netflix and chill in Anguilla with Timberlake and the jet set.

Caribbean, Countries, Culture, UK

Woah we’re gaun tae Barbados

 

Woah we’re gaun tae Barbados… but this time from Edinburgh, Scotland.

Scotland has long had a footprint in Barbados but this direct Virgin Atlantic flight represents it dipping its toe in the West Indies.

As Scotland’s only Caribbean route.

Two Scotlands

This is where the rum is: Mount Gay distillery

That Scotland is reconnecting with Barbados should not be surprising

As we stood side by side with them centuries ago when the British Empire first set foot there.

And used Scottish indentured servants to do their dirty work.

The MacBajans

At the cricket: With Jevan

The Bajans have never forgotten us MacBajans, naming their inland district of Scotland after us.

Giving over St Andrews Day as their national Day of Independence.

Encasing the Scottish Saltire in their coat of arms (a slave’s clenched fist holding two sugar canes in an X cross).

Which is on their dollar notes.

St Andrew’s people

Soca time: With the locals

Scotland sits in the district of Saint Andrew and, better than our own northern European, Scotland is hot, hot, hot all year round.

So better wear your boardies rather than your kilt, although some MacBajans might.

And there is plenty of time anyway during May’s Celtic Festival.

Scotland and Barbados

Irie: Rum time

One of our own, my old student days pal Jevan, of Trinidad and Aberdeenshire, is waving the Scottish flag in Barbados.

As owner of Red Advertising & Marketing Ltd which means he knows everyone.

And introduced me to them all over their carnival, Crop Over, and the cricket.

So our new route from Edinburgh to Bridgetown will be welcomed by those of us who will be screaming Woah we’re gaun tae Barbados.

Old Scotland

Ruby do: With Ruby in Barbados

And those MacBajans who will be coming our way.

Though I expect their suitcases will have a few more woollies.

MEET YOU ON THE ROAD

Countries

The mystique of Mustique

And as with everything in life I defer to The Scary One who actually met Mustique’s most famous resident, who in turn deferred to her.

History hasn’t been kind to Princess Margaret but she will be remembered for loving a party in the Caribbean.

As do I, so I at least I will be kind to her.

Margaret’s love affair with Mustique actually began when her and her husband Tony were given land on the island as a wedding present.

Royal party

Helena Bonham-Carter as Princess Margaret in The Crown. www.radiotimes.co.uk

When exactly her other love affairs on the island began…

Well, you’ll just have to watch the Crown on Netflix to fond out.

Much of the glamour of royalty back in the day derived from their remoteness and the seclusion of the places they visited.

So we have a lot to thank those such as Virgin Atlantic.

Because they’ve made it possible for us commoners to now visit royal getaways such as Mustique.

Virgin have just announced a twice-weekly service from June to St Vincent, the gateway to the Grenadines, and your Mustique dream.

And for those of you whose imaginations were working overboard when you saw Margaret living it up in Mustique then read on.

Our friends at The Villa Collection have done all the homework for us.

Opricot jam

Party time

Opricot: And just where you’d expect to find Princess Margaret and her set.

This four-bedroom villa in the Endeavour Hills with ocean views, and near The Tennis Club, the Cotton House and beach, has the option of a fifth bedroom.

The big selling point is the private swimming pool and large bar area.

And what’s more it’s fully staffed with housekeeper, chef, gardener and butler.

You’ll have to empty your piggy bank. It’s from £1505 per night, but you can share the costs.

The awe of Aurora

Dip your toe in

Aurora: Contemporary and colonial with views of both the Caribbean and Atlantic this can be rented as a three-bedroom villa.

Or along with Jasmine Cottage. So that’ll house five and will set you back £2,005 per night.

We were drawn in by the central courtyard, rock plunge pool and al fresco dining in the gazebo.

After all it’s all about the outdoor living in the Caribbean.

And you don’t have to lift a finger because it’s fully staffed.

Balinese luxury

Lie back and think of Mustique

Blackstone: A five-bedroom villa set on a ridge overlooking Britannia Bay and the Caribbean this is what you’ll get for your £2,173 per night…

We like the idea of the media and games room.

And the pebble-tiled pool which wraps around large, natural black stone, giving the property its name.

Elsewhere in the Caribbean

Nylon Pool, Tobago

You can also reach Mustique via Barbados or St Lucia with services via SVG Air.

Princess Margaret loved her Mustique but first fell in love with the Caribbean on honeymoon.

Where she opined that a raised sandbank in the sea off Tobago was the clear colour of tights.

The lyrical Tobagonians hence called it Nylon Pool.

And you too can stand in the sea in the middle of the Caribbean and drink cocktails, a la Margaret.

MEET YOU IN MUSTIQUE

Countries, Europe

Holiday Snaps – Virgin insurance

It figures that a Virgin would need the best insurance.

So it makes sense that Virgin Atlantic are insuring that we are covered with the best possible fallback if things go wrong when we’re away.

A subject that is very close to my heart as I consider whether to travel to countries which aren’t on the UK exempt list.

Virgin is offering an extension to your own travel insurance meaning that they’ll take care of the health and quarantine costs that could acre if you or one of your travelling companions fall ill during Coronavirus.

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And I’m turning left

My fellow beardie is offering:

*Up to £500,000 necessary and emergency expenses incurred due to Coronavirus affecting your travel should you or your travelling companions be denied boarding or individually requested to quarantine in your destination. Then this free policy will cover many necessary additional costs.

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They’ve got your covered

*Repatriation, should it be medically necessary due to Coronavirus.

*Cover for your whole trip, with no upper limit on the length of your time away.

*Cover for all passengers with no restrictions on age, travel class or length of journey.

*No excess payable (unlike many traditional travel insurance policies).

Polish hero of Ireland’s Famine

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There’s a game which the travellusty like to play which is more countries than your age… 20+ by 20, 30+ by 30 etc. And while I may look it, I’m not getting any younger and so I cheat.

Although it’s not quite cheating because I play the embassy game where if you set foot in an embassy you’re officially in that country.

So as an example in the last couple of years I’ve been to Georgia and Poland in the same day and spent the rest of the evening in Dublin.

Which isn’t the same as visiting these marvellous countries of course, but that treat awaits me.

For now, it’s the Son and Heir who visited Krakow in Poland for World Youth Day and paid homage to the Holocaust victims at Auschwitz, who has the knowledge in our family.

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Cobble me a trip to Poland

All of which ramblings brings me to a shout-out for , a forgotten hero of the Great Irish Famine.

The National Museum of Ireland – Country Life at Turlough Park, Castlebar, Co. Mayo will host an exhibition about the humanitarian who helped more than 200,000 children during the Famine.

It was created by Nikola Sekowska-Moroney at the Polish Embassy. Go see it… and the good news is that it is going on tour around the country.

My Native American name

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My Native American friends

Now I’ve regaled you with my dealings with Native Americans – and promise you I will do so again, and again, and again.

I met Freckled Face and Eats No Meat in Denver and it got me thinking what my name might be, the first thing coming to mind Farts Like Thunder.

Names are important, what we call each other and it would be wrong to assume in these woke days that we are all oversensitive.

But if we just listen to each other we will get it right.

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Olympian high

Which is what the Washington Redskins did and which Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows has done too by just talking to the Washoe Tribe, announcing that after the 2021 skiing season it will b known as something else.

What’s just as important here is and I have my good friend Catherine ‘Skis Like The Wind’ Murphy, the eminent award-winning ski writer’s recommendation here, the skiing is brilliant.

For anybody who saw me in Soll may I suggest my new Native American name ‘Bambi on the Piste’.

Taste of Aberdeen

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Don’t shoot me but if it hadn’t been for The Scary One and Daddy’s Little Girl cooking my meals here in North Berwick, south of Edinburgh, I wouldn’t have eaten… or survived on just peanuts!

So I’m happy to blow the mothballs off my wallet so that they can avail of the 50% off deal for meals at the beginning of the week that is operating in the UK but runs out on Monday.

Had I not taken a certain fork in the road we could all be living in Aberdeen and I feel that life is driving me ever northwards to the Granite City.

So I’ve felt for them during their localised lockdowns and that they haven’t been able to avail of these deals.

The Chester Hotel though knows its patrons and are offering diners 50% off all food in their alfresco Gallery Experience on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from September 1-16.

 

 

 

 

 

Asia, Countries, Europe, Flying

Flyday Friday – Turkish d’flight out of Dublin

You know they’re smiling behind their masks… and why wouldn’t they? Because Turkish Airlines are back flying us out of Dublin.

And believe me they’re a delight.

I have fond memories of being met by Mr Turkish Airlines wwwa.turkishairlines.ie Onur Gul at their desk before being flown out to exotic destinations… https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/12/atoll-tale-the-maldives/amp/ and Wham bam, thank you Hamam.

They’ll be flying twice a week for the remainder of this month and four times weekly in July.

I do hope that we’ll not stop talking to our fellow passengers just because we’re wearing masks.

I’ve met some lovely and fascinating people on flights.

Sweet dreams

And the odd Manchester United fan in TA’s famed business class with whom I’ve slept tops and tails and who has snored their head off.

You know who you are, Brian http://www.kuramathi.ie.

Virgin territory

Passengers are a bit like needy lovestruck teenagers… stick with me here.

We need constant reassurance and validation.

And I’m happy to say that our airlines have been using this lockdown to tell us how much they love us.

I know, and love Virgin, from my fact-finding research trips to the Caribbean www.visitbarbados.org, www.visittobago.gov.tt and Let’s rumba in Barbados, My kiss with Rihanna and https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/17/ready-steady-goat-racing-in-tobago/amp/.

And I am delighted that they have been keeping us members of their Flying Club up to speed with how we’ll all be taking to the skies again soon.

Come August they’ll be planning to return to 17 destinations.

They’re all available to book now along with flights from New York JFK, Los Angeles and Hong Kong to London Heathrow, starting from July 20.

And here’s what to do when you get there, https://www.virginatlantic.com, www.visitlondon.com and The London life and https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/29/carole-king-youre-beautiful-londonwestend-musical/amp/.

Departing Edinburgh

No, I haven’t persuaded The Scary One to leave the delights of North Berwick near Edinburgh, I’m merely flagging up Edinburgh Airport’s http://www.edinburghairport.com reopened destinations.

Edinburgh was the last airport I flew out of … to Prague www.czechtourism.com way back in February. Yes years ago Hope springs eternal.

And I’m glad to say they’re now flagging up other old favourites back on the schedule.

Budapest, Malaga, Alicante and Barcelona https://www.barcelonaturisme.com/wv3/en/ and Messi around on the water . And Smooth sailing around the Western Med.

And anybody who has flown out of Dublin Airport and then Edinburgh http://www.edinburgh.org  and Edinburgh – an old friend will be comforted by the comparative smallness of the Scottish version.

Taking to the Aer

And the last word is to back Aer Lingus’s www.aerlingus.com stance on the Irish Government’s latest direction of travel on quarantines.

While welcoming the lifting of the restrictions from July 9, they merely want clarity until then.

As one who would gladly queue overnight to get back, I echo their call. And all my airline friends who we appreciate even more, if that’s possible, now we’ve been seeing them less Flyday Friday – Airline angels with wings 

MEET YOU IN THE SKIES

Countries, Deals, Flying, Ireland, UK

Flyday Friday – who’s going to fly our planes?

Well the quick answer is me…

That’s because of my sterling efforts at mastering the simulator at Turkish Airlines http://www.turkishairlines.com in Istanbul.

I went out for the opening of the biggest airport in the world, the Istanbul Airport, last year.

You get an immediate sense of Istanbul being at the crossroads of the East and the West when you travel through Istanbul Airport.

That’s before you even get out onto the Bosphorus.

Or visit the Blue Mosque, the Grand Bazaar or the hamam where Florence Nightingale, Rudolf Nureyev and John Travolta all visited… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/wham-bam-thank-you-hamam/ .

Hub of the world

And you see a troupe (I don’t know what the collective noun is) of Hasidic Jews travel through the terminals. Istanbul,

I discovered it is the biggest hub for Jews returning to Israel.

You could fly an airplane through our airports now (they’re so quiet).

Big enough to drive an F1 car in: The TA Business Lounge

Which I very nearly did after scraping the Statue of Liberty and coming down nose first at JFK in that simulator flight at Turkish Airlines HQ.

The crisis facing our airline industry has been somewhat subsumed.

By the bigger challenges of health and the economy facing the whole world right now.

Tourism driver

But the immediacy of the threat to the sector has to be addressed. Alas,

Travel has forever been treated as frippery and indulgent by politicians and Big Business compared with other industries.

And tuck into BA’s Business Class food

Only tourism is at the heart of every country’s economy, before we even get onto its importance to business.

And while it is obvious that virtual tourism cannot replicate the joy of seeing a county or its people first hand.

And our providers have done a stand-up job in recreating their destinations this way during this crisis.

The same applies to business.

What will social distancing look like?

Dealing with real 3D people first hand over a beer or bottle of wine while sampling local cuisine is the best way to forge relationships.

Faceless bureaucrats

Oh, yes, there’s the conference meetings too.

But don’t we all just look at our watches or the time on our phones when we’re stuck in one of them?

We must fight against the high heed yins, or suits, who will want to stick with Zoom and other digital platforms.

In an effort to cut costs rather than fly their executives out to each others’ countries.

I can just see those faceless, soulless, personality vacuums, the numbercrunchers pushing for a retention of this contactless-free zone we all live in now.

Filling the air: Ryanair

And where do we stand today… with a third of British Airways http://www.britishairways.com staff worried for their jobs, their operation at Gatwick at risk.

Our crew and pilot friends

Ryanair http://www.ryanair.com planning to cut 3,000 jobs and reduce staff pay by up to a fifth?

And Virgin Atlantic www.virginatlantic.com furloughing its staff and raising the alert as to its futurez

And airlines around the world facing similar heart-wrenching decisions.

Every one of those employees is valuable and their struggles are ours.

I have come to know some of them professionally and personally and my heart goes out to them all as they too foresee an uncertain future.

Pointing to the future: In an airport in February

We are continuously having it drilled into us that ‘we will all get through this together’.

But let’s just think about the sectors and real people who are falling through the cracks.

Save our sector

We must have a Travel industry and an air sector to return to for the good of us all.

It cannot all be left to the Trade and the Public.

It is time for those politicians in their private planes to remember the rest of us.

MEET YOU IN THE SKIES

Uncategorized

Flyday Friday – Virgin vs plastic

Are you a hoarder? It sounds like one of those American TV ads… call this number for a money back guarantee if you’re not truly satisfied.

I have more toothbrushes, combs, earplugs, eye masks and pens than I know what to do with.

And bags in which to hold them.

And it’s rightly getting up The Scary One’s nose.

Which is handy because I reckon I’ve got some kind of stick for that too.

What’s not handy though is the amount of plastic I’ve accumulated.

They’ve got a wardrobe for you

So I’m delighted to see that Virgin Atlantic are leading the way in new biodegradable airplane sundries.

What do we get then?

Toothbrushes made out of bamboo which sounds gentle in my toothies which are particularly brittle.

And even the pen is made of recycled kraft paper.

Virgin is hoping to save 945 tonnes of plastic waste each year, the equivalent of six airbus 350 wide body jets.

I’m lucky enough to be a member of the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club who will keep you up to date with all the great deals and more www.virginatlantic.com.

Try out their Caribbean routes and my reviews Let’s rumba in Barbados and My kiss with Rihanna.

The airline are also branching out into Virgin territory as it were with a first foray into South America.

Brazilliant: Sao Paulo

And Sao Paulo in Brazil from Heathrow.

They will begin the route from March 29.

Virgin has also agreed a codeshare with GOL that will serve 37 destinations across Brazil and expand reach across South America.

Berlin y’all

Fly the flag. Photo by Ingo Joseph on Pexels.com

Berlin is high up on The Scary One’s wish list… she has a great affinity with the land of her birth.

Any year is good to visit the German capital but this year is best with the 30th anniversary of the Fall of the Wall upon us.

Aer Lingus is offering Berlin from Dublin among its range of destinations in its September sale from €34.99.

Which has a touch of October about it. See www.aerlingus.com for terms and conditions.

And also try the jewel of east Germany which you can reach from Berlin https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/dresdens-renaissance-martin-luther/

Agadir, do, do

A touch of Morocco. Photo Nicolas Postiglioni on Pexels.com

I’ll admit it. I have my demons.

Morocco is one.

I might just have got unlucky in Marrakech and the Sahara, almost being mugged, getting ripped off in the souk and getting food poisoning in the Sahara after a tajine.

Or maybe I was in the wrong city.

Air Arabia www.airarabia.com has a special promotional fare of from €135 return Dublin to Agadir.

And they’re pitching (sorry) golf, beach, sun, culture, food and more.

And they’ll give you a 15kg free golf kit allowance.

G’Day Melbourne

Melbourne. Photo by Tiff Ng on Pexels.com

I’ve been spending the summer as I do every fourth summer watching the Ashes and the dulcet, or ear-piercing, tones of Shane ‘Warney’ Warne.

Now I heard the former spin king and England legend Ian ‘Beefy’ Botham eulogise about Melbourne (and London).

I know about London https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-london-life/ and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/06/23/carole-king-youre-beautiful/.

But I could if I jumped on Etihad’s http://www.etihad.com Melbourne’s Global sale which is headlining with Business Melbourne from €3,3367.

Now while the old refrain from his team-mates when he was playing was ‘Well bowled, Warnie’, may I offer ‘Well sold, Etihad.’