America, Asia, Countries, Culture, Europe, UK

Pandemics… a gruesome business

And to think that just a couple of months ago an underground abandoned street from the Black Death was open…

And drawing in ghoulish visitors in Edinburgh.

It might just give us solace though to reflect that our forebears had it worse.

A city under a city… The Real Mary King’s Close

It wasn’t just that the residents of Mary King’s Close https://www.realmarykingsclose.com were boarded up, they didn’t even have Netflix.

You can see how they lived on a trip to the Scottish capital https://edinburgh.org where the Old Town seeps horrible history.

How they lived in the Middle Ages

The Eyam Plague Village Museum https://www.eyam-museum.org.uk, in Derbyshire in the English Midlands, is another example of how Medieval people lived with The Plague.

In their case sealing their village off in a remarkable feat of self-sacrifice from their neighbours.

Our pandemic will pass, and will become a chapter in history alongside the Plague of Athens and the Plague of Justinian.

Each of which you can trace as you follow in the footsteps of the Byzantines and Ottomans… https://athensattica.com and https://visit.istanbul.

And My Greek odyssey and Wham bam, thank you Hamam

So how will we chronicle these days in which we live?

Well, we have started already, curating the artefacts, masks, robes, PPE and everyday objects that we surround ourselves with just now.

And the everyday stories that inform and entertain.

It will come as little surprise then that it is the idiosyncratic, curious and super-efficient Germans who have been to the fore here.

Oh, the Cologne

Historian Rita Wagner has been curating a time capsule of the spring of 2020 for future generations for Cologne City Museum

Germans know from their own tragic war history that it is vital not to forget.

Cologne https://www.cologne-tourism.com, a city I know from my nearby Oktoberfest adventures, stands proudly with its cathedral at its centrepoint against the ravages of adversity.

Dresden too https://www.dresden.de/en/tourism/tourism.php Dresden’s renaissance

Oh, Vienna, it means something to me

While Wien University https://www.univie.ac.at/en/ (Vienna to you and me) put out an invitation to the public.

To contribute to their collection via email and the.’Corona Memory’ tag.

Take that, bug

One of my favorite objects is a crocheted coronavirus,” says museum director Matti Bunzl.

‘It is not only cute, it shows that objects are ambassadors of their time.”

Not so sure about ‘cute’ Matti but it does help to demystify the bug. https://www.wien.info/en.

Finns can only get better

Finland is the happiest country in the world and has a healthy recognition that death is part of life and life is for living.

And they too at the National Museum of Finland https://www.kansallismuseo.fi/en/.

We all love a fairytale

And wonderful Copenhagen which I visited on my cruse around the fjords with https://www.msccruises.co.uk wew.msccruises.ie and The call of the fjords.

Where when all of this is over it will all be in the one place in Vesthimmerlands Museum https://www.visitvesthimmerland.com/vesthimmerland/planlaeg-din-tur/vesthimmerlands-museum-gdk597684

America may have lost its moral direction in leadership through this crisis but that will surely be temporary.

As its own history shows as evidence in its Smithsonian Museums.

The jewel of the Smithsonian Museums

The National Museum of African American History and Culture https://nmaahc.si.edu is the jewel in the Smithsonian crown.

And they too are curating how we are living our lives now.

Whether long red ties and take-aways of diet Coca-Cola and burgers from up Pennsylvania Avenue will make the cut…

Well, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Visit https://washington.org and Easy DC.

Adventure, America, Countries, Europe

Get on your bikes – cycling around the world

It’s obviously not how cyclists would have planned it but after years of being pilloried THEY now rule the roads.

Back when I was nearer Sir Chris Hoy’s age than Eddy Merckx’s I would cycle everywhere in Edinburgh.

And take my life in my own hands like the time I was cut up at the roundabout by an elderly driver.

I was cycling straight on while Mad Motorist was on the outside lane but decided to turn left.

Not a car to be seen in Amsterdam

Picking myself and my bike up from the ground I was met by s screaming pensioner telling me I should have signalled!!!

Or there was the time I was waterbombed by some hoodlums from a tenement flat.

Ridden off the road

While I was also sprayed in the face with party foam while cycling through Edinburgh’s New Town.

Mmmm… I’d like to see them try any of those stunts in Amsterdam.

When in Amsterdam

Where you’d probably be pushed into the canals by locals shouting CYCLISTS!

But they have a culture there, properly wide and thought-through cycle paths, and lanes separated by small walks beside dual carriageways.

Dutch driving

Which makes it a pleasure for all to enjoy the city with your IAmsterdam city pass www.iamsterdam.com Pictures of Amsterdam and George Clooney and Amal’s Amsterdam hotel.

Le Tour de Murty: The Pyrenees

France prides itself as the home of cycling where families cycle together The Boat D’Azur and https://uk.france.fr/en.

Or if they’re holding you back then you can always climb the mountain to Le Pic du Midi.

Tour de force

Where cyclists either climbing or whizzing down the mountain have right of way.

The same applies in Scandinavia and Northern Europe where the bike is often the preferred mode of transport.

The best cycling culture in the world probably: Denmark

And where my old University pal New Yorker Tom turned up for our meeting by old Hans Christian Andersen’s statue on his bike.

Wonderful Copenhagen

See https://www.visitcopenhagen.com and fit a day in on your MSC Cruises trip around the Norwegian fjords https://www.msccruises.co.uk and https://www.msccruises.ie. The call of the fjords.

Tom’s own New York may not immediately strike you as a shining example for cyclists but we’re probably thinking Manhattan here.

Staten Island Bicycling Association http://www.sibike.org

And that’s another reason to explore the five other boroughs… for example Staten Island, Brooklyn and Queens.

American cycling dream

While when you do do Manhattan and The Bronx I’d recommend walking tours and here’s where you can get a start Old New York: Hamilton. And www.nycvb.com.

Look at the space you have to cycle

California is all about the outside life where cyclists don the latest fashions and pose on their two wheels.

On the Venice Beach www.venicebeach.com and Santa Monica https://www.santamonica.com/things-to-do/santa-monica-beach/… And My Weekend With Marilyn. And www.visitcalifornia.com.

With a Paralympic champion in Quinta do Lago

Sportugeezer

And my cycling experiences? Showing off on my Sporting break at The Campus in Quinta do Lago in Portugal.

And took a straight road too sharply.., https://www.quintadolago.com/en/sports-wellness/the-campus/. And SPORTUGAL

Remember too in these days of social distancing if you are a driver give cyclists some space.

Adventure, Deals, Europe

Fairytale deals to Copenhagen

Once upon a time there was an airline carrier which offered wonderful deals to Scandinavia.

But guess what we still live happily ever after with these deals from Scandinavia Airlines http://www.sas.com.

They offer Stockholm from €41, Copenhagen from €44 and Oslo from €37.

Our ship down there: MSC in Norway

We got our first taste of Scandinavia https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-call-of-the-fjords/ when we cruised around Denmark and Norway and got a tantalising look at Sweden on our MSC tour of the fjords… http://www.msccruises.ie and http://www.msccruises.co.uk.

Where we also popped in an old friend in Copenhagen … well, yes him. But him as well, my old university mucker American Tom.

Fairytale story: With Tom and The Scary One

It was invaluable having local knowledge for that day trip with Tom being able to show us where you can buy a coffee for under a tenner.

And also tell us which rides to go on and which not in the Tivoli Gardens http://www.tivoli.dk which we all know Walt Disney used as his inspiration for his Disney theme parks http://www.disneyparks.disney.go.com.

BTW I’m up there somewhere and did get a fabulous view of the whole of Copenhagen http://www.visitcopenhagen.com and our ship.

Tom knew all the cool parts, Vesterbro (you’re very welcome).

Dance away: In Copenhagen

Where local artists use industrial holders to play out their modern interpretative dance moves.

And yes Bandanaman was throwing some shapes from the back of the crowd too.

Sweden is tantalisingly close when you sail off from Copenhagen on your way to Norway.

And when you do visit Stockholm http://www.visitstockholm.com you will, of course, hit the dance floor at the ABBA The Museum http://www.abbathemuseum.com.

Munch break: In Bergen

And I will also catch up with my old friend Agnetha… though again not that one. A long story which I’ll return too. And a salutary lesson too!

But while we only dipped our toes into Denmark and barely at all Sweden we did jump in head first into the Norwegian fjords. And will be back.

Dahl boy: Norwegian landscape painting

And this time having sampled the art of Munch and the drama of Ibsen it’ll be full sail for Oslo… http://www.visitoslo.com.

Cruising in the fjords became popular in the 19th century through the works of Hans Dahl and there began an influx of tourists there on the back of it.

Mind you they would have got there quicker and cheaper with SAS.