America, Countries, Europe, Music, UK

Five concerts to escape the Platinum Jubilee

And continuing our series, and because we’re not all pliant subjects, here are five music concerts to escape the Platinum Jubilee.

Queen’s domain

Ready, Freddie go: Freddie Mercury

Live Aid, 1985: And the generational music festival from Wembley, London, for the Ethiopian Famine Relief when Freddie Mercury and Queen stole the show.

From the moment Status Quo kicked off we were rockin’ all over the world.

While Prince, Lionel Ritchie, Madonna et al put Philadelphia on the pop mark.

Stardust in Woodstock

Hippy shake: Woodstock

Woodstock, 1969: Before all that Yasgur’s Farm in upstate New York broke the mould for music fests and climaxed the Sixties.

Joni Mitchell famously had to miss Woodstock because of the NY traffic but bequeathed her song for Matthews Southern Comfort.

You don’t have to… you can drown out the God Save the Queen’s with Jimi Hendrix’s electric version of the Stars and Stripes.

Up Pompeii

In the Pink: Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd at Pompeii: And the kings of stadium rock would never play at the local ground when Classical sites would do.

The ambient super group set the pattern at Pompeii for the rest, one we fully endorse.

Well, in best Travel fashion, we wish you were here.

Rocks in the Rockies

Red Rocks: Of course, the New World has its natural wonders too.

And Red Rocks hasn’t escaped the notice of rock’n’roll royalty.

With everyone from The Beatles through U2 to OneRepublic (in front of yours truly and a private audience) playing there in Denver.

Glasto blasto

Hello from me: Adele

Glastonbury: Now there have been many claimants to the crown of Queen of Glastonbury.

Beyoncé, the Queen Bey herself, Dolly Parton and the diva of divas Shirley Bassey.

Adele famously broke the record for f-bombing, cussing 33 times in her 90-minute sets.

Now that won’t happen at the Queen’s lovebomb.

Better then, sit back and watch these five… concerts to escape the Platinum Jubilee.

And like London buses there will be another couple of lists along over the next few days.

 

America, Countries, Sustainable Tourism

150 years of Yellowstone

Some take it for granted but as we mark 150 years of Yellowstone it is worth reprising the words of a Ranger who was asked what he would do if he had just one day in the US National Park.

‘Cry’ was his rather laconic but revealing message.

‘Twas Ulysses S. Grant, hero of the North, who opened Yellowstone National Park, the first of its kind anywhere in the world, on March 1, 1872.

Although we prefer to mention the work our very own Scottish explorer John Muir did there and elsewhere in the States which earned him the mantle ‘Father of the National Parks.’

But it is important to acknowledge that the Native Americans (Red Indians in 19th Century parlance) had been there for 11,000 years.

Thanks a million

Is that a bear coming? Yellowstone

No wonder our Ranger of course would weep if he was only offered one day in Yellowstone.

Because there are 2 million acres of the park.

And while we’ve all heard of Old Faithful, you’ll also want to take in Lower Falls and Yellowstone Lake.

One million of us visit Yellowstone every year (in a Covid-free year) and with that amount of space you’ll never feel congested.

And here are some useful tips for our visit.

Yellowstone tips

The Big Country: The Great American West

The entrance fee for each of Wyoming’s national parks (Yellowstone and Grand Teton) is $35 per vehicle to visit for one to seven days. Entrance fees for other National Park Service sites, such as Devils Tower National Monument, vary.

Reservations are required to camp anywhere within Grand Teton National Park and open six months prior to the date you wish to camp. Book early to reserve a spot.

Reservations are required within certain campgrounds in Yellowstone National Park. Plan ahead and reserve campsites early.

Backcountry permits are required to backpack within national park boundaries.

Pets are only allowed where vehicles are allowed in national parks and must be kept on a 6-foot leash. Pets are prohibited on trails, pathways, and swimming in any park waters.

The wildlife is wild. Do not approach, chase or feed animals, and stay in your vehicle if you’re stuck in a wildlife jam.

Grizzly bears reside in both Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. Stay safe by carrying bear spray, being alert, making noise and traveling in groups of three or more.

Masks are required on all federal lands when social distancing isn’t possible.

How to get there

Sweep of nature: In Wyoming

There are smaller airports around Yellowstone but we’d advise the old Road Trip around the Great American West.

And we’d suggest the eight-hour 532-mile drive from our favourite Denver in Colorado.

Bandanaman and the Bandanettes In Denver

In an RV mind, and not the rodeo which we’ll tell you more about soon.

And a shout-out too for bespoke Travel providers G Adventures who are offering eight days Jackson to Yellowstone National Park from £2399. Valid on Jun 19 2022

So get your 150 Years of Yellowstone up and running. You’ll cry with joy.

 

 

 

America, Countries, Culture

Pride and joy

The Tarts and Tramps was always a rite of passage for Aberdeen University Freshers students in the Eighties, and I dare say it’s their Pride and joy still.

Quite whether students get a chance to glam and glum it up in a meaningful Freshers week in September remains to be seen.

Hugs around the world

But encouragingly Pride events will be held around the world this month.

Changed from last year when we all rallied together to make the most of it all digitally.

My attention was drawn by one of Las Vegas’s finest music acts, Imagine Dragons, championing Pride.

Flagging up Pride

It just so happens that I’m at my campest in the Oo-Es-of-EH and the 

Cariqueen and it’s that love of a good pun which makes me fit right in.

By rights we who travel for a living would have been boogieing it up in Party City.

That is of course Las Vegas, where I should be now at the US Travel Fair.

My beardie matches: In California

Their Pride party is legendary as is their entertainment.

With the Beach Boys and Snoop Dogg entertaining us last time up in Anaheim.

And OneRepublic rocking Red Rocks in Denver the year before.

Red Rocks in Denver

We’ll hopefully do the American Travel Fair all over again in the Fall.

Where, yes, Pride will be behind us.

But I know someone from my last Vegas trip, Cami from Utah.

My Pride and joy, who I might just still be married to!

 

 

America, Countries, Culture, Deals, Ireland, UK

Hungry and Thursday – Lobster for Thanksgiving

It was a time of plague and pestilence when frontiersmen reached out to new peoples in an act of trust.

And it is the best of America, its Thanksgiving Day.

Clouded in myth from what I can see there are two main contenders.

The 1619 religious feast on the English Puritans’ arrival in Berkeley Hundred, Virginia.

And the 1621 shared harvest meal between the settlers in Plymouth, Massachusetts and the Native American Wampanoag people.

Mass gathering

The indigenous people had helped the incomers get through the previous harsh winters.

The feast is akin to a Christmas meal with roast turkey the centrepiece.

And didn’t we all see the turkey get a pardon at the White House last week?… they’re coming back for the bird today.

But while you may go for turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, corn, and cranberry sauce if you want to be really authentic then here’s how to party like it’s 1621.

Walk like a Puritan

And If you want to walk like a Puritan then you need to get your hands on waterfowl, venison, lobsters, clams, berries, fruit, pumpkin snd squash.

Now because Thanksgiving is a celebration of Settler and Native-American unity, a fairly rare occurrence these 500 years let’s focus on the First Nations.

And other than getting out on a reservation (and I will) their representative body and my pals, AIANTA are the folks to go to for everything you need to know.

While the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC is the Smithsonian Museum which chronicles their history.

The pipes of peace: In Denver

The American story belongs to all those who have settled, been settled or resettled including more than a couple of Murtys and McNultys (my Mum’s people).

While not all got out to the Wild West, I did, as did Buffalo Bill Cody and his Plainsmen. Chief Sitting Bull was already there.

Wild West Road Trip

My friends at American Holidays know the way already.

And they are offering a Road Trip through Wyoming and my fave Colorado, who both claim Buffalo Bill’s bones, the two Dakotas, Montana and Utah.

All from €1499. They’ll give you 15 days RV rental with unlimited mileage, flights from Dublin to Denver and return from Salt Lake City.

With two nights in Mile High City, Denver, before your trip.

Buffalo Bill’s graveyard: Golden, Colorado

You’ll also get a Vehicle Provisioning Kit of cookware, crockery and utensils.

And personal kits for four people – bath towels, pillows and bedding.

And maybe in the spirit of Thanksgiving leave room for some lobster, venison, waterfowl and pumpkins.

America, Countries, Culture, Food & Wine, Ireland, UK

Ale to the Chief – American Beer Day

And a confession here. I didn’t take to American beer when I first visited the country back when I was 17.

Probably because I was below the legal drinking age, although it helps when your Auntie runs a bar, and a Queens institution at that.

And your cousin is a wild one.

But it’s just that Bud Lite or Miller Lite didn’t do it for me, too Lite, really.

I don’t have time to get my hair cut

But when I returned a few years later, for a summer working in Boston after university I discovered Sam Adams and that was it.

Now since I’ve become a regular visitor, and observer of America and all things American in recent years, I’ve made it a personal mission to sample more beer.

So here are my United Tastes of America.

Virginia blonde

This year’s blonde: in Virginia

Virginia: Now I love a beautiful blonde as much as the next man, I married one after all who is gooder than any.

So who was I to turn down a tour which incorporated two of my favourite things, Beer and Battlefields?

Happen the Union and the Confederate soldiers partook of some corn beer themselves before or after they took to the Manassas battlefield.

They deserved it.

And here am I at an old schoolhouse in Ben Lomond doing a tasting. Every day is a schoolday!

Mississippi sippy

And something worth singing about: Mississippi

Deep South; I swear I enjoyed an Ole Miss but maybe that’s just the beer talking.

Although there was a Sinister Minister (insert gag here).

This being the Deep South you want a good ole ranch-type bar where you can grab something (everything) deep fried with grits.

And whether it was just our party (or a thing) but cash in your vouchers for your beers… surely the answer in our Covid times.

Anyhoos in Memphis, Tennessee, Cleveland and Jackson, Mississippi I partook…. and I still think I’ve got a couple vouchers left in a drawer.

Beers to make you goofy

And drink it on the Big Bang set

Anaheim, California: And there’s always one… and usually two, three, four or five who take up the invitation to ask a question.

I mean do you really want to know about the mashing process when you could be drinking the best pale ale?

If you’re from the Orange County you’ve probably just be coming off the Socially Distanced Anaheim Oktoberfest.

But you will be interested in Anaheim Brewery‘s Beer to Go offers, Tuesdays through to Sundays.

In bottles (by the six-pack or case) with Anaheim 1888, Anaheim Gold, Anaheim Red, Anaheim Hefeweizen, Coast to Coast IPA and Oktoberfest IPA.

Or in growlers which are demi-packs – 150th Anniversary Ale, Fruity Wheat Anaheim 1888, Anaheim Gold, Anaheim Red, Anaheim Hefeweizen, Oktoberfest Lager and Coast to Coast IPA.

Colorado, the Golden Nirvana

And the Rockies water is the secret

Colorado: You’ve got to be able to back it up if you claim to be the beer capital of the States, but Denver can.

While Colorado boasts more than 425 breweries and counting.

The Denver Milk Market is a misnomer… it’s in the old milk district.

While all beer lovers will feel the pull of Golden, in the apron of the Rockies.

It is, of course, the home of Coors, but so much more,

As Travis Rupp, Classics professor at the University of Colorado and beer archaeologist at Avery Brewery will tell you.

Now which to pick from? Well because I love a blonde! A Belgian Blue Moon.

And if you love a beer then here’s how some of my favourite fellow boozists do it.,. in Belgium and the Czech Republic.

So where’s your favourite drinking spot in America and what beer should I drink.

Let me know and we’ll share.

MEET YOU IN THE BAR