Countries, Food, Food & Wine

Hungry and Thursday – the best bar none on my travels

I’ve yet to introduce myself to my new local in my new billet in North Berwick, near Edinburgh, or the landlord I’ll clink glasses with.

But it’s got me thinking of my five favourite bar stops on my travels.

Anything, as long as it’s beer

On the horns of a dilemma: Simon and myself in Ieper

The Hopperie, Ieper (or Ypres): Now that I’ve reached this advanced age I tend to repeat myself, repeat myself.

So this tale from Tom’s Bierhaus gets another outing… Muriel, that’s her real name, ordered a G&T.

To Tom’s bafflement… ‘This is a bierhaus I have more than 200 beers and I can tell you about them all.’

She got water.

To my disappointment I found out when googling that Tom’s has shut so I’ll divert you to Bruges and Le Trappiste http://www.letrappistebrugge.com.

Where they have nearly 200 beers. So no danger of being as quiet as a Trappist monk.

And, of course, we toasted the Fallen… In Flanders fields.

The best Glasgow bar

Scots Wahey: Kirsten and me

Glasgow Bar, Tobago: Just ask for Karl and tell him Jim from Glasgow sent you.

Only that there have been hundreds of Glasgow Jimmys who have passed by and asked for a selfie with Karl Glasgow.

Who has never been to Glasgow, or Scotland.

Although he knows a dreadlocked man he introduces me to who has come in to do some repairs who was in a band in Fort William in the Scottish Highamds.

Try the mahi-mahi (like swordfish) which obviously comes with macaroni cheese (everything does).

With Carib or Stag beer or rum punch.

It’s unlike any Glasgow working man’s bar I’ve ever been to, and I’ve been to a few, and with knockout views of Parlatuvier Bay.

See www.tobagogov.tt and let’s do it all over again in On your marks, get set, GOAT in Tobago.

Mrs Ippi and Mr Ippi

The home of the Delta Blues

A honky tonk near the Marriott Hotel, Cleveland, Mississippi: Don’t ask me the name, there had been Southern Pecan Nut Brown Ale and Bulleit bourbon taken.

But it’s across a bridge and is where my Travel buddy, Ireland’s Travel Writer of the Year, Isabel Conway and I stayed for late-night drinks.

After I had spotted a fella lassoing the waitress in while watching the rodeo on the TV.

We joined them, he showed us his dogs and horses on his phone, and Issy and I agreed he was a good ole’ Country Boy.

And here’s where you can read about the whole adventure, my American Trilogy… The Promised Land, The story of the Blues, The King of Kings.

And much more besides at https://www.deep-south-usa.com and https://visitmississippi.org.

Vegas baby

I can snuggle up in the crook of Cami’s neck

Carneval Court, Las Vegas: I’m heading back to Vegas in May to see my fiancée, maybe wife Cami, from Utah.

We danced at Carneval Court https://www.caesars.com/harrahs-las-vegas/things-to-do/nightlife-carnaval-court?utm_campaign=GMB&utm_source=google&utm_medium=local&utm_term=CarnavalCourt&utm_content=bar#.XkRmBCSnzYU to Eighties Covers band The Whip Its https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=NYEYxH6l1uQ.

And the barmen poured drinks in an arc into the mouths of women and squirted cream foam into women’s cleavage.

While women dressing in playing cards stood guard at the door.

Visit https://www.lvcva.com and join me around Vegas… Strip… the light fantastic.

Hamburgers and pints

A room for the night

Strand Pauli Beach Club, Hamburg: I’ve drunk at many a beach bar, Barbados, the French Riviera, Majorca, Greece… but it’s Hamburg for me.

The Strand Pauli Beach Club https://www.strandpauli.de on the shore near the Rieperbahn where you can dine on burgers, obvs, and Astra beer.

Before sleeping it off in a double bed.

And here’s what else happens in Hamburg Hamburgers and ships.

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Forget the Fairytale… my Christmas song

Now this qualifies as treason here in Ireland, and it’s probably because I’m a contrarian but…

The Fairytale of New York is not the best Christmas song of all time.

In fact it doesn’t represent New York City https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/21/old-new-york-hamilton/ and http://www.nycvb.com.

There is no NYPD choir, for example.

And the ‘Irish’ pipe band didn’t know Galway Bay (obviously) so did the ‘Mickey Mouse Club March’ instead.

Now I love Da Mouse and Da Minnie Why I love The Donald and Stair Wars. And http://www.visitorlando.com and http://www.disneyland.disney.go.com and http://www.disneyworld.disney.go.com .

Enough Fairytale already… here’s what I call a Christmas song.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=gjYWYJudTPE

Yes, Johnny Mathis’s When A Child Is Born.

Talk the talk

Too scmaltzy for you, the lyics, particularly Johnny’s spoken lyics?

But I love it and I love a talky interjection.

So hit it

And all this happens because the world is waiting,

Waiting for one child

Black, white, yellow, no one knows,

But a child that will grow up and turn tears to laughter,

Hate to love, war to peace and everyone to everyone’s neighbour

And misery and suffering will be words to be forgotten for ever

The Christmas Office Party Bore

Now you’ve probably met the office bore at your Christmas party who gives out about Jesus being wrongly portrayed as white.

When he was born in the Middle East.

And how the whole Christmas story is wrong.

But what really matters is not what Jesus was: white, black, yellow, red, but that he WAS.

Bah, humbug, white liberal intellectuals should just see how the Christmas story is celebrated in the Caribbean….

The ‘other’ Jesus

I should cocoa – Christmas in Tobago and www.visittobago.gov.tt.

And in Mississippi… http://www.visitmississippi.org and The Promised LandThe story of the Blues and http://the king of kings

Though I’d be flabbergasted to think Jesus was an earlier incarnation of Phil Collins.

The West Indians have their own slant on the Christmas songs and put a calypso or Soca rhythm to it.

Put the two together with just the right amount of sauce and you get parang, an example of which is….

Scrunter’s ‘Want ah piece ah pork’ https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=FLpEvkj9jTc.

Now Christmas can be a challenging time for many.

And although it was never written as a Christmas song, it has entered the pantheon for its lines:

Wish I was at home for Christmas

No more war

Jona Lewie’s anthem was, of course, an anti-war song. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=2HkJHApgKqw

And as we move further away from the centennial of the end of the First World War In Flanders fields and http://www.visitflanders.com

Lest we forget amid the commercial gluttony of a 2019 Christmas those for whom an extra mince pie and some grog.

A peaceful Christmas

And some respite from being bombed and shot at.

And the chance to have a kick-about with the opposition on a muddy battlefield was Christmas gift enough.

Let me know what your favourite Christmas song is… mmmm mmmm mmmm!

A CHILD IS BORN… MERRY CHRISTMAS

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Trawling the graveyards of history

I’m dying to share this… how one woman is remembered in the Caribbean.

From the inscription which marks the span of her life.

From sunrise to sunset…

You have to think that Emily was a ray of sunshine herself.

Well, she was from Tobago, an island where rain is known as liquid sunshine… www.visittobago.gov.tt.

Insert your own caption here

And I left with a mountain of memories… It’s Robinson Crusoe’s very own Tobago and I should cocoa – Christmas in Tobago.

I was thinking about death today (no, not a heavy Saturday night) but a regular occurrence.

After visiting the ancient burial ground of Glendalough, Co. Wicklow, near my home here in Ireland.

 

It’s a mystery: In Tobago

I may well have inherited my fascination for graveyards from my Dear Old Dad who I’ll meet there one day.

The Tobagonians have a unique way of seeing life… and death.

As evidenced by this riddle on what has become the most famous grave on the island.

Riddle me this: In Tobago

So that you don’t have to strain your eyes too much the gist of the inscription on the 1783 grave in Plymouth reads in part:

‘She was a mother without knowing it, and a wife without letting her husband know it except by her kind indulgences to him.’

Riddles in Tobago

Now we were asked by our hosts the same question they pose to every visitor: ‘What the heck does it mean?’

My answer, the obvious one, is it’s a woman, whoever knows what goes on in their minds.

Marilyn and me: LA

I keep my eyes open for graves and final resting places wherever I go.

Just this year I discovered that Marilyn Monroe’s final resting place is off a busy street in LA… www.visitcalifornia.com and www.discoverlosangeles.com.

Where she is forced to spend eternity with her old nemesis Hugh Hefner which I tell you all about on this blog… My weekend with Marilyn

 

You can’t pick your neighbours

Of course, graveyards have strong personal connections to those who are related to, or are friends of the deceased.

World War I battlefields

Such as when I was the first of my family to kneel at the graveyard of my Great Uncle Willie who fell in Ieper, or Ypres.

While on that tour of the World War I battlefields In Flanders fields with www.gtitravel.ie and www.visitflanders.com and http://www.visit-somme.com I visited the Canadian and German memorials.

The Canadian memorial with its Caribou statue has a special resonance for my family as Grandpa George fought for the Canadian Army.

And met Granny Mary, a nurse, when he returned to Scotland.

A South African tale

War and graveyards tend to go hand in hand.

And in a visit to the Eastern Cape in South Africa at the start of the year What’s new pussycat? I braved the cold and the damp…

And the big game to visit the graveyard of an Afrikaans resistance fighter from the Boer War…

Of course hanging around graveyards at this time of year you’re liable do get some spooky vibes.

And the lines between this life and the next can become blurred.

Make of me and my colleagues from that trip to South Africa what you will… www.southafrica.net.

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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.

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Give us this Day – Candles

This little light of mine,

I’m gonna let it shine,

Let it shine,

Oh Let it shine,

Let it shine

Gosepl Spiritual

Yes, I’ve taken this little light around the world and am just back from Medjugorje in Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Where I lit a candle for friends and family and the world.

With Myrlie Evers at the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum

Candles flicker across all the religions of the world.

And none.

It is a mark of hope, of permanence and memorial.

The gospel spiritual ‘This little light of mine’ is on a spool in the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in Cleveland.

Where I met Civil Rights legend Myrlie Evers who opened the museum.

And amid the boards with their personal testimonies of struggles, loss and redemption the song is a stirring backdrop.

The ultimate sacrifice: At Great Uncle Willie’s gravestone

Here’s where it stands among my memories… The Promised Land. And http://www.mcrm.mdah.ms.gov

In another land, amid the mud and blood of Passchendaele in Flanders,

I lit a candle to my Irish Great Uncles who had fallen there.

It sits on my desk and every Memorial Sunday in November I light it and sit in silent memorial for a minute.

And I thank them for their sacrifice… In Flanders fields and http://www.gti-ireland.com and http://www.visitflanders.com.

Pilgrims: With Maria dos Anjos in Fatima

We stand too in reverence at the Marian sites of Fatima, Lourdes and Medjugorje.

Secret Portugal The Lourdes prayer. And these websites http://www.centerofportugal.com and http://www.en.lourdes-infotourisme.com and http://www.lourdes-france-org.

And watch out too for my review of my Medjugorje pilgrimage with Marian Pilgrimages www.marian.ie soon in the Irish Sun.

Light of the world: In Medjugorje

Candles, of course, are not just a Western, a Christian, a modern phenomenon.

Light of our lives

Light and fire are primal forces which link us to the Earth and to the heavens.

And are common to other cultures, religions and countries around the world.

And those who claim spirituality but no religion.

Waxing lyrical. In Lourdes

To finish, a light-hearted story from my time in Medge.

From the beautifully beardied Franciscan monk Fr Columba.

Who told of us a candlelight procession in New York when his beard which stretches down to his navel caught fire.

Fr Columba is fireproof though, and can fix TV freezes too… Medjugorje story – a sporting passion.

MEET YOU IN THE PEWS

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Here’s to beer

It’s beer o’clock… who am I kidding? Any hour of the day is beer time on this International Beer Day.

And that’s why I’m saying… here’s to the Brewery and Two Goats Deli in Nieu Bethesda, Dulf’s Burger in Hamburg, Tom’s Bierhaus in Ieper in Belgium.

And where ever your local boozer is.

But firstly would you let me take you to a dusty Karoo town in the Eastern Cape of South Africa?

Because it was there that I spent a very pleasant afternoon in the baking sun, drinking samples of stouts and ciders.

And before falling asleep on the swing bed.

That said, they are good memories that I hark back to on this International Beer Day.

Bok to the beer

This is where I sampled South Africa out of a glass… or five.

For more visit http://www.karooconnections.o.za/tours/nieu. And check out my review of the Eastern Cape… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/home/whats-new-pussycat/

And here’s a couple of other pics of me drinking beer…

Burger and beer

In Germany, obviously, with a local Astra Pilsener lager and a hamburger. It must be Hamburg. Let’s relive it… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/hamburgers-and-ships/

Belgian beer

And a large one with Simon in Tom’s Bar in Ieper in Belgium.

It was a poignant trip finding my Great Uncles who fell in the War.

But this was downtime… and I bet Willie and Patrick drunk the beer too. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/firstworldwar-in-flanders-fields/

The Virginian

Virginia in the US: And this is a blonde I picked up in Bristol. A beer that is. visit http://www.virginia.org.

So why don’t you join me on my day out in Virginia which was billed as Beer and Battlefields and took me back in time to the days of Stonewall Jackson. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/home/easy-dc-2/

We’ll leave it at that for just now… I’m thirsty.

Dear Jesse

Apart from to say, a big thank you to Californian Jesse Avshalomov for giving us the excuse.

Because it was Jesse who founded the thing in 2007 in Santa Cruz, Southern California.

And since its inception it has grown into a worldwide phenomenon (which I’m catching onto now) spanning 207 cities, 80 countries and six continents.

Prost!