Asia, Countries, Europe, Ireland, Sport, UK

My Sporting Weekend – You’ll Never Walk Alone

Unless you’ve been living under a rock then you’ll know by now that Liverpool have won their first league title for 30 years… you’ll never walk alone.

Which is of course their salute to each other and when I say ‘their’ I do of course mean ‘our’.

Because we used to live in Liverpool www.visitliverpool.com and the Son and Heir was born there and took the team with the city’s name in it as his club.

Setting the pace

Little would Gerry & The Pacemakers know when they released their cover of the Rogers and Hammerstein song from the musical Carousel in 1964…

The Celtic Way. www.uefa.com

But this song would become the most famous ‘football’ song in history.

Interestingly too it is shared with the first British winners of the European Cup, Celtic.

Liverpool may be obvious because Marsden is a Liverpudlian.

Celtic tribe

And the-then manager Bill Shankly is said to have swooped on the song when he met the singer.

But Glaswegian giants Celtic https://peoplemakeglasgow.com is less obvious and in fact dates to 1966 when the two teams met in European competition.

Yellow wall: Borussia Dortmund. www.bvbbuzz.com

There has never though been any rivalry over the song between the two clubs whose fans have enjoyed a long bond with each other.

The anthem has been taken up by teams abroad with Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp’s former club Borussia Dortmund playing it.

Ja beauty

And as you know my mantra when going anywhere is to seek out where they play and pray… https://www.germany.travel/en-mobile/index.html.

And whisper it around the Westfalenstadion but my football education in Germany has been in Munich.

The Feyenoord Legion www.feyenoord.com

There are of course two teams in the city and 1860 also play at the Allianz Arena along with Bayern.

The Dutch too have embraced YNWA.

With the Liverpool stadium speaker George Sephton giving FC Twente the song when they moved stadiums.

Dutch of magic

While Feyenoord and SC Cambuur have also taken the song to their hearts.

I’ve been all over Dutch football since I adopted them as my ‘second team’ after watching Johan Cruyff’s side of the mid-Seventies.

In Bruges

And Dutchland since I became old enough to organise my own holidays Pictures of Amsterdam and George Clooney and Amal’s Amsterdam hotel and www.iamsterdam.com.

In fact wander around Europe (as I do for you, dear reader) and you’ll find more nationalities walking on with hope in their hearts.

Belgian waffling

Brugge is a delightful Medieval city of canals, culture, chocolates and churches In Flanders fields and https://gtitravel.ie https://www.visitflanders.com/en/?country=en_GB.

But it also has a link to Liverpool as it was Brugge who lost to Liverpool in the English club’s first European Cup final in 1978.

But who came away with a song, You’ll Never Walk Alone.

The others are more random but the destinations are right up my street.

Walk this way

I guess it makes sense that CD Lugo, in Spain’s Second Division, should have taken it as their song.

As they hail from Galicia, Camino heartland www.CaminoWays.com and A pilgrim’s prayer.

Why it’s the song of PAOK in Thessaloniki, Indonesia’s Bali United and Japan’s FC Tokyo then that’s one more reason to check out…

Athens’ https://athensattica.com My Greek odyssey little brother https://thessaloniki.travel/en/, https://www.bali.com and https://www.gotokyo.org/en/index.html.

Countries, Europe, Flying, Sport

My Sporting Weekend – Pigeons and high-fliers

Not everything is grounded just now and the clearer skies have been a Godsend to pigeons and their fanciers.

Pigeon fancying sounds like it should be the preserve of old men in anoraks.

But try saying that to sporting hard men Mike Tyson and Duncan Ferguson.

Which one is yours?

Iron Mike, the self-styled ‘baddest man on the planet’ is even said to have thrown his first punch at 10 after a thug ripped the head off his pigeon.

Struggling for sports to report on during lockdown…

Britain’s award-winning radio station talkSPORT https://talksport.com has been turning its attention to the Sport of Wings.

And educating us in the ways of birds – it transpires that pigeon-fancying originated in the Lowlands of Belgium.

So that’s where they go

They came in useful during the First World War www.visitflanders.com and In Flanders fields to carry messages.

But had in truth been a sporting pursuit since the mid-19th century and was taken up and developed after the war.

And why do we think that these are perfect circumstances for new pigeon racing records.

Well, it’s said that pigeons find their way back the 100-1,000kms distances through sound.

Spread your wings

And there are fewer distractions in the skies right now.

For more on pigeon fancying (and they are the perfect social distancers) then visit https://www.rpra.org/about-rpra/getting-started/.

Now Venice’s St Mark’s Square, Dam Square, Amsterdam, New York’s Washington Square and London’s Trafalgar Square may be renowned for their pigeons.

And here are some thoughts that will make you coo with delight.

Fuel for the journey

In https://www.visit-venice-italy.com, www.nycvb.com and https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/28/old-new-york-hamilton/amp/, www.iamsterdam.com, Pictures of Amsterdam and https://www.visitlondon.com and The London life.

But if you want to hear some other birdies twittering then try www.visittobago.gov.tt and https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/17/ready-steady-goat-racing-in-tobago/amp/.

Africa, America, Asia, Australasia, Canada, Caribbean, Countries, Culture, Europe, Ireland, UK

VE Day – The unknown soldiers

They make easy targets for class warriors but on days of military commemoration, like today VE Day, the British Royal Family are entitled to raise their heads high.

Prince Philip was first lieutenant (second-in-command) on board the HMS Wallace during the Allied invasion of Sicily in 1942.

When the Luftwafffe began their bombardment of the waters.

 

Another war… but the same sacrifice

Yeoman Harry Hargreaves revealed back in 2003 how Philip duped the enemy and saved the ship and all on it.

By persuading his captain to drop a raft overboard, set it alight, and deceive them into bombing that instead.

And so as Prince Charles, whose own military career is distinguished, laid a wreath today at Balmoral to the Fallen, and the Queen spoke to the Nation…

It is well to remember that we wer all in the same fight in World War II. And now.

 

My Great-Uncle Willie

What we all do after we get out of this we’ll have to wait and see, and there will be a clamour for sun and sand.

My friends in the Caribbean take note.

While some will seek remote holidays, others adventure, while still others walking holidays.

And all are on my list.

But I will, as I’ve always done, continue to visit the places and commemorate those who fell in war around the world.

 

Cavernous destruction… in Flanders

Like I did when I was invited to lay the wreath at the daily Last Post commemoration at the Menin Gate in Ieper (Ypres).

Where my Great Uncle Willie lies in a graveyard of identically-sized crosses (no hierarchy in death).

And where I was the first of his relatives to see him, plant a wooden cross and say The Lord’s Prayer.

His brother Patrick has his name inscribed among the tens of thousands of missing on the arch at Thiepval.

 

Everyone a hero: Great-Uncle Pat and the Missing at Thiepval

I have been fortunate enough to trot the globe but I have never felt as moved.

Or deeply grateful than when I knelt before Great Uncle Willie’s grave.

And though I never knew him, or those he fought with or against, I commend them and those who care for their last resting places.

And not just today but every day of every year.

 

Trench warfare: At The Somme

I visited the World War I battlefields, Ieper and The Somme with GTI, the Group Travel Specialists https://gtitravel.ie and In Flanders fields.

And also visit www.visitflanders.com and https://www.visit-somme.com/great-war

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.

Uncategorized

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

Uncategorized

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.

Uncategorized

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.

Uncategorized

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

Uncategorized

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!