America, Asia, Caribbean, Countries

Another episode when me out on de road

It’s another episode when me out on de road, we don’t come out to pose, as Bajan Soca legend would say.

Yes, this is our destiny, yes, it belongs to we. And no, I’ve not forgotten all my English grammar.

This is Bajan patois and it is what I hope to be hearing for the next week.

Think too the rum-infused pitch of a smiling Barbadian (or Bajan) and you have it… Sweeet!

Cultural appropriation 

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

All of which brings us to the thorny subject of cultural appropriation.

Knowing how irked I’ve been in the past when English people have cried Hoots…

Or Begorrah when I was in Ireland.

And I confess I’ve grimaced myself when I’ve said Irie to the Bajans when I’ve been out in Barbados before.

Only to be met with mile-wide smiles and hearty hugs.

Now offence is naturally taken differently depending on where you go.

Read the room

Tea for me: At the Boston Tea Party

And the trick is to be able to read the room.

We don’t always get it right… I again made something of a social faux-pas recently in New England.

When I followed up my handshake with my host Ginny by extending my hand again to her colleague, a young Muslim lady.

The White Knight

The Mad Hatter: Greg in Colorado

Thoughts immediately returned to Aussie Greg, Great Protector of Muslim Women, and great White Knight.

I imagined his head would have exploded with rage as he’d shouted along the coach at me in Colorado.

When I put my hand on the side of a Jordanian woman’s shoulder in the narrow aisle to ask if I could please pass by.

‘You never touch the Muslim woman,’ he screamed, in full earshot of her husband.

All of which only served to embarrass the poor couple when a discreet word would have been better.

Ms Carter

Bajan queen: With Ms Carter

And so when we go jumpin’ this week at the Barbados Celtic Festival I will again be indebted to Ms Carter, our awesome host Cheryl.

Cheryl, of course, knows me of old and has taken the edges of my worst excesses when jumping at Mas (Bajan open-air music events).

It’s just another episode when me out on de road.

 

 

 

Caribbean, Countries

TUI can play underwater in Cancun

I’m dangerous enough above ground so how I’d fare among the watery statues is a scary thought now TUI can play underwater in Cancun again.

I will go peaking into the ocean depths again… and maybe soon enough.

Water surprise: Under Cancun

And that would certainly give me the shot of confidence I’d need to explore Cancun’s underwater museum.

It’s hard to think my forebears emerged from the sea when you consider my attempts at snorkelling.

Snorkel shmorkel

Right behind you pal: Snorkelling

I hurt myself more than scared the heroes in a half-shell when I cut my feet on the coral in Kuramathi in the Maldives.

Then I went chasing them twice in Barbados off our catamaran.

Though to be fair the first time my rum breath probably put the turtles off.

Turtley awesome

Ruby do: With Ruby in Barbados

I did see me Mr and Mrs Turtle on my return a year later.

And I hope they’ll remember me when I roll into Bim in the next couple of days for their Barbados Celtic Festival.

More of which when I negotiate the myriad regs required to clear the gates.

Do the Cancun

Maraca catta: In Cancun

Cancun, where we started talking about snorkelling today is a favourite Caribbean destination for Americans and Europeans.

And as well as being a great party hotspot it boasts something rare in its Underwater Museum of Art.

Now, this does exactly what it says on the tin, though that would be like no tin you’ve ever seen before.

Under the sea

Full steam ahead: Driving the boat

Musamexico.org suggests a choice of scuba diving options.

A snorkel at the gallery of Punta Nizuc at $47 or a glass-bottom boat snorkel paradise adventure for the same price.

Well, you pays your money and takes your choice and my choice is the glass-bottomed boat.

It was a great view of shipwrecks off Barbados and Malta.

And I dare say it would have been the best compromise in Jordan where my bushy moustache clogged my nasal passages.

And The Scary One did badger me to tidy up my beardie before I left for Barbados this time.

TUI Mex my day

Get ahead: Wear a hat

If you do want to check out the underwater statues then TUI has non-stop flights from Dublin to Cancun from next June.

So pencil into your calendar… every Monday from June 5 for seven weeks.

That’s a fortnight at any one of their range of more than 70 hotels along the Caribbean Coast.

Adult prices at the Riu Lupita, Playacar on an All Inclusive basis for 14 nights from €1,799 per person. Booking deposit is from €150 per person.

So yes, TUI can play underwater in Cancun.

 

 

 

 

America, Asia, Countries, Europe, UK

Our own world bank of foreign exchange

Over time we can all build up our own world bank of foreign exchange.

My Dear Old Dad, in his dwindling years, would count out his own chest of pesetas, escudos, drachmas, francs, lira and deutschmarks.

There are, of course, glass cases in airports where we can now donate our left-over foreign money for charity.

But if you’re resourceful, and have a winning smile (Daddy’s Little Girl), you can walk off your plane with foreign money.

And in these straitened times we need all, and every kind of legit money, from wherever it comes.

The Queen’s coin

How much? The Queen

The most trusted coins in the UK are, of course, those with the Queen’s head on it.

And a roaring trade is done too on commemorative coins of the monarch.

With this Platinum Year of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign marked by the release of a limited number of coins to mark her 75 years.

They range on the Royal Mint from the UK 50p Brilliant Uncirculated Coin at £7 for the most pressed subject.

To the gold bullion Queen’s Jubilee Sovereign Set at £1,800, but be patient they’re awaiting stock.

Pawn Stars

Money shot: Miss America meets Mr Scotland in Vegas

Now if you think that that’s extravagant in these cash-strapped times then remember that gold appreciates in value.

Not that I’m advising you to scour your jewellery box and head for the pawn shop.

Although having seen the prices of old artefacts in the most famous pawn store in the world, the Pawn Stars shop in Vegas.

My fellow Britons famously and sneeringly accuse the Americans of having no history.

But here in the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop and across any number of fairs across the States specialising in music, war or whatever disproves that.

Coining it in

Bandanaman and the Bandanettes In Denver

And if you can’t afford a Confederate coin then you can always buy one of those say Buffalo Bill coins from the souvenir shop in Lookout Mountain in Colorado.

Coins have been with us since Roman days and before, the Lydians in modern-day Turkey credited with the first in 600BC.

And we always live in hope that all that digging that The Green-Fingered One does in our back garden will yield some treasure.

For now I’ll just hope that my commemorative C$2 Calgary Winter Olympics coin has appreciated in value.

Because I’m not holding out much hope for my Jordanian dinar note in our own world bank of foreign exchange.

Saddam hucksters

Do I pass as Jordanian? With Zuhair

I did dodge a bullet (maybe even literally) when I body swerved the hucksters trying to sell Saddam Hussein Iraqi notes outside Petra.

Best stick to the coin-pressing machines and the money-making exercise that is The Royal Mint Collection.

It’s about time, is it not, that that wealth dripped down to us.?

 

 

Asia, Countries, Culture, Deals

Why Qatar makes frankincense

Football World Cups are stressful enough, particularly if you’re of the Scottish variety, which is why Qatar makes frankincense.

You see what I’ve done there, I’ve only linked the Gulf state with its greatest export, way before they found oil.

Frankincense was one of the spices the Three Wise Men saw fit to take to Bethlehem to give to the baby Jesus.

And we think that if that kind of aromatherapy was deemed good enough for the Messiah then it’s good enough for us.

A Qatar tradition

Destress: At the Zulal

Zulal Wellness Resort by Chiva-Som feels the same.

And that is why they’ll pamper you with a wellbeing package fit for a king (or queen).

The resort is the world’s first centre for Traditional Arabic & Islamic Medicine (TAIM).

And that’s a system of healing drawn from Islamic medicinal historians and herbalists.

Remember too that Islamic culture puts cleanliness next to godliness (and I’m going to resist the temptation to say that you find both next to each other in an Irish dictionary).

Retreat programmes are available from three to 14 nights in duration.

With the emphasis on improving diet and nutrition, promoting daily physical activity and stress resistance.

And enhancing sleep quality (kip on your side to stop snoring, methinks), and engaging in joyful activities.

Ooh Hamamma

Hamam bam: Istanbul

Now nobody loves a hamam more than me apart from Florence Nightingale, King Edward VIII, Omar Sharif and Jenson Button.,

As I found out in Istanbul at the 300-year-old Cagaloglu Hamam in Istanbul.

This stuff is ancient wisdom and Qatar too is steeped in it.

The Zula Wellness Resort by Chiva-Som’s treatments are derived from the Canon of Medicine written by physician-philosopher Avicenna in 1025.

You might know him too as Ibn Sina, and his teachings are among the cornerstones of the history of medicine in Europe and the Middle East.

And you’ll also get to try out the traditional Qatari hamiz.

It’s a deeply relaxing massage using circular strokes with tadleek oil infused with medicinal herbs and hot stones to reenergise the body.

And there’s also the Hijama therapy (cupping therapy).

That’s a slimming body mask of camel milk which delivers heat to enhance metabolic rate while detoxifying the skin.

Camel ye to Qatar

Jimmy: In Jordan

I don’t know what my camel would have thought of that in Jordan  with G Adventures, mind.

There’s also a range of Arabic spa rituals at the resort’s extensive hamam facilities.

Located on the picturesque northern tip of Qatar, Zulal Wellness Resort offers two distinct yet interconnecting experiences. 

Zulal Serenity is dedicated to adults seeking an immersive health and lifestyle reset.

While Zulal Discovery invites families to connect and embark on a wellness journey together.

Deal us in

Electric: Qatar

So deal us in.

With retreat programmes at Zulal Serenity ranging from three to 14 nights and designed for those seeking a path of reset and reflection.

Packages start from £2,599.00pp when booked with Healing Holidays (020 7843 3597).

The price includes the three-night Taste of Zulal programme, Qatar Airways flights, transfers and full board accommodation.

Why Qatar makes frankincense… well, I’m sure they know.

We do know that Qatar makes sense for a break, particularly around the World Cup when Scotland will be there (Allah be good).

 

Countries, Europe, Food, Food & Wine

Toasting Veganuary with a Vegan and Tonic.

A popular meme for a vegan’s favourite meal shows a tray of ice but that’s a cheap shot and I’m toasting Veganuary with a Vegan and Tonic.

The Vegan and Tonic is the creation of Fentimans… well, the Indian tonic anyway.

Tonic for the troops: Fentimans

Whether this was the oul Greek Pythagoras’s tipple of choice when he was working out his theorem this shows Veganism isn’t a modern fad.

Ancients’ way of life

Laying out your stall: Kythera

The ancient world is a good place to start.

It’s accepted that they would eat fish, eggs from quails and hens, and cheese but they hoovered up veg too.

Legumes, olives, figs arugula (no, me neither), asparagus, cabbage, carrots and cucumbers.

So it isn’t a big jump to think that Pythagoras who philosophised and expounded about human rights as well as hypotenuses was a vegan.

After all his followers weren’t allowed to wear wool either.

So long before Briton Donald Watson is said to have coined the word in 1944 the ancients were going vegan.

All around the world 

Veggies rule: Turkish Airlines Business Lounge, Istanbul Airport

The Indian Subcontinent has historically been the bedrock of vegetarianism.

With the likes of philosophers Parshavnatha and Mahavira preaching what we would consider to be the vegan life.

We know, of course, too that what the Greeks started the Romans took on and ran with.

And so for every Pythagoras and Plutarch there was an Ovid and Pliny the Younger.

All of which permeates the Med, Aegean, Middle Eastern (note the Arab poet al Ma’ari poet), North African and Subcontinent diets to this day.

Brand new

Veggie heaven: Jordan

Fentimans is the go-to provider and guide for eating, drinking and clothing yourself in Veganism.

And as we all know when you’re drinking you always get the nibbles.

And so you’ll want to try these snacks:

Co-op Bacon Rashers.
McCoy’s Ultimate Sizzling BBQ ChickenUltimate Chargrilled Steak and Peri Peri McCoy’s.
Walkers Prawn Cocktail.
Smokey Bacon Hula Hoops.

Student life

Dig in: Pot noodles

While for students everywhere…

Bombay Bad Boy

Brazilian BBQ Steak 

Chinese Chow Mein 

Piri Piri Chicken 
 
Beef and Tomato
 
BBQ Pulled Pork
 
Jerk Chicken
 
Sticky Rib
 
Sweet & Sour
 
Asian Street Style Japanese Miso Noodle Soup

Wear it well

Packet in: Crispaholic
And, yes, I promised you vegan fashion…
 
Well, what about the Dr Martens vegan collection they launched in 2011.
 
Now, I’m not one myself but I know more and more and it’s you I’m thinking of toasting Veganuary with a Vegan and Tonic.

Matthew’s Canaries

Canaries life: With Matthew in Tenerife
And while we’re here let’s give a shout-out here to my old mucker and vegan evangelist Matthew Hirtes from my Tenerife trip.
 
And Canaries-based Matthew has forgotten more about vegan life in those islands than we’ll ever know.
 
Thankfully he and the Dreams Abroad team where I was Editor continue to show us a world where veganism has an exalted place.

 

America, Asia, Countries, Europe, Ireland, UK

Happy Euro Year

It was the perfect start to 2002, we were being given money… so where are we now as we mark Happy Euro Year 20 years on?

And what has it meant for those of us whose every instinct is to travel?

The truth is that for millions of millennials in Europe they won’t have travelled with anything else.

While for everyone who travels under a British passport we’ve always been told to look at it as board game money.

I say that, though ex-pats, of which I was one for 13 years living abroad have had to adjust quickly.

It usually starts when you’re buying booze in the supermarket.

And it’s only when you stop baulking and having to make mental adjustments at the price of a bottle of wine.

It’s more than a tenner… that you’ve truly assimilated.

Europhile, Eurosceptic

I’m in the money: Euro millions

 

So as this day is designated Happy Euro Day, was the Euro a good idea and is it right that Britain stayed with the pound?

Like everything there is the economical argument and then the emotional one.

And whenever that arises the emotional always prevails.

In countries too that have come over to the Euro there is still a sentimental attachment to the old currency.

Now if you’re a Fortysomething, Fiftysomething or later then you’ll probably remember well the frank, Deutschmark, peseta, escudo, lira or drachma.

And if you’re like my Dear Old Dad then you’ve probably got a box somewhere with all that old coinage.

A careful man, I imagine that he thought he might have use for them again if the Euro experiment failed.

Dinar time

Anyone want an old note: Foreign currency

So what do we miss about our old foreign money?

Well, it was the only time in our lives that we could really feel like a millionaire…

When we got our hands on lira.

The trouble was working out that it cost thousands to buy groceries.

And if you did try the lingo a queue would quickly form as you’re asking the teller how much you’d get for your few pounds.

Of course more of the world is outside of the Eurozone than in it.

Now I’m not about to go all numismatic on you but I do have a Jordanian dinar stuck on the side of my bookcase. And old Turkey notes too.

A souvenir of my Istanbul adventures with Turkish Airways, and with G Adventures trip to the Middle East.

But in truth just some money of such little value that I couldn’t get rid of it.

Any old money

Saddam it: What are you doing here?

Airports do take your old money in those glass boxes in the terminal.

And the descendants of the Nabataeans too in Petra where a trader tried to flog us notes from Iran with Saddam Hussein’s face on them.

Now doubtless there would have been many who would exchange dinar for Hussein.

But they had more than the look of a Monopoly note with Saddam’s face drawn on.

Working for the Yankee dollar

By George: Issy, Jimmy and the First Prez

There are some notes which are gladly accepted wherever you go and they’ll grab your hand off in the Caribbean for the Yankee dollar.

And there are 39 currencies around the world pegged to the dollar.

As a guide your yellow reggae bus in Barbados cost half of the Bajan dollar, $1, when I rocked it there a few years ago.

In the States itself you can buy Confederacy money at fairs in the Deep South on your road trip.

But the real money is in the Union dollar.

Money to burn: And the US here I come

And the more Benjamins (Franklin), or $100s, you have in your pocket the luckier you are.

Conversely, the $1 note is named for the Greatest American of them all, George Washington.

So be careful when you’re tipping.

Me? I always make sure I keep a fistful of dollars with me!

Happy Euro Day everyone or whatever currency you deal in… just, maybe avoid Saddam notes though.

 

 

 

Asia, Countries, Pilgrimage

There’s something about Mary Magdalene

There’s always something old to be found in the Holy Land and this year there’s something about Mary Magdalene.

And as always we have the archaeologists to thank.

Those who ply their trowels 24/7 and 365 days a year have only uncovered Jesus’s pal’s birthplace.

And it’s a sacred place, a 2,000-year-old synagogue from the Second Temple period in Migdal.

Synagogue-a-go-go

And we’ve found some vessels: Drink up

So where are we? Migd-where you say.

Well, Migdal served as the main base for Yosef Ben Matityahu (Flavius Josephus).

And what the Bible didn’t tell us was that he was waging a war against the Romans in the Galilee during the Great Revolt.

This site is also mentioned in Christian texts as the birthplace of Mary Magdalene.

Digging for secrets: The Promised Land

And now we’ve got your attention…

And we can tell you that the newly-excavated synagogue is a broad, square-shaped building constructed from basalt and limestone.

While in a small room on the south side of the hall, a plaster-coated stone shelf was found.

And we’re told the room may have been used to store scrolls…

And maybe (and I’m going straight to hell here) some love letters to J of Nazareth.

Building on history

Big hugs: Jesus and Mary Magdalene

So bringing us up to date, Magdalene’s birthplace comes hard on the heels of the building uncovered in the 2009 excavations.

That was the first synagogue from the Second Temple period found in the Galilee.

Professor Adi Erlich, head of the Zinman Institute of archaeology at the University of Haifa put it all in context.

He said: ‘The stone bearing a relief of the Menorah from the other synagogue at Migdal, suggests that the local Jews saw Jerusalem as their religious centre.’

We dig what you say

Holiest of holies: Jerusalem

While excavator Dina Avshalom-Gorni built on that.

She added: ‘We can imagine Mary Magdalene and her family coming to the synagogue here.

‘Along with other residents of Migdal, to participate in religious and communal events.

‘The exposure of a second synagogue casts new light on Jewish communal life in the Galilee, the area where, according to the New Testament, Jesus performed his miracles.’

At this time of the year we’re all focusing on birth, and a new beginning.

And Israel, which led the way in vaccination roll-out, is born again (they’ve a history for this too) for visitors.

Old and new

Star power: Israel

The Land of Milk and Honey‘s latest campaign, Two Cities, One Break, encourages us to visit Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

They serve as diverse destinations that boast the country’s mineral beaches, Bauhaus architecture, 3,000-year-old history and biblical background.

And you’ll know too that Israel is home to a number of UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the Old City of Jerusalem, Acre and Masada.

Some of which they even share with their neighbours such as the Baptismal Site of John the Baptist along the River Jordan.

And you can take in both on a G Adventures Israel and Jordan trip… they’re pals, you know.

Yes, there’s something about Joseph, Jesus and there’s something about Mary Magdalene.

 

 

 

 

 

America, Asia, Countries, Europe

Submariners and life under the sea

You been keeping Vigil these nights and got to thinking about abut submariners and life under the sea.

Well thankfully we don’t have to plunge the depths to get a sense of what submariners had to go through.

I’m sure there’s one sitting down in the port near you…. or somewhere in your country.

New York Up Periscope

Depth charge

I stumbled upon mine in New York as a ticket in my CityPass book.

And I spent a couple of hours out of the Manhattan heatwave at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum

Walking through the cramped USS Growler with others.

And ducking your head through the doorways gives you a sense of the challenges these subterraneans faced.

Without of course seeing the sky for weeks on end and worrying that you could get blown up at any minute.

Of course Manhattan has the advantage of being an island surrounded by water.

Jordan jumps

Get back in: The Red Sea

But you can find submarine anywhere even landlocked countries as long as they’ve got a stretch of water.

And so in Jordan on my G Adventures trip they have the Dead and the Red Sea.

Now I’m no scientist but would the sub not float to the salty surface… this sub(editor) certainly did.

But the Jordanians did drop a submarine in the Red Sea to encourage marine life (and snorkelers) to swim through.

Now, while we’ve all been hibernating they’ve been up periscoping in places we wouldn’t expect.

Swiss subs

Swiss dip: On Lake Lucerne

Such as Switzerland, bang in the middle of Europe.

So let our Swiss friends take it away just like they took me away with Swiss Air.

‘Dive into the mystical darkness deep below the surface and glide weightlessly through adventure-filled underwater worlds..

‘Visitors can explore old wrecks in Lake Lucerne on an unforgettable dive.

‘Go to depths of up to 120 metres in Switzerland’s only passenger submarine.

The P-63

Tourist ahoy: In Lake Lucerne

The P-63 submarine is equipped with state-of-the-art technology and safety systems.

‘And it offers passenger trips for one to three people.’

 

Adventure, Countries, Culture, Europe

Thrillsrael

There’s little record what they did for kicks in the Old Testament but it’s always been right there for them in Thrillsrael.

Our time-out from travelling because of the pandemic has only increased our appetite for foreign shores.

And allowed us to expand our horizons or dip our toe in a different part of the sea.

Best foot forward: In outdoor activities

And so while most of us in Western Europe know the Med from its northern shores there is a beautiful south too.

With Israel leading the way in vaccinations and being at the head of the queue in opening up our attentions switched there.

And the news keeps getting better with Israel announcing today that from Monday it will be accepting individually vaccinated visitors.

Shalom Sharon

The Southern Med: From Israel

Sharon Bershadsky, Director of the UK & Ireland Tourist Office said “I’m very excited to be able to share the news.

‘the Ministry of Tourism along with our colleagues in the industry have been working tirelessly over this difficult period and we are thrilled to be able to welcome visitors back to Israel”.

Now Israel is obviously about the Holy Sights and there will be plenty of us giving thanks for emerging safely from this crisis.

But we’re due some rewards too.

And it’s worth remembering that for all its antiquities Israel is a relatively young country at a sprightly 73 years old.

And an outdoorsy people with plenty of opportunities to indulge in general sportiness.

Float On

Dead handsome: Jerry and Jimmy

The Dead Sea: Now they’ve kicked us off with the floatathon which is the Red Sea.

Which we enjoyed from the other side in Jordan with G Adventures when we got all muddied up.

And a shout-out here to St Lucia’s finest, Jerry, the Big Rapper who said he was plenty black enough.

Madder for Masada

If the rocks could talk: Massada

Masada: And yes, we promised you Biblical history and Masada is, of course, where 960 Sicari rebels committed mass suicide.

All rather than surrender, in the First Jewish-Roman War.

Abseil away

Give me enough rope: Abseiling

Rappelling in the Nachal Tamarim Canyon: And full disclosure here I had to check that abseiling and rappelling were the same.

Which they are.

Now having wimped out in the Rockies in Colorado I couldn’t back out of this canyon.

You’ll encounter amazing scenery and panoramic views of the Dead Sea and the Moav and Adom mountains.

Zig zag through waterfalls and trek past fig trees for a day’s hike with a difference.

For a new twist try the night hike, which is particularly atmospheric with a full-moon!

Mammy Dolphin

Smile: You’re on camera

Dolphin Reef: When it comes to swimming with dolphins you’re probably thinking more SeaWorld in Orlando but did you know you can find the finned ones swimming away in the Red Sea.

I didn’t get far enough down in my snorkel in the Red Sea (my guide told me my moustache got in the way) to see them.

But you can. Get down to Eilat and get up close and personal with these remarkable creatures.

Up, up and away

Watch out for the hang gliders: When you’re ballooning

Ballooning in Israel: Now just like the kiddies’ balloon that gets let loose… hot air ballooning has always floated out of reach.

In England, in Orlando, in South Africa.

Of course all of the above look beautiful from the air. And it is worth reflecting that our forebears weren’t able to see their world from the skies (unless they were birds). 

If you like exploring places you haven’t been before, try 500 metres up in the air! See Israel from a whole new vantage point from 500m up in the air.

With breath-taking views of the country’s rolling green hills and valleys, famous historical sights and the hustle and bustle of the cities.

For a truly unforgettable ride, book a sunrise tour to see the stunning landscape coated in the morning sun’s pink and orange hues.

Whichever activity you choose make sure it’s in the Promised Land.

And particularly now with the new more tourist-friendly regulations. Enjoy your Thrillsrael.

 

Africa, America, Asia, Canada, Countries, Europe, South America, UK

World Rivers Day and the flow of life

We can’t survive without it so it’s only right today to celebrate World Rivers Day and the flow of life.

With the publication of B-WELL CBD’s most loved European rivers on Instagram, we’re stretching it out to include the world too.

Of course you can’t ignore European waterways so I’ll dip my toe in them as well.

Top ten Euro rivers

On the Elbe, Dresden

The oils and cosmetic products company has tracked our habits and unsurprisingly namechecked this top ten.

1 Thames, 2 Danube, 3 Elbe, 4 Seine, 5 Ural, 6 Douro, 7 Loire, 8 Rhine, 9 Vistula, 10 Tiber.

Wading through it I’ll definitely sing the praises of London’s Old Father Thames, its towers, bridges and the country towns it dissects.

The Danube has remained just along the river if you will when I’ve visited Central Europe.

I’m pleasantly surprised to see the Elbe more popular than the Seine.

And I would recommend taking a river cruise in Dresden to see the fine riverbank houses and enjoy a fireworks display.

Wine and Rhine

Disney it look magical: The Disney castle in Neuschwanstein

I daresay if a dacha along the Ural is good enough for Russian communists and oil billionaires I should pay it a visit.

And I’ll confess I know more about the Tagus from Praia do Ribatejo in Portugal Centro than the Douro in Portugal and Spain.

The flow of the Loire is only bettered by the running wine from its vineyards.

But I confess a soft spot for the Rhine and its fairytale castles, especially The Wonderful World of Disney‘s opening title. Neuschwanstein. 

The Vistula in Poland is still a pleasure to enjoy as is Polska unless being hosted by the Embassy in Dublin counts which it does!

While just squeezing into the top ten (and I feel like DJ Alan Freeman here pop pickers) is a river I feel is a friend, the Tiber.

When in Rome

The holy of holies. At the end of the Francigena in Rome

Just walk the Via Francigena into Rome and your final long stretch to St Peter’s Square will be along the Tevere.

While staying in the bohemian Trastevere you’ll soon get to know the river well by taking wrong directions.

And the bridges of Rome stand comparison with anywhere in the world.

Particularly the Ponte Sant’Angelo, its statues on the railings and its centre point, the magnificent Castel Sant’Angelo,

A notable exception on the list was the Vltava through Prague with its magnificent Charles Bridge.

The World

Tis Grand: With Tara and Tryphavana at the Grand Canyon

Now I know I promised you the world.

So let me show you the river of rebirth, the Jordan between the country and Israel.

Where pilgrims go to be baptised where the Israelis claim John baptised Jesus.

It’s a different type of water activity along the Colorado river.

Take the bird’s eye view from a helicopter through the Grand Canyon.

Or do like the Americans and use it as your playground.

Water is our most precious commodity and America’s West survives and thrives because of one of my Modern Wonders of the World, the Hoover Dam.

Although, incredulously it has not been recognised as such on the official list.

Quality of Mersey

The boat comes in: The Mersey

So I’ll throw in another couple of favourite rivers which speak for themselves.

The Mississippi, with its Dolly Parton bridge in Memphis (think about it) and the Hudson and the Brooklyn Bridge in New York.

Of course the Amazon, the Nile, the Congo, the Ganges, the Yellow, the Makong and many others deserve our attention.

And so I’ll be patient in getting back out abroad.

And I will continue to enjoy the rivers and bridges where I am.

I spent the last week walking by and sailing on the Ferry Across the Mersey.

So a thought… where would we be without our waterways.

Let’s hear it for World Rivers Day and the flow of life.