Adventure, Culture, Pilgrimage

Give us this Day: the day Jesus was baptised

You’d be glad of a cool down in the 30C heat of a Jordan May. but Jesus wasn’t complaining.

Today is designated the sacred day when we commemorate The Baptism of the Lord.

It is in truth a little cooler in Jordan than when I went, at 11C but I can’t imagine the Lord was shivering.

So for the day that’s in it let’s take a deeper look into baptisms.

The first question is: where exactly was Jesus baptised.

The Jordanians claimed that he was doused further inland at Al-Maghtas.

Here in ‘Bethany beyond the Jordan’ in what is modern-day Jordan.

The Israelis for their part believe that he was baptised on their banks.

And this is where the Russian Orthodox Christians believe there are healing waters and they go full immersion.

The Jordanians claim Jesus was baptised here

All of which I learned on my G Adventures trip to Jordan last year…. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/culture/petra-jordan-jesus-and-the-sands-of-time/, http://www.visitjordan.com, http://www.gadventures.com.

While decide for yourself which you think it is…. or like me just soak it all up and maybe sneak some holy water… http://www.baptismsite.com

So for us Gentiles it’s worth reflecting that of course John, Jesus and all those who were being baptised were all Jews.

And that John though the most famous baptist would not have been the first.

Today at Mass

Ritual immersion had been part and parcel of Jewish culture, or mikvehs for some time.

Jews would ritually immerse themselves for spiritual purity before worshipping.

Washing is, of course, central to the daily and spiritual life of Muslims.

Water of Islam

As I have found out on my trips to Marrakech http://www.visitmarrakech.com and Morocco http://www.visitmorocco.com.

And more recently in Istanbul www.visitistanbul.com and Turkey www.goturkeytourism.com.

And Sarajevo in Bosnia & Herzegovina www.visitsarajevo.ba

The boys in the Blue Mosque

It is, of course, a primal act to wash as well as being hygienic.

And you can find it in Sikhism through Amrit Sanskar.

While in Hinduism they like to immerse statues of Durga and Ganesh during the final stages of the festivals Durga Puja and Ganesh Charturthi.

Water of death

And purification is as much part of death as it is a spiritual birth.

A ritual bath in pure water is performed for the dead in many religions including Judaism and Islam.

For more on this pilgrim’s progress… read https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/culture/petra-jordan-jesus-and-the-sands-of-time/ https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/pilgrimage/camino-a-pilgrims-prayer/, https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/small-roads-lead-to-rome/ https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-lourdes-prayer-pyrenees/ and Fatima in https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/secret-portugal-classy-centro/

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The faces of 2019 – Adventure

I’d like to say it’s been a walk in the park, and it was, but it’s also been a walk up mountains and through rain forests.

And desperate dashes through airports to catch (and miss) airplanes!

But someone’s been smiling on me.Because I didn’t miss one trip and got to race with goats in Tobago, ‘Bandanaman’, whom I got to christen.

He’s a winner too.

And some even giddier goats: take a bow ‘Auntie’ Ali, ‘Uncle’ Kenneth, Marsha, Phil, ‘Porridge‘, Ean and Ian and ‘Santa’ Brendan.

And here’s our moment of glory.., Ready, steady, goat… in Tobago and www.visttobago.gov.tt.

It’s been all go and the shoe leather has taken a beating.

In Europe’s most popular national park Teide in Tenerife.

And the hills up to Afur in the midday beating sun which our guide Maria took in her stride.

And even had some ooomph left at the end to give us a pilates demonstration at the top of the mountain.

With CanariaWays.com in Tenerife… http://www.visitingtenerife.com.

And through the Alps from Ehrwald in Austria http://www.tyrol.tlinto Germany with mountain man Reini… where naturally I had a run-in… Water rip-off – a German pit stop

But, of course, I’ll be back in Bavaria https://www.bavaria.by.

It is a region I have loved since first going to the Oktoberfest 34 years ago.

The coming of the Lord

And where the Messiah himself graces them with his presence next year…  Oberammergau and https://www.passionsspiele-oberammergau.de/en/home

And I’d recommend you go on your trekking holiday with https://topflightforschools.ie.

We were, of course, always back in time for the entertainment.

It’s now or never

The lederhosen-clad Septuagenarian singer Christened Ehrwald Presley.

On account of his oompah, waltzing and keyboard renditions of The King.

Not all walks worked out alas and I missed out on the trek up the Hollywood Hills.

Because of a 24-hour sickness bug.

But I made up for it in style all across LA, West Hollywood and Anaheim www.visitcalifornia.com, www.attractiontickets.com.

As part of the American Travel Fair www.ipw.com and My weekend with Marilyn and Stair Wars

Just gone swimmingly

With all that walking I definitely earned myself my dips.

Not a natural swimmer I was glad of the chance to cut corners and the Dead Sea and the Nylon Pool gave me that.

Where I laid back, read a book and dreamt of Jordan http://www.visitjordan.com.

And stood in the sand back in the crystal waters of the Caribbean deep in the sea in Tobago It’s Robinson Crusoe’s very own Tobago limin’ with other revellers.

I’ve tried to conquer some water sports demons.

And went searching for submarines and tanks in the depths of the Dead Sea… Petra and the sands of time

And found out why snorkelling isn’t me… my moustache blocks the airways!

Which is why I dispensed with the snorkel and just used the goggles to see me some rainbow fish in Tobago.

Everybody’s gone surfing

It wasn’t all just corner-cutting. I did learn to paddle board on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas off Barcelona…. https://www.barcelonaturisme.com/wv3/en/ and Surfing the seas in Barcelona

And http://www.royalcaribbean.com

While our Sligo pro surfer Gearoid taught me how to stay up on the surf in RC’s simulator FlowRider.

Well for three seconds at least.

Fun, fun, fun

I’d been practising with the Beach Boys you see in Surf City, Huntingdon Beach.

Enjoy your adventures in 2020. And…

MEET YOU ON THE ROAD

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The faces of 2019 – Crossroads of history

What do you do when you’re at a crossroads? Look both ways.

Which is what the Croatians and Bosniaks, the Turks and the Jordanians have done throughout their history.

And they continue to do so.

It was no coincidence then that it was Sarajevo http://www.visitsarajevo.ba where the First World War broke out.

It was there that a Bosniak Muslim separatist Gavrilo Princip assassinated the heir to the Catholic Hapsburg Empire, the Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

Because Sarajevo is where the Ottoman Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire met.

It may be 105 years ago.

But it is little changed from the August day when Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophia’s carriage was halted by the bridge across the Miljacka River.

And you can see the very gun schoolboy Princip used and other historical artefacts from the day that changed the world for ever… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/10/21/sarajevo-the-scot-that-was-heard-around-the-world/

The Museum of Crimes against Humanity and Genocide http://yihr.hr/en/the-sarajevo-museum-of-crimes-against-humanity-and-genocide-1992-1995-learning-from-the-past-through-emotional-overwhelm-2/ provides a heart-rending and thorough examination of a difficult subject but is a must-visit in Sarajevo.

And you should look out too for how a Hollywood action man played his most important role too.

In showing his softer side to victims of the conflict.

At the heart of Sarajevo is the beautiful Bey’s Mosque.

It stands comparison with any of the great Islamic temples anywhere… https://sarajevo.travel/en/things-to-do/gazi-husrev-beys-mosque/176.

The Blue Mosque is Istanbul’s https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/wham-bam-thank-you-hamam/ and https://visit.istanbul greatest calling card.

And while it is epic I want to sing the praises like a call to prayers of the Hagia Sophia https://www.hagiasophia.com.

It is revered both by Muslims and Greek Orthodox Christians.

The latter who place it as the headquarters of their church (they still call it Constaninople).

Hakan’s tales

Better still if you have a guide like Hakan who will place you in a Medieval daytime soap opera of life in the Great City with the Great and Good.

Which is every bit as enthralling as Game of Thrones.

There’s a story too to be told in Athens around the Acropolis… and that’s just the taxi drivers Georg and Antony… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/09/21/acropolis-later/and https://www.hagiasophia.com

You can find the Orthodox influence, the Romans and the Nabataeans in Jordan... https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/petra-jordan-jesus-and-the-sands-of-time/ and http://www.visitjordan.com

What Zuhair and G Adventures http://www.gadventures.com don’t know about Petra, the Dead and Red Sea and Wabi Rum isn’t worth knowing about.

The turn of the year is a crossroads for us all but for those who live at the junctures of the world every day is a crossroads.

And the wonderful guides who share their cities and countries with us show us the way.

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Give us this day – holy water fonts

You get a name for yourself… just by going to Mass.

And before you know it people are referring to you by that awful definition ‘religious’.

Then you’ve been approached to be a reader at your church.

And to give out the host.

It all culminates in being bought a holy water fount for Christmas.

Oh, well, She had waited 25 years to get her own back.

After I’d bought her a non-stick frying pan, bacon, sausages, eggs and black pudding for our first Christmas.

This holy water fount is from Lough Derg, St Patrick’s sanctuary.

In my Dear Old Mum’s homestead of Co. Donegal in Ireland…. https://www.loughderg.org.

So what of the history of the bénitier?

Well, it’s a fancier and Frenchier way to describe a holy water font.

So you’ll not be surprised to know that it’s… found all over Gaul-land http://www.atout-france.fr in very ostentatious style.

It is often adorned with, say, Our Lady.

In olden days too rosary beads were often draped around the fonts.

Although in Marian sites Fatima https://www.fatima.pt/en and https://www.visitportugal.com/en/content/the-best-of-portugal?gclsrc=aw.ds&ds_rl=1258950&ds_rl=1252939&gclid=CjwKCAiA9JbwBRAAEiwAnWa4Q0nu0ByiGL2UMA94MnpCYcRAgaCRJQGmKM10FZv5yTiIEiAU8YjfzRoCym8QAvD_BwE, Lourdes https://www.lourdes-france.org/en/Medjugorje https://medjugorjelive.org you would do well to prise them out of the hands of the pilgrims.

You see I have seen it too first hand.

Stoups, of course, are most likely to be found in churches.

But did you know that they can sometimes be found above the bed? Passion killer, n’est ce pas?

I make a habit of seeking out places of worship wherever I go.

They have the best art in Rome http://www.rome.netand sometimes also the best craic… Give us this Day – Sunday School, Tobago https://www.visittobago.gov.tt

But while I like to pray I love to play.

And no saint me. I have been known to fill bottles.

Vatican rules

With holy water from St Paul’s Basilica at the end of my Via Francigena pilgrimage… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/small-roads-lead-to-rome/

And in St James’s Cathedral in Santiago de Compostella http://www.caminoways.com and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/camino-a-pilgrims-prayer/ after walking 100km from Sarria on the Camino.

Now, in the interests of full disclosure, I’ve also taken holy water from.

Water, water everywhere

A font by the River Jordan… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/petra-jordan-jesus-and-the-sands-of-time/ and http://www.visitjordan.com.

A Greek Orthodox church on Mt Hybanthus… http://www.athensattica.com and Give us this Day – The Iconic Greek Orthodox

The Frauenkirche in Dresden http://www.dresden.de and Dresden’s renaissance under the eye of Martin Luther.

The cathedral in La Laguna in Tenerife… http://www.visitingtenerife.com and A walk through the ages… Tenerife

And these are just the sample charges.

I’d better get some prayers in then… maybe Our Lady will intercede on my behalf!

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Hungry and Thursday – curried Christmas Turkey

Yes, it’s a thing here in Ireland where St Stephen’s Day (Boxing Day to everyone else) is when they curry the left-over turkey.

Which obviously got us thinking about the no-neck poultry.

You’d think that they’d have a built-in antennae for the time of year when they’re most in danger.

But these guys I met in Tobago www.visittobago.gov.tt on my Caribbean adventures https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/12/07/ready-steady-goat-in-tobago/ seemed totally oblivious.

You see my cooking has come on leap and bound this year…

I even cooked something.!

After being given the recipe for Dahl curry by our hosts G Adventures in Dublin… https://www.gadventures.com/?aw_ag_id=49375547731&aw_kw_id=aud-360242417736:kwd-296402816580&aw_ad_id=297109875494&aw_nw=g&phonecode=PPC_SEM_Brand&gclid=Cj0KCQiArozwBRDOARIsAHo2s7t7hmH99Ist6icPt9oHDzkak2RC_How1OfDnhxuuj7arpD5lLi6X2MaAl0BEALw_wcB.

Of course it’s only a start and nothing like the feasts our Jordanian hosts put on for us… Petra and the sands of time And http://www.visitjordan.com

And in the desert too!

Going underground

With their zarb where they bury meat, veg and rice in a pit in the ground, add lots of embers.

And wrap it in blankets and bury it in sand.

The zarb is put on in the early afternoon and by the evening it is meltingly tender.

Not much call for it though in chilly Greystones here in Ireland.

So where’s the best curry. India? Probably. But remember it is Britain’s national dish.

Curry belongs to Glasgow 

And in Glasgow where there is a big Asian population and where they gave birth to Chicken Tikka Masala.

When Ali Aslam, the owner of the Shish Mahal restaurant http://www.shishmahal.co.uk added tomato soup and some sauces to his chicken curry.

To satisfy a Glasgow bus driver who had sent it back because it was too dry.

Scottish and Sub-Continental fusion is a definite thing.

Which I knew about being of the Caledonian variety myself I belong to Glasgow but with which I renewed acquaintance…

Piping hot

When I visited the World Pipe Band Championships… https://www.theworlds.co.uk

In ma wee hame toon Glasgow https://peoplemakeglasgow.com/visiting/top-reasons-to-visit-glasgow and https://www.visitscotland.com.

The perfect fusion between Scot and the Sub-Continent is in fact in the Sub-Continent.

Or more precisely with the Sri Lankan staff on the Maldives with Island… Atoll tale – the Maldives and http://www.kuramathi.com And http://www.kandolhu.com

Where I played cricket, of sorts, and football (chased shadows).

And, of course tucked into their food which comes from everywhere.

Although I might arrange for them to get some Irn-Bru shipped in.

And now that we’re well into the Christmas drinking… here, by popular demand, Jocktails, your favourite Cocktail column by your Scottish cocktail guru.

And this is a reminder of what we’ve got in the bar… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/01/jocktails-the-strawberry-daiquiri/, https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/15/jocktails-bajan-monkey/

While try out https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/29/jocktails-mimosas/

MEET YOU IN THE BAR

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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 – The Wee Chapel

Living in area known for its orchards we were drawn to our house by its apple trees.

One of the other attractions was its outhouse which is a popular feature of houses in Ireland.

I duly named it the Wee Apple and turned into a bar.

I promptly set up a grotto too which I christened The Wee Chapel.

Me and Martin: At the Frauenkirche

All of which is my roundabout way of saying that prayer houses don’t have to be as grand as St Paul’s Basilica.

Any church you go into in Italy of course will beckon you in to pray.

This is what it’s all about… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/04/see-rome-on-e50/.

And https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/small-roads-lead-to-rome/.

And it’s not just us Catholics that have the best churches, as we’d like to think. Here’s the Frauenkirche in Dresden… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/dresdens-renaissance-martin-luther/,

And the Muslims have their Blue Mosque in Istanbul https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/wham-bam-thank-you-hamam/.

Blue for you: The Blue Mosque in Istanbul

We really do find God in the smallest of things and the quietest of places, in nature and in us.

Catholic priests, who tried to say Mass during the days of Henry VIII and then again under Cromwell, would often find a hidden room in an estate.

While in Ireland it was a Mass rock.

For Muslims a makeshift prayer place can be set up anywhere.

Which way is Mecca? In Jordan

With a few stones placed in the right direction… towards Mecca.

As I found in Wabi Rum in Jordan this year https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/petra-jordan-jesus-and-the-sands-of-time/.

The Blue Cross

The reason why I’m talking about my Wee Chapel this week is because I have come back with more trinkets from my latest pilgrimage.

Of course I was falling over holy paraphernalia in Medjugorje https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/10/20/give-us-this-day-confessions-and-medjugorje/.

Now Our Lady and the Blue Cross will be taking up residence in my Wee Chapel.

Which means that when I’m out picking up the apples I will say a wee prayer as I pass.

Me picking up apples?

Now The Scary One really will consider that a miracle!

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Holidos and Don’ts: When in Rome

Do like the Romans… or the French. Or the Americans… or the Asians… it’s Holidos and Dont’s: When in Rome.

These are the foreign customs that catch us out, but the trick is forearmed is forewarned.

And play it safe.

Back in the day when I was going to Italian classes I tried out an idiom in Rome on the concierge.

‘Buona notte e sogni d’oro’, says I, and the concierge would shoot a smile back.

When I returned to class Donata was aghast when I told her.

‘Good night and dreams of gold? You only say that to your girlfriend, Jim.’

So here’s a quick guide on other customs and sayings to keep you right:

Italian caffé

Italy: An easy one to start with. Never order a cappuccino after 11am.

Italians consider milk too heavy for after dinner or in the afternoon.

They will make an exception for macchiatos but that’s only a dash of milk.

And if you want an espresso, order a caffé (not a coffee shop) and that’s what you’ll get.

Check out my review of a walk through Lazio in Small Roads Lead to Rome… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/small-roads-lead-to-rome/

And check out all things Italian at the website www.italia.it

Faux-pas in France

France: In the land that gave us the faux-pas, simply greeting somebody is fraught with difficulty.

If you want to be French (mais, oui) then you’ll want to kiss the person you meet on the cheek.

It’s usually the left cheek but there are regional variations, and you wouldn’t want to end up kissing a stranger on the lips.

I’d just shake hands.

And this is all before you get to what time of the day you go from saying Bonjour to Bon Soir.

How do they do it in the chic Cannes. Read my review… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-boat-dazur/

And visit www.atoutfrance.fr for all things French.

Big in Japan

Japan: Etiquette is everywhere in Japan.

This one we like.

In Japan it’s the customer who should be thanked in restaurants so it’s not the done thing to tip.

Tips in America

Americans have been known to run after you if you don’t tip.

So, some general guidelines.

If you buy a drink at the bar, it’s probably a dollar, 15 to 20% in restaurants.

A fiver for the concierge, a dollar for the bellhop (don’t know why) and I usually leave a fiver for every night stayed for the housekeeping.

Where do I start with my American reviews.?

Why not the worst waiters in the world, those in Hollywood who would rather be waiting table for Spielberg. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/06/22/my-weekend-with-marilyn/

And check out Visit USA. http://www.visitusa.ie. www.visitusa.ie and www.visitcalifornia.com.

Bad hair day in Jordan

It was never going to apply to me but one of our party quickly stuck her hair in a bun.

Why?

Her hair was wet, and Jordanians think women going out with wet hair have loose morals.

Not sure what it’s like in other Arab countries but best check first.

And also check out my review from Jordan… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/petra-jordan-jesus-and-the-sands-of-time/

And the Jordan tourist board. www.visitjordan.com

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Give us this day: Jesus, John & Jordan

And the lesson today in Give us this day is from John 1:28 and tells the tale of Jesus, John and the Jordan.

These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptising.

John 1:28

Not here in Israel…

Lost in time: Al-Maghtas

But here in Jordan.

Like all things in the Middle East there is a history and a land dispute.

Israel claims that John baptised Jesus in this spot, modern-day Israel, in the River Jordan.

While the Jordanians claim that it was further in, deep in their country, modern-day Jordan.

In what is, to our tongue, Bethany.

It looked like a dry ditch when I visited Al-Maghtas, ‘immersion’ in Arabic, in the baking heat of an early Jordan summer.

Could it have been like this: John’s Baptism of Jesus

But the fact is, and not meaning to sit on the fence wherever that might be, you do get a very powerful sense that Jesus of Nazareth was here.

The Pope on John, Jesus and the Jordan

Pope Francis visited the Jordanian site on the east of the river back in 2014 after he became pontiff.

While further to the west a group of Russian Orthodox Christians took a dip in the waters.

A river runs through it: The River Jordan

Which means you don’t have to imagine hordes of pilgrims being reborn again with the water of life.

You just have to open your ears and eyes to the spectacle before you from the Jordanian side.

As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him.

Matthew 3:16-17

And sorry for mixing my evangelists which is a canonical crime on par with mixing metaphors.

Judge for yourself if I stay on the right path with my review of Jordan and we’ll visit Petra and go on a camel ride. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/petra-jordan-jesus-and-the-sands-of-time/(opens in a new tab)

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FLYDAY FRIDAY

Purple reigns, purple reigns… in Minneapolis, Barbados, LA. Everywhere.

You heard it here first… the twin cities are THE American cities to go to this year.

You can rock to Prince at his Paisley Park home just as I did with Di-Di, above, at Barbados Crop Over, visit great shopping malls, eat at top restaurants with delicious craft beer and go out into the Great Outdoors and enjoy more wonderful Park life.

I also partied with Natasha Bedingfield who gave a stirring version of Purple Rain to us in LA at the American Travel fair IPW. She picked me out in the crowd and stroked her chin in reference to my purple beard and we wound down afterwards at the after-party.

Icelandair flies to Minneapolis for €185, one-way based on a return fare and travel 26 August 2019 – 24 March 2020. And that includes a stopover in Reykjavik. Visit http://www.icelandair.com. http://www.minneapolisnorthwest.com.

Icelandair also has:

New York                €158*

Boston                      €193*

Chicago                    €198*

Seattle                      €210*

Vancouver               €210*

Book by midnight, Sunday 16th June 2019 23:59pm.

The Wonder of You…

… And you

She is my wonder of the world… and her above too. In fact The Wonder of You was our First Dance music at our wedding reception 25 years ago.

Petra, of course, is another wonder of the world, one of the Modern Wonders of the World and it is everything that they say as I found out on my recent G Adventures trip http://www.gadventures.com. And http://www.visitjordan.com.

Our friends at Ryanair have compiled a Seven Wonders of the World guide for us. I’d recommend my Jordan musings which I will compile for multiple media outlets soon and also in this blog over the coming weeks.

The other Wonders you’ll be wanting to tick off on your way… you can go by camel if you want too… are the Temple of Olympian Zeus, Athens, the Colosseum, Rome (tick), the Dead Sea (tick, tick), La Sagrada Familia Barcelona (tick, tick, tick), Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia (they’ve been onto me) and Lagoa do Fogo, the Azores (big fan of Portugal).

And yes, they all give me ‘strength to carry on.’

See http://www.ryanair.com for its guide, and also for other top deals.

A million love songs

Wheely great: Laura and Graham

Congratulations Laura McGrory and Graham Woods who won an upgrade to Business Class and two complimentary Aer Lingus flights from North America to a European City of their choice with Aer Lingus.

And what did they have to do? Only be the 1 millionth transatlantic guest to fly with the national airline carrier this year. The recently married couple from Dunleer in Co. Louth made the milestone trip travelling from Dublin to Seattle.

All of which begs the question. 1 millionth means one person. Ah, true love when two becomes one.

Enough song titles already?

Iamsterdam

Daddy’s Little Girl is just back from Amsterdam and absolutely loved it… it is one of my favourite short-hop city breaks too.

Sassy and classy, it has the perfect mix of high and low culture.

The food and drink are also great and I’m always won over by idiosyncratic ways of serving booze, with the Dutch custom of skimming the heads of beer with plastic knives always a winner. And mayo on chips? You should try it.

Aer Lingus likes a list too… as do I, unless of course it’s a shopping list.

Its top ten picks starts with Amsterdam, I guess it always will, and also picks out Barcelona, Birmingham, Berlin, Dusseldorf, London, Milan, Madrid, Manchester and Vienna.

See for yourself on http://www.aerlingus.com but it’s billing its autumn getaway as ‘fly from €25.99’. And here’s my recommendation https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/pictures-of-amsterdam/(opens in a new tab). https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-dylan-by-george/(opens in a new tab)

Fares are one-way including taxes and charges. Valid for travel from August 1 until September 30. Book by June 17.

Must fly, I’ve got to book.

MEET YOU IN THE SKIES