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Toast Turkey

Cumhuriyet Bayrami.

Or Happy Turkish National Day.

OK, I’m a day late with Turkey turning 95 yesterday but what’s a day between friends?

I’m sure they’ll forgive me for my belated birthday wishes.

With my pal Onur from Turkish Airlines

I first fell in love with Turkey 16 years ago when our air hostess on our flight out to Bodrum mistook me for a Turk.

They took the Son and Heir for one of their own too on account of him being called Ally.

Istanbul in my heart

And every time we passed by the market the traders would call out his name with one even swinging him around.

I finally fulfilled a Travel dream this year when I got to Istanbul 26 years after I was supposed to.

Hamam slam

So a day’s late birthday wish is but a passing moment.

The big romantic gesture of a romantic proposal was meant to take place on the Bosphorus.

But we ended up in Malta instead… I told you I was hopeless with directions.

I guess the then Miss F must have been expecting something because when I bent down to tie my shoelace…

She screamed ‘Yes’.

My Bosphorus

Malta has remained in my affections ever since, as has Miss F.

And I had the good fortune to get back out there a few years ago Malta easer where I learned ‘our’ restaurant is still there http://www.visitmalta.com.

And enough time has probably passed that I can pull that trick again to get a free bottle of Champagne.

My next attempt at getting to Istanbul was in 1997 when we visited Bulgaria.

My TA Business Lounge

But the distance (there was an option) and the small matter of the Son and Heir who was in his Terrible Twos put the kibosh on that.

Now that I’ve finally got a taste for Istanbul Wham bam, thank you Hamam, one of the world’s great cities http://www.howtoistanbul.com I’ll not leave it so long in future.

And when I do go I’ll travel with Turkish Airlines www.turkishairlines.com.

And I’ll dally in their award-winning Business Lounge and maybe pay a visit to their headquarters.

To catch up with old friends, play on the flight simulator, and this time ask if I can slide down the aeroplane chute.

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It ain’t half hot, Mam

No, not an Irish version of a suspect colonial wartime sitcom in India.

But a nod to the balmy and clammy weather we’ve been having here in Ireland this week… trust me to get the wind and the rains up in Royal Portrush at the weekend although nothing could dampen our enthusiasm at seeing Shane Lowry win the Open.

Things have been hotting up too across the water in the UK with highs recorded of hot air… from the new resident of 10 Downing Street.

Valletta harbour. Photo by ines bahr on Pexels.com

Right across Europe the thermometers have been at boiling point.

Your intrepid blogger has been doing a bit of digging to see which of the European cities is the hottest and was surprised to discover that it is Valletta, courtesy of http://www.currentresults.com with an on average temperature of 22.,3. Today it’s 33.

Athens, which I had down as the hottest is only second on average according to that website.

Back in the day: In Gozo

Valletta, of course, is one of the great cities in Europe, nay the world. And when the temperatures soar as they are doing just now the thing to do is get out on the harbour.

And also get yourself out to the neighbouring islands of Gozo and Comino.

Ryanair Rooms offers 30% off your stay with the 3* Buccaneers Boutique Guest House in St Paul’s Bay with prices from €66 and the *3 Alexandra Hotel, St Julian’s, with prices from €77. Visit http://www.rooms.ryanair.com.

And also visit http://www.visitmalta.com.