Adventure, Africa, America, Countries, Europe

My Sporting Weekend – Records

Talk Sport Radio has been a Godsend these past few months.

And my ears pricked up that little bit more with the latest cricket Test match.

Between England and South Africa coming from my old stomping ground of Port Elizabeth.

And they love their rugby in SA too

Now I’m not putting myself on the same level as Shoaib Akhtar or Brett Lee.

The pace aces bowled over 100mph there in the World Cup.

It’s just that the less-vaunted PE in South Africa is a city I fell in love with last year… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/homemyoffice/whats-new-pussycat/.

It got me thinking too about other destinations that have become tied in with world records.

You want a 401… call on Murty

Brian Lara, 400 not out, St John’s, Caribbean, 2004:

Any excuse to showcase the Caribbean I hear you say but there is a tale here about Lara and me.

My old university pal Jevan had taken me to Foreday Morning on my first visit to Barbados.

And introduced me to his old Trinidadian pal Brian.

I’m a Bajan: I don’t give a damn

He told me he was over for the cricket and I naively asked if he played.

I didn’t expect the greatest modern-day batsman would ever wear anything other than cricket whites or one-day burgundy!

Olympic champions

Stefan Kraft, Vikerssundbakken, Norway:

Now there are some sports we all do and those that are just death wishes.

Where’s the peloton?

Me, the Tour de France, 2019: Yes, here I am atop the 6,939ft Col du Tourmalet, the Tour de France’s most used climb.

And I’m not even out of breath. No wonder I needed some magic muscle-soothing water.

Climbing mountains is in the genes for Scots… I give you King of the Mountains Robert Millar.

Where’s the next record?

Me, white water rafting, Colorado:

The record for staying in the water tub long enough on the Poudre River… https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1Q7Z0dkvzUc&feature=youtu.be.

Of course British Columbian Hazel Amos puts me to shame as the oldest rafter in the world at 96.

And yes, it’s another from the Wild West, but hey, I was born to be a cowboy.

Waltzing to the next title

Samuel Groth, world’s fastest serve, Busan Open, 163.7mph:

No, nor me, but this is it… https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=uKeL-W7xft0.

Of course my on serve after being coached by Judy Murray at The Campus, Quinto da Lago wasn’t chronicled.

That’ll be then.

Michael Austin, world’s longest drive: At 515 yards that’s some power.

Mike gripped it and ripped it at the Winterwood Golf Course in Las Vegas in 1974.

Blasting it 65 yards past the flag on the par-four 5th hole.

Vegas, baby: And Murty hits it into the next state

Me, I drunk it and sunk it… that’s my pitcher of beer at Topgolf in Las Vegas https://topgolf.com/us/las-vegas/.

On my Vegas trip a couple of years ago… Strip… the light fantastic.

While I also showed them how to do it in Quinto…

And hopefully I’ll be back to break my own record at the American Travel Fair www.ipw.com.

MEET YOU ON THE PODIUM

America, Countries, Cruising, Europe, Food, Food & Wine, Ireland, UK

Hungry and Thursday – funny food

Food should be fun and taken out of the hands of foodies… and chefs.

I’m writing this while eating my Swedish ‘vacuum cleaners’ or dammsugare for fika. These are named after the tube-shaped vacuum cleaners of the Fifties.

I had been given them in my godispase, or goody bag.

Clean sweep

The godispase had come courtesy of the Stena Estrid, Swedish ferry cruise company‘s http://www.stenaline.ie and www.stenaline.co.uk maiden journey between Holyhead and Dublin.

It is, in truth, the closest I will get to a vacuum cleaner but it shows the Swedes’ sense of fun.

The Swedish dammsugare

To name this sweet after a common household gadget.

And it’s good to see that the world has been watching because it’s not for nothing that Jim Henson looked to Scandinavia for his madcap Swedish Chef.

You like your marzipan?

Music is the food of life

Now if that gives you a taste for Swedish food why not visit http://www.swedishfood.com/swedish-food-recipes-biscuits-cakes/376-arrack-rolls-or-vacuum-cleaners-punschrullar-eller-dammsugare?

The dammsugare got me thinking about other funny food you can pick up around the world.

Every city with a well-known red light district obvs like Amsterdam Pictures of Amsterdam and George Clooney and Amal’s Amsterdam hotel.

Where they also have Middle Eastern food skewered on an actual scimitar in Bazaar, a remodelled old mosque in fashionable De Pijp http://www.hotelbazar.nl/en/restaurant-bazar-amsterdam/ And www.iamsterdam.com.

Get a grip

But also unexpectedly in Portugal Centro Secret Portugal and www.visitportugal.com where I found a shop selling chocolate penises.

While this mug gives a new spin on your hot chocolate.

Get a handle on this

What else is out there I hear you ask.

And where are the sweetie cigarette, cigars and pipes we used to have as children?

Probably replaced with chocolate joints.

And, of course, any excuse to plug this fun for food fixture from my trip on Celebrity Edge around the Bahamas… www.celebritycruises.ie.

With I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out To Here.

The Germans are funny… full stop. Which gives a lie to the myth that they have no sense of humour.

And there is no elegant way to eat a hamburger… ich bin ein Hamurger Hamburgers and ships and www.hamburg-tourism.de.

While the Norwegians have a playful relationship with their trolls… The call of the fjords and www.visitnorway.com.

 

Fjord fiesta

With my very own Scary One… and MSC Cruises www.msccruises.ie.

While I love the taste of the sea too and few do it better than my own wee country Scotland and my adopted one Ireland, north and south…

 

Slurp it up

That’s www.visitscotland.com, www.discovernorthernireland.com and www.tourismireland.com.

With a tasting menu of the best of Scotland, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

 

With Catherine Fulvio at Ballyknocken

America http://www.visitusa.ie and http://visitflorida.com and is the country who put fun and funk into dysfunction and my safari food out with Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge http://www.disneyworld.disney.go.com in Florida brought me this nature feast below… it’s all natural.

 

And seeing we’re talking food then let’s finish on the country that leads the way on food… Italy.

With Italy specialists Top Flight www.topflight.ie and Catherine Fulvio at her cookery school in Ballyknocken, Co. Wicklow www.ballyknocken.ie

And some amateur cuoco…

 

Pasta master

OK, OK… mes amis in France http://www.atoutfrance.fr will disagree. And I don’t know what I was eating here but I was smokin’…

 

Send in your Fun With Food, what’s amusing to eat and where.

MEET YOU AROUND THE TABLE

Safari in Florida
The big smoke: In the French Embassy in Dublin
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My Sporting Weekend – racism and bigotry

World Cup winner Paul Pogba’s personal gesture against racism in wearing a black and white wristband commends him.

Which is something you don’t often hear many people say about Manchester United’s mercurial Frenchman…

The wearing of rubber bands denoting charitable or political campaigns seemed to kick in in the Noughties.

And I’m a fan www.kickitout.org although it’s more to do with destinations I’ve visited.

Band of gold

To remind me on a wet and dank day in Ireland of sunnier climes.

So I have California http://www.visitcalifonria.com and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/06/22/my-weekend-with-marilyn/ and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/07/03/stair-wars-3/at hand.

Denver http://www.denver.org and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/go-west-denver-buffalo-bill/ and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/29/the-new-pioneers/too.

And Portugal http://www.visitportugal.com and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/secret-portugal-classy-centro/

While there’s Dresden http://www.dresden.de and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/dresdens-renaissance-martin-luther/ as well.

My link with the Maldives https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/12/atoll-tale-the-maldives/ and http://www.kuramathi.com and http://www.kandolhu.com was broken.

When the band snapped over the Christmas season.

Although my memories never will.

Glasgow belongs to who?

Symbols have always been at the very heart of sport:

The colours and designs of strips or uniforms, club badges or crests and buttons.

Although sometimes they can land you in trouble.

And the players in the Celtic and Rangers Catholic and Protestant divide know it.

Whether they grew up in the West of Scotland or bought into it.

Mo Johnston controversially crossed the divide and himself (well at least when he was at Celtic, the Catholic gesture particularly provocative to Rangers fans).

While Paul Gascoigne gullibly responded to the egging-on from Rangers fans by mocking a flute player.

Another incendiary action in Glasgow’s religious tribalism, conjuring up the Protestant King William of Orange’s victory over the Catholic King James II.

That flute is OK

Sometimes even the football forces its way into the argument.

The debate du jour in English football is whether players and teams should walk off if they are racially abused from the crowd.

I never had to encounter being either physically or verbally abused over the colour of my skin.

But I was spat at on a bus by religious bigots in Glasgow as a child because of the colour of my uniform.

Which is why I was so drawn to Rosa Parks’ sit-down protest on the bus in the Deep South.

And was so humbled by the sacrifices made by black (and white) Civil Rights protesters.

On my trip through Memphis, Tennessee www.memphistravel.com and www.deep-south-tourism-com Mississippi. And www.visittheusa.ie.

Not our problem

No such discussion is had regarding religious bigotry in Glasgow despite they’re being on average one murder surrounding the Old Firm game every time the two meet.

Which they do tomorrow.

Worthy words will be expressed in Glasgow, my home city http://www.peoplemakeglasgow.com and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/04/15/sportstraveltraveltravel/.

And when (and it’s almost always when, not if) it kicks off there will be no end of head-shaking.

It’s only a kids’ game

But no talk of partial ground closures, playing behind closed doors, walk-offs, fines or points deductions.

It’s not for nothing Celtic and Rangers are called The Old Firm. The religious divide fuels their economy.

So the answer is in Glasgow vernacular: Nae Chance.

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Holiday snaps – TUI blue-sky thinking

I’ve always had a soft spot for TUI as they grew out of Thomson’s which had a newspaper arm, who gave me my first job and my first holiday discounts.

TUI http://www.tuiholidays.ie which gave us the dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s and putting us in the middle and is now branding a range of holidays ‘Blue’.

Just a suggestion but you might want to talk about blue-sky thinking… my usual rate!

TUI Blue for Families

And here’s what they’re offering with their TUI Blue concept resorts.

Family fun

The 5T TUI BLUE for Families Atlantica Aegean in Rhodes sit on the edge of a sand and shingle beach.

With a jungle-themed waterpark bursting with tubes and slides.

And four restaurants with wellbeing at the core.

And it’s all just down the road with a regular bus service into Rhodes Town… http://www.visitrhodes.com.

Then there’s the 4TPlus TUI BLUE for All Grand Azur in Marmaris which comes with its own private Blue Flag beach.

Good clean fun: In the Istanbul hamam

Now as well as the best Turkish cuisine, I’m loving this…. Turkish language classes. Because I love Turkey http://www.goturkeytourism.com.

Guests can also visit a Hamam at the BLUE Spa.

And you won’t have to look at this motley crew from a trip to Istanbul either https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/wham-bam-thank-you-hamam/.

TUI Blue for All

Now if you’re a fan of Portugal (of course you are) then try 4T TUI BLUE for TWO Falesia Atlantic.

When the boat comes in: The Algarve

Set on a clifftop location, there are two chic bars while you can reserve your table on the app.

The adults-only ‘instagrammable’ hotel is just a five-minute drive from the centre of Olhos D’Agua.

And if you want to explore lively Albufeira, it’s a 15-minute drive away, which lines up classy restaurants and late-night bars.

Water challenges: The Algarve

Portugal http://www.visitportugal.com is always high up my list of European destinations and recommendations.

Of course there’s the Algarve where for the sporty you can try the Campus in Quinta do Lago https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/06/12/sportugal/.

And for a different Portugal try Portugal Centro… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/secret-portugal-classy-centro/

MEET YOU ON THE ROAD

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Holiday Snaps – Cruise extra

It’s in midwinter that we start looking to the new year and where we’ll go, and for many of us that’s a cruise.

And that’s what Celebrity Cruises http://www.celebritycruises.ie were thinking too when they invited us all out to the Ivy in Dublin https://theivydublin.com.

To talk about their 2020 vision, and the launch of Apex.

Apex will make her debut from Southampton in April.

There will be six diverse roundtrip sailings around Northern Europe before moving to the Mediterranean.

Apex is the second ship in Celebrity’s new Edge Class.

The Edge

And remember what we all thought of Edge with its Magic Carpet, Eden lounge, Kelly Hoppen finishes, all highlighted by her innovative Godmother Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai.

When we went out to Fort Lauderdale to join the €1bn game changer on the high seas… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/im-a-celebrity-get-me-out-to-here/ 

Celebrity is also spending $500m bringing elements of Edge Class to more of its fleet, with many ships already updated. 

Godmother: Malala

Which they’re calling the Celebrity Revolution.

They’re also reminding us that they have this offer…

Of free drinks and $300 onboard credit.

Plus free flights to Europe from selected airports or gratuities included for guests 1 and 2 on sailings from Southampton when booking an eligible Ocean View stateroom or above.

Offer Ends 18 November 2019. T&Cs Apply.

Social butterfly

Does that work for you?

Now, onto the eight-night maiden voyage of Spain and Portugal on Apex from €1349pp, departing April 5.

Iberian campaign

You’ll take in Bilbao with its gastronomic delights and the Guggenheim and that Bilbao wow floral dog.

While Lisbon comes with its own Christ the Redeemer statue and there is no better place for a glass of port than in Porto and the Ribeira portside.

And if you like Portugal (and who doesn’t) then you might like https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/secret-portugal-classy-centro/. And https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/06/12/sportugal/

So check out http://www.visitportugal.com

Off for a sail

Of course The Ivy was the perfect venue for our get-together.

And there was plenty of celebrity-spotting too… I try to make a point of agreeing to every selfie request.

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It’s our 25th Wedding Anniversary!

The world has changed a lot in the last 25 years but we’ve not… unless it is to get even more handsome and pretty.

Twenty-five years ago today Sarah and I (yes, that’s her name, the Scary came later) formed a modern-day Scotland and England union.

Match of the day

And as the fractures in the older United Kingdom have threatened to pull that union asunder, ours has survived and thrived.

And begotten two heirs… and lost a whole lot more hairs.

We’re hitched

Which brings us to the holiday bit… we honeymooned in Corfu and it will be poignant that I will be returning to Greece this week.

Alas without my goddess… but I did try, honest!

The Greeks, or Hellenes as they liked to call themselves, are of course an ancient people.

So the economic (a Greek word) problems they’ve suffered are just a blip in their history (another Greek word).

I’ll visit the Acropolis and of course get a selfie with the obligatory caption ‘An Old Relic and the Acropolis’.

It must have worked: A lucky charm

But I’ll also be taking in the greater Attica region and visiting the beaches.

Before rounding it all off with a visit to Aphrodite’s island, the one she was born on, Kephyra.

And I’ll bring back a souvenir of my trip, the thing I know my Sarah loves better than anything else.

ME.

In the meantime here are a couple of unforgettable trips we’ve been on which coincided with past anniversaries.

Beach boy and girl: In Aveiro in Portugal

Central Portugal above… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/secret-portugal-classy-centro/ Visit http://www.visitportugal.com

And the Norwegian fjords below… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-call-of-the-fjords/ See http://www.msccruises.ie and http://www.msccruises.co.uk.

The fountain of youth: In Bergen

And Hamburg… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/hamburgers-and-ships/ Visit http://www.visithamburg.com.

And why not?
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Holiday Snaps – Winter sun

I know I’m wishing the seasons away but it’s time to plan for winter sun.

Yes, we know that the sun comes out 360 days a year (sorry 350 days a year).

So that’s a virtual guarantee of good weather. Although it would be just my luck to be there when it does rain.

That’s what we’re after: Photo by Ignacio Palés on Pexels.com

Let’s tempt you then with the Costa del Sol, 7 nights, 25th October, €1788 (€447pp)

You’ll be well set with the Timor Sol Apartments which are on the beachfront next to the Paseo Marítimo promenade.

And there’s a waterpark nearby too.

Visit Travalue.iehttps://itaa.ie/2019/09/10/costa-del-sol-offer/!

Let’s take time here too to share some of sunny thoughts from Spain… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/09/03/vegging-out-in-tenerife/

OK, here are some more. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/09/05/jocktails-tenerife-coffee-liqueurs/

And also visit our friends at http://www.spain.info

Portugal is an answer to your prayers

Photo by Helena Ije on Pexels.com

I love a Portuguese village.

And the best thing is the welcome from the locals..

A favourite destination for Irish visitors this is Albufeira, 7 nights, 7th November, €389pps.

From https://itaa.ie/2019/09/10/portugal-winter-sun-all-inclusive/ the price includes Flight from Dublin to Faro with Aer Lingus, http://www.aerlingus.com.

Yum, yum. Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

See Travel Escapes and Cruisescapes: https://itaa.ie/2019/09/10/portugal-winter-sun-all-inclusive/

Portugal? We love it.

And as our wedding anniversary comes into let’s take a look back at this romantic break… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/secret-portugal-classy-centro/

And a shout-out to the ever-helpful Portuguese Tourist board http://www.visitportugal.com

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It’s low-fare Lingus… from €39.99

Without rules what would we be? French. I love comedian Al Murray, the Pub Landlord.

The thing is that some don’t because they don’t get the joke… the exaggerated flag-waving Little Englander.

And, of course, like many comic creations, Al is very different from his stage act.

I’ll catch you from falling: Paris. Photo by Dimitri Kuliuk on Pexels.com

He is actually a Second World War buff and Germanophile and has even brought us documentaries on the subject.

And why am I telling you all this?

Because of the bit about rules. I mean it’s Tuesday Cruiseday and Flyday Friday, by rules of the management here!

Until Aer Lingus www.aerlingus.com spring a sale on a Tuesday.

Our national airline carrier is offering up to 20% off destinations across Europe.

Fashion capital: Milan. Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com

Prices start from €39.99 for Bordeaux, Lisbon, Faro, Paris, Milan, Paris, Toulouse and Vienna. Travel between 23 September and 24 October and rise but not by much.

The sale ends Thursday midnight.

These are all good cities I think you’d agree, although Faro is more of a thoroughfare.

One whose airport is a pleasure to rest awhile in and where you bump into the most unlikely of people.

Faro is certainly one place I need to investigate more rather than just jump in the taxi, coach, or hired car.

Too early for the mistletoe

But if it is your starting point then Aer Lingus offers this package: €297pp with seven nights at the. 4* Estrella do Vau.

Faro was my launchpad for my sports break, a Judy Murray tennis (and dancing) masterclass at The Campus, Quinto da Lago https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/06/12/sportugal/.

And check out these websites… http://www.quintadolago.com and http://www.magnoliahotelqdl.com and http://www.visitportugal.com

I’ll bring you Paris in my new series City delights. Here was my starter: City delights – Dublin.

And work my way through the others, particularly at Aer Lingus prices!

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We will delight them on the beaches

We’re all different and my elder brother would prefer to stay in the hotel in Ibiza rather than hit the beaches.

My parents loved the beach and my Mum, in particular, loved to sunbathe.

Me being the restless sort and never a strong swimmer I preferred a beach game.

And I spent a week in Menorca playing Boules with German boy Uwe at the age of 9.

We didn’t share a word but we shared a love of sand as do parasol supplier We Are Promotional http://www.wearepromotional.co.uk/printed-branded-parasols-pubs-breweries/.

Beach boys (and girls)

They have given us this survey of our habits.

Which I’ll pick through for you.

The most expensive beach on amenities including luxury huts and parking is Renaissance Island, Aruba at £302.54pp.

And the cheapest is Huiquan Bathing Beach, China at £8.94pp.

In among them is Bournemouth. If fate had taken a different turn I could have been working there. http://www.visitbournemouth.com.

Fourth in the table at £168pp I’d have been looking for that factored into my salary.

Which would have had to be good to save up for those beach huts.

Fun for all the family

Huiquan again is the place to go for families (of four) at £34.96.

Beach bummin’ it

But I picked out Bathsheba Beach on the east of Barbados… let me share https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/rihanna-in-barbados/. And check out http://www.visitbarbados.org.

There I ate a bucket of Bajan chicken, Banks beer in hand and waves crashing around my feet.

We Are Promotional costs Bathesba Beach at £108.03 including water sports, ice cream, lunch and beers.

Get there early: For your sun loungers

It’s always tempting if you’re up early and see an abandoned beach just to snuck up on a sunlounger and parasol and grab it.

I very nearly did it in Fort Lauderdale last December.

While I was intrigued to find the prices at Nazare in Portugal.

Portugeezers on the beach

Which is one of the best short-haul holiday countries for those living in Britain and Ireland (http://www.visitportugal.com).

At €18.89 it’s not as expensive as Waikiki in Hawaii, at £40.06.

But I’d still recommend the beaches of Portugal Centro between Oporto and Lisbon as a better alternative. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/secret-portugal/.

Tricks on the water

I’ve never worked out water sports. I tend to inhale when I should be exhaling.

Water show

But the Cool Set in Biarritz know what they’re doing.

The French Riviera resort comes third on their list of price of water sports at £89.90pp.

And let me show Biarritz off to you. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-boat-dazur/. And visit https://www.france.fr/en.

Behind the most expensive, Coney Island in the US at £216.32pp.

And lastly, and most importantly in many’s eyes, ice cream.

It’s more than a euro a lick at Railay Beach, Thailand at £22.19pp.

Brighton rocks

Compare that with the tenth, Brighton at £4. And they’re all top tens. Visit www.visitbrighton.com.

My 99 in the beautiful beach town of Greystones, Co. Wicklow where I live is just €2.50… and the pound and euro are virtual parity. http://www.visitwicklow.ie.

Watch out for my top beaches in a blog coming to you soon.

While I’ll also share with you the origins of the 99, my old Sandy stomping ground of Portobello, Edinburgh.

MEET YOU ON THE SAND

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Flyday Friday – Madeira

The mother-in-law has been asking where to holiday. I thought a single fare but I’m not that brave. And then changed my advice to Madeira.

The Bamba (the kids couldn’t say Grandma) has something of the green fingers about her.

So she’d love lush Madeira.

Madeira’s flora and fauna benefit from the volcanic ash on the island.

And the capital Funchal’s Botanic Gardens are renowned.

Its cake – no, it’s not the Madeira sponge cake as we know it.

It was given that name after Madeira wine which 18th Century British and Irish middle classes would drink with their cake.

Lush: Madeira. Photo by Valdemaras D. on Pexels.com

Their cake is called bolo de mel and is dark, spicy, honey cake.

Madeira’s favourite son would eat himself and his fellow islanders have honoured him with his own statue, the world’s worst.

You’ll arrive into Madeira International Airport Cristiano Ronaldo with TAP Air Portugal via Lisbon.

From €220 return via Lisbon. They offer a five-night optional stopover in Lisbon with no extra charge. Visit www.flytap.com.

Something for the weekend

What a picture: Lanzarote. Photo by Emils Plinte on Pexels.com

The weekends are when we usually book flights… now that’s not scientific. Just a hunch.

So use this weekend wisely and check out Aer Lingus’s 20% off flights to Europe. The offer ends at midnight on Monday. Visit www.ryanair.com.

Car for hire

Keys please: Rental cars

I don’t do much for myself and let the coach driver take me where I want. Far better though if you take it in your own hands.

Hire a car and you can make your own time and have freedom to see the place you want, at the time you want. And not have to bother about itineraries.

Ryanair is offering up to 50% off car hire for the autumn. Visit www.ryanair.com.

Not all car journeys though end well. Look at what happened to me when I got behind the wheel of a classic Fiat 500 in Cannes. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-boat-dazur/