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

Green for go to these countries

And I’m already swotting up on New Zealand www.newzealand.com Thailand https://www.tourismthailand.org/landing and Vietnam https://vietnam.travel/home.

The UK is putting in a traffic light system for countries as we ease out of lockdown.

Greece is the answer to our prayers

And my favourites are all green-lighted for return:

Austria https://www.austria.info/en Barbados https://www.visitbarbados.org Croatia www.croatia.ie Germany https://www.germany.travel/en-mobile/index.html and Greece http://www.visitgreece.gr and https://athensattica.com are all go.

Out of quarantine

Translated that means returning travellers need not quarantine for 14 days.

I’m just glad Home Secretary Priti Patel finally listened to me.

Just swimmingly In Tenerife

You won’t have to be an amber gamblers either if you’re visiting a country on this list:

Australia, Belgium, Canada and Denmark France, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Portugal, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland and Spain.

Or cycling in the French Pyrenees

The hit list

And there’s been more than a sprinkling of love from most of them… https://visitbelgium.com, https://visit-canada.ca, https://www.visitdenmark.com, https://about-france.com/visit-france.htm, http://www.italia.it/en/home.html, https://www.holland.com/global/tourism.htm, www.visitportugal.com, www.myswitzerland.com and https://www.spain.info/en_GB/ https://www.spain.info/en/informacion-practica/oficinas-turismo-embajadas/turismo-exterior/oficina_de_turismo_en_dublin.html.

Bad luck though if you’re stopped at red:

Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Egypt, India, Israel, Mexico, Morocco, South Africa and the US.

With the last two turning my clown into a frown.

Having set in train all my trips this year around these countries I’m having to make do with North Berwick beach these past couple of months.

Barbados hotpots

You see I don’t fancy much being one of half a million on Bournemouth beach.

Give me one of Barbados’s beaches, and I’m reminded now of a tub of chicken stew and bottles of Banks beers in Bathsheba, St Joseph East… Let’s rumba in Barbados and My kiss with Rihanna.

Of course the beach is a Bajan’s dining room where the locals put up bars like we do brollies.

And where the flying fish jump out of the sea and onto your plate.

Fish of the day

There are many different varieties of cutters including liver, cheese, ham, egg and more.

Clubbing together: Club Barbados on the Platinum Coast

Or even easier are their fish cakes… do like a local and order a ‘bread and two’. On a bun.

The Bajans will be only too happy to show you how to cook up a treat…

And if you like it hot then here’s how they scare up a Pepper Pot… https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCUwplS8uhaieGiL_50XhJCg.

America, Asia, Countries, Culture, Europe, Ireland, UK

Meditate on the world

There are some people whose company just sends you to sleep… and then there are the professionals like my pal SLM who put you into dreamland.

Travel and Yoga Nidra professional Sarah Lloyd-Morrison is one of those precious gems you discover on your life’s journey.

You know the type: chilled, funny and unstintingly patient.

And I’m glad to say that she’s not blocked me since we returned from Tobago www.tobago.gov.tt and https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/17/ready-steady-goat-racing-in-tobago/amp/.

Or at least this is what she told me to write when she had me under…. in her meditation class.

Tobago beyond: With SLM and pals in Tobsgo

And it’s just what I needed in lockdown and it’ll help me from killing my family.

Although there’s no guarantee that they’ll not kill me first if I say I’m meditating when there are chores to be done.

Of course now I can self-meditate I’m going to seek out a zen break.

Here are five of the best.

Rockies of ages

Shambhalah Mountain Center, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado: America’s hipster state where Brad and Dexter are so chilled.

Because of the Great Outdoors, the freestyle rock-climbing, white-water rafting, horseriding and maybe too the substances.

Where better then to zen out than Red Feather Lakes, 50 miles north-west of Fort Collins?

They’ve a variety of programmes from ‘Introduction to Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction’ to ‘The Path of Simply Being’.

And they also have nature-based programmes with astronomy.

Stay a month, week or weekend in a tent or lodge suite. Visit https://www.shambhalamountain.org www.colorado.comand The New Frontiersmen.

Portyogal

Shamballah, Sintra, Portugal: I’m reminded here of the friendly Wolverhampton masochist who had me contorted during yoga in the Algarve www.quintadolago.com, www.visitportugal.com and https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/28/sportugal-2/amp/.

Shamballah puts on a Yoga and Meditation Retreat.

And you know that Portugal is throwing its doors open again.

Before all this kicked off they were quoting three nights single room €350 per person. See https://www.shamballahretreats.com/retreats.

O Lotus Flower of Scotland

Kagyu Samye Ling. Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland: And this is the first Buddhist retreat in the west of Scotland.

They have all manner of accommodations including retreat rooms, camping and camper vans.

And five golden rules including: no killing, no stealing, no lying, no drink or drugs and no sexual impropriety.

You will, of course, be so zenned out you’ll love everybody because you’ll love yourself.

Or in the words of Choja Lama Yeshe Losal Rimpache: ‘Meditation means simple acceptance.’

See https://www.samyeling.org and www.visitscotland.com.

Ireland’s Garden County

Bobbio Centre, Co. Wicklow, Ireland: Now Irish sisters and brothers were a fixture of my upbringing.

My Dear Old Mum had a family of cousins who all went into the Holy Order.

And they would regularly turn up on our doorsteps in their long beards and shawls.

The Bobbio Centre in my beloved old stomping ground of Co. Wicklow is run by the Columbine Sisters.

They have 11 bedrooms and one en-suite single, special needs bedroom.

You have your meeting room and prayer room as you would expect and also a beehive which has created quite the buzz.

See https://www.columbansisters.org/bobbio-retreat-centre/ and www.visitwicklow.com..

Himalaya stayer

Vidya Niwas India Hotels, Himalayas: Hippies the world over will tell you that Dharamsala is where you need to go to find your inner zen.

And the Dalai Lama’s resident region in exile in India does have everything you need for meditation.

You can choose from the likes of The Rose Room, the Golok Princess Room, the Kotha Basant Room and the Sherpa Everest Room.

The views are gratis and the zen is guaranteed. See https://www.dalai-lama-dharma-dharamsala-miniguide.com/vidya-niwas.html

Where is your favourite zen retreat? Let me know and we’ll share.

And now we’re feeling all floaty here are some yoga guides… My Sporting Weekend International Yoga Day and Yoga-dabba-do – International Yoga Day.

Namaste: Sarah Lloyd-Morrison

And look out for my Meditation Diary with my Yogi Sarah Lloyd-Morrison in these pages.

MEET YOU IN NIRVANA

Countries, Europe, Ireland, UK

My Father’s Day

What’s captured my Dad’s attention has been lost in the mists of time as has he and Dinky the Donegal dog.

But Shovlin’s Guest House is still there on the Portnoo beach.

Daddy’s laddie

And my Mum, my Auntie and myself were back there a few years ago. And, yes, I needed my drink that night.

Donegal www.govisitdonegal.com, my Mum’s heartland, was where my Dad looked most relaxed, away from the phone and his work.

Donegal for ever

Donegal links: Portnoo. www.donegalcottages.com

So, it’s good to know that he chose to spend eternity up near Ballybofey… with my Mum’s family.

Being a late child and having formed a bond with my Irish cousins my parents farmed me over there for summer holidays when I was 12.

So my holiday memories consisted mainly of playing on the beach while they sunbathed.

Golfing buddies

But there were vacations abroad, usually alternating years with going to see my grandparents in Donegal.

Let us back: Ibiza

Ibiza beezer

One year the family split with my brother staying home with my Dad and me, my Mum and my other brother going to Ibiza http://ibiza.travel/en/.

My mum must have sold it to my Dad because we went back as a full family where waiter Pepe made a fuss of me.

And where I got to have a half of glass of red wine with my dinner.

Life on the beach: In the Balearics

I obviously took to the taste.

The Balearic Islands were the go-to package holiday destination for Seventies families.

Menorca corker

And we broadened our horizons to take in the Balearics’ second biggest island, Menorca http://www.menorca.es/portal.aspx?IDIOMA=3.

Where I got to have wine poured into my mouth from a porron out on a boat trip… a bit of a theme going here.

My early Bakearic Adventures has instilled a love of those islands in me, and I never pass up the opportunity to visit.

Let us back in the sea: Majorca

Magic Majorca

The last occasion being Majorca, with work on a stop-off from a cruise ship https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/01/21/smooth-sailing-around-the-western-med/amp/ and on a family holiday.

It wasn’t always plain sailing though and our trip to Portugal almost didn’t happen.

When we got to the airport and we found out that Dad’s passport had expired.

Gentler days then, and I don’t know how, but he managed to get it renewed and we got on the flight.

And, yes, I’ve been going back to Portugal regularly since… https://www.visitportugal.com/en and Secret Portugal.

I’m not judging you Dad over our passport with my details in it. I’ve had more than my fair share of scrapes in airports myself.

I guess the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY, JAMES G.

Countries, Deals, Europe, Flying, Ireland, UK

The beach to yourself in the Algarve

Beaches, like the skies and seas, are benefitting rom the lockdown and the Algarve has had the chance to breathe.

That’s because they are without the type of beachgoer who treat our beaches like a dumping ground… or worse.

The first beach holiday I had with the-then lovesick Miss F was in the Algarve https://www.visitalgarve.pt/en/Default.aspx where we met two brothers who are now our lifelong friends.

We played football on the courts, pool volleyball and even took to the stage to do our best theme from Raw Hide… complete with whip sounds.

In the interests of public disclosure that was me and Ray, not me and Miss F, although that doesn’t sound any better.

What a pane!

We thought about staying away from the Cabanas beach though as we had been warned that the approach was strewn with glass.

That didn’t stop us, though it took much of the enjoyment away from the experience, and I’m sure Ray lacerated his foot.

Now none of this is levelled at Cabanas , more those reckless visitors back in 1990.

Today’s Cabanas I imagine will be like a Caribbean beach because of a lack of litterbugs!

The beaches in the Algarve will reopen on Saturday.

There will be colour coded signage indicating the level of occupancy of the beach (low/medium/full).

And it will be updated in real time on the app ‘Info Praia’ (available in English) and APA website.

Just swimmingly

Visitors will be expected to keep 1.5m apart unless they are in the same household and parasols will be 3m apart.

And swimming, water sports and surfing will be permitted.

Of course, Portugal, and the Algarve, for many of us, holds many wonderful childhood and adult memories.

And check out www.visitportugal.comSecret Portugal and https://www.quintadolago.com/en/.

Now many of you reading this may be asking why we didn’t wear flip-flops when negotiating the Cabanas expert.

Well, the best I have us that that’s hard-earned booze money you’re talking about there.

Fly high

Now here’s what Ryanair www.ryanair.com is planning for us from June 21.

Ryanair – flights from Stansted, Dublin and Manchester.

EasyJet http://www.easyjet.com from June 16 from Belfast, four weekly frequencies from Luton from June 16.

British Airways http://www.ba.com – July.

MEET YOU ON THE BEACH

Countries, Culture, Ireland

Coviday Snaps – Life after lockdown

Lockdown has let us all reboot, rebrand and refurb, and for dapper manager Nicky Logue that also applies to his Dublin 4 hotel, the InterContinental.

Nicky has spent the lay-off productively updating the wardrobe for which he has become known on the Irish capital’s social scene.

Nicky, like all good hotel managers, is omnipresent, and omnifashionable and will no doubt have a swanky suit for the occasion of the big July 20 reopening.

The bould NIck has always given me (and the Scary One) a warm welcome when we visit either for a snifter or a cheeky night away… Rugby central, it’s the InterCon… what a Ledge!

And the hotel which is an institution in Dublin’s most hip suburb, which is a long Jonny Sexton kick away from the RDS with the Aviva Stadium just up the road, will be even better than ever.

With the ground floor, lobby and bar getting spruced up.

Visit http://www.intercontinentaldublin.ie or call (01) 6654000.

And you’ll no doubt catch D4’s most famous resident, the rugby ledge himself, Ross O’Carroll-Kelly.

He’ll only be whiling away the COVID-19 days in his second home, the Ice Bar.

A Port chaser

They come in all sizes

The Portuguese already have a jump on us of course and this week sees restaurants and cafes up to 400sqm reopening.

As well as museums which coincides with International Museum Day. Art Galleries, palaces and churches are also getting the green light.

We’ve flagged up Turismo de Portugal’s Clean & Safe seal which will give reassurance to visitors which we hope will include us soon.

Which will mean a bit more of this… Secret Portugal and SPORTUGAL See http://www.visitportugal.com

England – the Home of Golf?

Magdalene Fields, Berwick-on-Tweed

I’m recycling this one from my old colleague and voice of golf Martin Dempster of my old paper The Scotsman who has been flagging up (and he wouldn’t use such a lame pun) the thorny subject of cross-border golf.

And the growing attractiveness of the Berwick-on-Tweed courses Goswick and Magdalene Fields to Scottish golfers who are excluded on this side of the border from taking their clubs out.

Which is making me even more itchy to get my garish V neck jumper on as my new billet looks out over the historic North Berwick course south of http://www.northumberland.com Edinburgh.

Northumberland will be the first place I’ll be going once I get permission to leave these 2kms around my house. And there is much to enjoy there too.

The north-east of England has many charms including Hadrian’s Wall, the Holy Island and Alnwick and Bamburgh castles.

Us Scots have long held a claim to Berwick and they have impressive fortifications to keep us out.

And where we once came foraging, plundering and laying waste with our claymores, now the good folk of Berwick are keeping their eyes peeled for those in tartan-clad plus-fours with golf bags slung over their shoulder.

MEET YOU OUTDOORS

Countries, Europe, Flying, Ireland, UK

Portuguese men (and women) of awe

I’ll let you into a little secret… and I know all the right people! Portugal will be the country we’ll all be visiting first when we come out of lockdown.

No, it wasn’t Maria dos Anjos, the niece of the last Little Shepherd of Fatima, who told me though she probably knew this already, and that COVID-19 was coming.

I consider myself partially responsible for not sharing the impending pandemic.

No, not Maria dos Anjos

Because Maria was trying to tell me something of import back in 2018. It’s just that my Portuguese stretches to Obrigado and Obrigada.

Which, going off on a tangent, my Dear Old Dad loved to screech out long after we’d returned from the Algarve.

Susana mirabilis

We all have Susana Cardoso, the Director of Portuguese Tourism in Ireland http://www.visitportugal.com to thank for giving us a preview of what Portugal will look like in the coming months.

Venice of Portugal: Aveiro

And the good news is that we will all hopefully be able to see first hand with September slated as the month…

When Irish visitors will all be reacquainting themselves with an old and trusted friend.

Yes Portugal, and for me also the best guide a man or woman could have, and that man and woman is me and the Scary One.

Splendid self-isolation in a castle

The one and only Jose Madomis https://www.madomistours.pt, the Special One, who showed off his beloved Coimbra and Portugal Centro.

When September comes

The end of the year is a great time to go.

Autumn/Winter is still warm as I discovered on my most recent visits to Portugal Centro and The Campus https://www.thecampusqdl.com/en/about/ https://www.quintadolago.com/en/ at Quinta do Lago , Secret Portugal and SPORTUGAL.

My boat comes in… in Quinta do Lago

The Portuguese are showing the way as the gold standard on safety and accountability with their Clean and Safe stamps which almost 3000 tourism companies have signed up for.

Beach life

And for those of you who are sick and tired of being palmed off with promises that amount to very little.

Under the guise of ‘The New Normal’ or ‘O Novo Normal’ as they never say out there.

Let me now tell you that there will be sand.

All this space

Not for sunbathing yet, but then what a waste of time that is, but you will be able to book your own space on the beach and also go into the water…

And that means you mad surfers too with Portugal a Nirvana for those who walk on water.

All the old favourites

Social distancing is key to us all enjoying all the things we always love in Portugal.

Hotels, restaurants, cafes, golf, museums, castles and parks and it is a price well worth paying.

Of course, all of this is marivilohso, but are we going to be able to get out there.

Well, Susana informs us that Portugal is continually monitoring the situation with the airlines Aer Lingus, Ryanair and TAP Air Portugal…. http://www.aerlingus.com, http://www.ryanair.com and http://www.flytap.com.

Obrigada Susana

And, of course, I’ll keep you up to speed with what changes there but again September may be the month.

A new golf… in Quinta

So Obrigada Susana and Ola Portugal.

And see you later this year.

Asia, Countries, Culture, Europe, UK

Happy St George’s Day

And nowhere in England will the dragon-slaying saint be celebrated more than in Fordington, Dorset?

Who knew?

Well, the Fordingtonians, obviously, who reference St George back to King Alfred the Great’s will, where he also mentions them.

And they have a stone over the south door of their church marking St George’s appearance to the Crusaders. See https://www.visit-dorset.com.

Tie a ribon https://www.cotswolds.info/blogs/morris-dancers.shtml

St George’s association with England is long, dating back 1200 years to the Venerable Bede.

Morris dancing

And he had to see off the rival claims of Thomas A Beckett and Edward the Confessor, before he was made patron saint.

St George’s Day, I am happy to report (my own English rose has told me to say that), is making something of a comeback in England www.visitengland.com.

With Morris dancing, village fairs and pageants.

The best knight of all https://www.tamworth.gov.uk/St-George-Day-Timetable-2019

And the best national anthem that never was… William Blake’s Jerusalem.

England being the birthplace of my very own Scary One, and our first meeting place, it was the natural holiday for us as a family.

And it is one of the most varied, cultural, historical and fun countries you will ever visit.

Green and pleasant land

From the Lake District of the north-west to Hadrian’s wall and Lindisfarne and the buzzing town of Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the north-east.

To the Bard: Stratford-upon-Avon

To Liverpool and The Beatles and Mad Manchester…

Shakespeare’s Midlands and Birmingham and the best chocolate factory and village you’ll find anywhere Cadbury.

Sherwood Forest may not be the Wild East anymore but any visit to the East Midlands should include a trip to the Robin Hood Museum.

Samuel Johnson opined (he never just said) that the man who tired of London tired of life

London town, oh London town

And there is history and entertainment aplenty Carole King… you’re Beautiful The London life and for royalists kings and queens too.

And Berkshire where their main home Windsor Castle is, and my own little princess.

Onion-topped Moscow is appealing

St George is celebrated around the world, particularly in Russia, Bulgaria, Georgia, Portugal, Brazil, Ethiopia and Serbia and Montenegro and Iberia.

Now here’s a thought during this lockdown… plan a St George’s list, ticking off each country on the way.

Next port of call

I’ve got Portugal www.visitportugal.com and Secret Portugal and SPORTUGAL under my belt.

Columbus shows the way: In Barcelona

And Barcelona https://www.barcelonaturisme.com/wv3/en/ and Catalonia Messi around on the water so I’ve got a bit to go yet.

But whether I get around some, or all of them. I know a green and pleasant land where a knowledge of St George will get you a long way.

Adventure, America, Countries, Europe

Get on your bikes – cycling around the world

It’s obviously not how cyclists would have planned it but after years of being pilloried THEY now rule the roads.

Back when I was nearer Sir Chris Hoy’s age than Eddy Merckx’s I would cycle everywhere in Edinburgh.

And take my life in my own hands like the time I was cut up at the roundabout by an elderly driver.

I was cycling straight on while Mad Motorist was on the outside lane but decided to turn left.

Not a car to be seen in Amsterdam

Picking myself and my bike up from the ground I was met by s screaming pensioner telling me I should have signalled!!!

Or there was the time I was waterbombed by some hoodlums from a tenement flat.

Ridden off the road

While I was also sprayed in the face with party foam while cycling through Edinburgh’s New Town.

Mmmm… I’d like to see them try any of those stunts in Amsterdam.

When in Amsterdam

Where you’d probably be pushed into the canals by locals shouting CYCLISTS!

But they have a culture there, properly wide and thought-through cycle paths, and lanes separated by small walks beside dual carriageways.

Dutch driving

Which makes it a pleasure for all to enjoy the city with your IAmsterdam city pass www.iamsterdam.com Pictures of Amsterdam and George Clooney and Amal’s Amsterdam hotel.

Le Tour de Murty: The Pyrenees

France prides itself as the home of cycling where families cycle together The Boat D’Azur and https://uk.france.fr/en.

Or if they’re holding you back then you can always climb the mountain to Le Pic du Midi.

Tour de force

Where cyclists either climbing or whizzing down the mountain have right of way.

The same applies in Scandinavia and Northern Europe where the bike is often the preferred mode of transport.

The best cycling culture in the world probably: Denmark

And where my old University pal New Yorker Tom turned up for our meeting by old Hans Christian Andersen’s statue on his bike.

Wonderful Copenhagen

See https://www.visitcopenhagen.com and fit a day in on your MSC Cruises trip around the Norwegian fjords https://www.msccruises.co.uk and https://www.msccruises.ie. The call of the fjords.

Tom’s own New York may not immediately strike you as a shining example for cyclists but we’re probably thinking Manhattan here.

Staten Island Bicycling Association http://www.sibike.org

And that’s another reason to explore the five other boroughs… for example Staten Island, Brooklyn and Queens.

American cycling dream

While when you do do Manhattan and The Bronx I’d recommend walking tours and here’s where you can get a start Old New York: Hamilton. And www.nycvb.com.

Look at the space you have to cycle

California is all about the outside life where cyclists don the latest fashions and pose on their two wheels.

On the Venice Beach www.venicebeach.com and Santa Monica https://www.santamonica.com/things-to-do/santa-monica-beach/… And My Weekend With Marilyn. And www.visitcalifornia.com.

With a Paralympic champion in Quinta do Lago

Sportugeezer

And my cycling experiences? Showing off on my Sporting break at The Campus in Quinta do Lago in Portugal.

And took a straight road too sharply.., https://www.quintadolago.com/en/sports-wellness/the-campus/. And SPORTUGAL

Remember too in these days of social distancing if you are a driver give cyclists some space.

Adventure, Countries, Europe, Food, Food & Wine

SPORTUGAL

It’s the footwork, dahling… turn your toes in. And keep the hands open, and dahling, trust your partner.

I half expect to see Craig Revel Horwood sitting opposite, giving out and holding up a 2.

Thankfully I’m not being judged on my dancing but my tennis by my mixed doubles partner Judy Murray.

Yes, that Judy Murray, tennis supercoach, mum-of-two Wimbledon champions, and just as importantly in our house a Strictly Come Dancing legend.

Europe’s new four ball: John and Jim

Judy has had half an eye on Ashley, Faye, Lauren, Stacey, Joe, Charles, et al this series.

A message from you, Judy

Only half an eye though as her main focus has been making tennis players out of the flotsam collection of wannabe racquet tyros I’m assembled here with.

In the new Campus sporting development in Quinta Do Lago in the Algarve.

Judy is running a series of tennis coaching lessons for young and old, good and bad, studious and messers, which, er, would be me.

That cow’s still got his name on it

In my defence her starter hooter was too inviting not to play keepie-uppie with.

Judy, though, as well as being very good at sport is a very good sport and even allowed me to waltz her around at the end.

Tennis and squash’s child

Another very good sport and one that you won’t have heard so much about is padel which is more popular in the Iberian Peninsula than tennis.

Former rugby international Max Evans who with soccer great John Terry took to the game on a trip to the Algarve, describes it as the baby that tennis and squash would beget.

And wash it down with some Portuguese vino

Played to the same scoring system as tennis, the big difference is in the non-string bats, the underhand serve, the fact that you can play off the side glass walls.

And, dare I say it, that it might just be better fun than tennis.

Judy’s work done, she gets a deserved breather. Me, I’m off to bother the gold pros.

Team of all talents

For four days I will have a team of experts tasked with trying to make an athlete of me, just as they can for you too.

With a Paralympian legend: Me and Brian Rohan

The professional at the Paul McGinley Golf Academy shows off the latest golf technology, tracking machines, sensory guides et al.

It can turn the most ordinary club member into a Rory or a Tiger, or at least on the odd shot.

If you concentrate that is.

But there’s always one messer who gets distracted.

Water trap: Have a chip with your dinner

In this case drawn to Paul McGinley’s buggy from when he captained Europe to Ryder Cup success at Gleneagles.

Ryder Cup glory

There’s a good reason why the big boys and girls in our party get to play The South Course, one of three Championship courses here at Quinta do Lago, while yours truly is kept to the driving range.

I do get to drive me a buggy, though not Paul’s Ryder Cup cart, which sensibly is kept where it is.

And I get to see the course, safely for me and the golfers, or at least that’s the plan before the boy racer in me kicks in.

My boat comes in

And I cut up the buggy in front and almost drive into the lake that skirts one of the greens.

I dare say I would have come up with my pockets bursting with stray golf balls.

Maybe I’ll fare better on two wheels.

Ride on

Quinta do Lago means Farm by the Lake and Quinta is at great pains to keep human athletic exertions and the natural world in perfect harmony.

Or a dip after your lunch

The Ria Formosa reserve which runs parallel to the course, is more geared to Shiny Ibises and Spoonbill birdies.

And yes, get off your bike, get your binos out and you really will see these fascinating birds scoop up their prey with spoonlike beaks.

I’d like to say I planned my disembarkation but the truth is I took one sandy corner too many and too sharply in my obsession to lead the party.

Hungry work

Eyebrows may have been raised as to my suitability to go back with the sensible ones on the roads, but hunger called.

The new mixed doubles

That hunger was sated as it invariably is in these parts by the harvest of the seas.

The world literally is your piscine pleasure in Portugal and no fish is safe, so I felt not a pang of guilt in devouring Dory’s pals, the lobster, prawns, clams, seabass both here at the island restaurant Casa do Lago at the Campus.

And more of that later.

For golfers, there is a green in the water for diners to shoot at but it was wisely out of bounds for us on the day. 

If the Scotland manager is watching

The appeal of The Campus is its infrastructure and expertise.

Why else would it attract Premier League side Burnley, Champions League winners Olympique Marseille and Rio Ferdinand who runs a soccer camp.

Paralympic champion

While Irish Paralympian, road race great Brian Rohan runs The Bike Shed, which is so much more than just that.

Ask him kindly and he might even let you hold one of his Olympic gold medals.

And I’ve got my goal celebration sorted

Of course when it comes to sport we’re all of us experts, and so my last night was spent at a sports bar where I watched THREE soccer games simultaneously on the big screens (and who said men couldn’t multi-task?).

I’d like to say all the games were thrillers but I was in my element all the same.

Dancing Dad

I was tackling (cleanly) a chicken casserole for two, to soak up the beer you understand, while exchanging sporting trivia with my Portuguese hosts.

I was less good at the Halloween pub quiz I have to admit but always back myself against any Dancing Dad when the house band appears. 

Get the yoga in

There’s always a price to pay of course for revelry and that is invariably a sore head the next morning.

Magnolia drive

Yes, the art deco style Magnolia where we are staying specialises in fixing that too…

The Mag burger, beef, bacon, cheese and lettuce burger and fries, with a special peppery sauce.

The secret of which the Chef, naturally wasn’t sharing, and a pineapple, OJ, coconut and SPINACH smoothie.

Are you watching Craig Revel Horwood?

I felt invincible again and was ready to show off to my new No. 1 fan with my moves, a dive into the pool (yes, strictly against the hotel  rules).

But nobody was watching apart from Judy Murray that is.

Keeeep practising!

IMPORTANT WEBSITES: The Campus, Quinta do Lago https://www.quintadolago.com/en/sports-wellness/the-campus/ with costs for the night at the Magnolia Hotel at €105, and Ryanair http://www.ryanair.com with prices from €39.99.

This article was first published in the Irish Daily Mail in January 2019.

America, Countries, Europe, Ireland, UK

My Sporting Weekend – Golf and social distancing

Because I’d often be deep in rough when my playing partner was down the fairway – yes, golf is the best sport for social distancing.

And also because nothing makes you want to keep your distance more than having to listen to your boss on the course talk about his share options or his new car.

Ir’s not that I dislike golf, or professional or amateur golfers. In fact I used to cover golf.

And was happy to revisit the Open when it returned to Northern Ireland www.discovernorthernireland.com last summer for the first time in neatly 60 years.

And even joined the legendary Gary Player around Royal Liverpool, Hoylake, as he played a round of golf for Japanese television.

North Berwick

It’s just social golfers that I try to avoid like the, er COVID-19.

Not the social golfers like my Dear Old Mum and Dad, you understand, who used to play on my Dad’s half-day.

The Golf Coast

Not that my Dad seemed to enjoy it all that much… he’d mutter away to himself and shake his head all round.

Here in North Berwick on Scotland’s Golf Coast https://scotlandsgolfcoast.com and www.visitscotland.com. you can play on 21 of 30 coasts.

Another home of golf

There was little that my Dear Old Mum and Dad liked better than playing golf in my Mum’s homestead of Co. Donegal www.visitdonegal.com and www.tourism.com.

While my old stomping ground of Co. Wicklow www.visitwicklow.com is more than a match.

If you like your golf then join me as I swung my way through…

The Old Course in Mandelieu-La Napoule in the French Riviera www.france.fr and The Boat D’Azur.

And at the Paul McGinley Golf Academy in Quinta do Lago www.quintadolago.com and www.visitportugal.com.

Just off the Strip in Las Vegas www.lvcva.com and Strip… the light fantastic.

And in the Turkish Airlines Business Lounge of Istanbul Airport www.turkishairlines.com and Wham bam, thank you Hamam

MEET YOU ON THE COURSE… AT A SAFE DISTANCE

#DontCancekPostpone.