Countries, Ireland

Adrian Dunbar in Greystones

Jesus, Mary and Joseph and his little donkey… is that Adrian Dunbar in Greystones, my old stomping ground?

Adrian has long been a national treasure in Ireland, and much loved too now in the UK on the back of his award-winning performance as Hastings in cop series Line of Duty.

All of which Tourism Ireland, Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Northern Ireland naturally know and have got behind him as he promotes the island in his latest venture.

Harbour delights: Greystones and Da Boss

Adrian Dunbar: My Ireland is the Fermanagh actor’s new series which goes to air on Channel 5 this evening, 23 November (8pm).

The two-part series will follow Adrian, who introduced the wider world to some choice Irish phrases such as the above, as he returns to his hometown of Enniskillen.

We’ll join the ever-likeable Adrian as he visits places that hold fond memories for him.

And he will also check out some places he has always wanted to visit but has never before found the time.

Garden of Ireland

Power of Ireland: Powerscourt

And I guess that is where the word went up of Adrian Dunbar in Greystones, Co. Wicklow, the Garden of Ireland.

Mind you there have been one or two celebs there over the years, Ronnie Drew out of the Dubliners, Damian Rice and ahem, yours truly.

Of course, we didn’t need any steer that Adrian was visiting the jewel of Wicklow.

As we recognised straight away the train, its destination and the platform.

From almost 14 years of standing on it… and that’s not far off as the DART (the Dublin Rapid Transport) is notorious for its poor efficiency.

But friendly staff, and I got to know the guards there well.

Dart and craft

On our way to the train: Greystones

So much so that they shared their idiosyncratic Irish wisdom with me on my first Christmas works do.

When I turned up at the DART station at 6pm one evening and booked a return ticket to Dublin, 15kms away.

The guard was insistent that I should get a taxi home or stay the night in Dublin as the last train back was 11.30pm.

Back to Adrian and he will kick off by visiting the towering cliffs of Slieve League, Glenveagh National Park in my mum’s own Donegal and Devenish Island in Lough Earne.

While the world will be his, well… he’s off to the Carlingford Oyster Company in County Louth and visit MacNean House & Restaurant in Co. Cavan in the midlands.

And meet celebrity chef Neven Maguire.

Train of thought

The world’s our… Carlingford

In episode two, which will air on 30 November, he will meet artist Jim FitzPatrick in Howth and another well-known chef, Richard Corrigan – who will give Adrian a tour of his Virginia Park Lodge.

Viewers will see Adrian visit prehistoric Newgrange, verdant Powerscourt Estate and the remote Hook Lighthouse.

They’ll also see him taking that trip on the DART in Wicklow… and remember Isambard Kingdom Brunel (and Michael Portillo) were all over the Bray-Greystones tunnel along the Irish Sea.

And he will cycle across the Kilmacthomas Viaduct on the Waterford Greenway.

 

 

America, Countries, Europe, Ireland, UK

Anne Frank’s birthday gift and other diaries

And mine’s started ‘Woke up this morning’ (the Bluesman in me), not nearly as observant as Anne Frank’s birthday gift and other diaries.

Eighty years have passed since Otto Frank gave Anne a diary for her 13th birthday in Amsterdam… and the rest is history.

And for the rest of history we have to rely on diarists, and today’s chroniclers, your humble bloggers.

We have, all my favourite Bandanini and Bandanettes, shared in wonderful odysseys, and with Bandanaman at the tiller, that’s obviously meant detours.

A Homer run

Dip your toe into Kythera in Greece

Homer’s Iliad: And isn’t the journey home always better when you’re diverted to exotic destinations?

We think Odysseus though was just using my excuse for His Scary One that it was a working assignment.

To linger longer in the islands of Attica Region such as Kythera…. or Corfu where we honeymooned and Odysseus dallianced.

Byron Alpshausen

Mad, bad, adventurous to know: Byron Country, Switzerland

Lord Byron’s Alpine Journal: And when Byron was exiled from England for getting ‘too close to his family’ where did he go?

To heaven’s ceiling in Interlaken, Switzerland, of course.

And where you can dine at the very hotel, the Hotel Interlaken, the Bad Boy of the Romantics quaffed wine. And this Swiss swisher too.

Where Twain shall meet

Yale, Connecticut

Mark Twain, a Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court: And as prolific a traveller as Connecticut’s Samuel Clemens was this was his most epic journey.

Across 14 centuries and an ocean.

Twain is for many the Father of Modern Travel Writing.

And his home was tantalisingly up the road on my latest trip to New England.

What the Dickens?

Way to go, Joe: With hotel boss Joe at the Hotel Envoy, Boston

Charles Dickens’ American Notes, Pictures from Italy: The Great Victorian Age author of course stripped bare the England of his days.

But his curiosity and enthusiasm to explore the foibles of human nature stretched way beyond that… to America and Italy.

Which just so happen to be two of my favourite countries anywhere in the world.

Dickens was particularly impressed with Boston (good judge) of which he said: ‘Boston is what I would like the whole of the United States to be.’

But he seemed to have a conflicted view of Rome, observing on first viewing that it reminded him of London (no harm there).

But then being captivated by the Colosseum and just as quickly let down by the smallness of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. What the Dickens!

Fits the Bill

Peachy: Georgia

Bill Bryson, A Walk in the Woods: And, of course, we could pick from any of his vast collection of travel diaries/books.

But we’ll plump for his trek along the Appalachian Trail, probably because we’re jealous.

I know I could persuade the Boss to allow me the five and a half months to walk the 2,100 miles from Maine down to Georgia.

And that’s 14 states, and five states I’ve still to tick off.

Counties to Synge about

My Life’s Traveller: Sadie in Greystones, Co. Wicklow

JM Synge, Travels in Wicklow, West Kerry and Connemara: And full disclosure here, mine have been more in Wicklow.

Although I was captivated by Kerry and Connemara will always be the land of my childhood holidays.

Described as capturing ‘the embers of a dying culture’ and accompanied with drawings by Jack B. Yeats it’s a reminder…

That you can always come home to Ireland.

For today though we share Anne Frank’s birthday gift and other diaries and ask whose are your favourite diaries?

 

 

 

 

America, Countries, Europe, Pilgrimage, UK

Easter Monday all the John Muir Way

And today’s the day when you walk it off which is why it’s Easter Monday all the John Muir Way.

The John Muir is a 134-mile walking route across Scotland from Helensburgh in the West…

To the Great Conservationist’s home town of Dunbar in the East.

And a 15-mile hike from my back yard of North Berwick, or six-hour saunter up hill and down vale.

A walk with a pal

Get ready: Before a Wicklow walk

All in the company of my old pal Wee Jon who has become one of life’s great Outdoorsmen in his old age.

Although he showed little indication that he had a Kilimanjaro ascent or London to Brighton cycle ride in him…

When he was jumping around barefoot like a flea on the burning sands of Manchester, New Hampshire back in the day.

And our post-University summer in Boston, Massachusetts.

Particularly with New England on my radar.

Memory Lane

Bray to go: The Scary One in Greystones with Bray Head in the background

A good brisk walk is, of course, for all ages and physicalities.

And it allows you the time and space to talk and reflect on shared experiences and your younger selves.

And so the seven-and-a-half miles, three-and-a-half hour trek, to the village of East Linton became a trip down Memory Lane.

We could just as well have been in our old stomping ground of Aberdeen where Wee Jon was known to spend a night on the grass island Mounthooly Roundabout.

Or London and Brighton where we variously enjoyed the bright lights of Leicester Square and Chinatown or hosted Spanish students down the pier.

Or on the Wicklow Way or Bray Head walk in Ireland’s Garden County.

And picked up by car by The Scary One. And today too.

Life’s journey

A different world: Tenerife

Whichever walk your taking today, and be sure you do one, take the time to think positively on your life’s journey until now.

It may be the twists and turns of a Camino, Via Francigena, Tenerife coastal walk.

Or across the mountains from the Austrian Tirol to Bavaria in Germany.

Or your favourite route from your home, either around your town or city or countryside.

But whichever it is putting one foot in front of the other is the first step in life’s great adventure.

And so for me it’s Easter Monday all the John Muir Way.

 

Asia, Countries, Europe, Ireland, Oceania, UK

Mothers-in-Law Day

It’s a problem worthy of United Nations arbitration so it probably shouldn’t be surprising that we honour both today with their own day, the United Nations Day and Mothers-in-Law Day.

With those esteemed institutions being deemed worthy of their own official day.

Now I wouldn’t for one minute begrudge Angela her day off today as she IS heading into Halloween, obviously her busiest time of the year.

In truth, I’ve always tried to keep a couple of steps ahead of Mother-in-Law, or Sir as she insists I call her.

The outlaw Angie

Mother and daughter: Angela and My Scary One, Sarah

And so we’d find ourselves living away from Chez Angela.

So she has needed to be a visitor to our billets on our adventures around these islands.

In Aberdeen, Liverpool, Edinburgh and Co. Wicklow in Ireland.

Greening it up: In Ireland

And that has allowed us the opportunity to show off the charms of some of our favourite places on these islands.

An inveterate traveller herself, she decamped to Australia with the family in her 20s.

And embarked on a round-the-world boat trip back to England.

Taking in New Zealand, Tahiti and the Panama Canal… and a lot of Pacific and Atlantic Ocean and all its choppiness.

Globetrotting Ma-in-Law

A horse a horse: My queendom for a horse

But she has also benefited from old Casey Jones (that’s the Father-in-Law).

And his love of train travel to span France, Germany, Italy, Portugal and much else of Western Europe.

One unexplored world and one I know she has long hoped to visit is the New World, the USA.

And it is my hope that we can get her out there to New York with her daughter, my very own Scary One.

And I know that she has got her own broom!

Have a Great Day Angela on this United Nations Day and Mothers-in-Law Day.

 

Countries, Ireland

Wicklow is calling us to its Wicklamino

You must be missing us… otherwise why would our old Irish county Wicklow is calling us back to its Wcklamino.

Our pals at Wicklow Tourism have launched a Wicklow Passport and Routes project.

The Wicklow passport

The Garden County of Ireland is ideal for a Camino.

It boasts the Wicklow Mountains, forest trails and cliff walks.

Garden County

There’s Celtic and Christian history in Glendalough, artefacts and standing stones around every corner.

Been there, stamped that

And to trek around Wicklow which we did in 13 years there, but didn’t get around half of it, is to walk through Irish history.

There’s opulence and this being the Garden County the best gardens at Powerscourt and the National Garden Exhibition Centre, Kilquade.

While, of course, Wicklow more than fulfils the staple of every good Camino, stop-off waterholes!

Walk with me around Wickla

Launching the programme, Fred Verdier, of Wicklow Tourism, said: ‘As tourism finally starts to open up again in Ireland, we wanted to be ready for our guests coming to explore Wicklow – The Garden of Ireland.

‘The idea of the Passport was born a couple of years ago. It gives visitors new ideas of things to do and places to see and visit.’

King of Scotland and King of Ireland in Rathdrum

The idea is to collect 15 or more stamps and become a Wicklow ambassadors and you will receive a certificate and gift from Wicklow Tourism.

The First 15

So where’s on the Wicklow Passport?

Well, I’ll tell you what I want, what I really, really want… Rathdrum where the Spice Girls made their movie and partied.

And where you can pose next to ‘King of Ireland’ Charles Stewart Parnell.

The Greystones Bear… and a Bandanaman one to come

The Spicers aren’t the only showbiz superstars to have chosen Co. Wicklow as their home.

Not surprising that there’s a Hollywood here too then and you can even see acting royalty in Daniel Day-Lewis around his home village of Annamoe.

Nothing (well, a few things but go with me here) compares to seeing Sinead O’Connor around the seaside town of Bray.

While the nearby Kilruddery estate is where Jonny Rhys Meyers threw off his shirt and got down to it on The Tudors.

And many another period drama was shot.

The Queen of Ireland

Hollywood heartthrob Colin Farrell first came to our attention in Avoca (Ballykissangel to you and me).

Stone in love with you

My Wickla

This, and more, you’ll find around the Garden County.

Of course my finishing point will always be my beloved Greystones which is represented on the stamp by its teddy bear statue on the seafront.

The Bandanaman statue is in the planning.

Wicklow is calling us back to its Wicklamino.

 

 

America, Countries, Culture, Ireland, Music

Rainy Days and Songdays – The Royal Canal and other Irish landmarks

Now the screw was peeping, as the lag lay sleeping. Dreaming about his girl Sal. And that auld triangle went jingle-jangle. All along the banks of the Royal Canal The Auld Triangle, The Dubliners

Luke Kelly drolled that ‘in the female prison there are 75 women and among them I wish I did dwell, and that auld triangle could go jingle-jangle all along the banks of the Royal Canal.’

And if you know this song, penned by Brendan Behan (and if you don’t then you’ve been missing out) you’ll walk along the Royal Canal in the north of Dublin singing it aloud.

Or if you’re cycling too as I have done, all the time hoping that the broken bottles wouldn’t puncture my tyres.

The Beardie Boys: The Dubliners

That was then, and this is now, and the announcement of the €12m scenic 130km Royal Canal Greenway is to be welcomed.

If you do the lot you’ll have chalked off 90 bridges, 30 locks, 17 harbours and four aqueducts.

And take in Co. Dublin, Kildare, Meath, Westmeath and Longford.

So as a preamble let’s get on with our Rainy Days and Songdays six of the best songs with Irish landmarks.

What a Corker!

Jim and Alan at the Phil Lynott statue in Dublin

As I was goin’ over the Cork and Kerry Mountains, I met with Captain Farrell and his money he was countin’. I first produced my pistol, and then produced my rapier. I said ‘stand and deliver, or the devil he may take ye Whiskey in the Jar, Thin Lizzy 

Musha rain, dum a doo, dum a da.

The Cork and Kerry Mountains have always held a special affection for me as the first travel assignment when a cub reporter in Reading.

Going over said mountains in our Citroen cars was not helped by a bout of seasickness going over on the Swansea-Cork ferry.

But nothing that the local tipple, Murphy’s Stout and the craic didn’t put right.

Low lie those fields

Those low-lying fields: Athenry

Low lie the Fields of Athenry, where once we watched the small birds fly. Our love was on the wing. We had dreams and songs to sing. It’s so lonely round the Fields of Athenry  – Fields of Athenry, The High Kings

Lowing, or maybe braying, around those Fields of Athenry were our four donkeys which came with the rented cottage.

I can’t remember what la famiglia called the three others but mine was Oaty as in Donkey Oaty!

I was maybe just tilting at windmills.

And as for stealing Trevelyan’s corn… we just bought some from the Centra for the donkeys.

The Band is back together

Neat little town they call Belfast

 In a neat little town they call Belfast, apprentice to tradeI was bound…, a sad misfortune came over me which caused me to stray from the land, far away from my friends and relations, betrayed by the Black Velvet Band Black Velvet Band, Peaky Blinders

It was more good fortune that came over me… to take me away from my friends and relations to the States after university.

And work, no not on the Black Velvet Band’s pitch, Broadway, but Boston where I inevitably served tables at an Irish pub.

Where every night among the most requested songs was Black Velvet Band.

And yes, of course, like our gullible hero of the song ‘many an hour’s sweet happiness I spent I spent in this neat little town Belfast.

As for a black velvet band, or any colour for that matter, try as I may I never persuaded one… i wonder if she’ll be there when I return.

Where the Dark Mourne sweeps…

London’s got nothing on this

Oh Mary this London’s a wonderful sight with people here working by day and by night, they don’t sow potatoes, nor barley, nor wheat. But there’s gangs of them dogging for gold in the street. At least when I asked them that’s what I was told so I just took a hand at this diggin’ for gold. But for all that I found there I might as well be in the place where the Dark Mourne sweeps down to the sea Mountains o’ Mourne, Don McLean

Mourne Mountains, Co. Down: It’s always a thrill to see the Mountains of Mourne, my Dear Old Mum’s home province, when driving either north or south.

Mountains of Mourne this sweeping range, has a special place in our hearts as the lullaby I would sing to Daddy’s Little Girl.

It was round by Brockagh’s corner

Harkin’s Bar, Donegal

 It was down by Brockagh Corner one morning I did stray, I met a fellow rebel and this to me did say, he had orders from our captain to assemble at Dunbar. But how were we to get there without a car The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem

Beockagh, Co. Donegal: And still on lullabies this gentle little ditty about the Irish War of Independence is an alternative to nursery rhymes.

If your mother is from Nationalistic north-west Donegal that is.

Well it got me through childhood… give three cheers to the Teasy and Johnson’s Motor Car.

Meeting of minds in Wicklow

Moore Wicklow please

Sweet vale of Avoca! How calm could I rest. In thy bosom of shade with the friends I love best. Where the storms that we feel in this cold world should cease. And thy hearts, like thy waters, be mingled on peace. The Meetings of the Waters, John McCormack

And my beloved old homestead of Co. Wicklow and its poet laureate, Thomas Moore.

The Meetings is a family favourite, going back to the days when my Donegal Granny and Grandpa honeymooned here.

We would often return there in our Thirteen Years in Ireland on family day trips.

And skim stones which can be more of a danger sport than you might imagine.

Particularly if you’re that young boy on the other side of the bank who ducks just as a stone is jumping up out of the water.

Still, I did get a 12!

 

 

America, Canada, Countries, Europe, Ireland, UK

Some mothers… travels with mine

I’ve got a husband, five brothers and three sons and James (my Sunday name) is the most selfish of them all.

Never mind that I’d driven her and her sister up from my home in Co. Wicklow to her homestead of Co. Donegal.

Or that I was standing just feet away from my cousin when she was giving out.

On this Mothering Weekend these are our travails.

God’s (and her) Own Country

La Famille: In Donegal

Ireland: And for my Dear Old Mum that’s Donegal where she grew up in a hotel in a rural hamlet, and holds court every time she goes back.

At Powerscourt Waterfalls in Co. Wicklow

Of course the Donegal natives go along with her Diva-like behaviour and indulge her.

Green, green Ireland

It gets us a free pot of tea every time we go back to the now renamed Ramblers Inn.

The Queen of Queens

New York attitude

There’s an advert which the Irish are all too familiar with where two old ones batter the heck out of each other because each wants to pay the bill.

It is quintissentially Irish and it annoys the Scottish half of me to boiling point.

Of course when my Dear Old Mum is with her own siblings and relatives her need to show her largesse goes off the scale.

And so when we went to my cousin’s wedding in Queens in New York she berated me in front of my extended familly and insisted that she pay for the pre-wedding meal.

Before bossing me around Manhattan. Well, I didn’t ask her to wear high heels.

A wee break in Scotland

The Royal Wave

And I can’t even get that.

Anyone who has been to a major golf tournament (2000! Open, St Andrews) will tell you that the queue for the Portaloos is long.

And that when you eventually get in then you will make the most of it.

Of course, too long for my Dear Old Mum, who sent a random spectator to knock on the door and ask how long I was going to be.

She obviously wanted to see Tiger.

But of course I got my own back and outran her, and jumped the Swilcen Burn with the crowd to see him lift the trophy.

Piping up: In Glasgow

One of my favourite trips was when I took her into her adopted city and my homestead of Glasgow to see the World Bagpipes Championships.

Another particular quirk of the Irish is to be dumbfounded that you could ever by hosted by anyone else. She, of course, wanted to pay!

And one that got away

King of the wild frontier. Go West.

My brother, that is who emigrated to Canada after meeting a Torontonian.

I broke the habit of a lifetime by being responsible and putting my studies before a few days in Canada to see my brother get married.

But my Dear Old Mum didn’t forget me then and brought me back a Davy Crockett type hat which became my signature look from then on in my student town of Aberdeen.

 

Countries, Culture, Deals, Europe, Ireland, Sport, UK

Rossmeister, Braywatch and Andorra’s Box

You know Christmas is coming when… the latest Ross O’Carroll Kelly book hits the shelves and he coins another killer pun like Game of Throw-Ins of Andora’s Box.

And as it happens the new Ross book hits the shelves this Friday… and I’ve already told Santa that, roysh, I want that.

The Ledge is back

As well as a Beamer with one of the Seoige sisters (or both) sprawled over the hood.

Andorra was where Ross decamped when he had to get out of town.

From the looks of it Ross is having to make the most of things these days in Bray, the old-fashioned Co. Wicklow resort I know so well.

Although I prefer the luxury of leafy Powerscourt in nearby Enniskerry.

The Sugarloaf frames Bray

Back to Andorra.

And In truth if you do during the winter you’ll not be able to hook a T bar or ride a gondola without bumping into someone you know from Dublin 4..

If you want a taste of Dublin’s Rugbyland and walk in the Rossmeister’s footsteps then the InterCon is where you’ll stay.

And he’ll no doubt have a thing or two to say about Ireland’s win yesterday against Scotland.

Pyrenees please

Andorra is an ideal country to get the skiing kick.

And Pierre & Vacances are all over the Pyrenees with more than 455 rooms and apartments.

It is adding to that with two new residences in the Pyrenees, Hotel Austria and Residence Andorra Degas.

Deal me in

Hotel Austria… but in Andorra

Hotel Austria boasts 62 rooms and is just 1km from the Peretol ski resort.

The Degas Apartments are right on the doorstep to the skiing, just 750m from the Grandvalira slopes.

A seven-night stay at the Hotel Austria at a flexible rate, arriving on March 13 is from €395/£358 for a double bedroom with breakfast included.

And a week at the Andorra Residence Degas is from €757/£685 for an apartment that sleeps up to three. Flights and transfers not included.

I’ve looked up at those Pyrenees from my post-Lourdes tour so this is unfinished business.

Caribbean, Countries, Culture, Europe, Ireland

Out of my tree

And watching the Scary One plant her pear trees in the drizzle for National Tree Week has sparked memories of where I’ve been out of my tree around the world.

Let’s hear it for the beardies… on Barbados

Beardy trees

Caribbean: The trees certainly caught the Portuguese mariners” eye when they landed in Barbados..

Not the golden beaches, interestingly (well they have their own) but their bearded Ficus citrifolia.

While we all visit the West Indies for its beaches we miss a lot if we ignore its heartland so you should go safari.

Where Dwayne will tear up the woodland in his Jeep and the bowed bearded trees will flick your face.

Eat one of those famous Tobagonian meals of fish which has just jumped out of the sea and macaroni in Jemma’s Treehouse.

And sleep it off in your own treehouse in Castara Retreats in a hammock naturally.

Tree si

Bergamo is a poplar destination

Italy: And my favourite is this much-loved straight up and down tree… it’s very poplar.

My good friend and an Irish Travel Writer of the Year into the bargain, Muriel Bolger, wrote beautifully for me on their appeal, on a trip I sent her on to Northern Italy.

Which I checked out for myself in Bergamo this past Autumn.

I had, of course, familiarised myself with them when I went off-road on my Via Francigena pilgrimage.

Me and the chasing dogs.

Espana fir favor

Does this house look big on me?

Spain: And while the summer is when we all descend on Spain’s beaches here’s my ode to Autumn in Espana.

When nature is in a state of undress, and when she is at her most becoming.

The best way to discover a region is by foot and on my Camino in Galicia I trudged the same tracks the Medieval Peregrinos did.

I dare say that the tree growing out of this house was there then too.

The explorer to Tenerife, rather than the sun seeker, will head north, rather than south.

And the rainforest in the Northern Anaga Mountains. All of which you cam enjoy on your CanariaWays.com trip.

The Power of trees

Crane your neck: The Douglas Fir at Powerscourt

Powerscourt, Co. Wicklow, Ireland: And when you live in the Garden County of Wicklow then trees are all around you.

The tallest one in Ireland is on the magnificent Powerscourt Estate, Enniskerry, near Bray, some 60m plus which is it the seventh highest in Europe.

And when you stay in the sumptuous hotel you get a view, and a review, like no other.

And shiver me timbers

Who put that there? On Edge

Celebrity Edge: And trees are the last thing you’d expect on a cruise ship.

But this is just one of the things which separates the $1bn Celebrity Cruises Edge from the other ships on the seas..

Edge which I boarded two years ago for its inaugural trip from Fort Lauderdale to tbe Bahamas boasts Eden, a forested wonder et land of plants.

But then every on Edge transports you to a different world.

MEET YOU UP A TREE

America, Countries, Europe, Ireland, UK

Let the train take the strain

As we’ve been planning a wee train trip when we can again, and I don’t mean North Berwick to Edinburgh, I’ve been checking out my friends’ recommendations.

And I’m indebted here to my old friend Aileen, who is more Roaring Twenties than Boring Twenties, for her shout in Paris.

With Aileen flagging up Le Train Bleu Restaurant (formerly the Buffet de la Gare de Lyon) located in the Gare de Lyon railway station in Paris.

Better than a burger joint then?

So I’ll pull up to the bumper, baby, and give you my fave trainy-related places I’ve been.

And all those Eastern European and Central Asian palaces will just have to wait.

The only way is up

An Alpine hand

The Jungfraujoch, Kleine Scheidegg, Switzerland: They had me sold when they said my ears would pop.

The journey from Kleine Scheidegg up to the Jungfraujoch is Adolf Guyer-Zeller’s major feat of engineering.

That’s 9km up to the top of Europe between the Bernese Highlands and the Valais.

And you’ll get an ice bar with Swiss whiskey, a Tiso watch shop, and a Bollywood restaurant to accommodate those sari-clad ladies on the peaks.

Next stop, the Gold Rush

Golden touch

Golden, Colorado: And the Wild West was built on the railway.

The Colorado Railroad Museum gives you an insight into what life was like for those pioneers puffing through the plains.

With a guided tour. The only thing that’s missing is Butch and Sundance standing down on the banks.

Also check out the Art Deco frontage railway station in Mile High City, Denver where dreams of the Gold Rush were hatched.

What’s in a name?

A Wales of a time

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, Anglesey, Wales: And far from being a party pooper here but this long Welsh name is a Victorian Age contrivance.

It used to stop before the ‘wyng’ bit but a tailor from the village added the rest to form the word.

Which means: ‘St Mary’s church in the hollow of white hazel near a rapid whirlpool and the church of St Tysillo near the red cave.’

Alas, the bigger they are the harder they fall.

And the jobsworths have closed the station because the platform is too small because of social distancing.

And ten minutes later you’ll be on the water

Water way to travel

Padova to Venice, Italy: Now I grant you there are more romantic ways to first see the Grand Canal.

By water, of course.

But for most of us we’ll first approach the city on the lagoon by train and through that bottleneck at the station.

But the thrill when you enter Venice is worth it.

Just bear in mind the erratic Italian trains, and forget what Mussolini said.

And leave yourself enough time if you have a cocktail reception to get back to in Padova’s Botanic Gardens.

Particularly if you’re in your boardies, Dragon, and haven’t brought a change of clothes.

Keep your eyes on the view

A familiar trip

Dublin to Greystones, Co.WicklowA: And as much as I gave out about the DART through Bray Head on my daily journeys to work…

No matter how I felt about going into work. this is a stunning stretch past Dublin Harbour.

It is not for nothing that it is compared with the Bay of Naples and used as a film substitute. And that Bono bought the view.

And, of course, it has the ultimate seal of approval in that Isambard Kingdim Brunel built the tumnel.