Since we left cruise ships, many folks ask where my favorite destination was that we traveled to. I honestly can tell you that it’s way too difficult to decide. I’m definately a fan of Europe, the Baltic Sea, the Caribbean, Austrailia, New Zeland, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, the French Polynesian Islands, Hawaii Alaska, the West and East Cost of the USA. I think you get the picture. Basically, I really love to travel and can find the absolute best there is to offer in any given destination.
I do have one thing to say though about my travels, I LOVE MEXICO. Something in the water there that makes me want to go back, over and over again. (No it’s not Montezuma’s Revenge either.) Seriously, the people in Mexico are amazingly kind and friendly. I know what the news organizations share about Mexico, it’s all violence, drugs and gangs. Well, just like every country they have their problems that are always a bit over dramatized in the press. Don’t get me wrong, there is danger… but that exists EVERYWHERE, so as a traveler, a person has to be aware and no place themselves unwhittingly into a dangerous situation. Look around, don’t drink too much, and definatly, do not buy anything in Mexico at the asking price. That entire culture is a hagglers dream.
The Gulf side of Mexico has crystal clear Caribbean style sandy beaches, beautiful dive spots, secluded resorts and hot spots in the center of glamourous urban oasis. Yes, I used the word glamourous in conjunction with Mexico. Along side the fabulous beaches and loads of tequilla, they also have beautiful pottery and some pretty nifty shopping options too. In Cancun they have a full on high fashion shopping mall, personally I don’t go to Mexico to shop, but hey, if you gotta use that plastic burning up a hole in your pocket they have lots of places to do it.
All over the world artists choose to create directly on the walls, buildings and streets. This series is dedicated to those works of art that eventually get painted over. Generally this artform, graffiti aka street art is unappreciated and thought of as a disfiguration to the wall it’s placed upon.
One morning, early for a musician, my cabin phone rang a few years ago and it was my buddy DJ JT. He’s been cruising for several years now and has “been there done that” just about everywhere on the globe. When you’re on a ship and JT calls with an idea to do something, you get up and just go. No questions asked.
Our trip up the Northwestern coast of Norway was just one of those situations. JT had been there and knew of some of the best things to see and do along the way. In a cruise ship environment, often times it’s the crew around you that make or break an entire contract, not just one day.
When JT called, I could still hear the engines and thrusters going and I really didn’t know why I needed to race up to the open deck. But I put on a warm sweater, my name tags and trainers and ran up to deck 17 to see what all the fuss was about.
The ship was sailing down a somewhat narrow channel between two very large cliffs. There was a fine mist and a light fog all about us. On the shore you could see a tiny bright yellow cottage standing all alone against the cliffs and the shores. Breathtaking. JT grabbed my by the shoulders and said, I’m not showing you that little house. Look over there, and he spun me around just as the ship was nearing these gushing roaring waterfalls. It was the Seven Sisters… called such because there are seven tightly woven paths that each of these waterfalls followed down the cliffs to meet the fjord below. As the ship got closer, I could feel their icy mist hitting me in the face, coating my sunglasses in a dense thick mist.
We walked miles circlingf deck 17 many times taking in the natural beauty of the falls and fjords. (In general walking around a Princess cruises ship 1.5-2.5 times, it’s a mile.)
Norway really is a nature lovers paradase. The entire country is interlinked with hiking and biking trails, different rail lines that take you out into the far reaches of their country.
Did I ever tell you the story about Jake, myself and comedian Tom Briscoe in Dublin on Saint Patty’s Day? Well if you can imagine two rockers and the king of getting fired from jobs comedy ripping up the secret speakeasies, rocking out at the hidden gems in Temple Bar and drinking a bunch of Guinness and all the Irish coffees Ireland has to offer… You’ve got a great start for the day and be about 1/2 right.
A couple of years ago while we were touring the British Isles, we were fortunate enough to land in Dublin right on the blessed day. What’s funny is in Ireland, Saint Patrick’s Day it’s sort of just another day, everyone celebrates but there’s no 10 AM drinking silliness with leprechauns and parades. (Don’t get me wrong we found plenty of tourists in Dublin willing to live up to that side of St. Patty’s Day!)
We started the day on the second floor of Mr. Briscoe’s favorite Dublin pub, O’Neill’s, which happens to be in the heart of Dublin right near to Trinity College. O’Neill’s offers a carvery… It’s like going to Sunday Dinner, Christmas, New Years Eve, American Thanksgiving and the Super Bowl all in one lovely homey pub. They offer am amazing selection of meats and fish for you to choose from along with tons of traditional sides. Trust me, come hungry and plan on leaving extra full.
After we filled our bellies, we wandered over to the Temple Bar neighborhood. Note: there is an establishment called “Temple Bar Pub” and the name also refers to the neighborhood surrounding the bar. Temple Bar has music pretty much 7 days a week. If you didn’t hear music in the streets, check out the many different bars for local artists performing both traditional Irish music as well as modern pop covers.
Many famous authors and artists hail from Dublin. It is and was a literary mecca for writers. Some very famous and classic authors hail from the fabulous city on the Liffey River like:
James Joyce, Ulysses
Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest
Bram Stoker, Dracula
and of course Johnathan Swift, Gullivers Travels
Other artists that also hail from Dublin like U2, Bono, Sinead O’Connor all create a bit of tension when spoken about in the local pubs as people are very opinionate about their outspoken political and religious views.