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Diary of a travel writer: Taxi! take me to the right continent

Thursday

Not only am I at the wrong airport, I am on the wrong continent. I did not notice the bus had crossed the Bosporus and we were travelling into Genghis Khan’s Asia. At the airport, no sign of flight TK1977 to Dublin. I didn’t panic until I found out I was not in Ataturk airport, but in distant Sabiha Gokcen airport.

Grown men tremble at the prospects of crossing the Bosporus bridge in rush hour. Enter Ahmet the taxi driver. I am not sure everything he did was legal, and the 140 Turkish lira he charged is the equivalent of a day pass at a theme park in Orlando. Most of the rides in Orlando are not as scary.

Friday

Cork’s River Lee Hotel had a makeover last year, when its name changed from Jurys, and now has a trendy glass lift looking over the Lee. I am here for the Clipper Race festival. There are 500 people, one tenth the anticipated crowd, at Crystal Swing in the docklands. It is pouring, but the Cape Bretonners don’t mind.

Saturday

A gentle splash of river water as we kayak through the heart of Cork city with Jim Kennedy of the Atlantic Sea Kayaking company. “We see otters in the city centre nowadays,” Kennedy says. “The river gets cleaner by the year.”

Sunday

Wet. Very wet. Niall and Gail MacAllister have brought us and a group of international travel journalists out into Crosshaven Bay to celebrate Cork week. Gail says you can train to be a yachtmaster at her school in Adrigole, a six-month residential course that costs €13,000, and is internationally recognised. It is a passport to travel the world like she did in her youth, following the trade winds.

Monday

Bye to Cork. The motorway makes it seem so easy.

Tuesday

The demise of 1800hotels.ie is imminent.

It could have been another Irish world-beating travel company, a Ryanair of hotel bookings. Instead it was elbowed off the shelf by its big rivals.

Wednesday

Farewell to my uncle Paddy MacMahon at a funeral in Kilcullen. He liked to travel but not physically, instead listening to the radio and reading voraciously so he knew more about countries than those who had been there.

Savvy Traveller by Eoghan Corry, How the Travel Industry

Works and How to Make it Work for You, €15


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