ANDRE RIEU CONCERT – 11 JULY 2022


MB previously attended a pre-covid AR concert in AR’s hometown of Maastricht, Holland, in July 2019. MB posted about that concert HERE.

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Korea – Jeju Island


As Hawaii is to US citizens, so is Jeju to the Koreans.

Jeju is a large island off the south coast of South Korea, a little over one hour’s flying time from Seoul. Jeju airport is very busy as MB and MB2 witnessed, and caters for domestic and international flights. Tourism become even more hectic during covid as it was an in-country free-to-travel-to destination. The native population of the island is approx 600k and Jeju Island is one of the New Seven Natural Wonders of the World. The Shield Volcano in Hallasan National Park in the centre of the island is the tallest mountain in all of South Korea.

MB hired a car at the airport on arrival and quickly discovered that car hire procedures are not exactly as they are back home. Take the ‘fill the tank to the same level you received it when you return it’ rule. This normally involves filling the tank to the max when dropping it back, ie. to the same level you received it. But on turning on the ignition of the small Kia that MB had hired, MB immediately noticed that the petrol gauge was registering zero petrol in the tank. As in totally zero. Nada. Nothing. The dial did not move even 1 mm when MB turned on the car. So, realising that the car was only running on fumes, and starting to sweat, MB instructed MB2 to keep her eyes peeled for a petrol station or this car journey might come to an immediate stop. MB2 thankfully spotted one only a few hundred meters from the car hire yard so a solution seemed to be immediately at hand.

But all was not what it seemed. MB jumped out of the car, grabbed the petrol nozzle, and looked at the digital display. Sacre bleu! Merde! It was totally in Korean script, with no English language translations to be seen. The normal green/black hoses that might distinguish petrol from diesel obviously were an unknown principle in Korea, so the hoses gave MB no clue which one to use. Nor could MB even work out how to turn on the hoses or which button to press, let alone extract any petrol from them.

Enter the scene, Korean speaking and reading MB2, who jumped out of the car on hearing various blasphemies from MB, hit a series of touch-screen buttons on the large digital screen and said “proceed now dad” as if this was some problem she solved each and every day!

And onwards they went!

There are multiple attractions on the island and MB and MB2 covered many of them. There’s a very interesting National Stone Park (called ‘The National Stone Park’!) that has extensive rock sculptures and statues (unsurprisingly!) which must have taken hundreds of years to complete all those years ago.

MB & MB 2 also visited a waterfall in the south of the island and the Manjanggul Cave, the 12th longest so-called Lave Tube cave system in the world.

But for MB and MB2, the favorite haunt by far was the Dongmun traditional night wet market where some of the best street food in the world is cooked. MB and MB gorged themselves each night on market food treats from fish to various meats and veg and all sorts of delicious Asian combinations that they had never before encountered. Take a look at the video (last below) to get a flavour of the action and the food.

From Jeju, MB and MB2 took a 4-hour ferry journey to a small city called Mokpo in the South West of the Korean peninsula to catch up with a certain Irish nun.

But that’s a story for another day!

Shots + 1 video:

Manganggul Cave
Dongmun Night Market
National Rock Park

The guys preparing the food were part chef/part DJ:

Food DJs

Korea – DMZ


When trouble’s a-brewing on the Korean peninsula, who you gonna call?

Ghostbusters – NOT!

No guys, you gonna call MB and daughter MB2 to take a trip, talk some Irish sense to the local Korean lads and lassies, and calm the whole situation right down.

So, around mid-May this year, with threats of nuclear annihilation and scorched earth very much in the news, MB and MB2 arrived under cover of Seoul evening twilight from the Middle East and Ireland respectively, made a quick let’s-sort-this-shit-out plan, jumped on a bus, and headed right into the heart of the DMZ between North and South.

It’s hardly a coincidence, that in recent months, the peninsula has been a whole lot quieter, with Mr & Mrs Kim now far more focused on preparing kimchi dishes and the finer things of Korean life more generally.

Yes Siree, peace is now restored and you didn’t read one single word of MB and MB2’s involvement in the international news. But that’s how MB and MB2 like to work. Under the radar. Quietly. Without fuss. Or American accents. The Irish way!

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VENICE


In recent times, MB has visited the Acropolis and Pantheon in Athens, Greece, which followers can read HERE. The Pantheon is missing some of its structure and is currently undergoing renovations by the Greek government and UNESCO experts. The fact that the structure is damaged and missing many of its columns is the result of a cannon attack in the year 1687 by the Venetians.

From Venice!

So MB decided that to visit the city where the attackers hailed from all those many years ago to see what might have turned them into marauding invaders. And that’s what MB did in early May this year.

MB went to Venice.

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