31 August 2014

Celebrity Travel Experiences

Well, I’m definitely not a celebrity but I do read what other people do for holidays and what they think. I’ve always wanted to do this, so here goes.........

What’s Your Next Trip?
Probably London for a reunion with my London based pals or with ex work colleagues. These ‘reunions’ have been going on for over twenty years so it’s nice to keep them going. It’s always nice going back to London where I worked for over twenty years. There’s always a buzz and some of the buildings which have sprung up since my last visit are amazing.

Just as I remember it
Most Memorable Travel Destination?
The Bahamas without a doubt. It was a paid for holiday by my company which made it even more memorable. The hotel was amazing and one of the trips laid on was to a true deserted island where we were left for the day (with food and drink). I just remember the palm trees leaning out over the beach like you see in brochures and films and the clarity of the water was incredible.  I also remember being told to negotiate when buying anything from the local vendors  and when I tried I was told to ‘**** off honky *******’ which was memorable.

Anywhere Else You Remember?
I also went to the Big Island of Hawaii which again was stunning.

What Was It Like?
Very exotic but not far from the luxury hotel was a small town which could have been anywhere with people going about their everyday business.

Recommend Three Things to Do There
Definitely try and swim with turtles in the sea. They are beautiful, graceful and peaceful creatures. Go on a trip to the volacanoes where unless you are very unlucky, you will be able to get quite close to running molten lava, an astonishing sight, and try and do some fishing if you are in to that sort of thing as the variety and colours of the fish is incredible.

Your Earliest Childhood Travel Memory
We didn’t have much money as a family when I was young but my dad was a train driver so got free train travel for the whole family and we used to get the train from Glasgow down to Margate on the south coast of England. I must have been eight or nine years old.

Stunning Venice
Does Travel Inspire You?
It can and should do. Most of my travel was on business and the old cliché of being in places which you cannot recall are absolutely true. I’ve been to cities where it was airport, hotel, business meeting (in the hotel), back to the airport and home. I still have no idea where I was! But travelling to places like Paris and especially Venice is truly inspiring. The art and history in Paris cannot fail to inspire you whilst being in Venice, despite the crowds is like nothing else on earth.

Ideal Travel Companion?
Now, I’m afraid I would probably say my iPad but when I was holidaying every year, there was nothing better than going away with a group of friends and family. I still remember groups of ten or so all sitting around a table in a Greek taverna, spending hours over a dinner of local specialities.

Where Do You Feel Most At Home?
At home in our villa in France. It’s like a holiday every day now I’m retired. We can see the Med, overlook a huge valley and we have skiing only thirty minutes away. The scenery is stunning, the local villages and restaurants are wonderful and it’s simply paradise.

What Was Your Worst Trip?
I cannot honestly recall a ‘worst trip’ although when we went as a family on our honeymoon (I re-married late) the plane left Nice 26 hours late. We were put up overnight in an airport hotel which was truly awful and when we eventually arrived in Florida at midnight, there was no hire car waiting for us and after managing to get someone come out and get us a car, we were stopped at the first bridge we tried to cross and a toll of $1 was demanded and the lady would not let us cross unless I filled in reams of forms.

Best Hotel?

I think the Hotel de Paris in Monte Carlo which most people can only dream of going to. It was a business trip when I was a fledgling salesman and I’d been put up in the old Lowes Hotel for a week but they became overbooked and bizarrely they moved me to the Hotel de Paris. The room was like something out of a French palace and the breakfast delivered to the room was to die for.

Incidentally, on that trip when I arrived at Nice airport and had to get to Monaco, there were two options, taxi and helicopter. I thought that the company would baulk at a helicopter fare so endured a one hour taxi trip only to find out that the fares for both modes of travel were the same. I’ve been kicking myself ever since.

Most Disappointing Travel Experience?
Can I mention two? The first was another business reward trip for myself and my wife to Vail in Colorado for a luxury skiing/spa trip. When I got to the airport I realised my passport was missing and the trip was off. I got real grief from my wife but nothing like the amount of flak I got from my directors who had paid a fortune for the holiday.

On another reward trip, where previous years they had gone on Kenyan Safaris or to Bali, this trip was a cruise around the Med starting from Nice! The boat, despite being fabulous, called at all  our local ports and the road based days out were to all the places we knew well.

What Do You Never Travel Without?

I’m afraid it’s my iPad. It does everything. I have my eBooks, my stored articles which I’ve still to read and given Wifi, I can keep in touch with the family and maybe just as importantly, my stockbroker.

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