Dexter Fletcher: My Life In Travel

'On Christmas Day in India we ate the most delicious roadside curry'
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The Independent Travel

Driving to Interlaken through France in a Morris Minor Woody with my family, aged about four. My brother and I had to sit in the boot with all the camping gear. There were seven of us altogether crammed into the car.

Best holiday?

I have just got back from French Polynesia with my wife. We stayed at a place called Kia Ora Sauvage on an amazing island where there were just five bungalows and no electricity. I also had a wonderful experience on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, visiting the Mayan ruins. Spending New Year in Venice was another great holiday. My wife and I tend to go away somewhere amazing around Christmas and New Year because we're away from each other quite a lot.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

The Scilly Isles, which I love, and King's Lynn in Norfolk. I'm always fairly happy once I get into the countryside.

What have you learnt from your travels?

There's never enough time to see everything; and no matter how remote, there's always something new and extraordinary out there.

Ideal travelling companion?

My wife. She is Lithuanian and I think she grew up with a fear of not being able to see the world, so now she is genuinely voracious in her search for new places.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

I am a beach man, but my wife is really into culture and pushes me to seek out interesting places. I'm learning to get more adventurous.

Greatest travel luxury?

My iPod and travel speakers. When we were in Tahiti there was no electricity and my iPod ran out of batteries, so I was a bit gutted. My wife was quietly pleased because she works in opera and was grateful for the peace and quiet.

Holiday reading?

I like something light that I can get through quickly. I read Trainspotting and Robinson Crusoe in about three days when I was in the Seychelles. I prefer to video things when I go away.

Where has seduced you?

The Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. It was more beautiful than I ever imagined. We visited the Mayan ruins at Palenque and Chichen Itza, which were extraordinary.

Better to travel or arrive?

I don't mind travelling, because I sleep easily on planes. I once took a 12-hour night train from Vilnius to St Petersburg, which was amazing. It was during the annual White Nights when it barely gets dark and dusk is followed by dawn, so it was like travelling during the day.

Worst travel experience?

I was on a plane in India and when we landed there was smoke coming out of one of the engines. There was a man standing on the runway with a fire extinguisher, looking a bit confused. Nobody else seemed that fazed by it.

Worst hotel?

In Sparta, Greece. When my wife and I opened the door we found two single beds built into the wall so we couldn't move them. We weren't impressed.

Best hotel?

The Pearl Beach Resort in Bora Bora is wonderful. We stayed in a bungalow over a lagoon. The Kia Ora Sauvage is basic, but we got a lot out of it in getting away from it all and relaxing.

Favourite walk/swim/ride/drive?

Driving from Positano to Ravello is pretty priceless.

Best meal abroad?

A meal on Christmas Day in India. We were driving back from the temples at Khajuraho to Mumbai, and we were both hungry. On the way, our driver stopped at a roadside restaurant that looked filthy. They cooked the food on the side of the road and we ate the most delicious vegetarian curry, washed down with some tap water. Amazingly, I didn't get ill.

Dream trip?

I'd like to go and see the pyramids in Egypt and gorillas in Uganda or Rwanda. I really want to canoe the Colorado River, too.

Favourite city?

New York is way up there, because it's got everything you'd want from a city. I loved Rome because everyone looks great. I also enjoy taking people around London who don't know it.

Where next?

I'm off to New York. My wife's working there so I'm going to spend my 40th birthday with her.

Dexter Fletcher is in 'The Virgin Queen' tomorrow at 9pm and 'Hotel Babylon' on Thursday at 9pm, both on BBC1

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