My life in travel: Chris Hollins, BBC sports presenter and journalist

'I tasted the freshest, most wonderful clams ever in Emilia-Romagna'

First holiday memory?

Rimini, Italy. My parents used to know the owner of the Hotel Ambasciatori, so we would go every year as a family. It was very simple: a great little beach, where we had our own umbrella and would build sandcastles, and then eat our own bodyweight in food. They had one of the most fantastic chefs there, so at the age of eight, I was eating whole pieces of fish, profiteroles the size of my sister and spaghetti vongole (spaghetti with clams). We used to go to the sala giochi (games arcade) to play ice hockey, then order three scoops of ice cream in a cornet.

Best holiday?

A family holiday driving through France in a Volkswagen Golf convertible. We spent the entire time with my dad constantly going the wrong way. We all slept in the same bed one night, because we got lost and that was all we could find. We had three cassette tapes – The Kids from Fame, The Beatles and Billy Joel – which we played non-stop for three weeks. The Champagne region was a highlight. We stayed at Hôtel d'Angleterre in Châlons-en-Champagne where the restaurant served wonderful amuse-bouche. It was a great adventure.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

My parents have a flat in Caswell Bay, South Wales. Through that, we have fallen in love with the beaches, the walking, the golf and the people of the Gower peninsula. It's fantastic.

What have you learnt from your travels?

That you must try everything. So, when in Rome, as they say, find the busiest local restaurant and have what everybody else is eating. For a family like mine, that lives to eat, that's been the most rewarding tip.

Ideal travelling companion?

My wife, Sarah. I never organise anything, but she's always planning ahead and looking for an adventure. One of the most fantastic things we ever did was in Barbados. We were lounging by the pool and Sarah said: "We must go out and explore." She booked this little expedition by plane to the Grenadines. We went on a catamaran around the islands, some of which were utterly uninhabited. I would never have done that had it not been for her.

Holiday reading?

I like autobiographies or biographies. The most recent ones I've read are Richard Attenborough's Entirely Up to You, Darling, Michael Caine's The Elephant to Hollywood and Andrew Marr's A History of Modern Britain. I'm always fascinated by people's big change in life, their big discovery or how they were discovered.

Where has seduced you?

The Caribbean is very difficult to beat, but we also recently fell in love with Sardinia. We went down to Chia Laguna in the south and were seduced by all the Italian families and the fun they seemed to be having together.

Better to travel or arrive?

I love to arrive. My wife and I only just got married in March. For our honeymoon, we went skiing for five days in Val d'Isère. Despite the fact that you're supposed to have that special glow, we were absolutely exhausted from the wedding. When we arrived at the Hôtel Le Blizzard, there was a bottle of champagne in the room and snow on the mountains. We put on our dressing gowns, opened the bottle and had that real "I'm on holiday" moment.

Worst travel experience?

Being ill on a flight back from South Africa. I'd been filming non-stop for four days ahead of the last World Cup. I felt fine when boarding, then we took off and I suddenly felt really unwell. There's no escape on flights.

Worst hotel?

A place I stayed at on a cricket trip to Bangladesh. We visited the city of Sylhet, which was an amazing place. But in the hotel there were no bed-sheets, hot water or soap. It was a life experience, as they say.

Best hotel?

I stayed at Loch Lomond Golf Club as part of a charity golf tournament. It's not open to the public as a hotel, but the rooms were incredible.

Favourite walk?

The Gower – from Caswell Bay along the coast to Langland Bay. It takes about 30 minutes and you'll get sunshine, rain and wind. At the end, there's a fantastic cup of tea and an egg and bacon sandwich waiting at the Surfside café.

Best meal abroad?

The first time I had vongole in Italy when I was 10. We were driving around the countryside of Emilia-Romagna and found this restaurant which served the freshest, most wonderful clams I've ever tasted. If only I could have had some wine, it would have been perfect.

Favourite city?

Tokyo. I think it's mostly because of the relationships I've built up there through work, but it was the most extraordinary experience having to learn about their customs and culture.

Where next?

My wife and I want to get in a car and drive around Italy. That's our next plan.

Chris Hollins presents the Olympic Breakfast, every morning from 28 July to 12 August on BBC1 (6am-9am): bbc.co.uk/sport

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese and DiCaprio, at an awards show in 2010
filmsDe Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
News
i100
News
In this photo illustration a school student eats a hamburger as part of his lunch which was brought from a fast food shop near his school, on October 5, 2005 in London, England. The British government has announced plans to remove junk food from school lunches. From September 2006, food that is high in fat, sugar or salt will be banned from meals and removed from vending machines in schools across England. The move comes in response to a campaign by celebrity TV chef Jamie Oliver to improve school meals.
science
Sport
England captain Wayne Rooney during training
FOOTBALLNew captain vows side will deliver against Norway for small crowd
Life and Style
Red or dead: An actor portrays Hungarian countess Elizabeth Báthory, rumoured to have bathed in blood to keep youthful
health
News
peopleJustin Bieber charged with assault and dangerous driving after crashing quad bike into a minivan
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
News
peopleHis band Survivor was due to resume touring this month
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Sport
Radamel Falcao poses with his United shirt
FOOTBALLRadamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant in Colombia to Manchester United's star signing
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Sales Account Manager

    £15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...

    VB.NET and C# developer (VB.NET,C#,ASP.NET)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...

    Business Development Manager / Sales Pro

    £30 - 35k + Uncapped Comission (£70k Y1 OTE): Guru Careers: A Business Develop...

    Day In a Page

    Chief inspector of GPs: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

    Steve Field: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

    The man charged with inspecting doctors explains why he may not be welcome in every surgery
    Stolen youth: Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing

    Stolen youth

    Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing
    Bob Willoughby: Hollywood's first behind the scenes photographer

    Bob Willoughby: The reel deal

    He was the photographer who brought documentary photojournalism to Hollywood, changing the way film stars would be portrayed for ever
    Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

    Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

    Scorsese in the director's chair with De Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
    Angelina Jolie's wedding dress: made by Versace, designed by her children

    Made by Versace, designed by her children

    Angelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
    Anyone for pulled chicken?

    Pulling chicks

    Pulled pork has gone from being a US barbecue secret to a regular on supermarket shelves. Now KFC is trying to tempt us with a chicken version
    9 best steam generator irons

    9 best steam generator irons

    To get through your ironing as swiftly as possible, invest in one of these efficient gadgets
    England v Norway: Wayne Rooney admits England must ‘put on a show’ to regain faith

    Rooney admits England must ‘put on a show’ to regain faith

    New captain vows side will deliver for small Wembley crowd
    ‘We knew he was something special:’ Radamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant to Manchester United's star signing

    ‘We knew he was something special’

    Radamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant to Manchester United's star signing
    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

    US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
    Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
    Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
    Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

    The big names to look for this fashion week

    This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York