My life in travel: Joe Calzaghe

‘Tulum was like stepping back in time’

First holiday memory?

My dad’s from Sardinia, so we would always go there. My grandfather, aunties and cousins still live there, so I go back a couple of times a year. It’s a beautiful island, with gorgeous beaches and great food.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

A tie between the two cities where I live –  London and Cardiff. When I go back to Wales, I live 20 miles outside Cardiff, in quite a rural place. It’s nice to relax, but I love coming back to London because it’s so vibrant.

Best holiday?

Mexico. I stayed in Cancun, which is not exactly the nicest part, but I also travelled to Tulum. There’s this beautiful cove with an amazing azure sea and Mayan ruins above it. It was like going back in time.

What have you learnt from your travels?

Make sure you take the right medicine. I like to party and over-indulge when I’m away, but there’s nothing worse than waking up the next morning and not having some headache pills.

Ideal travelling companion?

My girlfriend. We’re both very busy, so sometimes we don’t get to see each other a lot. Holidays are a chance to spend some quality time together. The last place we went was Barbados, which was very relaxing, and also Moscow for a photoshoot, which was a little bit too cold for me. I wouldn’t be in a hurry to go back!

Holiday reading?

At the moment I’m reading my father’s autobiography [the boxing trainer, Enzo Calzaghe]. It’s one of the very few books I’ve read.

Where has seduced you?

Los Angeles. One of my friends has an apartment overlooking Hermosa Beach, which is endless and beautiful. It’s not too crowded, so it’s really peaceful.

In the city, I love going to bars and nice restaurants. I went to Soho House on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood last time, which had amazing views and great food. It’s completely different from the London one.

Worst travel experience?

Years ago, I booked a four-star hotel in Fuerteventura, in the Canary Islands, with my former wife and our son. We stayed for a week and it was terrible. The rooms were disgusting and my son kept getting bitten by something. It was so bad I had to find somewhere else to stay.

Best hotel?

The standard in Dubai is incredible. I’ve been a couple of times to recuperate after fights and it’s all really high-end.

Favourite drive?

From Las Vegas to San Francisco with a friend. You’ve seen that landscape in films, but driving through the desert and witnessing it up close is entirely different. We stopped along the way in remote places, where there were no cars or people, just stunning scenery.

Best meal abroad?

A place in Little Italy, New York. I went for the first time in 2001 and had this spaghetti vongole, with clams and tomato marinara. It was so good I ended up ordering another one.

Favourite city?

Rome, for the sights, restaurants and the history. New York to party and have a good time.

Where next?

Sardinia. It’s not the best time of year to visit the island, but I’m going back to see family for a few days. I’ll be at home with my boys for Christmas and then somewhere warm, possibly Barbados again, for a holiday early next year.

The retired Welsh boxer has teamed up with the BeatBullying campaign. To see how you can get involved go to: beatbullying.org/abw2012

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