My Life In Travel: John Suchet, broadcast journalist

'I enjoy following in Beethoven's footsteps'

First holiday memory?

My father was born in South Africa. When I was three, he took my brother and I back to Cape Town on the Union-Castle shipping line. I remember treading on a lit cigarette end and howling my head off on the boat; my wind-up toy car sailing through the railings; and people dressing up in silly clothes as we crossed the equator, which used to be a tradition when the line was still running.

Best holiday?

A belated honeymoon with my wife Bonnie to Skopelos in 1986. It was the first year that this Greek couple, Theo and Eleni, had opened their hotel, the Agnanti. It's still operating today. Back then, there was no airport, which meant it was really unspoilt. We hired bicycles and bombed around on a moped to lovely beaches. It was an idyllic two weeks.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

London. I live in Docklands now, right in the heart of the city. The thought of grassy fields and birds in the trees actually sends me bonkers. I can't wait to get back to the concrete pavements again.

What have you learnt from your travels?

Working as an ITN reporter cured me of my wanderlust for airports. They used to be romantic places, where you jet off to far-flung destinations; now they're simply a nightmare. For the rest of my life, I have no desire to step outside of Europe. You can go on an amazing holiday to Thailand, but the 12-hour flight home leaves you feeling wrecked.

Ideal travelling companion?

My mobile phone. I cannot conceive being out of touch even for a minute. I'm a journalist, born and bred. I used to go on holiday and tell the news desk not to hesitate to get in touch. But they never did. I want people to call me at the drop of a hat.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

I travel a great deal in Europe for research because of my love of Beethoven. I'm halfway through writing my sixth book. I've been to Vienna, Bonn, Prague and Bohemia, where there are still so many places that he knew. But if I set out for a beach break, I'll happily sit with a load of books in a deck chair and do nothing.

Holiday reading?

I've got a stack of books to get through on my next trip. A new biography of Bismarck by Jonathan Steinberg; Forgotten Land by Max Egremont; Rites of Peace: The Fall of Napoleon and the Congress of Vienna by Adam Zamoyski. All very light-hearted stuff. The older I get, the heavier my reading becomes.

Where has seduced you?

France. As a young correspondent for Reuters, my first post was in Paris. I've since become an unreconstructed Francophile. My wife and I bought a house in Gascony in 1989 and it introduced us to a whole new way of life. The locals take no prisoners; they don't speak of word of English and their accent is difficult for even the French to understand. But I love everything about them; their food, wine, culture and character.

Worst hotel?

A parador outside Seville – one of those old castles that have been turned into beautiful hotels. Bonnie and I were both desperate for the holiday. Except it was cold, unfriendly and we sat on the balcony with blankets over our knees looking like a couple of pensioners.

Best hotel?

The Hotel Sacher in Vienna. It's on the site of a theatre where Beethoven premiered many of his works. It's also famous for inventing sachertorte; a delicious Viennese chocolate cake with whipped cream.

Favourite walk?

There's nothing quite like strolling along the River Thames. The embankments on either side of London have absolutely come alive since the Millennium. When I was growing up, it was all rat-infested warehouses.

Best meal abroad?

In Gascony, the local delicacy is duck. What they do with the meat there is beautiful; they treasure it and not a single thing gets wasted. We were taught to enjoy it with sweet white wine.

Dream trip?

My youngest son is a news anchor with Russia Today television. I'm visiting him at Christmas and I want to take the express train journey between Moscow and St Petersburg, which apparently now only takes a few hours.

Favourite city?

Vienna, which was the first place I went abroad without my parents and where Beethoven lived all his adult life. My love for the composer came later on though. On that early school trip I went to the Vienna State Opera and saw Fidelio; it meant absolutely nothing to me.

Where next?

I'm visiting Bayreuth and the venue that Wagner built in Bavaria; he said his operas should only be performed in his own theatre. I've got a ticket to see Tannhäuser. I'm promised they are like gold dust; apparently one is being delivered to my hotel room. I've yet to get my hot little hands on it, so it's possible I'll get there and get turned away.

John Suchet presents the morning show on Classic FM ( classicfm.com).

Suggested Topics
Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
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

    Investigo: Finance Analyst

    £240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...

    Ashdown Group: Data Manager - £Market Rate

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...

    Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - Bedfordshire/Cambs border - £32k

    £27000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - near S...

    Recruitment Genius: Class 1 HGV Driver

    £23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This successful group of compan...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas