My life in travel: Kate Mosse

‘I love the relaxed attitude in Norway’

First holiday memory?

Being on a beach in Lee Bay, Devon. I remember it being cold and slightly drizzly, waddling around with buckets and spades, and my sisters and I all wearing the same Seventies costumes. I’m glad to say there’s no photographic evidence.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

Sussex. Especially the Downs, around the Kingley Vale and the Trundle. It’s where I grew up and where I still live today.

Best holiday?

A trip to the Soviet Union in the Eighties. Other than France and the Isle of Wight, I hadn’t travelled much before that, so it seemed extraordinary. We were taken around on buses and trains to Moscow and Leningrad [now St Petersburg]. You were entirely controlled: every minute of the day managed and accounted for. We couldn’t go out on our own, but it was fascinating.

What have you learnt from your travels?

Patience is everything. Planes get delayed; trains don’t arrive. If you realise that’s part of travelling, you’ll enjoy the experience more.

Holiday reading?

Detective stories. I use holidays to catch up on the latest Harlan Coben or Denise Mina. For me, it’s pure and simple entertainment, because it’s nothing to do with work or research.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

I get to the stage where all I want to do is lie in the sun, but I know I’ll want to explore after a few days. In Athens, it was lovely and hot, so we spent a lot of time lounging about, but come evening, we’d find a museum or restaurant. Hotels in capital cities are brilliant for that. I’m going to Cape Town for Christmas where we’ll do exactly the same.

Greatest travel luxury?

Moisturiser. As you get older, you come off the plane feeling like a piece of scrunched-up newspaper. It’s essential.

Where has seduced you?

Norway. Mostly Oslo, but also the fjords. I first went in the Eighties and returned as an author. I like the relaxed attitude. People sit around cafés, no matter how cold it is, and there are blankets spread over chairs. It’s a place I had no preconceptions about, but have loved over the years.

Better to travel or arrive?

I do love train journeys, because you can just stare out the window. I took my mother-in-law on the Orient Express for her 80th birthday, which she loved, and I would have never done by myself. It was amazing seeing the landscape change.

Worst travel experience?

Coming back from Venice after the Orient Express. We got off at the station, having spent the whole day in the bar with my mother-in-law playing the piano, and discovered that our flight had been cancelled due to the ash cloud.

We ended up having to get a taxi from Venice to Paris, because my mother-in-law had brought enough medicine for only a few days and I was due at the London Book Fair. A three-day trip ended up costing me £10,000.

Best hotel?

The Ambassade in Amsterdam. Everyone who goes to publish a book in Holland stays there. It’s just one of those things that all writers do.

It has a library that has only books signed by people who’ve stayed there, so you see yourself in a case with some of the world’s greatest authors. It’s the most incredible hotel.

Favourite drive?

Driving from Toulouse to Carcassonne in France. Once you’ve negotiated the terrifying ring road around the airport in Toulouse, you start to drive through the beginnings of the Languedoc and see a sign saying you are in Cathar Country. You drive further and suddenly, the medieval city of Carcassonne appears from the motorway.

Best meal abroad?

I’ve hated beetroot for all of my 51 years, until a couple of years ago, when I had the most sublime butternut squash and beetroot salad on the waterfront in Cape Town. The food is so incredibly fresh there.

Where next?

I’m going to explore another part of France than the south-west. I always go to the same place, so I’m going to find somewhere new for this summer.

The author Kate Mosse appears at the The France Show at Earls Court, London (18-20 January). Tickets £13 (thefranceshow.com). Her new book Citadel is out now, published by Orion (£20).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
News
Bobbi Kristina Brown, daughter of the late singer Whitney Houston, poses at the premiere of
people
News
people
News
The frequency with which we lie and our ability to get away with it both increase to young adulthood then decline with age, possibly because of changes that occur in the brain
scienceRoger Dobson knows the true story, from Pinocchio to Pollard
Voices
The male menopause: those affected can suffer hot flushes, night sweats, joint pain, low libido, depression and an increase in body fat, among other symptoms
voicesSo the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Life and Style
health
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?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Travel Customer Service and Experience Manager

    £14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...

    Recruitment Genius: Network Executive - Adrenalin Sports - OTE £21,000

    £19000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you looking for an exciting...

    Guru Careers: Product Manager / Product Marketing Manager / Product Owner

    COMPETITIVE: Guru Careers: A Product Manager / Product Owner is required to jo...

    Guru Careers: Carpenter / Maintenance Operator

    £25k plus Benefits: Guru Careers: A Carpenter and Maintenance Operator is need...

    Day In a Page

    Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

    US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

    Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

    'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
    The male menopause and intimations of mortality

    Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

    So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
    Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

    'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

    Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
    Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

    Bettany Hughes interview

    The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
    Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

    Art of the state

    Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
    Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

    Vegetarian food gets a makeover

    Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
    The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

    The haunting of Shirley Jackson

    Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
    Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

    Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

    These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
    Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

    Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
    HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
    Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

    'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

    Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
    Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

    The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

    Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen