My Life In Travel: Kirsty Gallacher
'The Caribbean sums up a holiday for me – it's idyllic'
Saturday 26 July 2008
First holiday memory?
We used to go to the Swiss Alps in August with my grandparents, following my dad (golfer Bernard Gallacher) who would play at a tournament at Crans-sur-Sierre. They are amazing memories. It was blissful; always sunny and we could usually see Mont Blanc in the distance.
I'm a bit of a Caribbean lover. I've been to quite a few of the islands and they all have different and lovely attributes and reasons for visiting. I adore Barbados, which is very luxurious. Two years ago we went to Grenada, which is more raw and wild. They were still clearing up after Hurricane Ivan. Tobago is another fabulous island that seems to have everything, including fantastic weather and beaches.
Favourite place in the British Isles?
I love Scotland, where my family is from, particularly the outskirts of Edinburgh and Fife. It's beautiful and I have great childhood memories of the Isle of Skye. There are some fantastic golf courses up there, too. I want to go to Donegal in Ireland, because that is where the Gallachers are from originally.
What have you learnt from your travels?
Travel teaches you so much: how people live in different parts of the world, and their culture and history. I also like to find out about where I'm going beforehand so that I know what a place is famous for, and what to see. I don't like missing out on things.
Ideal travelling companion?
My sister Laura is pretty good. She's only 21 and has a real thirst for travel. She goes off to quite random places, like mountain retreats in Spain. She's inquisitive and a bit of an explorer.
Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?
I am a safe sports woman, but definitely not an adrenalin junkie! I've got a very sensible head – even jet skis are offlimits for me. I like beaches and culture as well. If I go somewhere for a couple of weeks, I like to experience a bit of culture.
Greatest travel luxury?
My digital camera. I take loads of pictures when I am abroad.
I read tons of books, history books in particular, and I love reading travel books, too. I'm not much of a fiction person, I prefer to read about real things that people have experienced. I'm reading Annie Hawes's book Extra Virgin at the moment. I don't get the time to read at home because I have a little boy to look after.
Where has seduced you?
The Caribbean. I've been to places such as Bali and Singapore, but they didn't do it for me. However, I do love the Greek islands, which I find rather intriguing.
Better to travel or arrive?
I hate packing and I'm not a fantastic traveller, so arriving is better. I'm a bit of a homebird, so I prefer short trips. I'd rather spread travelling out and go to different places every time I go away than go on extended trips.
I went on a terrible skiing trip to Val d'Isère when I was 16 or so. We took the overnight train and it was the most uncomfortable, hideous journey I've ever experienced. When we arrived, the slopes were so busy that the whole thing felt like a waste of time.
Worst travel experience?
I once went on a work trip to California that didn't go to plan. The journey was difficult – they were awkward at immigration at the airport because I was working over there – and the hotel wasn't great.
The hotel in California on that work trip. It was pitch black when we arrived and it was a bit creepy. I didn't feel comfortable there at all.
The Treasure Beach Hotel in Barbados is just beautiful, with amazing gardens. I love wildlife and there are loads of birds there; it's stunning.
Best meal abroad?
I thought the food in Bali was fantastic. I love Asian food and in Bali the food seemed to be a fusion of all the best bits of Asian cuisine.
First thing you do when you arrive somewhere new?
Unpack and sort everything out. I'm very tidy and organised and like to feel that I'm settled when I arrive. I'm quite a shrewd packer, so I like to get everything set up.
The Caribbean sums up a holiday for me – the weather and the beaches are idyllic. I would love to do a cruise around the Greek islands, and go to Croatia too. I'm also desperate to go to Prague, but when it's snowy
Florence is a fabulous city for lots of reasons – the culture, the history, the art. I was an art student so I really loved all the galleries there; it's such an interesting place. The food was brilliant and so was the shopping. I drove there after a trip to Tuscany, which is somewhere I love.
Hopefully Bermuda later on this year.
Kirsty Gallacher is taking part in The Volkswagen Touareg King of Cowes event on Friday 1 August, a competition to find the champion of champions at Skandia Cowes Week 2008 (www.kingofcowes.com).
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