My Life In Travel: Louise Redknapp, presenter
'I love to eat tapas with my family in Mallorca'
Saturday 30 April 2011
First holiday memory?
Going to Gran Canaria when I was eight. It was such a big deal to wake up at five in the morning and go on a plane. Looking back now, it wasn't great. But as a little girl, I though it was completely exotic. Sitting by the pool, going for dinner every night, watching a show. I remember someone putting a huge snake around my neck and I thought it was the best thing since sliced bread.
Bermuda. It was just Jamie [Redknapp, ex-Premier League footballer and now football pundit] and myself to begin with and we decided to get married very last minute. We flew our immediate family out and stayed for nearly four weeks at Elbow Beach. We did the nuptials on a boat and had dinner on the beach afterwards. It was idyllic.
Favourite place in the British Isles?
Sandbanks on Brownsea island near Poole. We go there a lot, as Jamie's family live there. We take a ferry over with our dogs, and walk along the beach, and you don't see anybody for miles. You could be anywhere in the world.
What have you learnt from your travels?
That it's okay to keep going back to your favourite places. I used to think you should keep on experimenting and seeing new things. But after seeing a lot of the world, I now tend to return to the same spots. I enjoy the familiarity.
Ideal travelling companion?
My manager. We recently did a documentary which took us to San Francisco. We picked a car up at the airport and needed to get out to the Napa vineyards. I was apprehensive about driving around in a beat-up little Chrysler over the Golden Gate Bridge, but she's really adventurous. I'm also a terrible flyer. She just gets on the plane, pours herself a glass of champagne, and tells me to get on with it.
Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?
Definitely a beach bum. I'm usually very busy when I'm in the UK, so going away is time out for me. It's a luxury to be able to switch off.
Greatest travel luxury?
A good kids' club. It sounds terrible, but I've got two boys, and one in particular loves socialising and being with other children. If he didn't have one to go to, he would drive me potty.
Something by Marian Keyes. I can't bear obvious romantic novels, but her books are easy reading and well-rounded. There's a little bit of wit, a little bit of humour, it's simple but well-written.
Where has seduced you?
Sardinia. We go every year and stay at the Cala di Volpe hotel on the Costa Smeralda. It's the kind of place where you sit down for lunch and stay for three hours. There are lots of yachts around the marina, but it's much quieter than anywhere like Cannes. It's very private and there's a real Italian subtlety to it. The rooms at the hotel are very basic in fact, but it's all about the service and the food. You feel very special just being there.
Better to travel or arrive?
To arrive. I've always been a bad flyer, but I don't let it get in the way of travelling. I love stepping off the plane and feeling the heat and the foreign smell of being somewhere different.
The first time I went on holiday with the girls to Mallorca. We saved up all our money and got a package deal at a big hotel near Palma. The lobby seemed quite nice, but there was only one tiny window in the room. We opened it and we were right above the hotel bins – it absolutely stank. All the carpets were fraying and the sunbeds around the pool were broken.
Sandy Lane in Barbados. It works best for us as a family. There are people to help with the kids. Jamie can play golf all day on beautiful courses. And I like it because everyone's happy so I get some peace. Last year, we got stuck there during the ash cloud, and couldn't get home for three weeks. If it had been anywhere else, we probably would have got bored.
The most adventurous would have to be along the west coast of America, with my family when I was younger. We started from San Diego, did the Everglades National Park and all the really touristy stuff. Sometimes it's nice to be a real tourist and I'd love to do it with my own kids now.
Best meal abroad?
We have a house in Mallorca now – despite my bad earlier experience. And there's this amazing little tapas restaurant called Flanagans near Puerto Portals. You all sit outside, drink Sangria, eat with your hands, and everyone gets to taste everything.
I've only been to Indonesia for work – mainly to radio stations in inner cities – so I'd love to go further afield. As much as we love being sociable on holiday, part of me craves the idea of being away, staying in a hut on the beach, and maybe not seeing anyone for days apart from Jamie and the boys.
I love Spanish cities, particularly Barcelona, Madrid and Palma, which has the most amazing cathedral that I once went to for a wedding. One city I'd like to know better is Venice. I've only been for a one-day work stop, but it's got the most amazing galleries and I'm desperate to visit again.
Probably a trip to New York. Jamie has only been once and when you get old like us, with a family, you sometimes need to take off for a bit of fun. Plus, not many people are into football there, so I won't have hundreds of people coming up to ask about Tottenham.
Louise Redknapp is a judge on 'So You Think You Can Dance', next broadcast tonight at 6.45pm on BBC1.
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