My Life In Travel: Mark Pougatch, sports broadcaster
'I'd love to take a trip up the Amazon'
Saturday 23 January 2010
First holiday memory?
With a shrimping net and an orange sun hat on in Cornwall, when I was four or five; I go back there every year with my family. The first time I went abroad was about a year later to Corfu, which was long before it was built up. I remember inadvertently standing on a dead sea urchin, which took a bit of extracting.
A safari in Kenya with my parents and one of my sisters. It was spellbinding, being out there at sunrise and seeing lions, elephants and cheetahs. My sister is a great photographer so I have some wonderful photos of it. It was a very poignant holiday because my father wasn't at all well and died three weeks later. Another great holiday was when I was working in Australia a couple of years ago. My family and I hired a motorhome and drove from Melbourne up to Brisbane over 10 days, staying in campsites, surfing down sand dunes, going to fantastic beaches and feeding dolphins.
Favourite place in the British Isles?
My home right on the edge of the Cotswolds, because I'm not here as much as I want to be. I live on the Oxfordshire/Warwickshire border with stunning scenery, great people and great pubs – my local is 40 yards from my front door. I will always have a soft spot for East Sussex, where I grew up, too.
What have you learnt from your travels?
I like to walk around the area I'm staying in and talk to people, because I think if you can absorb yourself into the area as quickly as possible, it's then that you really understand the place.
Ideal travelling companion?
My wife and my children. The chance to spend some time together without other people wanting my attention is really precious.
Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?
Last summer we took our kids – who are 11, nine and seven – to Paris for two days. We went to the Louvre and Notre Dame and walked up the Eiffel Tower. I was the one who was terrified when we got to the top. After that, we drove down to the Alps and went mountain-biking and whitewater-rafting for a week. I'd have loved a week on the beach after that but sadly we didn't have time.
Greatest travel luxury?
A shortwave radio to get the BBC World Service.
My wife is a real bookworm so if I'm going away for work she always buys me a book that's appropriate to where I'm going. She bought me Bruce Chatwin's Songlines when I went to Australia for the Ashes. Otherwise, I read books I haven't read but ought to have, like Midnight's Children and Great Expectations, and my friend Tom Bradby's book Blood Money.
Where has seduced you?
The greatest boon of our generation is the ability to travel. Through work and pleasure I've been lucky enough to see Sugar Loaf in Rio, Sydney Harbour Bridge and the island of Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos where my sister lived. I loved Kiev, where my grandfather lived, too.
Better to travel or arrive?
When you first start travelling, it is very exciting. I don't mind it but these days I prefer to arrive.
Worst travel experience?
I remember flying from Hawaii to Fiji and I lost a day because of the dateline and I still don't know where it went. I could have won the lottery that day!
A last-minute holiday in Tunisia. The food was filthy and my wife was pregnant and tired. She went to the spa and it was a complete botch job.
A hotel in Lancashire where the room was so small that if you opened the door too enthusiastically you were in danger of falling out of the window. You have to have a sense of humour about those kinds of places.
First thing you do when you arrive somewhere new?
Go for a walk and get my bearings, then see if I can get the World Service on the radio. I don't like to be out of touch.
Best meal abroad?
When we did the road trip in Australia we'd buy fresh prawns and grill them on a barbecue on a beach or in a campsite. It was simple and enjoyable.
I have been to Rio but I'd love to go to the Andes, up the Amazon and to Buenos Aires with my family.
Walking on the edge of the Cotswolds from Ditch Edge to Traitor's Ford with my two dogs and one of my daughters on her pony.
Probably Paris because it works on so many levels. It's so easy to get there on the Eurostar; you can go with the family, or as a couple on your own; the food is great and the culture is wonderful. Even the rudeness of the Parisians makes me laugh.
My mother-in-law is very kindly taking us to Venice in the spring. I've never been, so I'm really excited.
Mark Pougatch presents BBC 5 Live Sport, 7pm Tuesday and Wednesday and noon on Saturday on BBC Radio 5 live, with live fourth-round FA Cup coverage from noon today
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