My Life In Travel: Nicholas Owen, broadcaster

'Wherever I go, I always seek a decent margarita'

First holiday memory?

My parents weren't well off, but once – and very unusually – we went to Guernsey. We flew from Northolt because it was 1951 and Heathrow wasn't yet fully operational. I was four years old and I remember running along the beaches and falling into some seawater. It was a great experience.

Best holiday?

In the year 2000, my wife and I went to Israel and Jordan. We were very lucky to be able to see Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Golan Heights and Jericho in relative ease before we crossed into Jordan, where we ended up at Petra. When I was in Petra my mobile rang and it was my son-in-law telling me that our first granddaughter had arrived – the ancient and modern colliding. It was a sensational holiday.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

I started my broadcasting career at the BBC in the North-east of England and I think Northumberland takes a lot of beating, particularly the coast. It is the most gorgeous, wild and not too overpopulated place. It tends to be chilly, but in the summer you can have glorious weather there.

What have you learnt from your travels?

I've learnt the value of a good hotel. I'm not someone who wants to sleep in a tent or self-catering villa. Give me a good hotel any day.

Ideal travelling companion?

Without a doubt, my wife. We're very lucky, because we go on a lot of holidays together and the great thing is that we love exactly the same sort of holidays.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

My wife and I are not great beach people but we love cities and mountains. I don't necessarily have to go into every museum and in fact one can very quickly get bored doing that. I prefer walking the streets, meeting people and seeing new things whether they're ancient or modern.

Greatest travel luxury?

A decent and properly made margarita; that's what I seek wherever I go. The best one I ever had was at a very nice hotel on the shores of Lake Como, looking out over the lake as the sun set over Switzerland. The margarita was the best I'd ever tasted, though the environment played an important part too.

Holiday reading?

I always take books and have just bought a Kindle to download them on to. I'm a great one for books of modern history, less so novels. I like to read a book that's relevant to a place I'm in, so if I'm in France I like a bit of 20th-century French history.

Where has seduced you?

Italy, particularly the lakes and cities in the north. Seduction is extremely short; you're off the plane and seduced in a trice.

Better to travel or arrive?

I love flying but I hate airports. Nowadays I'm always looking for ways to get the train and I'm delighted by the fact that it's getting easier to get to places on the Continent on the Eurostar and TGV.

Worst travel experience?

Flying out of New York with two hours of the most appalling turbulence. It wasn't pleasant and the pilot didn't bother to reassure us, which was quite annoying. Also, my wife and I went to northern Spain a few years ago – "green Spain" as they call it. We found that it wasn't as advertised; "industrial Spain" would have been more apt. It wasn't a happy experience.

Worst hotel?

A hotel on that fateful Spanish trip in the Picos de Europa national park. We drove there in thick fog and arrived at this ghastly hotel. Not only was it miserable but there was no breakfast beyond a piece of bread; it was a shambles.

Best hotel?

The Castillo Hotel Son Vida in Mallorca. It did all the right things: it was luxurious, the staff were terrific and I think it must have been high up the margarita index! A joint favourite is the Bareiss Hotel in the Black Forest, where we've been back to several times. It is family-run but quite large and just superb.

Favourite walk?

We love going walking through the beautiful countryside of the Black Forest. You can set off for three-quarters of an hour, stop for a beer and a bun then continue for a bit longer, then stop for a coffee. The Black Forest is very under-appreciated by British people, plus you can get there by train.

Best meal abroad?

A meal in what used to be East Berlin. We went to a restaurant not far from the Brandenburg Gate about a year ago which was Michelin-starred. We didn't know what to expect but we had lots of small courses served with great style. It wasn't overbearing and the food was wonderful. I think the fact that it was unexpected made it so memorable.

Dream trip?

When I was royal correspondent for ITN I once got to the Falklands. One day I was stood looking out to the horizon and a man next to me said "next stop Antarctica". I would really like to get to Antarctica; that is an outstanding ambition.

Favourite city?

London. I think it has everything that a city should have. In recent years I think the riverside has become sensational. To stand on one of the bridges across the Thames at night is just wonderful.

Where next?

To Cannes, for holiday.

Nicholas Owen hosts Saturday afternoons from noon on Classic FM, available on100-102 FM, digitalandclassicfm.com

The My Life in Travel column is produced in association with Andalucia Tourism. See www.andalucia.org

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Russell Brand discusses Trident and the NHS in an episode of the The Trews.
news
News
The cartoon depicts the UK (far left) walking around a Syrian child refugee
newsIn an exclusive artwork for The Independent, Ali Ferzat attacks Britain's lack of 'humanity'
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
film
Sport
footballManager attacks Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp after criticism of Diego Costa's apparent stamping
News
video
Life and Style
food + drink
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

    Recruitment Genius: Group Sales Manager - Field Based

    £21000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Located on the stunning Sandban...

    Guru Careers: Email Marketing Specialist

    £26 - 35k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Email Marketing Specialist is needed to join...

    Recruitment Genius: Tour Drivers - UK & European

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to join a is a...

    Old Royal Naval College: ORNC Visitor Experience Volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary work: Old Royal Naval College: Join our team of friendly volu...

    Day In a Page

    Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

    Greece elections

    In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
    Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

    Holocaust Memorial Day

    Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
    Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

    Magnetic north

    The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
    Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

    Front National family feud?

    Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
    Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

    Pot of gold

    Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
    10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

    From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

    While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
    Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

    'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

    Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
    DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

    The inside track on France's trial of the year

    Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
    As provocative now as they ever were

    Sarah Kane season

    Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
    Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

    Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

    Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
    Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

    Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

    One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
    The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

    The enemy within

    People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
    Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

    Autumn/winter menswear 2015

    The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore