My life in travel: Ray Parlour

‘Singapore was like a different world. Hot and humid, but the food was great’

Former footballer Ray Parlour, hosts talkSPORT’s coverage of the 2014 Fifa World Cup in Brazil from 12 June to 13 July

First holiday memory?

Playa de las Américas in Tenerife with a couple of friends. We were young and there was plenty of sun. It was a typical first holiday: a few pints, warm weather and a nice beach.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

The North-east. I went up there when I played for Middlesbrough and lived in a place called Yarm, which has a lovely high street with bars and restaurants. There are a lot of great villages there. It was a real eye-opener because I’ve always lived in London or Essex, so I didn’t know what the North-east would be like. But it’s absolutely fantastic, with lots of beautiful places and some great coast around Whitby.

What have you learnt from your travels?

Always go on time. I’ve missed a few flights before, which is never good. One year, we went to the airport with my little girl who was five years and one month old. We only realised then that her passport was for only five years. They wouldn’t let us check in. We had to go back home and request a passport for the next day, then go two days later. The kids’ faces ....

Ideal travelling companion?

I do a lot of travelling on my own, which is fine. However, I prefer going away with my family really, because you can have a laugh and talk to each other more than ever. There’s one place we go every single year in Portugal called Alvor, on the Algarve coast. It’s a little fishing village and we love it. When I retire, I will go and live there.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

I get easily bored on the beach, so I will have a walk every hour, but I’m definitely a beach bum. Holidays for me – especially when I was playing after a long, hard season – are to relax and wind down.

Greatest travel luxury?

I love playing golf. In Portugal, there are great courses to play. I always look forward to it. The weather is fantastic and I often play four times a week. Especially in the morning, at seven o’clock when the sun is coming up – it’s beautiful and not too hot.

Holiday reading?

I like to know what’s going on in England, so I always get the papers – even though they’re a day behind. Other than that, I go for autobiographies – especially sporting ones. At the moment, I’m reading my former teammate, Dennis Bergkamp’s, book. I think Dennis really enjoyed playing in London and for Arsenal. He was a great player, one of the best I played with. 

Where has seduced you? 

I really enjoyed Singapore. It was a different world: it’s hustle and bustle, very warm and humid, but the people and the food were great. Amazing buildings too: I went to the Marina Bay Sands which has a great pool on the roof. I didn’t expect it to be that nice – but I’ve been back three or four times since.

Worst travel experience?  

Any dodgy flight where it’s bumpy or moving around. We had a couple of flights when I was playing for Arsenal where, if you didn’t have your seatbelt on, you would have gone flying down the plane. I’m so relieved when we touch the ground. Then I can relax.

Worst hotel?

I was playing football against Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine and I remember we had to take our own bed linen to this hotel. We turned up and our feet stuck to the floor. It was awful. When I pulled the chain on the toilet, it came off. We had to play football the next day but no one wanted to sleep in the rooms. Needless to say, we lost the match.

Best hotel?

The Venetian in Macau, which is one of the biggest hotels in the world. It had a football stadium with 15,000 seats. We went into the casino and you couldn’t see the other end because it was so big. There was also a massive shopping mall.

Best meal abroad?

Fresh fish and salad. There’s a restaurant in Alvor, where I know exactly what time the boat comes in with the day’s catch. The waiter goes and buys the fish, guts it, cooks it in front of you and serves it up. It’s stunning. I always lose weight when I go on holiday, believe it or not, because I eat much better food.

Favourite city?

New York is an amazing place. It is a little bit hectic. You have to walk a long way, but it was amazing seeing all the bars and shops. There’s so much going on. You think London’s busy, but you go to New York and everything’s buzzing. 

Where next?

Brazil for the World Cup, which will be epic. I’m based in Rio but then I’ll be flying in and out of everywhere, going to all the games. I’ve got about 10 flights, because it’s a big country. I’m sure it will be a great atmosphere. I’m hoping to get some days at the beach in the last week, when there will be fewer games with just the semi-finals and the final.

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
Al Pacino in ‘The Humbling’, as an ageing actor
filmHam among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
News
Fifi Trixibelle Geldof with her mother, Paula Yates, in 1985
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Mario Balotelli in action during his Liverpool debut
football ...but he can't get on the scoresheet in impressive debut
Environment
Pigeons have been found with traces of cocaine and painkillers in their system
environmentCan species be 'de-extincted'?
Arts and Entertainment
booksExclusive extract from Howard Jacobson’s acclaimed new novel
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
A Pilgrim’s Progress is described by its publisher as “the one-and-only definitive record” of David Hockney's life and works
people
Sport
Loic Remy signs for Chelsea
footballBlues wrap up deal on the eve of the transfer window
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Art
Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth McGovern as Cora, Countess of Grantham and Richard E Grant as Simon Bricker
TV
Life and Style
Instagram daredevils get thousands of followers
techMeet the daredevil photographers redefining urban exploration with death-defying stunts
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard, nicknamed by the press as 'Dirty Diana'
TVDaughter says contestant was manipulated 'to boost ratings'
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
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

    Sales Account Manager

    £15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...

    VB.NET and C# developer (VB.NET,C#,ASP.NET)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...

    Business Development Manager / Sales Pro

    £30 - 35k + Uncapped Comission (£70k Y1 OTE): Guru Careers: A Business Develop...

    Graduate Sales Executive / Junior Sales Exec

    £18k + Uncapped Commission (£60k Y1 OTE): Guru Careers: A Graduate Sales Exe...

    Day In a Page

    Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

    The big names to look for this fashion week

    This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
    Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
    Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

    Neil Lawson Baker interview

    ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
    The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

    The model for a gadget launch

    Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
    Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
    Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

    Get well soon, Joan Rivers

    She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
    Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

    A fresh take on an old foe

    Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
    Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

    Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

    As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
    Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

    Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

    ... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
    Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

    Europe's biggest steampunk convention

    Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
    Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

    Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

    Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
    Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

    Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

    The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor