My Life In Travel: Susannah York

'Worst experience? Dropping my passport overboard into the Aegean'
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The Independent Travel

First holiday memory?

Being on the sands of Southsea with my sister and feeling a tug on my fishing line. A little fish flitted up into the air and I was so excited that I rushed home with it, fell over on a gravel road and consequently got my first scar, of which I was terribly proud.

Best holiday?

Travelling around the Peloponnese with a Greek friend which was a great help; we had an absolutely magical time. I also went backpacking around Turkey eight years ago for three months, with another friend. That was fantastic too.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

The countryside - the hills and fresh air and being away from traffic. It's so important.

What have you learnt from your travels?

To try and communicate. I speak French and a bit of Italian and Spanish but I try to learn a few words if I don't already know the language.

Ideal travelling companion?

Someone who loves what I love, like the land, ruins and archaeological sites. He or she would need to be generous with their idea of creature comforts, want to taste the local produce and enjoy food and be interested in where we were. And they'd let me have a bit a free time, too.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

I'm all three. I like lonely beaches, and I do enjoy things like riding camels or horses and hiking.

Greatest travel luxury?

My laptop and being able to use it easily because I'm a complete technological idiot. If not, then it would be a nice pen and paper.

Better to travel or arrive?

To travel. The journey is part of the adventure.

Holiday reading?

I try to read as much as possible when I'm abroad, but sometimes I just read up on the place I'm in. A good book is lovely too; a fellow actor just gave me 1599: A Year In The Life of William Shakespeare by James Shapiro, which I'll be taking to Alsace with me.

Where has seduced you?

Most places. However, Mexico utterly seduced me. I was about 19 or 20 when I went and travelled around on buses with a bag and a hammock. The Yucatan Peninsula was particularly magical with its wonderful ruins.

Worst holiday?

My mother taught me to just stick a pin in the map, so I have always been prepared to see what comes up and consequently I haven't had any disappointing holidays.

Worst travel experience?

Dropping my passport overboard into the Greek Aegean was pretty bad.

Worst hotel?

When I went to Russia I stayed in a dreadful grey faceless hotel where a woman sat knitting in the corner.

Best hotel?

I don't want to reveal my favourites, but the most interesting hotel I stayed at was the Hotel Costas in Corfu, in the Sixties. Hot running water meant a waiter running with a pan of boiling water. It would probably be horrendous now.

Favourite walk/swim/ride/drive?

I walk frequently just outside London with my dogs. There are lovely pubs and a nice variety of landscapes. These days I prefer to swim in warm seas rather than swimming pools or off the coast of Scotland, where I grew up. I did once ride bareback into the sea there as a child, which was incredible.

First thing you do when you arrive somewhere new?

Go out and sniff around.

Best meal abroad?

A picnic in Turkey. We were near some ruins and a lorry trundled past with a huge family that spanned at least three generations. They got out and invited us to join their picnic which consisted of fresh grilled fish and roe, incredible fruit and home-made bread, washed down with Turkish tea. It was wonderful.

Dream trip?

I'd like to go to South America, particularly to Peru, Brazil and the Galapagos. I love old civilisations.

Favourite city?

London. It's the most interesting city of all. Abroad, Paris is incredibly romantic and New York is unbelievably exciting.

Where next?

I'm off to Alsace for a few days but other than that I have no firm plans, just dreams.

Susannah York stars in "The Gigolos", on general release early next year

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