Amman to that: Paul Hollywood plans to return to Jordan

'Living among the ruins of the old Roman Empire must be incredible'

Paul Hollywood is a judge on 'The Great British Bake Off'; his new book, 'British Baking', is published by Bloomsbury, priced £25.

What was your first holiday memory?

I think it was Ibiza with my mum and dad. The thing that stuck in my mind was the lizards – apparently I was fascinated with them; I tried to catch them to take home. I must have been about five or six. We used to go camping a lot as well, we had a caravan in North Wales. Climbing the mountains near the campsite was fantastic fun.

Where's your favourite place in the British Isles?

I do love Scotland, it's a beautiful place. I did a lot of travelling there last year, filming, and I was down in Fife recently; coming down that coastline by Kirkcaldy was beautiful.

Ideal travelling companion?

I like to go with the family. We ski a lot – at least once a year – in the Swiss or the French Alps. It's one of our favourite things to do – my son is a snowboarder and we're skiers.

paul_hollywood_bbc.jpg
Paul Hollywood: doesn't read on holiday

What was your best holiday ever?

Verbier last Christmas. I'd never been skiing over Christmas before and last year was my first white Christmas. We stayed in a catered chalet. We didn't ski on Christmas Day though, we just drank loads and loads of champagne – I was drinking beer.

What have you learnt from your travels?

That I haven't been everywhere yet. And also, to always make sure you know your bag, so you don't lose it on the luggage thing. I always put a little ribbon on it or something, I'm useless.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

All of the above. I love going to Egypt. Rome is another one; travelling around the ruins is spectacular, it takes your breath away.

Favourite travel luxury?

I suppose my phone, because I can play music on it when I'm on the plane. I like a lot of the modern stuff as well as the old stuff. I'm a big fan of Coldplay; Lenny Kravitz as well. I'm a big fan also of Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd.

Holiday reading?

I try not to read on holiday.

Where has seduced you?

I suppose Rome, or Amman in Jordan.

You see these places that are ancient and hold so much history. The people living there, they probably take it for granted, but living among the ruins of the old Roman Empire must be incredible.

Worst travel experience?

Not receiving my bag; it's happened twice in the past six months. I complained heavily. One time I was in Cyprus and another time I was in England, coming back from the Isle of Man and I didn't get my bag for 24 hours. I needed it back because I was flying the next day.

Worst hotel you've visited?

In Casablanca, Morocco. I can't remember the name of it but it was horrible: it was dirty, dingy and smelly. That was 16 years ago.

Best hotel?

A chateau near Poitiers in France. It was beautiful – the Chateau de Curzay. It's like you're stepping back in time, you're a French aristocrat. The land, the walks, the horse-riding, the rooms are all beautiful. It was like pre-revolution France. The opulence of the whole place, it was just stunning and the food was great.

Favourite walk, swim, ride or drive?

I'm a dive master and my wife is a scuba diving instructor and we go diving in Cyprus. It took me a year to become a master, I think, because I was living there. Once you've got your buoyancy correct it's fairly straightforward. I haven't been scuba diving for a long time though. The last time was in South Africa and we were in a cage surrounded by a load of sharks. It was a bit scary, because they hadn't been fed for three days.

Best meal?

I suppose it has to be at Marc Meneau's restaurant in Vezelay, Burgundy, France. Marc Meneau is a three Michelin-starred chef. We were there for two nights and it was just stunning. We had langoustine and lobster; there was a lot of seafood on the menu. We finished with a passion fruit soufflé with white chocolate ice-cream.

Favourite city?

I'd probably say Rome. It is just an amazing place to go. It's the history, the buildings, the Colosseum – which for me is one of the best buildings in the world. And the sadness that's attached to it as well.

Where next?

Jordan, because I'm working on some ideas for filming at the moment.

Comments