Peter Snow: My Life In Travel

'I'm not very good lying on a beach. I suppose I'm an adrenalin junkie'


First holiday memory?

In 1941 when I was three, during the war, we used to go to a place called Greystones, which is by the sea in County Wicklow, Ireland. It isn't far from Dublin, where I was born. I remember it being pretty glum, but we all loved it because it was quiet. We used to go for walks in the Wicklow Mountains and watch the ships sailing past the shore.

Best holiday?

My most fruitful and informative trip was in 1964. I flew to Cairo and went up the Nile to Aswan and Abu Simbel, where I saw some amazing temples, then on to the Valley of the Kings. After Egypt I travelled to Lebanon, Syria and down into Jordan. I then drove across Iraq, which wasn't particularly friendly because of the military regime, but there were wonderful things to see such as the ruins of Babylon. I finished off in Iran, where I visited Isfahan - it was one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. It was a fantastic trip.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

Helmsley in Yorkshire. During my national service training we would drive there in my Austin 10, "Sydney", spend the day walking and then end up in the Black Swan pub for a slap-up dinner.

What have you learnt from your travels?

Peel it, boil it or leave it!

Ideal travelling companion?

Bill Bryson. Or Mark Twain, who had a wonderful attitude towards travel. I love his book Innocents Abroad - I'd like to have been with him on that trip around the Mediterranean.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

I like to discover things on holiday, I'm not very good at lying on a beach. I suppose I'm an adrenalin junkie.

Greatest travel luxury?

My wife Ann. She is a luxury because she is such a beautiful person and a great foil for me. She's wonderful company.

Holiday reading?

At present, I'm filming a series with my son Dan about great battles in history, so at the moment I'm reading about the battles we are covering. If I have a chance I read a good racy novel, but it has to be one that I can't put down.

Where has seduced you?

Petra, which is an extraordinary red sandstone city in Jordan carved out of rock. It is spectacular. You walk through a canyon to reach it and when you arrive and see the sunlight all over it, it really is seductive. There's a hotel just outside the entrance called Taybet Zaman where you can have a Turkish bath after you've walked around.

Better to travel or arrive?

It's much better to arrive, particularly after a tough journey by sea. There's nothing quite like arriving somewhere by boat. A city is nearly always far more beautiful when you approach it from the sea, for example Venice when you arrive in the lagoon and drift up towards St Mark's Square.

Worst travel experience?

A plane crash around 1999 or so while I was doing a story near Seattle about volcanic faults. We flew across an island with the cameras running to see where the volcanic fault was and the pilot flew so low that the plane couldn't gain altitude again. We crashed in some trees, but thankfully got out. We were very lucky.

Worst holiday?

Sailing to Ireland in a yacht in 1985 from Corn- wall. We set off from Pen- zance and from the moment we left it rained solidly and the wind was never less than force 5. We only got as far as a place called Sneem in County Kerry.

Worst hotel?

Any of the party conference hotels in Blackpool in the 1980s.

Best hotel?

In 1956 I went to Italy with schoolfriends, aged 18. We were cycling from Pisa to Rome and stopped in Tuoro on Lake Trasimeno, looking for a hotel. Instead, a family took us in and let us stay in their barn - we slept on a haystack and it was unbelievably comfortable and warm.

Favourite walk/swim/ride/drive?

Walking with my wife and family in British Columbia. They introduced me to Mount Assiniboine Lodge, which is only reached by helicopter or walking. You drive to Banff and then walk 25 miles into the mountains to about 8,000ft. The view from there is spectacular.

Best meal abroad?

In Vietnam. The first day I arrived in Ho Chi Minh City we visited a market, where there were hawker stalls and restaurants. I had the most amazing meal I have ever eaten. It was a real introduction to Vietnamese cooking.

First thing you do when you arrive somewhere new?

Buy a map.

Dream trip?

In 2001 I sailed across the Atlantic with my son Dan, my daughter Kate and their cousin Alex in our boat Cerulean. We started at Las Palmas in the Canaries and finished in St Lucia. It would be lovely to do the same with the whole family.

Favourite city?

Venice, because of the combination of the water, the unbelievable architecture and the colours of the palaces. The Grand Canal is the most exotic sight - it's just too good to believe.

Where next?

Filming in the Falkland Islands with Dan in January. We are going to cover the story of the 1982 Falklands invasion by Argentina.

Peter Snow presents 'Whose Britain is it Anyway?' on 10 January on BBC2

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

News
scienceExcitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
News
newsRyan Crighton goes in search of the capo dei capi
Extras
indybest

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Actors front row from left, Jared Leto, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Ellen DeGeneres, Bradley Cooper, Peter Nyongío Jr., and, second row, from left, Channing Tatum, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyongío and Angelina Jolie as they pose for a
film
Sport
sport
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Life and Style
news

As Voltaire once said, “Ice cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal”

Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
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

    Oracle 11g SQL 2008 DBA (Unix, Oracle RAC, Mirroring, Replicati

    £6000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: Oracle 11...

    Recruitment Consultant (Graduate Trainee), Finchley Central

    £17K OTE £30K: Charter Selection: Highly successful and innovative specialist...

    SQL DBA/ C# Developer - T-SQL, C#.Net

    £45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Working with an exciting ...

    Sales and Office Administrator – Sports Media

    £23,000: Sauce Recruitment: A global leader in sports and entertainment is now...

    Day In a Page

    All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

    Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

    Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
    Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

    Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

    So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
    Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

    Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

    Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
    What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

    What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

    Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
    French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

    French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

    The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
    Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

    Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

    Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
    Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

    Radio 1’s new top ten

    The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
    David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

    David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

    A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
    Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

    Florence Knight's perfect picnic

    Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
    Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

    Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

    The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
    Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

    Mark Hix's summery soups

    Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
    Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

    Tim Sherwood column

    I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
    Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

    Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

    Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
    Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

    Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

    The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
    Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

    Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

    The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition