Robert Elms: My Life In Travel

'In Colombia we went to Gabriel Garcia Marquez's 60th birthday party'
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The Independent Travel

First holiday memory?

First holiday memory?

I went to Lloret del Mar on the Costa Brava with three school friends in 1975. It was the first time I had been abroad. I was trying to find barmen and girls who would say "yes"; I found the barmen, but not the girls.

Best holiday?

Spain is the country I love most. We have a house in Andalucia, so all our holidays have been there for the past five years or so and they have tended to be the best. But I have been to all sorts of places - Bhutan, Ethiopia, all over South America.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

I like Dungeness, it's a fantastic place, very bleak and beautiful. It also has the largest shingle expanse in the world.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

I like a beach, but it really helps if there's a city nearby. I don't like manufactured resorts. I like going to football matches and bullfights.

Greatest travel luxury?

A short-wave radio. It's fantastic to be in a valley in Bhutan and hear London calling.

Where has seduced you?

Colombia is fantastic. My wife and I rented an 18th-century conquistador house in Cartagena for our 10-week honeymoon and our neighbour turned out to be Gabriel Garcia Marquez. We went to his 60th birthday party.

Worst holiday?

I've never had a disastrous holiday, but I'd never go back to Greece. Food is quite important to me and I really didn't enjoy the food there.

Worst hotel?

A hotel in Ethiopia that didn't have a roof because it had fallen in. It didn't have electricity either. Thankfully, it didn't rain while we were there.

Favourite walk/swim/ ride/drive?

My favourite walk is along the banks of the Guadalquivir in Seville. On the day of a bullfight, there's nothing I like better than to walk from my favourite bar to the ring. Everybody dresses up, including me - I've always got a suit on when I do that walk. There's no place I'd rather be than there at that moment.

First thing you do when you go somewhere new?

Go out and get lost. I like to walk with no idea of where I'm going to get a sense of the place.

Dream trip?

To really get to know Mexico. I'd love to explore properly, dressed as a Mexican cowboy!

Favourite city?

Mexico City or Seville. They are similar in some ways. They share similar manners.

Where next?

Venice, then Istanbul.

'The Way We Wore: A Life in Threads' by Robert Elms (Picador, £12.99) is in bookshops now

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