Ready to go – with itinerary
Scottish actress Ashley Jensen has starred in TV hits such as travel2013 and and was in the recent British comedy
First holiday memory?
Girl Guide camp in Devon. It rained and we were in army tents that had a very specific smell when they got damp. We all wore our uniforms and had duties to perform, like collecting sticks for the fire and stirring baked beans. I loved it. Best holiday? Before I lived in America, my husband and I did a California road trip. We took a month, starting off in Los Angeles. I love the landscapes of California: one moment you’re in the desert, the next you’re up in the Napa Valley, or by the water in Big Bear. Ideal travelling companion? Louis Theroux would be fun. I love his audacity. He manages to get away with everything. I admire that bold, bare- faced approach and being able to go into any situation.
Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?
Culture vulture. My husband is always telling me: “We’re on holiday, we don’t need to have an itinerary!” But I always want to see as much as I can. Sometimes, I come back from holiday needing a holiday. Greatest travel luxury? A travel kettle, because I get annoyed at having to pay £4 (about R60) for a cup of tea or coffee and a £5 service charge on top. Before you know it, you’ve paid £10 for a tea bag. Holiday reading? Guidebooks and cookery books as well, with recipes of the area I’m in. Where has seduced you? Italy. We have a house in Umbria that we bought just before we went to America. That meant we couldn’t go there as often as we thought, but now we’re back, we’re going to start using it more. I love the light, the countryside, the language and the fact that children are accepted everywhere. The Italians get passionate about everything too. Worst travel experience? Ending up in a police station in Havana. My boyfriend at the time and I went to what we thought was just a funky nightclub. Actually, it was a brothel. We were having a dance, came back and my bag had gone. We ended up going to the police station in the back of a police car, taken away as though we were criminals.
When we got there, the police were sitting around not really speaking English and drinking rum out of plastic cups. My boyfriend and I just sat there thinking: “We’ll laugh about this if we ever get out!” Favourite drive? Mulholland Drive at night. If you look over, you see the whole of The Valley and Burbank, which is so flat, with all these lights. It’s reminiscent of so many films. We even used to play the soundtrack to Drive as we went. It takes quite a lot to shut me up, but as soon as we put that music on, I’d be quiet. Best meal abroad? We went to a place in Umbria called Castelluccio. It used to have a strong community but now lots of the young people have left. The town is almost deserted, but around that area, black truffles are plentiful. We ate spaghetti al tartufo, which was made with the best truffles I’ve ever had. Favourite city? London. Having lived away, you see it clearer. There’s history, it’s exciting and vibrant, and I love the fact that the parks are for the people. You get great swathes of greenery in LA, but it’s usually a private golf course for 150 people. London feels very alive to me. Where next? Italy with my husband and our son for 10 days. Because we’ve been several times, I don’t feel the need to have my itinerary. I can just loll about, read my cookery books and eat lovely Italian food.