Saturday, December 24, 2005

Travels with Isabella

My, oh, my, I have really fallen behind on my blogging lately. And here it is, Christmas Eve, and I am at home, patiently awaiting a visit from Pere Noel, and reading the London papers. How different they are from our rapidly diminishing and dumbed down American ones. I mean, the Guardian and the Independent both have seen fit to publish new short stories for Christmas: Jeanette Winterson's The Horse in the Snow in the Guardian and The Unfortunate Fate of Kitty da Silva by Alexander McCall Smith in the Independent. But, as a travel junky, my favorite piece so far has to be this trifle, Isabella Blow: My Life In Travel in the Independent. Miss Blow, a stylist and fashion director at 'Tatler' magazine, whom I have always admired for her rather mind-blowing frocks and bizarre Philip Treacy chapeaux, here gives us a window into her globetrotting ways. Some excerpts:
Ideal travelling companion?

A youthful Napoleon. He would have lots and lots of energy to keep up with me.

Holiday reading?

Proust. I have also recently bought Dame Margot Fonteyn's biography, and "Gone with the Windsors" by Laurie Graham.

Worst travel experience?

Last year, on a shoot for Tatler. We were trying to get to China and were on the Trans-Siberian Railway. There was no food, and I had two apples to last me two days. There were no phones and nobody spoke English. I also had to share a room with a Russian prostitute. We alighted from the train in Ekaterinburg, where Tsar Nicholas II was killed, and spent the night in a filthy, horrible hotel. I managed to escape to China first thing the next morning by plane.

Worst hotel?

What I like to call "Suicide Hotel" in Naples. Everything about it was depressing, from the bug-infested carpets to the rickety camp-bed, which could only have been meant for someone with rickets. I had to escape after five minutes.

Best meal abroad?

A sweet little restaurant in Paris up a tiny cobbled street, which is run by two sisters. It has cacti in the windows. However, I'm not going to tell you the name because I don't want to share it with anyone.

First thing you do when you arrive somewhere new?

Have a strong drink!

And, that, my friends, is my idea of a great travelling companion!

P.S. to Santa: All I want for Christmas is a Philip Treacy hat!