‘If we’re all going to get blown up, we might as well be at the centre of things!’: Paul Gambaccini reveals his travel adventures including visiting Washington D.C during the Cuban Missile Crisis
Broadcaster Paul Gambaccini, who has revealed his travel adventures
So what is broadcaster Paul Gambaccini’s favourite city and where is the best hotel he has stayed at?
Here he reveals his top weekend trips, his initial impressions of Britain, his memories of visiting Washington D.C aged 13 in 1962 and more…
FIRST HOLIDAY MEMORY?
Aged 13, visiting Washington DC with my family for a long weekend during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. The night before, Dad wondered if we should still go and I replied: ‘If we’re all going to get blown up, we might as well be at the centre of things!’
INITIAL IMPRESSIONS OF BRITAIN?
I was born in New York, but came to Britain as a student to study in 1970. After we’d docked at Southampton, I headed for a pub for lunch but walked out into the road, forgetting cars drove on the left. My time in Britain could have been just one hour!
TOP WEEKEND TRIP?
A visit to Copenhagen, where my partner and I have two nephews. It’s a calm, civilised place and the Danes wake up in the morning and are just happy to be alive.
RETURN TO THE U.S. MUCH?
Three or four times a year. I especially like visiting in autumn; the New England leaves are the greatest natural sight I’ve ever seen. No offence to British leaves.
YOUR FAVOURITE CITY?
New York, home to my baseball team, the Mets. I have a small downtown apartment close to the Lincoln Center [for performing arts] and Central Park.
ARE YOU A GOOD FLYER?
I always remember what an ex-U.S. Para friend of mine once said: ‘It doesn’t matter if the plane is shaking, only if it’s going down!’
One of Paul’s earliest holiday memories is visiting Washington D.C in 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis
My 13-year-old self would choose the hotel I stayed at in Washington in 1962. It had Magic Fingers vibrating beds — when you put a nickel in, they shook. It was just like being at an amusement park.
HOLIDAY FROM HELL?
A visit to Disney World in Orlando in the week when the flying bugs mate. It was like a horror movie.
CAN’T TRAVEL WITHOUT…
A couple of acrostic puzzles to while away the time.
Somewhere in Italy, because my heritage is 50 per cent Italian.
- Paul Gambaccini presents Pick Of The Pops on Radio 2 and the music quiz Counterpoint on Radio 4.