My Travelling Life

Songstress Katie Melua found zombies in Thailand & paradise in Sri Lanka

The ‘Closest Thing to Crazy’ singer shares tales from her global travels

03 February 2019 - 00:00 By the daily telegraph

I was born in Georgia. The country is having a huge creative renaissance, I've noticed. I was born there and spent a lot of time there over the past 12 months. I realised how much it has in terms of the arts, music and fashion, so I'm spending as much time as possible soaking it all up.
Most people in Georgia have a place in the hills for when it gets too hot in the city. We have good friends who own a place by a beautiful little river and the houses are full of hammocks. My favourite thing is to laze in one, looking at the views and reading a good book.
I love an adventure on holiday and that can be found close to home. Last year, I read a book by a lady called Ffyona Campbell. She does these walks where you collect food, like grasses, wild garlic and seaweed that you can eat and put into soups.
My adrenaline-junkie streak isn't as strong as it used to be, but I'll never forget my trip to Las Vegas. I'm a huge rollercoaster fan and we did the one at the Stratosphere, which curls around the hotel, and there's one that dips out from the roof then comes back in. That was intense.
I explored Ibiza on the back of a Harley-Davidson with my husband, James Toseland, who used to be a professional motorcycle racer. We both love bikes, and it was an amazing way to see the place. I attempted to ride it with James on the back in Formentera but he said it was the most frightened he'd ever been on a bike in his life.
I thought I'd walked into a zombie apocalypse in Phuket when James and I went on a trip around Thailand. We stayed in some really posh hotels in Bangkok and Phuket, but decided we'd try out some of the local beach huts. We arrived in pitch-darkness and there was no electricity and a distinctly herbal aroma in the air and everyone was just sitting around like zombies, which was rather daunting.
Norway has always blown my mind as the nature is exquisite and the light is beautiful. I played there and we took a train ride to Bergen. You'd go into these tunnels through the mountains and come out and there would be a lake that had frozen over, then you'd go into another tunnel and come out into a forest. And the fjords ... they're just spectacular.
Sri Lanka is remarkably beautiful as I saw when I visited the country four months after the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami with the charity Save The Children. We visited one of the beaches where it had happened and it was horrific. But what was incredible was how beautiful the nature still was. All the palm trees and huts had been flattened but the beach was still this exquisite paradise. Everybody was quite disorientated but the kids were full of life and energy and so much brightness and happiness.
My favourite place in Britain is Yorkshire, where I spend every Christmas and Easter, as my husband is from Rotherham. I love the people there, they're so hard-working and just get on with life. But I also love London.
My favourite hotel has to be La Maison du Village in Rue du Huit Mai 1945 in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. It's really beautiful. I also absolutely love the Stamba Hotel in Tbilisi, pictured below, which is the capital of Georgia. It is quite an unusual independent hotel housed in a converted press factory, and it's where the newspaper used to be printed.
Tbilisi is the best city for nightlife though I suppose I would say that. It's renowned for clubbing but I'm not really one for the dance floor. What I do love doing though, because it's warm enough to eat outside from May to October, is having dinner beneath the stars, and they just put so much love into their feasts and people burst into song.
Poland is surprisingly beautiful - the people are wonderfully friendly and there are some stunning places there.
I may be developing aerophobia as I get older, or maybe I'm just becoming middle aged, because I find flying an increasingly unpleasant way of travelling. I would much rather drive than fly.
I'd love to do a food tour of Italy but the next break I'll be having is skiing with my dad in Georgia. He's 58 and only just started skiing...

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