Introducing Penny Smith
Say hello to Penny – the presenter of ITV breakfast show GMTV for 17 years is now gearing up for her latest role as Travelsphere’s Travel Ambassador. The travel writer and broadcaster is looking forward to exploring with the world with us, and her journey started as she joined our ‘Winter on the Amalfi Coast’ tour. Here’s what she thought.
“For me travel is all about experiences, and we had those by the bucketful during my Travelsphere adventure to Italy’s Amalfi Coast. Learning the art of traditional paper-making, wine-tasting in the Amalfi hills, peeling lemons ready for Limoncello, walking in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius – you name it, we did it!
I grew up in a small village in the smallest county in Britain. Travel was exotic. From the moment I get on a plane I am excited to be going to different – sometimes distant – countries. The chance to see how others live, see their culture, see history coming to life, try new food, new flavours, new things, is all part of the incredible experience travelling brings. Pompeii, in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius, is a place that I have always wanted to visit. There is only so much you can get from a guide book – if there is something I really want to see then I need a human guide.
Ours in Pompeii was superb. He was knowledgeable and had a fantastic sense of humour. Through his descriptions he brought Pompeii back to life, and you could really feel the energy of this once great city. Jane, our Tour Manager, was fantastic too. She lives in Amalfi so she was able to show us places that other tour operators don’t. Our trip up into the hills was wonderful. We arrived at a family-run winery, walked among the vines and learnt a few wine-making secrets. We then spent an enjoyable and informative hour tasting the wine while chatting to the owners about their passion for the grape.
This was my first time on an escorted holiday, and it gave much more than I had envisaged. We learnt so much, we were able to explore on our own, we had plenty of free time (and shopping time). For me, a real highlight was the sharing of stories in the evening over dinner with my fellow travellers.
I have been to many extraordinary places, and want to go to many more with Travelsphere. As they offer more than 60 destinations, it is going to be hard to pick my next tour! South America will always hold a special place in my heart. I’d love to go back to Lake Titicaca on the borders of Peru and Bolivia since I arrived during a three-day wedding party and don’t feel I did it justice. Just watch this space!”
Penny presents the Saturday Breakfast Show on talkRADIO, can be heard regularly on BBC Radio 2 and covers the world of travel for various publications.