We speak to singer and presenter Cheryl Baker about her love of city breaks, a passion for Havana and why she thinks Cape Verde will be the next big thing.
Known for having her skirt ripped off on the 1981 Eurovision Song Contest as part of the band Bucks Fizz, Cheryl also worked on Record Breakers for 10 years, alongside Roy Castle. She is currently working on a travel channel and touring again with Bucks Fizz later this year.
When asked what her best holiday has been, Cheryl immediately replied, “Havana” in Cuba. “I’ve been there a few times,” she says. “The first time I went there was on a travel programme. I was there for 10 days and did a lot of travelling to the main coastal resorts around the island and I loved it all. I thought Cuba was a great place to visit but Havana was the place for me – it just shone. We all love a beach holiday but I really love cities because I feel like I am in the heart of somewhere and in Havana my heart was throbbing, in the best way.
“The last time I went was about three years ago with my whole family. It’s full of life and music, and you’ve got the Caribbean heat. The Cuban music is everywhere – on every street corner, in every bar, in every restaurant – it’s phenomenal.
“We went to Cuba as a family because I had worked there and loved it, so we went back together on a holiday. I’ve done that several times with places I’ve travelled to for work. I go back and relax and do stuff at my own pace – Cape Verde, Dominican Republic, Hong Kong, Australia.”
The Spanish way of life
As well as seeing the world through her presenting work, Cheryl is well travelled from her time in bands even before Bucks Fizz, which she affectionately refers to as ‘Fizz’.
“I’ve been very lucky as even before Fizz, when I was in other bands, I did a lot of travelling. Spain is somewhere that I always go back to. I absolutely adore Spain, all parts of it. I love Madrid and Barcelona but I think old cities like Grenada, Seville and Malaga are just fantastic. I love the Spanish food and the way of life – the fact they’re still eating at one o’clock in the morning with the grandparents and the children all around – it’s such a lovely family thing to do.”
Cape Verde takes off
Always looking for somewhere new and interesting to go, Cheryl visited the Cape Verde Islands and liked it so much that she bought a property there.
She says, “Cape Verde is going to get more and more popular. It’s only just beyond the Canary Islands, maybe an hour further, and you haven’t got the jet-lag because it’s only two hours’ time difference. It gets sunshine all year round, there’s hardly ever a day of rain, and without the hurricanes they have in the Caribbean.
“When I first went, there wasn’t a lot going on – it was a beautiful blank canvas. But now there are All Inclusive hotels and apartments being built as well as plans for a water park, golf course, private villas and resorts of all denominations and prices. So you’ll get the best of both worlds – plenty of things to do as well as off-the-radar beaches and villages.”
Where is next for Cheryl?
Cheryl and her Bucks Fizz bandmates are performing in theatres nationwide from September with the Make Believe Tour. After her tour she’s looking forward to going back to safari on the Eastern Cape of Africa.
She says, “Last year my girls were 21 and me and their godmother took them on a safari there. We had five days in Cape Town and five days on the Eastern Cape and the safari park, and it was just the most incredible experience – to come out of your lodge, go onto the balcony and look ahead of you to see a herd of elephants or zebras. So we’re going to be doing that again next year, which we’re all looking forward to.”
Do you have Cheryl’s taste in holidays? Tell us about your city breaks or experience of Spain, Cuba and Cape Verde on Facebook and Twitter.