Go Away With…Paul Potts

By Jae-Ha Kim
Tribune Media Services
December 15, 2009

Before Susan Boyle made a name for herself on “Britain’s Got Talent,” there was Paul Potts. The former cell phone salesman and amateur opera singer won the first season of the talent show in 2007 and sparked both interest and controversy. Some naysayers said he was a working musician and should’ve been disqualified from the competition. In truth, Potts did have stage experience, but he had never received payment for his work. In other words, he hadn’t relinquished his amateur status.

After performing on programs such as “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” the 39-year-old Brit — who originally hails from Wales — continues to tour to promote his CD “Passione.”  Here Potts talks about his favorite cities and why he always packs a good pair of boots.

Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?
A. I really enjoyed my honeymoon in the Neapolitan Riviera in Italy. Sorrento has such stunning scenery and there is plenty for the culture vulture in the area, including the sites of the devastating volcanic eruption in Herculaneum and Pompeii, as well as the Amalfi Drive — one the must-do rides. Be sure to sit on the right side of the bus and get a boat back to Sorrento.

Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways?
A. I like to get to the English Lake District if I only have a few days, which is often the case. The scenery and the fresh air are so refreshing.

Q. What are your favorite hotels and restaurants?
A. I like smaller homey hotels and authentic restaurants, especially in Italy, where the word trattoria usually is synonymous with recipes handed down from generation to generation.

Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?
A. My iPod, my mobile phone, my laptop, plus lots of sun cream. Oh, and walking boots. You never know when a good path up a hill will turn up!

Q. Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?
A. South America. I would love to see places like Buenos Aires and Rio.

Q. What is your best and worst vacation memory?
A. My best is arriving at our honeymoon hotel and seeing the view over the Bay of Naples. The worst was having a holiday in England when I was young and it raining the whole time we were there.

Q. How do you try to fit in when you’re a tourist?
A. Anything local, be it the food or local culture, plus plenty of walks — especially after lots of good food!

Q. What are your Top 5 cities?
A. New York has great vibrancy and energy and has Central Park as a green lung in the middle of the city. San Francisco has also got a lovely feel. It has great soul. Outside the United States, Sydney is one of the great cities of the world, with one of the most iconic opera houses in the world. I climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge last year and got an unequaled view of the city and the Sydney Opera House. Rome is stunning. I haven’t been to Rome in five years and would love to return soon. There is so much history and so much to see and do. Toronto also has a great vibe with its busy streets and friendly people.

© 2009 JAE-HA KIM


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