Fred Gallagher is a world traveller who has visited more than 100 countries. He is the Rally Director at Rally the Globe. He competed at the top World Rally Championships as a co-driver during his professional rally career.
What are three of your favourite countries, and why?
The East African Safari Rally, always held over the Easter weekend, fascinated me as a child. In 1985 I competed on it for the first time, and amazingly Juha Kankkunen and I managed to win, the first World Championship success for both of us. I fell in love with the scenery and the people, and when Rally the Globe was created in 2019, I was determined we should take one of our first events there. We ran our Southern Cross Safari over 20 days in early 2020, and Kenya (and Tanzania) enthralled all our competitors.
I first visited South America quite late in life, arriving in Cordoba in May 1999. First impressions were that it was very European, but those very soon changed. The country has a wonderful mix of terrains. The lakes in Northern Patagonia are beautiful, and I have spent many happy days on some remote Estancias. Whale watching and a Welsh tea room on the same day was extraordinary. And Cafe Tortoni in Buenos Aires is a tremendous place to pass a few hours.
Wonderful beaches, beautiful tea plantations, great colonial-era heritage and fabulous places to stay. And the people are incredibly friendly, and the food is fantastic! So what’s not to like?
What are three of your worst travel moments, and why?
Getting stuck in Tamanrasset in Algeria for three days in the early 1990s wasn’t great
Wellington boots were required for a trip to the bathroom, and the bed was full of bugs. Air Algeria never felt better.
Encountering a Toyota Pick-Up with a machine gun mounted on the rear platform in Chad in 1992 was a scary moment
We were on the Paris to Cape Town Rally, and the organisers had told us to leave N’Djamena Airport, where we had camped overnight, as quickly as possible. The sight of that Toyota made us go even quicker.
Being hit by a water cannon when walking in the Saudi desert near Ha’il
They told me it was a mistake…
What are three of your best travel tips?
Get all the Frequent Flyer and hotel loyalty cards you can
I take lots of books and magazines wherever I go. Well researched guide books are invaluable
Take the train where possible
Bangkok to Singapore on the Eastern & Oriental Express was memorable. The Hiram Bingham to Machu Picchu was expensive but unforgettable.
Do you have any favourite hotels or restaurants?
The Tamarind in Mombasa has wonderful fish and great sea views.
The Grand Hotel Tremezzo on Lake Como was probably the best run hotel I have ever had the pleasure to stay in.
Cape Weligama in Sri Lanka has fabulous accommodation, food and service. I can’t wait to go back.
Do you have any favourite cities?
Nashville, Buenos Aires, Cusco, Cape Town, Almaty, Tokyo and Auckland.
If you can only choose one:
Favourite airline: Qatar Airways
Favourite airport: Singapore
Favourite city: Buenos Aires
Favourite hotel: Grand Hotel Tremezzo
Favourite island: Sri Lanka
Favourite people: Kenyans
Favourite small town: Cascais
Favourite restaurant: Tamarind
Favourite travel book: Jupiter’s Travels
Favourite travel website: Seat61.com