I Want This Dude’s Life:
Roland Emmerich is an acclaimed film director (Independence Day, The Patriot, The Day After Tomorrow, 2012) design guru, passionate traveler, foodie and wine connoisseur and my (Kirstin’s) former boss/mentor!
When it comes to style, service and generally luxe travel, this globetrotter is the ultimate expert. That's why I’m so excited to sit down with him and hear all about his most recent drool-worthy jaunts. Read on to be consumed, thoroughly, with jealousy:
3 Days*: We’ve known each other for 13 years during which time I was lucky enough to join you on many trips, both personal and professional. What is your favorite city/place to shoot a movie and why?
ROLAND: Definitely Montreal. It has everything: incredible food, nice people and, from a purely professional standpoint, Quebec offers incredible tax credits and the crews are fantastic. You get everything you need in Montreal.
I have already shot 3 films there (The Day After Tomorrow, White House Down and Stonewall), so I have a lot of friends there. Living in Old Montreal is incredible. It’s a walking city with charming cobble stone streets and a French/European flair. And even though you are in a big city it feels like a small town. The food is exceptional. Somehow the Quebecois have figured out how to take traditional French cuisine and add their own twist to it. I’m a big foodie and Montreal, in that regard, is paradise for me. Since I’m always there to work I usually stay in Old Montreal. It’s a charming city and definitely worth a 3 day trip.
3 Days*: Given the amount you are required to travel for work, what inspires you most about traveling for pleasure?
ROLAND: For me it is always nice to travel with a big group of friends and really explore a place. For example, last summer I spent 5 weeks on my boat in the Mediterranean. We started in Mykonos with a huge group of friends for the first week. From there I sent my boat (the Maid Marion II) to Sicily and flew myself since the passage can be rough and unpleasant.
There I met up with my mom, my sister, her family and my cousin and we went around Sicily to the Aeolian Islands (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aeolian_Islands) and onwards to the Amalfi Coast, Capri and Ischia. Then we continued on to Cinque Terre, Portofino and Antibes where my family left and a whole new group of friends joined me for the remaining trip. Our tour continued to St-Tropez, Costa Brava, Barcelona and then over to the islands of Mallorca and Ibiza.
This epic trip ended in Formentera. The whole journey was a nice mix of quiet family time and energetic traveling with friends. We went out a few times in Barcelona and Ibiza where the nightlife never really stops, but it definitely wasn’t a wild trip.
3 Days*: That does sound like an epic journey. Out of all of those idyllic destinations, did one of them stand out to you more than others?
ROLAND: I have traveled extensively throughout Europe (not only on this trip), and Mykonos really stands out to me. It has become more high-end in recent years but it’s managed to keep its Greek roots. Despite having a strong tourism industry the Greeks somehow have managed, much more successfully than other countries, to keep it pretty authentic and not ruin the coastline by building gigantic resorts.
Albeit the towns and cities have grown over the years, they made an effort to stay true to the traditional Cycladic style (insert picture) that is so popular around the world. Whitewashed walls, wooden balconies, narrow labyrinth streets; the look of the island has barely changed despite a spike in tourism. Traveling by boat you naturally get a different perspective of the coastline and notice these things even more than being on land.
St-Tropez also managed to keep its original charm. In fact it has barely changed since the ‘50s and ‘60s despite growing considerably in size. The problem there is that the yachts anchored in the harbor have become so gigantic that they block the view of the land. Ibiza has kept a little bit of its original charm, but large parts of Mallorca’s coastline have been ruined by huge hotel developments that don’t fit the traditional Finca style at all. Naturally you are still able to find beautiful corners on the island, but tourism has definitely left its mark there.
When it comes to vacationing in the Mediterranean I would definitely recommend the Greek Islands. Formentera is also beautiful and somewhat unspoiled, still. Building restrictions have kept a good handle on the development on this small and funky island.
3 Days*: I haven’t vacationed in the Mediterranean in a while, but your stories definitely make me long for a lengthy trip to the European South again. Thank you for sharing your impressions.
Stay tuned for Part 2!