ALEX MICHAELIDES, AUTHOR

Where is it?

The city of Cambridge.

Why do you go there?

Because it is one of the most beautiful and romantic places I've ever seen. The Cambridge colleges are simply stunning. As well as the chapels, the River Cam, the Backs along the riverbanks and the nature reserves.

How often do you go?

I try to go back a couple of times a year. I have been visiting it for more than 20 years – ever since I was a student there. And I visited more frequently when I started writing The Maidens which is set at a fictional Cambridge college.

How did you discover it?

My sister was a student there before I was. And so, I first saw Trinity College's Great Court when I was eight years old. I was blown away by the sheer size and beauty of the courtyard.

HeraldScotland: Punt tours along the River Cam in Cambridge. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA WirePunt tours along the River Cam in Cambridge. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

I thought it was the most gorgeous place I had ever seen. I still think so and it leaves me breathless every time I see it.

What's your favourite memory?

When I was a student, my friends and I would often end the day by taking out a punt from the college boathouse and then, with some booze, punt along the river past the colleges. It was idyllic and magical.

Who do you take?

Sometimes I visit with friends to go punting or have a picnic. But often I go alone. Just to be there. When I was researching The Maidens, I spent a lot of time alone there.

What do you take?

Sometimes I take a little guidebook, or a map, to explore parts of the city that I've not experienced before. And a notebook. Often, I will take a picnic and sit on the grass by the river.

HeraldScotland: Author Alex Michaelides. Picture: Wolf MarlohAuthor Alex Michaelides. Picture: Wolf Marloh

What do you leave behind?

I have always felt that I leave part of myself behind in Cambridge whenever I leave. The more literal answer might be my new book, The Maidens. I've been back to see it in bookshops around Cambridge. Which is a really lovely sight.

Sum it up in five words.

Mysterious. Beautiful. Secretive. Nostalgic. Inspiring.

What travel spot is on your post-lockdown wish list?

So many places. I’m really looking forward to going back to Menorca for its secluded beaches and beautiful countryside.

Another place I’m excited to revisit will be Sardinia. I’ve been once before and fell in love with the island and the beaches and the incredible food. 

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The northern part of the island, near the archipelago, is unspoilt and enchanting. I highly recommend it. It will be exciting to travel again.

Alex Michaelides is author of the bestselling psychological thriller The Silent Patient. His new novel, The Maidens, is out now in hardback, published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson, priced £14.99