A stage, film and television actor, Stephen Lang, is known for his commanding roles. One of the stars of "Avatar," the 59-year-old New Yorker may currently be seen in the Fox series "Terra Nova." Lang's love of traveling began early. "The first trip I recall was driving with my family to Washington, D.C., Mount Vernon and Williamsburg," Lang says. "I liked all of it, but my favorite part was staying in motels. I loved motels when I was a kid, particularly the swimming pools and ice machines. My kids were the same way. I imagine most kids are."
Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?
A. It's very difficult to pick a favorite destination! Rome and Paris come to mind. The American Southwest, Amsterdam, the Caribbean, New Zealand, China. ... I love all those places. But I will pick Ireland. I am very fond of the people, landscape, poetry, music, history and the Guinness. Being there makes me think of my mother and my grandmother -- always sentimental and warm thoughts.
Q. To someone who was going there for the first time, what would you recommend that they do during their visit?
A. First time in Ireland? You must spend time wandering the streets of Dublin. Go to the library at Trinity College and see the Book of Kells. Go see the Bantry Bay House way down south, the Dingle Peninsula and Kilmainham Gaol.
Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways?
A. I like to head down to Gettysburg for a weekend. I've wandered the battlefield for years and always discover something new. It is a place of beauty and spirit and emotion. And it changes with the seasons. I enjoy it in the summer when the town bustles with parents bringing their kids. But maybe even more in the late fall and winter when the chilly silence and bare branches invite introspection and contemplation. It is a profoundly important place for every citizen.
Q. What are your favorite hotels?
A. La Pavillon de la Reine (http://www.hotelpavillondelareine.com/index.html) in Paris. Claridges (http://www.claridges.co.uk/) in London. Also Hazlitt House in London. The Hotel Pulitzer (http://www.pulitzeramsterdam.com) in Amsterdam. The King David (http://www.danhotels.com/JerusalemHotels/KingDavidJerusalemHotel/index.htm) in Jerusalem. And my favorite, the Hassler (http://www.hotelhasslerroma.com/) in Rome.
Q. What are your five favorite cities?
A. Well, New York City is home so maybe it should not be on the list -- but it is THE city, isn't it? Other cities I love are Chicago, New Orleans, Washington, D.C., and Tucson. Those are my five favorite American cities. Istanbul, Jerusalem, Amsterdam, Paris, London and Dublin are wonderful as well.
Q. Where have you traveled to that most reminded you of home?
A. Hong Kong reminds me of New York City. It's similarly intense and focused energy. I spend a lot of time in Australia and feel very at home there. The Aussies are terrific and feel a kinship with Americans.
Q. Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?
A. I have not been to Mongolia. I would like to tour the Gobi on motorcycle. I would like to go to Madagascar. I would like to tour Norway and Denmark.
Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?
A. I need good boots, a good book, my toothbrush and Q-tips. I like to keep my ears clean. You can always buy underwear or socks.
Q. What would be your dream trip?
A. Fantasy trip would probably be riding the Silk Road in China on a Kawasaki Tenere.
Q. What are your favorite restaurants?
A. Honestly, I love good food but cannot consider myself a foodie. The best lunch I ever ate was at Bantry House (http://www.bantryhouse.com/) in Ireland. It was little salmon and bacon sandwiches. My favorite restaurant is Sevilla (http://www.sevillarestaurantandbar.com/) in New York City. It's very old school. Great pollo al ajillo!
Q. What is your guilty pleasure when you're on the road?
A. If I am on vacation I try to leave my guilt at home and take pleasure in everything. I suppose sleeping late and taking a glass of wine in the afternoon might constitute a guilty pleasure.
Q. What kind of research do you do before you go away on a trip?
A. I tend to read the history of a place before I go there. My wife, Tina, organizes our itinerary. She does a great job of deciding what museums we will spend our time at.
Q. What is your best and/or worst vacation memory?
A. Best vacation memory: cruising through the Suez Canal at dawn. The view from Masada at dusk. The worst vacation memory? When the RV caught on fire in Kingman, Ariz. Really bad.
(Jae-Ha Kim is a New York Times bestselling author and travel writer. You can respond to this column by visiting her website at http://www.jaehakim.com. She welcomes your questions and comments.)
Go Away With ... Stephen Lang
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