Emmy winner Bryan Cranston just wrapped his second season on AMC's drama Breaking Bad. An avid traveler, Cranston shares his travel highlights and tips with USA TODAY's Gary Strauss.
Q: Where have you been recently that you liked or were surprised by?
A: Prague, Czech Republic. I'm designing my own new "green" home, so I've been very interested in all architecture the last few years. Prague is (nearly) entirely preserved with Old World European design, right down to the cobblestone streets. The few odd Soviet-era buildings stick out like sore thumbs, but allow you to appreciate — even more — the charm of the city's original architectural influences. A great walking city to get lost in.
Q: What's the best place you've ever visited?
A: For emotional reasons, I would say Oxford, Great Britain. I was very interested in developing a relationship with a young actress named Robin, who was enrolled for the summer at the famed university. I made a picnic lunch, rented a boat, and took her "punting" on the Thames River. The English tradition eluded me. I couldn't figure out how to propel or steer the boat with this long pole (punt) without getting soaking wet. The gaffe brought chiding from the locals and a smile from my date. A sympathetic Brit finally yelled out; "Hey, Yank, use it as a ruddah," which I didn't grasp until I translated his thick accent into "rudder." With the correction made, we floated away on our date. It must have worked; Robin and I are celebrating our 20th anniversary this year.
Q: What's the most surprising/unexpected place you've ever visited?
A: Heading to Mexico to shoot a TV pilot several years ago, I really only hoped that the hotel would be decent. I had never been to Cabo San Lucas before, so I assumed it was going to be like other bustling, touristy-type Mexican resorts. I was supposed to be in a central hotel, but when we stopped to drop off another actor, at an old hotel miles from downtown, I fell in love with the place. The Hotel Palmilla turned out to be famous. Frequent visitors like Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and others of that ilk, made it a getaway. No TV, no gift shop, one phone (in the lobby), just pure beauty of the Sea of Cortez, and a great restaurant/bar. A perfect place to unwind from the fast pace of Los Angeles. Within three days I was completely on "Cabo time."
Q: What's your favorite vacation spot?
A : Considering the two general types of vacations — adventure, artistic, historic: Italy. Relaxing, decompression: Bora Bora.
Q: Can you offer an insider tip or recommendation for your favorite vacation place?
A: Italy. First timers may want to book a tour to give them an overview of the country's highlights. Venice, Florence, Rome, Capri. After your indoctrination, on a second or third visit, I suggest exploring the idea of renting a Tuscan house and get to know the culture by staying in one place, buying and making your own food, meeting new friends, and take day trips to small villages. Sublime.
Bora Bora. First advice is not to get stuck in busy, commercial Papeete, the capital of Tahiti. Bora Bora is part of the archipelago under the French Polynesian flag, so it has that European feel added to the food and culture. Bora Bora is protected by a natural coral reef. You must stay in one of the many bungalows that are on stilts right on the water. Daily we would step out of our comfortable room and step off into the water…delightful. It is majestic beauty. What I imagine Hawaii was like before capitalism took over.