My life in travel: Colm Meaney

'The first time I saw the Amalfi Coast, I was blown away. I just couldn’t leave'

Actor Colm Meaney stars in series two of Hell on Wheels, which concludes with a double bill tomorrow at 9pm on TCM.

First holiday memory?

We used to rent houses on the east coast of Ireland, in places like Greystones, Bray and Skerries. These days, they're all a bus ride from Dublin, but to me it was very exciting to up sticks and move to the beach.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

The coast of County Antrim. I love driving around that part, especially the Giant's Causeway. Each glen and town you come across is very different. It's interesting to see how places change in a matter of miles.

Best holiday?

A train journey from Beijing to Moscow on the old Orient Express. We were in Beijing just after they had announced they were going to stage the Olympics, so there was a huge boom. You could see all these cranes and high-rises going up. As we went across into Mongolia, we got to spend time with some of the nomadic tribes and had lunch in a yurt. In Siberia, we stopped by Lake Baikal and had a very quick swim, because it was very cold.

What have you learnt from your travels?

That people are very similar: all over the world, the desires, the hopes and the issues are the same. It makes you realise that humanity is humanity, wherever it is.

Ideal travelling companion?

My wife. She's originally from Paris, but she's lived and worked in Spain too. She speaks English, French, Spanish, Italian and German, which means we're never lost for communication.

Holiday reading?

I usually catch up on a couple of good history books. At the moment I'm reading Civilization by Niall Ferguson. He's a bit right-wing for me, but his scholarship is very good. I also get very excited when I see a new William Boyd novel and get a thrill from reading the Irish writers, like Roddy Doyle.

Where has seduced you?

The Amalfi Coast. The first time I saw it, I was blown away. We were meant to be staying in Positano for three days but ended up there for a week. We then drove round the coast and found Ravello, where we ended up spending another two days. We just couldn't leave the place.

Better to travel or arrive?

Aeroplanes don't hold a lot of romance for me, but I do enjoy travelling by train, especially taking the Eurostar to Paris.

Worst travel experience?

Travelling from my home in Palma de Mallorca to Calgary in Canada with my six-year-old daughter, via Barcelona and Frankfurt. Our flight from Barcelona to Frankfurt was delayed, so we missed our connection. Eventually, somebody put us on a plane to London. We arrived at Heathrow with about 30 minutes to spare, but the airline refused to board us. We bought a new ticket to JFK, got a taxi across the city to Newark and spent six hours in a hotel, before finally catching the flight to Canada. It took us 40 hours.

Best hotel?

The Hotel Raphael in Paris. It's got a wonderful old elevator that takes you up and down. It's manageable in size, but the rooms are very large. And it was one of the first places that my wife and I spent time together, so I have a lot of fond memories of staying there.

Favourite walk?

The Serra de Tramuntana, on the north-west coast of Mallorca. There are pine trees, mountains and beautiful views of the sea.

Favourite city?

Montreal. The climate is cruel, but it's a very beautiful city and the old town is gorgeous. I always enjoy going to work there.

Where next?

I'm off to Mallorca to see the family, then back to my house in Los Angeles for a bit before I go to Calgary again to start filming the third season of Hell on Wheels.

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