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Chris Wallace on ear plugs, his Globe years, and that time he went to Russia right after a tough Putin interview

We caught up with the Fox News journalist to talk about all things travel.

Chris Wallace and his wife, Lorraine, at Catherine's Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 2018.
Chris Wallace and his wife, Lorraine, at Catherine's Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 2018.

In the more than 17 years that veteran broadcast journalist Chris Wallace has hosted “Fox News Sunday” (which marks its 25th anniversary on April 28), he has reported on a variety of topics spanning four US presidential administrations. “There’s always something new in terms of the story line, in terms of the balance of power in Washington, in terms of the challenges the country is facing,” said Wallace, 72. On the international front, Wallace recalls interviewing Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki in 2018 and asking him why people who oppose him “end up dead.” He was heading to neighboring Russia for a week’s vacation with his wife the day after the interview. “I remember thinking at the end of it: Gee, is this a good idea to be going right after this?” he said. “But I figured: What the heck – I’m this close.” Wallace said that all turned out well and that they had a “wonderful time.” The Chicago native, whose pre-Fox professional credentials include “NBC Nightly News” anchor, “Meet the Press” moderator, and “ABC Primetime” correspondent, got his start in Boston after graduating from Harvard. “I worked at the Globe for 3½ years. I was the City Hall reporter covering Kevin White and Louise Day Hicks, and then from there I went on to be the national reporter at the Globe,” he said. “It was my first job out of college and it was a great start in the business I’ve been in for the last half century.” Wallace also has fond memories of Martha’s Vineyard, where he vacationed with his dad, the late broadcast journalist Mike Wallace, then later with his own family. Wallace said he considered getting a place on the Vineyard, but ended up buying a second home in Annapolis, Md. – less than an hour’s drive from his home in Washington, D.C. “I miss the Vineyard, but this is a heck of a lot easier to get to and from.” Wallace and his wife, Lorraine, a cookbook author, have six children between them (it is the second marriage for both; he has four kids and she has two), and seven grandchildren – with an eighth on the way. We caught up with Wallace to talk about all things travel.

Favorite vacation destination?

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That’s hard. I love a lot of the same places everyone does — Paris, Rome. … So I will give you a more unusual one: Russia. I took my wife there just after a tough interview with Russian President Putin, which may not be the smartest time to vacation in Russia. But we had a great trip. St. Petersburg is fascinating. My favorite day, we went off without a guide to the Faberge Museum to see the wondrous Faberge eggs. Then we took a boat on the canals that intersect the city — sort of like Venice. Our other stop [was] Moscow. I think Red Square is one of the great sights in the world. And despite my interview with Putin, his office gave us a special tour of the Grand Kremlin Palace.

Favorite food or drink while vacationing?

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I like to eat the food of the place where I am traveling: grilled fish and salad in Greece; pasta and great wine in Italy; anything in France.

Where would you like to travel to but haven’t?

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So many places. I have never been on safari in Africa [which is] maybe the top of my bucket list. [Also] Angkor Wat in Cambodia [and] Machu Picchu in Peru.

One item you can’t leave home without when traveling?

Earplugs. I do not like to be kept up at night by noise from the next hotel room. So wherever I am traveling, [I bring] ear plugs.

Aisle or window?

This is the easiest question: aisle. If I need to get up — especially on an overnight trip — I do not want to have to climb over somebody.

Favorite childhood travel memory?

I was really lucky as a kid. My parents took me on a lot of trips around the US and overseas. I never took it for granted. I remember when I was 9 or 10, and they had just started commercial jet travel to Europe, we went on one of the first Pan Am flights from New York to Paris. Even at that age, I knew this was special.

Guilty pleasure when traveling?

I don’t even know what this means. One of the joys of traveling is savoring it — enjoying every minute. That’s why we all work so hard — to enjoy vacations. So I feel no guilt whatsoever about any pleasure on vacation. Just gratitude.

Best travel tip?

I am going against the conventional wisdom here. I know the experts say — if you’re flying to Europe — get on the plane, turn your watch to the time in the place you’re going to, don’t eat a heavy dinner, and go to sleep immediately. Again, how often do we get to do this? I stay up, eat and drink everything I’m offered, and get the two or three hours of sleep that are left. But I will say this: No matter how tired I am, I never take a nap my first day in Europe. Just power through. Get a great night’s sleep at the end of the day and you feel ready to go on day two.

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