Stephen Travels

And he's ready to take you with him.


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Big Flavors in Little Malta: Legligin Wine Bar’s Incomparable Tasting Menu

Before a recent trip to Malta, I had never sampled Maltese food. It was a cuisine that simply didn’t exist where I lived, and one that had never crossed my mind to seek out. But after a nearly three-hour dinner at Legligin Wine Bar on my first night in the country’s capital of Valletta, I was completely addicted. Malta’s culinary offerings reflect the country’s complicated history, during which this archipelago was occupied by Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Muslims, Normans, Aragonese, Knights of St. John, French, and British, culminating in a complex and outstanding cuisine that this superior restaurant deftly and deliciously captures. Read more about Legligin >


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Beyond the Gorges: The Five Best Buildings in Ithaca, New York

Stowell House, Ithaca, New YorkIthaca, New York, is famous for its gorgeous gorges, which weave their way around and through the city, providing ample opportunity for its residents, visitors, and thousands of students at Ithaca College and Cornell University to enjoy some of nature’s finest work. When you emerge from these craggy corridors, you can also enjoy some of man’s finest work in the city’s architectural heritage. Read more about the top five buildings in Ithaca >


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Mediterranean Luxury at Malta’s Hotel Phoenicia

Since it opened in 1947, Hotel Phoenicia has been one of the foremost hotels in the Maltese Islands, and I was fortunate enough to spend a week here during my visit to this Mediterranean archipelago. From the second I arrived to the second I checked out, the entire staff effortlessly provided warm and accommodating service amid the resplendent setting, maintaining a tradition of excellence that has been the hallmark of the Phoenicia for 70 years. Read more about this preeminent hotel >


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Excellent Roman Cuisine Where Julius Caesar Was Murdered

Da Pancrazio, RomeJust a block or two from where I was staying in Rome, the Hotel Teatro di Pompeo, I spent a couple of hours developing a voracious appetite by strolling through the fantastic farmers market in the Campo de’Fiori. Endless forms of pasta, bottles of limoncello, and the freshest eggplant, tomatoes, strawberries, and olives I’ve ever seen provided visual stimulation for my salivary glands, encouraging thoughts of dinner. The aromas from the cheese stand made me want to change careers and become a fromager, and a generous free tasting of all kinds of spreads, from sage to walnuts with mushrooms to sweet red pepper, prompted me to start searching for the nearest place to dine. The restaurants all around the campo looked appealing but a little touristy, so I exited the square directly into the adjacent little Piazza del Biscione, where I stumbled upon Ristorante da Pancrazio—home of fantastic food, on the site of one of the world’s most infamous assassinations. Read more >


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The Five Best Things to Do When You’re in Reykjavik, Iceland

Sculpture, Reykjavik, IcelandReykjavik is the heart of Iceland’s cultural, economic, educational, and governmental activity. Despite that, it’s Iceland’s natural wonders that really attract visitors to this island nation of fewer than half a million people — and that means leaving the city. Nevertheless, devoting a few days to the northernmost capital in the world will reward you with some unforgettable sites. Read more about the top five things to see and do in Reykjavik, Iceland >


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Splendors and Surprises in Ireland’s Killarney National Park

Ross Castle, Killarney National Park, IrelandSmack in the middle of the town of Killarney in western Ireland, my hotel, the fantastic Foley’s Townhouse, originally a coaching inn from 1795, provided exceptionally easy access to Killarney National Park, just a 15-minute stroll away. It was the first time I ever walked from my bedroom into a national park. That unbeatable proximity is a pleasant introduction to this outstanding park, which not only boasts the features you would expect to see in a national park, but a few surprises as well. Read more >


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Secular Stockholm’s Religious Past

St. James Church, Stockholm, SwedenNearly 80 percent of Swedes describe themselves as “not religious” or “convinced atheists,” and only about 4 percent of members of the Church of Sweden attend a weekly service. Those statistics belie the country’s religious past: There are more than 3,500 churches in Sweden, dozens and dozens of which are dotted around the capital city. I was enamored by the diversity of their architecture, history, and features, and I was enchanted by all of them. Read more about the top five churches in Stockholm >