Stephen Travels

And he's ready to take you with him.


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Good Things, Small Packages: New Zealand’s Abel Tasman National Park

Abel Tasman National Park, New ZealandHailing a taxi to a national park seemed like an odd thing to do. Especially a water taxi. But in New Zealand, sometimes odd is normal. And, in this case, odd was better, too. An approach by water to Abel Tasman National Park set the tone for a terrific hike through some unspoiled nature in one of the world’s best countries for undisturbed environments. Read more >


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Indulging in a Dutch Tradition at The Pancake Bakery

All around Amsterdam, I had been noticing a formidable number of restaurants touting their pancake menus. I didn’t realize what all the fuss was until I read up a bit on this traditional Dutch mainstay, and then I was intrigued when I learned just how creative pancakes can get in the Netherlands. They’re not your typical grilled batter with maybe some blueberries or chocolate chips thrown in. At The Pancake Bakery, a menu of 79 different types will make you completely reevaluate your notion of what a pancake can be. Read more >


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Where Politics Do Not Matter: The Best Churches in Washington, D.C.

Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, DCThey’ve witnessed papal visits, presidential funerals, memorial services for war and terrorism victims, and countless weddings. For anyone visiting the capital of the United States who isn’t attending a particular headlines-generating service, however, they’re simply beautiful attractions with impressive art, long histories, and no interest in your political affiliation. Read more about the top five churches in Washington, D.C. >


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Venetian All Stars at the Scuola Grande di San Rocco

The Miracle of Manna

The Miracle of Manna, circa 1577, is one of Tintoretto’s masterful oil paintings covering the ceiling.

A chance sighting of an advertisement for an upcoming concert in Venice prompted me to spontaneously purchase a ticket. Simple enough. But when the evening of the concert arrived, I ended up in one of the most lavish interiors in one of my favorite cities, surrounded by incomparable works of art by one of my favorite artists (a Venetian native), listening to my favorite piece of classical music (by another Venetian native) being performed by a Venetian ensemble. Such buona fortuna is a traveler’s coveted nirvana, a rarely achieved alignment of all the right stars that I still treasure. Read more about it >


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Comfort and Character at the Hotel del Antiguo Convento in Salta, Argentina

Hotel del Antiguo Convento, Salta, ArgentinaYou’ve spent the day roaming the engaging streets of Salta, Argentina, or perhaps exploring the fascinating landscapes outside of town. You went out to dinner late, as is the local tradition, and hopefully had a glass or two of some fantastic Argentine Malbec. What you want most now is a comfortable, clean, convenient, and charming lodging to rest your weary but contented head. And that’s exactly what you’ll find when you check in to the Hotel del Antiguo Convento. Read more >


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The Best Ways to Spend Some Time in Bismarck, North Dakota

Keelboat Park, Bismarck, North DakotaOf all the people I know who have gone to Bismarck (a number that is, quite truthfully, very tiny), none intended to have a wild, rollicking, what-happens-there-stays-there time. The capital of North Dakota is calm and quiet, and the residents seem to like it that way. So, if you’re seeking the flash of, say, Minneapolis, you won’t find it here, even though the city has been growing by double-digit percentages every decade since 1880. But if you live a frenetic lifestyle and want a shift of gears, and if you remain observant, you’ll find some lovely gems. Read more about the top five things to see and do in Bismarck >


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Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens: An Amusement Park for All Ages

Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen, DenmarkOne of Copenhagen’s most visited attractions has a multiple personality…well, I would hardly call it a disorder. In fact, it’s the complete opposite. A multiple personality salubrity, perhaps? Tivoli Gardens is every child’s fantasy, a panoply of diversions for teenagers, and a fanciful urban oasis for adults. At night, lovers inevitably grow all saccharine amid the fairytale lighting, and travelers of every age will be enthralled by an amusement park smack in the middle of one of Scandinavia’s largest cities. Read more about this venue that has something for everyone >