Stephen Travels

And he's ready to take you with him.


Leave a comment

Alabama’s Arrestive Attractions

Fort Conde, Mobile, AlabamaAdmitted to the United States as the 22nd state in 1819, Alabama has been producing two centuries of noteworthy events, from key civil rights movements to thrilling Crimson Tide football games to launching a highly successful eponymous country band. It has also been a place of firsts: Alabama was the first state to declare Christmas a legal U.S. holiday (1836), the first place in the world to introduce an electric street trolley system (1886), and the first place in the Western Hemisphere where an open heart surgery was performed (1902). And, of course, it keeps track of all that in the nation’s first state archival agency, created in 1901. From the hilly highland rim in the north to its white Gulf Shore beaches, Alabama is filled with more than enough sites, attractions, and points of interest to make your vacation here complete. Read about the top five things to see and do in Alabama >

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Exploring the Urban Landscape of Vicksburg, Mississippi

City Hall, Vicksburg, MississippiAround this time of year 155 years ago, the city of Vicksburg, Mississippi, was under siege in a pivotal Civil War moment. A Union victory here, the last major Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi River, spelled the beginning of the end for the South. The city survived, however, growing into a major trading center that relied on steamboat traffic and erecting impressive structures that reflected its boom and that still survive today. Read more about the top five buildings in Vicksburg, Mississippi >


Leave a comment

Coursing Through the Heart of Belfast: Donegall Square

Scottish Provident Building, Belfast, IrelandWith “the Troubles” apparently — and hopefully — relegated to the history books, a day trip to Belfast now seemed necessary during my three-week jaunt around Ireland. Just a two-hour train ride north from Dublin, the capital of Northern Ireland has settled into a peaceful, bustling center of activity. The heart of the city beats in and around Donegall Square, a concentration of fantastic buildings, monuments, and green space, and a wonderful place to wander around when the clouds part. Read more >


2 Comments

Turku Castle Reigns Supreme

Turku Castle, Turku, FinlandFinland’s oldest city and its former capital, Turku is located about two hours by train from where I was staying in Helsinki, the superior Hotel Kämp. The country’s sixth-largest city has plenty to see for a full day trip, from its 700-year-old cathedral to a fantastic museum built over a 14th-century archaeological site, but Turku’s most famous landmark is the one I wanted to visit most — the largest castle in Finland. Read more >


Leave a comment

What Lies Beneath Seattle, Washington

Seattle Underground, Seattle, WashingtonA forgotten but not-so-secret city wound its way under my feet in Seattle. I didn’t know it existed, but my first hint that something lurked below was the small and thick amethyst-hued squares of glass embedded in the sidewalks around Pioneer Square. I found myself wondering what purpose they served. When I discovered that they were skylights for an underground city, I simply had to know more. Fortunately, there’s an exceptionally popular tour that explains all the mysteries. Read more >


Leave a comment

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 >


Leave a comment

Ljubljana’s Very Special Circular Square

Triple Bridge, LjubljanaIt may not be able to boast the size of Red Square in Moscow or Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, the unending urban pulse of Times Square in New York, or the fame of London’s Trafalgar Square, but for pure charm and visual appeal, Prešeren Square in the heart of Ljubljana, Slovenia, ranks among the best. There’s something here for everyone, no matter what your interests — history, food, nature, romance, architecture, shopping, religion. It’s the de facto meeting point for the city’s residents and visitors alike, whether they’re here to attend a festival or a political rally, meet friends or a date, or just stop and rest for a bit in an utterly engaging space and admire one of the world’s top five bridges. Read more about why you should spend some time here >