Stephen Travels

And he's ready to take you with him.


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The Superior Structures of Salzburg, Austria

High Salzburg FortressJulie Andrews’ romp through Salzburg, Austria, in The Sound of Music while singing “I Have Confidence” and toting her luggage and guitar case is unarguably one of the city’s best unintentional promotion pieces ever produced. How could it not be? Fountains, a gorgeous Alpine backdrop, and the mountaintop fortress are all on full display, tempting you to immerse yourself in this most Austrian of cities. You’ll certainly come here for the music, whether it’s the campy Sound of Music singalongs or the higher-echelon concerts of Salzburg native Mozart. But you’ll also come here for the architecture, much of which miraculously survived the bombings during World War II. Read about the top five buildings in Salzburg >


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Animals That Come to Life in Art

All pet owners know that their four- and sometimes two-legged friends have distinctive personalities. But that doesn’t apply solely to our domesticated companions. Go into the wild and watch how different penguins or baboons behave, and you’ll start to notice the uniqueness of each individual. Animals are just as complicated as humans (with a lot less baggage), capable of learning, surviving against the odds, and feeling, everything from fear and compassion to sadness and joy. We’ve all seen the videos of elephants crying, a husky going absolutely bonkers when his master returns home after an extended tour of duty overseas, the Labrador gently interacting with a curious but cautious three-year-old boy with Down syndrome, and the giraffe kissing his caretaker goodbye, sensing the man’s impending death from cancer. When animals are portrayed in art and an artist can brilliantly capture their entire being and personality — their characteristics, beauty, and emotions — in static media like marble or paint, you’ll find yourself looking at something that comes this close to being the real thing. Read about the top five animals in art >


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Top 5 Buildings in Vienna, Austria

Stephansdom, Vienna, AustriaTourism in Austria is a very big deal: It constitutes about 9 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product. Austria is the 12th most visited country in the world, attracting about 24 million tourists annually. Vienna captures the bulk of that number, and it’s easy to understand why. Over the past five years, Vienna has been ranked both the most livable city on earth and the smartest city on the planet. With a long history and a deep reservoir of cultural events and venues, Austria’s capital teems with opportunities to be impressed. It’s also a great city in which you can follow in the footsteps of Sigmund Freud, Leon Trotsky, and Mozart by lingering over a cup of outstanding java and a rich dessert from a window table at one of the famous coffee houses while admiring all the outstanding architecture surrounding you. From cathedrals to museums, from opera houses to palaces, the entire city seems to have been built for greatness. These are my top five buildings in Vienna. Read more >