Stephen Travels

And he's ready to take you with him.


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The Best of Tenerife’s Best

Basilica of the Royal Marian Shrine of Our Lady of Candelaria, TenerifeDriving a rental car with progressively fewer and fewer mirrors around Tenerife, the largest and most populous of the Canary Islands about 62 miles off the coast of Morocco, presented increasing automotive challenges. But it also gave me the chance to develop a comprehensive picture of this Spanish island, from its surreal landscapes to its characteristic architecture to its nearly perfect climate and all that that permits. Read more about the top five things to do in Tenerife >

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The Deceptive Beauty of Oslo’s City Hall

City Hall, Oslo, NorwayEvery now and then, you will find a reason to visit a city hall other than to, say, pick up a marriage license or attend a meeting about your local school system. On such occasions, you may very well be delightfully surprised by what’s in store. The City Hall in Belfast, Northern Ireland, for instance, is a gorgeous building where I had the good fortune to meet the city’s mayor during my visit; Stockholm’s City Hall boasts gorgeous golden mosaics and an unbeatable view of the city from atop its tower. And while the austere exterior of the city hall in Oslo, Norway, may not attract you at first, this city hall is particularly chock full of history, stories, art, and superlatives, which became increasingly apparent to me the closer I got to it. Read more >


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Dine Like a Knight at Palazzo Preca in Valletta, Malta

Palazzo Preca, Valletta, MaltaWhen the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta, more easily referred to as the Knights of St. John, arrived in Malta in 1530, they began a prolific 250-year rule, during which time they famously defended their new homeland against a three-month siege by the Turks in 1565, dealt a fatal blow to the Ottoman navy three months later, and built the city of Valletta, filling it with elaborate churches, grid-pattern streets, and sumptuous palaces as their homes. One of those 16th-century palaces has been converted into the Palazzo Preca Restaurant, where the exceptional food, wine, service, and atmosphere combine to form a truly memorable dining experience. Read more >


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Pure Comfort Food in Freiburg, Germany

The drizzly weather that continued all morning into the early afternoon kept everyone dining at the restaurants around the cobblestone Münsterplatz in Freiburg from eating al fresco. I was in town on the third day of a weeklong pilgrimage through German Christmas markets in seven different cities, and this small city had emerged as one of my favorites. I spent the morning ambling around the City Garden and exploring Freiburg Münster, the beautiful Gothic cathedral completed in 1330 that withstood the bombings of World War II. Before I ventured to the markets, lunch was in order. The conveniently located Ganter Brauereiausschank, just across from the cathedral, beckoned me with its Baden atmosphere and hearty menu, perfect for a wet day in early December. Read more >


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Delft in a Day

City Hall, Delft, NetherlandsOnly about an hour’s train ride from Amsterdam, the Netherlands, the positively lovely city of Delft presents itself as a smaller, saner, less frenetic version of the Dutch capital. You can see all the highlights in a day, but this inviting city of right around 100,000 people may very well seduce you into staying longer to admire its charms and partake in its culture. Read more about the top five things to see and do in Delft >


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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 >


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A Decade of Fine Dining at Capistrano in Valletta, Malta

On my first night in Valletta as a Maltese culinary abecedarian, I devoured a three-hour, eight-course dinner at Legligin Wine Bar. Instantly hooked on Maltese food, I spent the next week eating my way through this small country that’s big on flavors. And it didn’t get much better than at Capistrano, where, over the course of the past 10 years, the flawless quality and presentation of the food has been expertly paired with the sharp, perfectly paced service and an attractive décor. Read more >