Stephen Travels

And he's ready to take you with him.


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Lingering Over Lunch in Tivoli, Italy

L'Angolino di Mirko, Tivoli, ItalyA short day trip out of Rome took me to Tivoli, a smaller city of around 55,000 people about 25 miles northeast of the Italian capital. I traveled here specifically to see Villa d’Este, a 16th-century palace famed for the gardens and 51 fountains that spill down the hillside behind it. A full morning spent admiring the villa’s frescoes and climbing up and down some steep paths and staircases to appreciate the property had stirred my appetite. On my way back to the train station, I hunted for a spot for lunch where I could soak in the aura of this place. I found it perfectly captured at Ristorante L’Angolino di Mirko. Read more >

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Valletta’s Ambrosia Lives Up to Expectations of Its Name’s Connotations

I had spent a full week in Malta, that small Mediterranean island nation with a fascinating history, alluring beaches and architecture, and, very importantly, an outstanding, complex cuisine, served with aplomb at such stellar restaurants as Legligin Wine Bar, Palazzo Preca, and Capistrano. For my last night here, I headed to Ambrosia in the capital, Valletta. I figured that a restaurant named for the food of the Greek gods, with the promise of conferring longevity or immortality upon whoever partook of it, had to be good. And, to no surprise, it did not disappoint. Read more >


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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 >