Stephen Travels

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A Taste of Russia in Finland at Helsinki’s Šašlik Restaurant

Šašlik, Helsinki, FinlandAll around Helsinki, I kept coming across big and small reminders of Russia’s influence in the city and throughout Finland, which was part of its massive neighbor from 1809 until its independence in 1917. You may still hear some Russian conversations, although, even though it’s the third most spoken native language in Finland, Russian now represents only 1 percent of native languages spoken. You’re more likely to see evidence of Russia’s sway in, for instance, the statue of Emperor Alexander II standing before the striking Helsinki Cathedral in Senate Square, and the gorgeous Uspenski Cathedral, the largest orthodox church in Western Europe. You’ll also find it in the cuisine, and one of the top Russian restaurants in the Finnish capital, Šašlik, immediately transported me back to the era of the Romanovs. Read more >

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Five Train Stations That Will Make You Rethink Flying

Dunedin Railway Station, Dunedin, New ZealandNot that long ago, when travel by train was the preferred and quickest way to embark on a vacation or business trip, railroad companies made sure their passengers were impressed by and made comfortable in their stations, whether it was a charming small-town depot or a massive big-city terminal. Many of these stations are still in use today, offering a far more pleasant experience than generic, isolated airports with countless hassles, endless lines, and crushing rules and regulations. Although some have been repurposed to function as everything but what they were originally intended for, they remain architectural jewels in our urban landscape. These are my five favorite train stations in the world. Read more >


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Getting Hooked on Helsinki’s Best Seafood

Havis, Helsinki, FinlandWith 780 miles of coastline and 187,888 lakes, Finland is a seafood lover’s delight. The creative chefs in Helsinki take full advantage of the country’s maritime resources and produce some imaginative results from what is pulled from the water. Located across the street from the old food market and the busiest harbor in the city, Havis combines its highly appropriate setting with an alluring menu that has earned it warm regard as one of the best seafood restaurants in the city — a reputation it well deserves. Read more >


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Luxurious Indulgence in Helsinki

Hotel Kämp, Helsinki, FinlandA little bit of luxury when you’re on vacation is always a welcome thing. In Helsinki, when you want to treat yourself and combine that luxury with a roller-coaster history, tasteful elegance, flawless service and a perfect location in the heart of the Finnish capital, you stay at Hotel Kämp. Read more >