Stephen Travels

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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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The Best Clocks in the World Tell More Than Time

Holy Spirit Church clock, Tallinn, EstoniaWhen you fall back this weekend, take a good look at the clock or wristwatch you’re adjusting. Is it a strictly functional device that displays the inexorable march of time? Or is it a work of art? Clocks have come a long way since sundials and do more than merely inform you that you have arrived early at an airport or overslept again. The best ones also tell great stories — or have great stories told about them. Read more about the top five clocks in the world >


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First-rate Dining at Café Christiania in Oslo, Norway

Consistently ranked at or near the top of lists of the most expensive cities in the world, Oslo can easily break your budget. While you’ll want enough money to last throughout your entire trip, you won’t want frugality to prevent you from enjoying the finer things that this friendly city offers. The key is balance. For instance, you can spend your day ice skating at the free rink in the middle of the city and admiring the 212 bronze and granite sculptures in fee-less Vigeland Park while snacking on excellent cheese and bread from a local grocer, then put all the krone you saved into a superb dinner. And one of the best restaurants to enjoy that superior meal is Café Christiana. Read more >


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Life in Bronze and Granite in Oslo’s Vigeland Park

Vigelandsparken, Oslo, NorwayIn a city that is continually ranked as one of the world’s most expensive, it’s a wise idea to give your credit cards a little breather and take advantage of anything that doesn’t charge a fee in Oslo, Norway. One of the best krone-free venues is Vigelandsparken. Oslo teems with statues, but Vigeland Park takes it a step further, showcasing more than 200 sculptures by acclaimed artist Gustav Vigeland, earning it the honor of being the world’s largest sculpture park made by one artist. Read more >