Stephen Travels

And he's ready to take you with him.


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Secular Stockholm’s Religious Past

St. James Church, Stockholm, SwedenNearly 80 percent of Swedes describe themselves as “not religious” or “convinced atheists,” and only about 4 percent of members of the Church of Sweden attend a weekly service. Those statistics belie the country’s religious past: There are more than 3,500 churches in Sweden, dozens and dozens of which are dotted around the capital city. I was enamored by the diversity of their architecture, history, and features, and I was enchanted by all of them. Read more about the top five churches in Stockholm >


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Shopping at the Five Best Indoor Markets

Pike Place Market, Seattle, WashingtonDuring periods of pleasant weather, many of us flock to outdoor markets — to New York’s bountiful farmers market in Union Square, for example, or the irresistibly charming Christmas markets scattered around Germany, or the open-air Marigot Market on the French side of St. Martin. When the weather doesn’t cooperate, however, we still have the option of patronizing indoor markets to purchase our produce, our earrings, our leather-bound journals, our fancy corkscrews, our locally crafted pottery. Not only do they provide an opportunity to pick up the perfect gift, or souvenir, or components of a fine meal, they also offer the chance to mingle with locals, both the vendors and their customers. Read more about my top five indoor markets from around the world >


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Top 5 Yellows

Ceramics and pottery, Orvieto, ItalyIt may elicit groans and sighs of dismay from children when a yellow school bus pulls up on the first day back to class in September, but it will also make millions of parents secretly smile. In fact, at least to me, yellow remains the most joyful color. Whether it’s the daffodil fields of Oregon, the Yellow Mounds in Badlands National Park in South Dakota, or the predominant color in the ceramics and pottery made in Orvieto, Italy, yellow is bound to add a little cheer to your day. These are my top five occurrences of yellow from around the world. Read more >


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Sweden’s Vasa: From Wreck to Celebrity

Vasa Museum, Stockholm, SwedenMore than 25 million people have visited the Vasamuseet since it opened in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1990, and with more than one million visitors per year, it’s the most popular maritime museum in the world. And why shouldn’t it be? The centerpiece is the Vasa, the only intact 17th-century ship that has ever been salvaged. After 333 years at the bottom of Stockholm harbor following a catastrophic maiden voyage, the Vasa has been brought back to life. And she’s absolutely spectacular. Read more >