Stephen Travels

And he's ready to take you with him.


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From 1322 to Today, Tallinn’s Town Hall Was Built to Last

Town Hall, Tallinn, EstoniaIn 2005, the Town Hall in Tallinn, Estonia, received second prize in the category of Conservation of Architectural Heritage at the European Heritage Awards. Located in the heart of Tallinn’s Old Town, Town Hall isn’t the largest one I’ve ever seen, nor the grandest or most elaborate, but it’s certainly charming and irrefutably resilient: For nearly 700 years, this structure has weathered everything from its critical role in the then-independent city to its subordination under Soviet Communism to its rebirth as Tallinn’s hub. And, so, that award was very well-deserved. Read more about it >

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Hidden Jewels Far From Croatia’s Coast in the City of Varaždin

Keglevic Palace, Varazdin, CroatiaWhether you’re traveling by car, bus, foot, or sailboat, the spectacular coast of Croatia, with its beaches, islands, and coastal cities and towns will etch its way into your memory as one of the most beautiful spots in Europe. But I also wanted to see the interior of the country, where the vibe is decidedly un-Mediterranean and you know you’re in Central Europe. That meant time in Zagreb, Plitvice Lakes National Park, and a day trip to the lovely city of Varaždin. A two-hour train ride from the capital affords views of the countryside and the occasional pheasant wandering by. Once I arrived here, however, it was all about the flowers and parks as well as a wonderful collection of baroque and rococo architecture. Read more about the top five buildings in Varaždin >


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Windy Wellington’s Best Buildings

Beehive, Wellington, New ZealandFrequently cited as the world’s breeziest city, the capital of New Zealand is one of the planet’s top draws for windsurfers, sailors, and kite enthusiasts. With an average wind speed of 16.6 miles per hour, the city certainly deserves its blustery reputation. But nothing more than a gentle zephyr greeted me upon my arrival in Wellington, and motionless anemometers characterized my departure a few days later, via ferry across Cook Strait to South Island — one of the world’s most treacherous rides in inclement weather, but also one of the world’s most beautiful on a fair day. Residents swamped pocket parks to enjoy the apparently unusual stillness — a glorious respite that permitted me to easily explore the city and its best architecture without chasing my hat down the street. Read more about my five favorite buildings >