Stephen Travels

And he's ready to take you with him.


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A Rose Is a Rose Is a Rose, But Some Places Grow Them Better

Kilkenny Castle, IrelandGarden cultivation of roses began several millennia ago, starting way back in Babylon, ancient China, and the Roman Empire. Long admired for their color, their fragrance, and their beauty (some royalty used them as legal tender in the 17th century), the world’s most popular flower has achieved fame not only in horticultural circles, but also in song (“Yellow Rose of Texas”; “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”), war (The War of the Roses), adages (“bed of roses”; “I never promised you a rose garden”), and cinema (The Rose; The Rose Tattoo). This international symbol of love is tended to in dedicated gardens around the world, some of which have truly perfected the art. Read about the world’s top five rose gardens >


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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 >