Stunning Views from the Rooftop at Azotea in Madrid

Azotea in the Círculo de Bellas Artes is where you want to be to watch the sunset. In the heart of Madrid, Azotea has a 360 degree views, relaxed and sophisticated ambiance and great chill music. It doesn’t get better than watching the changing hues of peach, pink and orange splash over beautiful Madrid while basking in one of the plush couches.

Plan ahead to snag a reservation for dinner at the Tartan Roof restaurant. No reservations are needed for drinks and view at the bar.

Galician Home Cooking at Cera 23 – Barcelona, Spain

Cera 23 Barcelona Sign

Make your way down the narrow streets of Barcelona and take in the beautiful sounds and smells from the various Southeast Asian, African, South American, Pakistani and Spanish stores, restaurants and homes that make up El Raval neighborhood.

Cera 23 is a cozy spot in the middle of El Raval serving Galician and Mediterranean home cooking. Reservations recommended but you can kill time waiting for your table by trying the famous  blackberry mojito at the small bar in front. Continue reading

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Stained Glass Dome in La Rotonda – Madrid, Spain

Stained Glass Dome in La Rotonda - Madrid, Spain

Beautiful light flows through the elegant stained glass dome at La Rotonda restaurant in the Westin Palace hotel in Madrid Spain. Known for their Sunday Opera Brunch it’s also a great spot to stop by for tea, enjoy the decor and people watching.

The mannequin with the vintage suitcases was part of the 100 Years Traveling Together  exhibit.  Historical pieces from Samsonite gave a glimpse into how travel evolved from 1912 through the decades.

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Tropical Gardens of Madrid Atocha Station – Estación de Madrid Atocha

tropical gardens in atocha Madrid station

Atocha is the main train station in Madrid and hub for commuter and countrywide travel. The high-speed train to Barcelona is an easy way to travel and glimpse the countryside while utilizing the train Wi-Fi if you desire.

Entering the Jardín Tropical Estación de Atocha, lush tropical gardens, complete with a pond filled with fish and turtles and covering over 40,000 square feet of the concourse will make you forget you are in a bustling train station.

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Pintxoteca Orkestra at Platea Madrid

Pintxoteca Orkestra Platea Madrid

Pintxos, also known as pinchos or tapas, are typical Spanish bar snacks. These beauties are from Pintxoteca Orkestra at the Platea Madrid food hall – largest gastronomic center in Europe. It includes a theater, bar, restaurants and a club.

Must-Stay Hotel: Cotton House in Barcelona, Spain

The unassuming entrance gives no hint to the gorgeous history meets modern design behind the giant carved wood doors in the Cotton House, a luxury 83 room boutique hotel in the heart of Barcelona. Built in 1879 for a Spanish family before being sold to the Cotton Textile Foundation, the first two floors retain their original design and are full of color and ornate detail. From the giant wall of framed mirrors that meets the marble floor of the reception, the calming effect of dining among the dozens of cotton bolts in different white hues in the Batuar restaurant to the rooftop pool and my personal favorite, the suspended spiral staircase – the Cotton House is one of the most beautiful and visually interesting hotels in Barcelona.

I arrived at 9:30am with no expectation of checking in but simply to store my luggage while I spent the day touring. However, between being offered bites of the chocolate-covered strawberries, the staff apologized for not having the room ready and offered to upgrade the room.

There are eight room grades and I ended up getting upgraded twice to the Cotton Room level complete with a balcony facing the terrace, king-size bed and huge walk-in shower and full bathtub. In contrast to the colorful opulence of the public areas the hotel room is elegantly simple with warm white tones covering the room, soft white leather chairs and headboard, impossibly soft bedding and backlit drawings of cotton that line the wall giving the room a warm feel.

You can sneak a peek here:

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Spiral Staircase – Cotton House Hotel, Barcelona Spain

Cotton House Hotel Barcelona Staircase 1

The only hotel I took the stairs instead of the elevator every day. It was a joy winding my way around and looking up at the beautiful yellow globes of light that changed with the sun.

The staircase in the Cotton House Hotel is protected by the city of Barcelona as a historical architectural feat. Built in the 1960s it’s the first of its kind –  a hanging spiral staircase suspended by cables.

Hiking from Deià to Port de Soller, Mallorca, Spain

View From Hike To Port de Soller‏

View From Hike To Port de Soller‏

It’s a dreary day in Chicago so I wanted to bring some sunshine in with this picture taken mid-hike from Deià to Port de Soller in Mallorca, Spain. It’s a lovely 2.5 to 3 hour hike along paths dating back several centuries that wind through Mallorca’s back yards filled with olives trees.  You might run into a donkey here and there as well.