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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.

Inside Tempelhofer Feld – From Nazi Airport to Public Park in the Heart of Berlin

Tempelhof Berlin Runway

Tempelhof Berlin Runway

Built in the 1920’s, Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport was a busy hub taken over by the Nazi’s in the 1930’s, the Russians in 1945 in the Battle of Berlin and finally handed to the US as part of the Potsdam Agreement and used throughout the Cold War years for military and commercial use. This historic landmark is a must-see and  Continue reading

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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VW Bulli T1 at Weingalerie und Café NÖ! – Berlin, Germany

Weingalerie Cafe No VW Berlin

If you didn’t know to look for the VW Bulli T1 that sits in front of the impossibly cute Weingalerie und Café NÖ! you might pass it by as the building is covered in vines. It’s a gem of a wine bar serving German and Mediterranean food near Unter Den Linden in the Mitte neighborhood. The VW is available to rent and gaze upon if you are lucky enough to snag a table outside.

 

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.

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Königsstuhl – National Park Jasmund – Rügen, Germany

Jasmund National Park

Jasmund National Park

View from Königsstuhl in the Nationalpark Jasmund a UNESCO site and protected beech forest in Rügen, Germany. Rügen is an island off the north coast of Germany near Sweden.