All posts by UndiscoveredWanderings Staff

Mark Twain’s Final Resting Place

Nestled in New York State’s Southern Tier

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Graves aren’t typically considered offbeat, but we like to make exceptions for great people who’ve solidified their places in history. We were honored to pay tribute to Ernest Hemingway in Ketchum, Idaho a while back.

In a cozy little city called Elmira lies one of America’s greatest literary minds. Mark Twain–or Samuel Clemens, as he was legally known–led a life of adventure considered ambitious even by today’s standards. His writings certainly reflect that and more, including his brutal honesty about people and life in general.

Although he passed away in Redding, Connecticut, he had ties to Elmira, especially since it was where he married his wife, Olivia. It was her family that was from Elmira, and it is her family’s plot at Woodlawn Cemetery where they are both buried today.

Signage is available upon entering Woodlawn Cemetery that will direct you to his gravesite.

Stuck in an Airport for a While? Go Yotel.

Micro-Sized Living

You’ve got a long layover in a noisy airport with no place to sleep–and it’s already been a long trip. Do you dare try to sleep in the terminal?

Fortunately for us, while we waited patiently at London’s Gatwick Airport to return home last summer, Yotel offered an easy and affordable solution. So what is this curious-sounding hotel chain?

Yotel is capitalizing on the ever-growing popularity of micro spaces–think efficiency apartments and tiny houses. The genius behind Yotel is that it mostly operates out of airports, so it’s perfect for those who don’t really need a hotel so much as a safe and comfortable place to sleep and put their luggage during a longer-than-usual layover. 18 hours was too much for us to just wait around at an airport bar, so this place was perfect. It was extremely comfortable, including the alcove of a bed.

When we say it’s small, we mean it. In our case, the Yotel at Gatwick was built into the airport; rooms and corridors to those rooms were styled like a spaceship, which added to the aura of the place. With 24-hour check in and all the amenities of any hotel–including WiFi and your own bathroom–it was exactly what we needed for the 12 hours we stayed there. And that’s the beauty of it: you can book a Yotel room for hours if needed. You don’t have to pay for the whole day. Pretty cool for our modern age. 

Yotel is growing around the world. Learn more! 


Become an UndiscoveredWanderings Guest Poster! We always enjoy hearing from our readers and welcome you to send us your travel stories through our Share Your Travels page. We’ll always publish under your name. Your contributions help make UndiscoveredWanderings possible.

Madrid’s San Miguel Market Just Works for Everyone

Fish Heads, Anyone?

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Looking for something fresh? How about just a sample? Tapas? Atmosphere? Mercado San Miguel in Madrid has just that! 

We don’t really know what drew us to Madrid’s Market of San Miguel. As far as offbeat attractions go, it’s not like it’s hard to find, since it’s in the center of the city, near Plaza Mayor. But the chic iron and glass structure—recently renovated since our first visit to Spain in 2008—called out to us.

Maybe it was the oversized saw tooth fish on ice that was smiling at us (see above), or the casual European atmosphere at the height of the Spanish summer, but San Miguel is a good stop for something different and relaxing, especially if you came a long way like we did. We didn’t eat anything.

We didn’t buy anything. We just explored. Sometimes that all you need to do to experience a place. It just works. And for all you hardcore foodies out there, this might just be your version of heaven. Enjoy!

LINKS
The Market of San Miguel
Visit Madrid

Oddities Found At San Francisco’s Pier 39

Unique Even Among Normalcy

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How much time have we spent in California? A lot. How many times have we been to California? A lot. But each visit brings us new discoveries, which is why we keep going back. Take San Francisco’s famous Pier 39. Of course we’re going to explore such a well-known tourist spot. Actually, a lot of travelers avoid it because it is a well-known tourist spot.

But, being us, we at UWanderings know how to find the hidden gems even in places like this. For those who are missing out, we’re here to help. And so we present to you, our daring and adventurous readers, Undiscovered Wanderings’s stroll through Pier 39.


Water, Meet Massage. Massage, Water.

Ever had a massage from water jets? If you’ve been in a hot tub recently, then the answer is probably yes. But have you ever had a water massage where you can keep your clothes on and stay perfectly dry for the whole thing? That’s what this contraption is for. We found it at Vitality, a hip spa on Pier 39 with a very happy customer base thanks to this and other nifty creature comforts, like the oxygen bars. As for the “Full Body AquaMassage”, as it’s called, you just get inside, under the waterproof barrier, and then water jets shoot at the barrier from an enclosed, watertight compartment. So you feel it, but you don’t get wet. The folks at Vitality were kind enough to give us a demonstration of how it works…


Giant Crab

Did the giant crab thingy at the top get your attention? Good. We really didn’t know what to make of this one, but if you’re on the fritz about visiting Pier 39 because you think it’s too touristy, this right here is all the reason to go. When are you ever going to see another giant crab like this?!  What’s its story, exactly? Abstract art, perhaps? Maybe it’s guarding the place. Who knows…well, someone out there does. Feel free to write us with suggestions if you know this guy’s story, and we’ll update this article.

What is this thing?!?!?!

 


Christmas All the Time!

Yup. We finally found one. A year-round Christmas store. In San Francisco no less. Actually, the guys there told us that the store is a chain, but this is the first we’ve seen of it. This is a dream come true for all of us who not only take joy in getting our Christmas shopping done early, but also for those of us who desperately need to one up our neighbors’ outdoor Christmas displays. Needless to say, it’s got a lot of holiday cheer. As far as Christmas stores go, this is definitely the most vibrant one we’ve seen.


Become an UndiscoveredWanderings Guest Poster! We always enjoy hearing from our readers and welcome you to send us your travel stories through our Share Your Travels page. We’ll always publish under your name. Your contributions help make UndiscoveredWanderings possible.

Spain’s Kilometer Zero

Every Country Has One

Americans like to go to places that are geographically weird—for example, a road or bridge where you can be in more than one state at once. The Four Corners monument also comes to mind. It’s just a thing about us. Perhaps not as popular outside the United States, virtually every country on Earth that uses the metric system has a Kilometer (or Kilometre) Zero, a point from where distances to other parts of said country are measured. All roads lead to somewhere, but they have to start somewhere, right?

Since we spent so much time in Spain, it’s no wonder that we found the Spanish Kilometre Zero. Not surprisingly, it’s in Madrid, since these markers are usually in capital cities. It’s right in the middle of Puerta Del Sol, a public square. It’s not hard to find, but it’s actually fun to hunt for it without GPS and your smartphone, which is why we’re not including a map link to it. Go out and be adventurous, young reader!

Spain’s marker is fancier than most; the “origin of the radial highways”. It is also frequently, though inaccurately, referred to as the geographical center of Spain. But it’s close enough.

LINKS
Kilometre Zero Explained