Tag Archives: Wandering

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

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A Brewery, Dim Sum, Library, and Flower Shop All Rolled Into One

Open Spaces

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Our recent trip to Raleigh showed us just how much that city is growing—one of the fastest in the country, in fact. It’s not hard to see why: beautiful weather and cultured people, low cost of living, and a penchant for all things unique and creative. Also, awesome craft beer!

In search of some local cuisine and a good brew (but not necessarily in that order), we found Brewery Bhavana. The food: amazing! The people: awesome! The atmosphere: perfect! The beer: the best!

Breweries are popping up all over Raleigh as people continue to move there. But Bhavana’s creativity and harmonious all-in-one open space restaurant-shop concept made us instantly realize how unique this place really is.

Add to all that the other curiosities about Brewery Bhavana, and you’ve got a place we’ve never seen before and probably isn’t replicated anywhere else in the country. The skylight over the flower shop gave the open space concept at Bhavana a very nice touch. And during your stay, you can peep through their book selection.

LINKS
Brewery Bhavana Website


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World’s Tallest Filing Cabinet

Only in Vermont

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We found ourselves in Burlington, VT a couple of weeks ago. So, first off, Burlington is awesome! If we had to do college all over again, we would have gone there! Great college town, great local craft beers, and come on–Ben and Jerry’s! It’s just a young, hip town in a state known for its complete coolness.

Then we found this, the world’s tallest filing cabinet. OK, so it’s actually a bunch of filing cabinets stacked on top of each other, but seriously, where else would you find such a thing?! Definitely worth a look before your trip to the next local brew house. ”

Could you file this in drawer 31? Thanks.”


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.

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In Europe, You Can Always Visit Your Friendly Neighborhood Christmas Market

Plenty of Christmastime to Go Around

They’re a growing trend in the States, but a staple of Christmas in Europe. A Christmas Market is pretty much what it sounds like:

Markets. At Christmas.

Each year, for about a month before Yule, many towns and cities across the continent set up makeshift marketplaces in their center squares, with food, drinks of all kind, and Christmas-themed trinkets. Lights are just part of the show, including those that adorn buildings and churches (see below). Larger Christmas markets usually have ice skating rinks set up in the middle of them. 

Roasted chestnuts are some of the favorites, along with Glühwein and well-decorated cookies. Of course, if that’s not your thing, there’s plenty of other local eats, depending on the country. We’ve visited a number of Christmas markets in Western Europe and found Germany and Belgium host some of the most elaborate ones (perfect places to get chocolate-covered Belgian waffles!). Although we haven’t made it to Switzerland yet, we’ve heard the Christmas Market in Zurich is by far the best anywhere.

And then there’s the Christmas trees. Europe really takes their Christmas trees seriously, putting the one at Rockefeller Plaza to shame.

LINKS
100 Best Things to Do in Switzerland


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World’s Largest Wind Chime

It Does Exist!

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You won’t notice much while driving through southern Illinois, at least not until you see the billboards for the world’s largest…well, there’s a few things to see. Here in the small town of Casey, a reinvention is underway. A former oil town, Casey, Illinois is rebranding itself as the modern capital of the world’s largest wind chime. It’s also home to the world’s largest golf tee, rocking chair, and mailbox, among other things certified by Guinness World Records. Oh yeah, you can actually “ring” the wind chime. See video below:

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Bolin Enterprise Inc.

So who’s behind all this? Meet Bolin Enterprise Inc. (BEI), a company specializing in pipeline cleaning and maintenance. BEI has long called Casey home, and as the town’s economy changed and many jobs went away, BEI invested in projects like the wind chime to attract tourism. This new endeavor clearly works; it did attract UW, after all. Many of Casey’s small businesses are thriving as a result, shining with the adopted slogan “Big Things in a Small Town”.

There are a number of “big things” in Casey, both official and unofficial, and they’re not all in one place, either. Turn a corner and you’ll find a giant birdcage. The World’s Largest Rocking Chair (certified, weighing about 23 tons) is located next to City Hall. The randomness of these monuments makes Casey ever more interesting. One day, UW will return to document more–unfortunately, we only had time to visit the wind chime and rocking chair.

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And of course, we couldn’t leave without meeting the actual builder of all these magnificent things. UW caught up with the master wood and metalworker behind these giant creations in his workshop, conveniently located behind the wind chime. Employed by BEI, this is his “retirement” job (he works with another person, too), and loves every minute of it. He was in the middle of carving what might become the world’s largest gavel when we arrived.

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Big Things in a Small Town
Casey, Illinois website
Bolin Enterprise Inc.

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