Long term readers are accustomed to me throwing in a random light hearted weekly subject every now and then focused on what I've enjoyed on Netflix or one of the other 100 streaming services currently available. Back in October 2020 I was just starting Season 3 of Money Heist. The plot is quite preposterous, but the characters are so well defined and varied that I just couldn't help being completely hooked. Last weekend was a mini binge watch of the last 3 episodes of the final season, #5. Somehow this amazing show became my #1 of all time, creeping ahead of Breaking Bad by virtue of extraordinary story-telling, action, plot twists, relationships and simply an epic final season.
All the chief protagonists on the robber side are given city codenames and last time around I featured Helsinki, Tokyo, Berlin, Lisbon and Denver. I think there are another 8 city names in total, but here's my Top 5 of the remaining city codenames, all worth a visit in real life of course.
Ooh and give it a go if you've not watched it yet.
Top 5 - Money Heist Cities part 2
1. Stockholm, Sweden
Stockholm (above) is one of the most beautiful capital cities in the world, built on 14 islands connected by 57 bridges. The buildings, cutting-edge design, hip style, the fresh air and the proximity to the water are just a few of its distinctive traits.
For a Virtuoso property try out the Lydmar Hotel (below) a cozy boutique hotel, set harborside with views of the Old Town and always frequented by locals. Each of the 46 delightfully spacious rooms has its own personal flair, with mood lighting and gallery-quality artworks. Spend your evenings lingering in the restaurant/lounge, which resembles a comfy living room with stacks of books and an assortment of favorite board games.
2. Rio, Brazil
In addition to its many natural wonders, Rio (above) is renowned for its fascinating and joyful culture, to be admired in its many museums and in its vibrant streets, always flooded with music, dances and celebrations. Football (soccer) is obviously an integral part of the local culture. Head to the Maracanã Stadium, home of the two main teams of the city, Flamengo and Fluminense, to live football as only the Carioca do.
For a Virtuoso property try out Copacabana Palace (below), a Belmond property. Rooms and suites are inviting refuges, individually designed with antique furniture and original artworks. Beds are so comfortable, Keith Richards’ wife wanted to take one home and just over the road is iconic Copacabana Beach, where guests enjoy private sun loungers and umbrellas.
3. Palermo, Sicily, Italy
Today travelers to Palermo and the surrounding region (above) are discovering a city with an exciting mix of medieval areas with clothes hung on lines between buildings and elegant residential districts with palm trees and palatial villas. Palermo is a city with stunning historical sights, a mouth-watering gastronomy tradition, crystal-clear waters and an energetic atmosphere.
For a Virtuoso property try out Villa Igiea (below), a Rocco Forte property. Located at the foot of Mount Pellegrino, Villa Igiea is a Mediterranean beachside paradise. Originally opened in 1900, this fabled palazzo – a favorite of royalty and Hollywood luminaries – underwent an extensive refurbishment that brings a contemporary flair to the airy rooms and suites while preserving exquisite art nouveau features. Roam the tiered gardens, lounge by the pool or on the private beach, and dine on the finest Sicilian fare while overlooking the azure waters.
4. Nairobi, Kenya
Nairobi (above) has a history just as diverse as the rich wildlife surrounding it. For its abundance of fertile lands, the country was colonized by the British East Africa Protectorate in the 19th century, and served as a significant hinterland for the mother country during the WWI era. However, upon its foundation in 1899, Nairobi was far from being a deserted swamp deep hidden in the mighty ridges of Kenya: settlers were soon confronted with the persistence of the indigenous Maasai people, who eventually regained the country's independence in 1963. Today, what once caused large turbulence has since transformed into peaceful coexistence, giving Nairobi a charmingly eclectic feel.
For a Virtuoso property head out of the city to Sir Richard Branson’s Kenyan safari camp, Mahali Mzuri (below), an unforgettable safari experience in the Maasai Mara ecosystem. Each of the 12 luxury tented suites is on a raised platform and includes a spacious bedroom with an en suite bathroom, sitting area, and deck overlooking the pristine landscape. The camp is located in the path of the Great Migration – on a typical game drive, you’ll spot wildebeests, elephants, zebras, lions, buffalo, topi, hippopotamuses, and more!
5. Bogota, Colombia
The country of Colombia is a hot destination for 2022 and Bogota (above) serves as a great introduction to the country. The lively capital city lies in the region known as the Eastern Colombian Andes and is known for its street art; markets spilling over with flowers, fruit, and crafts; and thriving nightlife – all set against the backdrop of the Andes’ rugged peaks. Numerous national parks in the páramo – a grassland ecosystem between the tree line and the snow line that’s home to endangered Andean condors and endangered Bogotá rails and mountain tapirs – provide a wealth of day-trip activities.
For a Virtuoso property try out W Bogota (below) which adds a vibrant vibe to Colombia’s always-bustling capital city. Choose from 168 guest rooms with smart HDTVs, rain-forest showers, and other sharp features. Restaurant W Bogota features a farm-to-table menu of world-class dishes accompanied by local fruits and vegetables. Delectable cocktails and live DJ sets keep the party going into the wee hours at the W Lounge.
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