next stop, Atocha

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In the modern age of travel, where speed and efficiency is a necessity, it is far and few between that a large public transportation hub beckons you with its beauty to stay and linger for a while. Sure, there are some beauties such as Grand Central Station that offer up visual delights in its main hall, but this place, Atocha Station, breaks all the normal rules of a train station. Rather than rushing through, governed by the need to reach your final destination, this station offers the chance to slow down and disconnect from the surrounding hustle and bustle, amidst a true urban jungle.

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Atocha station is the largest operator of trains in Madrid, and due to the capital city’s central location , it is responsible for connecting some of the major cities throughout Spain. By way of high-speed trains, it is credited with getting commuters to and from places throughout the country, such as Seville, Zaragazova, and Barcelona and Valencia, the second and third largest cities respectively.

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The original station was declared open during the winter of 1851 but forty years later it was destroyed by fire, rebuilt again by a man named Alberto de Palacio Elissagne.  Fast forward to 1992, and the Atocha terminal saw itself undergoing a new renovation project, the installation of an indoor tropical garden that sits within the main concourse, of an expansive size of 4,0000 square meters (13, 123 sq.ft).

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Living amidst the hustle are plants like the Sabal palmetto
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some plants offer the passing public a sheltered refuge, on the right is Ravenala madagascariensis (also known as the Traveler’s Palm, ironic?)

IMG_5949 Overhead, glass skylights provide enough sufficient light to help over 7,000 plants tropical plants (and a fully stocked turtle pond) grow and live within this mesmerizing lush urban space.  -James

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