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Berlin's Quirky (and Affordable) Huettenpalast Hotel

Huettenpalast Hotel, Berlin

Sometimes when you live checking in and out of hotel rooms, it can all become a blur, so when you stumble upon one that not only offers something innovative and fun, but also stays with you long after you leave, you take note. During a recent backpacking trip through Europe I checked into a quirky Berlin stay called Huettenpalast Hotel (Hobrechtstrasse 66; 49-030/3730-5806; from $59 per night). Those looking for something completely different and charming will definitely find it here as the place can only be described as an indoor campsite. Six wooden cabins and vintage caravans just large enough to fit a double bed are scattered inside an old vacuum cleaner factory for a "room within a room" experience. The sunny campsite contains various seating options, shared bathrooms and showers (don't worry, they're incredibly clean), and a center dining area where little baggies of croissants, apples, and drinks are hung on a painted tree for breakfast each morning.

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TODAY Show Video: Test Your Travel Trivia

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Think you’re well traveled? Find out by taking this fun, quick quiz. You may be surprised by the answers to these questions about popular destinations and travel references in pop culture.

#1 What is the most visited tourist attraction in the world?
A. Times Square
B. Disney World
C. The Colosseum
D. Eiffel Tower

Related: See all of the world’s most-visited tourist attractions

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Snakes (Almost) on a Plane: TSA Finds 821 Firearms, Chainsaw, and Slithering Reptiles in Carry-Ons

201208-b-concealed-weapons-on-airplanesjpg"Whaaaaaaaaaat?" That's what I said to myself after reading this piece by Gizmodo who reported via the Transportation Security Administration's blog, that since January 1st, TSA agents have discovered 821 firearms in carry-on bags at airports around the country. Of these, 691 were loaded, and 210 were locked and loaded with a round chambered. Some other bizarrely alarming weapons discovered while passengers were filing through security? Dead venomous snakes (snakes almost on a plane!), a gun in a hollowed out book (retro move there), an explosive grenade, a spear gun, eels, a gassed-up chainsaw, and a chastity belt. Too weird, America. But keep up the good work TSA! And in the future, before you confiscate that sealed bottle of Poland Spring in my backpack, can we just put a few things in perspective?

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 Marguerite A. Suozzi is an assistant research editor at Travel + Leisure.

 

Forest Friends Help Kangaroos Hightail It Out of German Zoo

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Kangaroos are desperate to flee Europe, and their freedom-loving woodland well-wishers are determined to aid and abet in any way they can. In the latest incident, on Saturday, three incarcerated marsupials, Skippy, Jack, and Mick (last names unknown), bolted from the confines of the Hochwildschutzpark Hunsrueck, an animal park near Frankfurt, Germany, with the help of animal accomplices. According to the Associated Press, the jailed joeys, using a tunnel dug by a local fox, made a breakout reminiscent of Steve McQueen in The Great Escape. Continuing their quest for liberty, the 'roos-on-the-run headed for a hole under a secondary fence--this one dug by a boar--where one of the kangaroos was forced to abandon his bid for independence. Of the remaining two absconders, one was soon captured and the other, a "super friendly, super nice" male, according to a zookeeper, remains at large.

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Man Travels to Slumberland on Luggage Conveyor Belt

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We’ve always felt that finding a comfortable place to rest your head at an airport is challenging, but a Norwegian tourist at the Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport in Rome had no problem drifting away to Slumberland. When he found the ticket check-in counter was empty, the unnamed man wandered behind the desk to take a nap on the baggage conveyor belt. He was sound asleep, hugging his suitcase, until the belt started to move. Of course, as any adventurer would do, he stayed on, riding on the baggage belt (and through the x-ray machines) for 15 minutes until airport security took notice and removed him. Shocked? Airport security wasn’t. They see similar incidents twice a year.     

Kelsi Maree Borland is an editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.

Photo Courtesy of iStock.com.

Stop Monkeying Around: Orangutan Gets in Trouble at Zoo for Smoking

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You'd think this orangutan was from Paris, not Jakarta. Zookeepers at an Indonesian zoo were forced to move an orangutan out of visitors' sight due to her frequent smoking of cigarettes that visitors threw in her cage. Fifteen-year-old Tori is said to have been a smoker for the past ten years. We know about primates' similarities to humans, but this smoking orangutan is totally bananas.

Corinne White is an editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.

iStock (left); Jonathan Hewitt / Alamy (right)

Yeehaw! Wild West Town For Sale

201208-b-cowboy-istockjpg"Two hundred thousand dollars is a lot of money," said Blondie in the classic western A Fistful of Dollars. We're wondering what Blondie would have to say about the 3.9 million dollar pricetag for the old ghost town of Woodside, Utah, a former water stop for steam engines and rumored pit stop for Butch Cassidy.

The Denver Post reports that 63-year-old owner Roy Pogue said that the reason for selling the 709-acre property was because his wife "likes people and we didn't have any neighbors out there." 3.2 million is admittedly steep, but just picture this: you, pretending you're Clint Eastwood, sipping a whiskey inside your own saloon while your horse waits outside. Just hope you've got a fistful of 3.2 million dollars to make it happen.

Related: America's Coolest Ghost Towns

Corinne White is an editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.

Photo by iStock

Just Born: Cutest. Animal. Ever.

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What's fluffy, white, and cute all over? That would be the two extremely rare white lion cubs that were recently born at Parque Loro Zoo in Puebla, Mexico on July 18. Their species sadly no longer exists in the wild, so if you want to be able to claim that you've seen the cutest thing in the whole world, a trip to Puebla is a must. Just look for the roly-poly creatures who look like marshmallows.

Related: America's Most-Visited Zoos; Baby Animals: Reader Photos

Corinne White is an editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.

Photo credit: Splash News/Corbis

Billions of Reasons We're Fascinated by the 2012 Summer Olympics

London Olympic Stadium

The Olympics are here! To celebrate, T+L rounds up 22 fascinating facts and figures relating to everything London 2012. Behold our smashing pyramid of zany Olympic numbers.

1 Life-size inflatable replica of Stonehenge erected in London for the Games
4 Skeletons removed from the site under the Zaha Hadid–designed Aquatics Centre
37 Languages that the Bard’s plays will be performed in during the World Shakespeare Festival
71 Age of Japanese equestrian Hiroshi Hoketsu, the oldest Olympian competing this summer
150 Bat boxes and artificial otter holts installed in the 500-acre Olympic Park
351 Average rate (in USD) of a hotel room in central London during the games
1,500 Seats in London's temporary McDonald's outpost, which will serve 50,000 Big Macs
4,000 Brand new BMWs ordered to escort dignities and officials to events
10,500 Olympic athletes from 205 participating countries
22,000 Pillows made available in Athletes Village
150,000 Condoms made available in Athletes Village (that's 30 per...couple)
203,000 Pieces of luggage to be handled at Heathrow on August 13, the busiest game day
1,000,000 Pieces of sporting equipment used during the Games
5,000,000 Brits who now regret signing up to receive Games-related emails
10,000,000 Free tickets available across thousands of events in the London 2012 Festival
14,000,000 Meals served during the Games across 40 different London locations
200,000,000 Viewers NBC expects to tune into the broadcasts (not counting Ann Curry)
777,000,000 Cost (in USD) of Olympic security for taxpayers...this covers only the venues
1,000,000,000 Expected visitors to London2012.com
4,000,000,000 Original expected cost (in USD) of the London 2012 Games
14,500,000,000 Current expected cost (in USD) of the London 2012 Games
40,000,000,000 Cost (in USD) of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing—the most expensive to date

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Briana Fasone is a New York City–based freelance writer. You can follow her on Twitter @brifasone.

 

Photo courtesy of London 2012 Organising Committee

Dude Looks Like A Lady: Japanese Men Turn To Parasols

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Soaring food prices, extreme storms, added air conditioning: we all know the effects of our globe's rising temperatures. But what about cultural changes? Japanese men are turning to the parasol (or "higasa"), a typically female accessory, because of the extreme heat that Japan has been experiencing. And they need not worry about starting to look like Mrs. Doubtfire: retailers sell parasols not just in pink, beige, and white, but also blue, gray, and green. They also offer larger sizes. Now there's an sun-shielding umbrella you can feel manly about.

Corinne White is an editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.

Photo credit: Ocean/Corbis

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