Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Ten Things For Your Bucket List

When, I was a young girl, growing up in a very small Canadian prairie town, I used to sit on the banks of a nearby lake.  As I watched the pelicans frolic, I would wonder where they would fly when they left the snowy north for their summer homes.  It was then that I began to make a wish list. Later, in my adolescence, now living in a suburban New Jersey town, I devoured everything that James Michener and others, wrote about different countries, their histories, their cultures and their people.  My list grew and grew. And, I confess, it continues to grow even now.

In my opinion, everyone should have a Bucket List.    It is so wonderful to imagine things for a very long time and then actually do them.   Below are some of the things that I have been lucky enough to do and they will remain with me for the rest of my life.  You might want to try them, too!

Watch the sunset over the Grand Canyon-I often tell people that everyone should see the Grand Canyon at least once in there lives.  There, quite simply, aren't words to describe the stunning views.  The sunset changes the colors in the Canyon and if I close my eyes, I can still see it.  I am told that the sunrises are equally amazing.  I chose sunset because I wanted to see the stars at night, something worth doing also and who wants to get up that early, especially on vacation.

Sunset on the Canyon.

Feel the mist coming of Niagara Falls-It doesn't matter what time of year that I visit the Falls, it still manages to take my breath away.  They are best viewed from the Canadian side and what a view!!  Forget all the souvenir shops and the other tourist oriented things, just stroll along the Niagara River Gorge and feel the mist and enjoy the lovely gardens.  They also freeze from time to time and that is a sight not many get to see.

See the Mona Lisa in person-Everyone should see this iconic piece of art that hangs in the Louvre. Though encased in plastic and surrounded by a crowd, most of the time, it is still quite something to view the mysterious smile in person.

Sit and watch the world go by on the Champs-Elysee-Who hasn't seen those old newsreels of the troops marching down the Champs-Elysee when liberating Paris.  This is an absolute "must do" in the City of Lights.  You won't be alone, many Parisians sit and savor their beautiful city on this beautiful street.

Stand below Big Ben in London and listen to Westminster Chimes-It was a great moment when I heard that very familiar tune from its original source.  I had pictured that moment since I first saw a picture of the Parliament Buildings in London, at a very young age.

Visit the Anne Frank House-Though a very sobering experience, I wanted to pay homage to the      bravery of a little girl under horrific circumstances.  It did bring tears to my eyes but it is something that will stay with  me forever.

The room where Anne pasted pictures from magazines
(this is the room that just moved me to tears).
Walk on a glacier-I have been lucky enough to do this twice.  The Athabasca Glacier on the Icefields Parkway in Alberta is enormous. They take you up in a vehicle with wheels that are taller than the average person and they do let you actually walk on the glacier.  It is said that when you drink the water from the glacier it adds 10 years to your life, so I guess I get 20 more.  People always ask if it is cold....of course it is, you are literally standing on a mountain of ice!

Stand on the top of the Rock of Gibralter-Wow, what a view!!  It is not hard to figure out why the rock is such a strategic piece of real estate sitting at the entrance to the Mediterranean.  What I didn't know when I imagined visiting here was that the rock is the home to wild apes.  No one is quite sure how they arrived, the most common theory is they stowed away on a ship but now they own the rock.  They tolerate humans pretty well and leave us alone but it was such fun to watch the babies.  

To walk the ruins of Pompeii-I remember the first time that I heard the story of Pompeii, I was just fascinated. It was a lifetime later before I actually got there but my fascination hadn't ebbed.  Though it felt a bit morbid to be walking around what is, in essence, a tomb, what remains of the city is a wealth of information. Standing in the shadow of Mt. Vesuvius and knowing the terror that befell these people was another sobering yet memorable moment.

Walk across the London Bridge-I remember wishing I could do this when I was a child.  Today it is a bit trickier than it was when I was a kid because the London Bridge is no longer in London.  It now stands in Lake Havasu City, AZ.  So that is where I went to cross another item off my bucket list.  When the City of London was going to dismantle the old bridge to make way for a new one, a wealthy AZ businessman bought it and moved the bridge piece by piece and reconstructed it.  The bullet holes of WWII are still in the bridge.  A real piece of history.  

So, that is just ten of the items that I have been fortunate enough to cross off my bucket list, there are many, many more that I will happily share in the future but in the meantime, start your own list.  It is a big world with so much to see, so what are you waiting for???

Until next time, safe travels!

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