It all began with an invite to my cousin's wedding reception at someplace called Machu Picchu. And just when that smug, complacent feeling of 'been there, done that', had begun to envelope my suitcase heart; Machu Picchu came as a reminder of our smallness in this enormous wonderous world.
Machu Picchu, Lima, Peru rekindled the true spirit of travel, the joy of unravelling hidden treasures; the hunger, the awe, the expectation that makes your heart beat a wee bit faster. Thus, I started penning down my very own travel bucket list, which, soon I realized, was bottomless; with no ending, no full stops! I share it here with you, in no way claiming that it would ever be complete; neither expecting you to agree with it but yes, hoping that it would ignite that spark in you- to travel, to explore, to dream and to live...
1. Kakslauttanen Igloo Village, Lapland, Finland : To view the northern lights, the Aurora Borealis spectacle from this glass igloo hotel would be a dream come true. The luminous midnight sky with shades of green, pink and violet light bursting through, is a sight to die for. Best time for a chance encounter with this 'blink and you miss it' phenomenon is late autumn or early spring.
|IGLOO VILLAGE, FINLAND|
2. Fairy Chimneys, Cappadocia, Turkey : Unique landscape of valleys and unusual rock formations resulting from frequent volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and ongoing effects of erosion. Its a fairy-tale land worth a visit.
|FAIRY CHIMNEYS, TURKEY|
3. Machu Picchu, Lima, Peru : The lost city of the Incas built on a saddle-shaped ridge between two giant peaks. The massive construction at such a remote location is bound to leave you flabbergasted. Stone mined from a quarry, shaped using bronze tools, smoothed with sand so as to fit tightly and precisely together, no mortar used- speaks of adroit craftsmanship.
|MACHU PICCHU, PERU|
4. Morroco : Even the faintest mention of Casablanca, invokes that heady feeling of romance and fantasy in you. Add to that the vivid colours of the bustling souk in Marrakesh, the potpourri of aromas emanating from a thousand different spices, the bright vermillion of the traditional riads, the alleys full of hawkers, fire eaters and snake charmers; the thrill of being in a strange, unknown exotic desert land. That's Morocco for you!
5. Japan : Believed to be an extravaganza of exquisite floral beauty; a land of cherry blossom trees and Buddhist temples, a land of unbridled joy and a million zen moments.
6. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil : Its hyped as one of the most stunning harbour cities and who wouldn't, if given a chance, want to see that iconic image of the 32 meter statue of Christ the Redeemer, embellishing the mountain of Corcovado. Travellers swear by the stunning sunrise and sunset views from up here and who hasn't heard about the beach life in Brazil ! Can't wait for the party to begin!!
|RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL|
7. Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA : Awe-inspiring, astounding, vast, enormous; thriving with life and yet so lonely and desolate- the 450 km long stretch of daunting rock formations sculpted by years of erosion, the Grand Canyon. Hiking, camping, trail-walking and getting completely, foolishly lost- are up on offer here!!
8. Giant Causeway, Belfast, Ireland : Known for its polygonal columns of layered basalt, this UNESCO World Heritage site is steeped in myths and mystical legends. Rare and unusual plant species are found here along with an enviable variety of exotic birds.
|GIANT CAUSEWAY, IRELAND|
9. Stonehenge, Wiltshire, England : Its a pre-historic monument considered to be a temple for sun worship by some; a healing center, a burial site, a huge calendar by others. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is shrouded with mystery. The remains of a ring of humongous standing stones set within earthworks, promise to leave you spell bound.
10. Dead Sea : Also called the Salt Sea, is a salt lake bordering Jordan to the east and Israel and Palestine to the west. The salinity makes for harsh environment where no fauna can thrive and hence the name, Dead Sea. The density of the water makes swimming akin to floating. So all you lazy bums, pack up and head straight for this natural marvel. ( Did I mention, the health benefits of Dead Sea Mud treatments!)
11. Norwegian Fjords, Norway : Take a cruise vacation and what better way but to cruise through the narrow inlet of crystal clear water navigating past steep cliffs. Azure waters, lush green vegetation, ethereal flowers; vistas of nature awaiting to envelope you in a warm embrace.
12. Alaska : Its the largest state in the U.S., teeming with diverse wildlife and stunning natural beauty. The to-do list is pretty impressive here with National Parks, Glaciers, Fjords to visit and to witness, if one is lucky enough, the spectacular dancing northern lights.
13. Egypt : Steeped in history, shrouded with mystery; the country boasts of a rich cultural legacy. The myths, the legends, the romance, the abundance and the desolation- lure the wanderer, bewitch the traveller. The pyramids of Giza, the Great Sphinx, the city of Luxor and the Red Sea Riviera, hold the promise of captivating your soul for good.
14. Masai Mara, Kenya : Images of Wildlife Safari traversing the epic Masai Mara, haunt me. I long to be on that open jeep amidst grazing zebras, exotic giraffes and the riotous pink flamingos. The impressive backdrop of the Great Rift Valley and Lake Naivasha complete the picturesque scene. Would love to take that Hot Air Balloon ride for that bird's eye view!
15. New Zealand : Umm, though I am not a walking enthusiast, but, Milford Track-hyped as the world's greatest walk, does stir me up a little. It winds through native bush and rainforest, past rivers and waterfalls, through glaciated valleys and imposing mountain lines. Hmm, so, God offers 'Combo Packs' as well!
|GEYSER, NEW ZEALAND|
16. Leaf Viewing, New England, USA : I want my name on that list of leaf peepers. I, so crazily, want to catch the blazing amber, yellow, bronze and red of the autumn leaves; the riotous display of foliage colour which is perhaps best exhibited in this part of the world, owing to a unique combination of climate, tree species
|LEAF VIEWING IN NEW ENGLAND, USA|
17. Hawaii : A tropical dream endowed with soft white sand beaches and dramatic volcanic cliffs; the Hawaiin paradise beckons you. The indigenous culture, the heart warming tradition of Aloha, the charm of the Hula girls and their pretty luau costumes, are all so welcoming. The luxe resorts at Island of Maui or the surfer's dream- The Big Island, the options are as breezy as the wind swaying the tall coconut palms.
18. Bhutan : Land of the Thunder Dragon, the 'happiest' place on earth, a land of daunting mountain terrain, quaint Buddhist monasteries, of a varietable flora and fauna, is surely, worth a visit.
"The world is a book and those who do not travel, read only one page" - St. Augustine
I want to read the book, page by page, leaf by leaf, slowly soaking it in; knowing that this book has no endings and loving the very fact!!
P.S. Since I have not had the opportunity to visit any of the listed places, the images used are borrowed either from free sharing sites or from friends. Any unintentional overstepping of copyright issues may be excused.