Who doesn’t love lists?

I’m not talking “To Do” lists or shopping lists  – though I always use them – but rather Bucket Lists, “10 Best….” lists, those types of lists which are incredibly popular blog posts. I’ve even indulged in a few myself but they’re often surprisingly difficult to write. I think this is largely because you have to whittle stuff down and sometimes it’s hard to make choices.

I have an annual struggle to choose just 12 photographs from the thousands I take each year for my “12 Days of Christmas Post”  – coming soon – which are supposed to sum up my year. An even smaller selection make it onto my annual New Year card.

After trips to special places, I’ll often try to sum up some of my favourite things about the place. I try to reduce it to five things – easier said than done. I’m currently trying to do this with my trip to Japan.

Of course, it goes without saying, that I’m a sucker for other bloggers’ posts on the “5 Best Things About……..” If they’re about a place I know well, such as any of the towns on the Cote d’Azur, I’m always keen to see what they enjoyed the most. Always useful for when people ask me for recommendations.

It’s at times like these that I wonder whether less really is more? However, if you only have a limited amount of time to spend in a place you’ve never visited before, insights from others can be most helpful.

I’m currently planning – surely the best bit – another trip to Australia, this time to Queensland. I’ve found it really useful reading all those “10 things to do and 5 things to see in”…posts. These serve two useful purposes: unearthing places I want to see and things I want to do and vice versa. I hope some of my posts fulfill a similar role for other travellers.

While I’m generally not a fan of bucket lists, particularly those entitled “to do before you die” ie kick the bucket. Seems so final. However, I love the ones written by far younger bloggers entitled “x no. things I want to do before I’m 30.” It’s great to have goals in life.

Of course, if it’s hard to distill stuff into 10 or 5 favourites, it’s even worse limiting yourself to just one. People will ask me for my favourite restaurant. To be honest, I don’t have one. I have ones for various occasions: breakfast, brunch, casual lunch, Sunday lunch, celebratory dinner, seafood dinner, pizza and so on……and, of course, these change over time. I recently gave my long list of recommended restaurants in the area a bit of an overhaul. I hadn’t updated it during the last six months and needed to make a surprising number of changes.

 

 

 

 

 

Should I have a bucket list?

An old family friend recently sought my advice about a couple of destinations on his bucket list. It gave me food for thought. He’s younger than me but already has a list of places he wants to visit before he checks out. I said jokingly that I was too young to have a bucket list but it got me thinking. Should I have one? And if so, what places should be on it?

I discussed it with my beloved and we decided to put together a list of places we’d like to visit which included a number we’d like to re-visit. It’s not a lengthy list, very doable and decidedly “vanilla,” no exotic locations. In no particular order:-

1. Vienna and Budapest

I last visited Vienna when I was 17. I spent six weeks there on a German language course at the university. It was such a magical trip that I resolved it would be a while before I returned. While I was there, I took a quick trip down the Danube to visit Budapest. This was in the early 70s when the two cities were in marked contrast to one another. I’ve since re-visited Budapest, on business, and found it much improved. My beloved has visited both places but only on business and has not done any sightseeing. We have a dear friend who’s Hungarian and are hoping that we can combine our new trip with an event such as her wedding or house-warming.

2. California

My beloved has visited LA and San Francisco on business. I had hoped to visit it on the occasion of our 25th wedding anniversary for which I had planned a magnificent trip touring around the state. Sadly, my beloved changed jobs and was unable to take time off in the early months of his new role. It’s been on the back-burner ever since though that hasn’t stopped me from planning a potential trip which would no doubt take place in May so we could catch the Amgen Tour of California.

3. Japan

This would be a revisit. I accompanied by beloved on a business trip to Japan in April 2007 when the cherry blossoms were at their finest. While he worked, the son and future daughter-in-law of a business contact kindly showed me around Tokyo, then we visited Kyoto and Nara. It was love at first sight. I had high expectations of the trip but was blown away by the people, the culture and the cuisine. I’ve been itching to return but this time I want to explore the islands from top to bottom. My preference is to visit in autumn to experience the fall colours. That way I might be able to fit in a trip to see the MotoGP at Montegi.

4. Sicily

Before I met my beloved, I had a very enjoyable holiday in Sicily. Holiday programmes and friends who live there have whetted my appetite for a return trip although it’ll be my beloved’s maiden visit. Of course, it’s always fun to tie a visit to Italy with the Giro d’Italia, like we did this year on our trip to Sardinia. According to the rumour mill, the Giro is visiting Sicily again next year. I imagine that May would be a perfect time to visit and tour around the island.

5. Amalfi Coast

We both love the fact that in 45 minutes we can be living La Dolce Vita in Italy. In recent years, we’ve had numerous trips and vacations to the north but haven’t ventured too far south. In truth, we’d like to travel around southern Italy, visiting Puglia in particular, as we have friends who hail from there. However, numero uno on our list is the magnificent Amalfi coast, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

6. The Hamptons

Back in 2015, we spent a few delightful days chilling in The Hamptons which has a real yesteryear, seaside vibe. I loved pottering around all the small towns making up The Hamptons and how nowhere was very far from the sea. And, don’t get me started on the magnificent property porn which is truly epic. I’m not sure I could spend two weeks here but I could certainly combine another visit with a trip to the Big Apple.

7. Austin

The origins of this blog are in Austin where I took part in the Ride of the Roses for Livestrong, riding and raising funds as part of Team Fatty. I have a girlfriend who lives in Austin who was only too happy to show me around her adopted home. I’d like to go back to see my friend, to show Austin to my beloved and also watch the MotoGP race, usually held in early April, at The Circuit of the Americas. A week in Austin would probably be sufficient so I’d have to combine it with a visit elsewhere in the States, maybe Colorado (see below).

8. New England

This is yet another re-visit for both of us. In the mid to late 90s my beloved and I enjoyed three vacations in New England, one with my parents. During the trips we travelled around Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts stayed in some beautiful inns, ate plenty of lobster and enjoyed the glorious scenery. Frankly, another visit is long overdue. At the same time, maybe we could pop into Canada to see the GPs of Montreal and Quebec. Late August, early September’s a great time to visit this part of the world.

9. Colorado

This is a part of the US which neither of us have ever visited. The closest was on a trip to Arizona one Christmas. However Colorado’s geographic diversity holds enormous appeal and any trip would naturally have Denver, Boulder and Aspen on its itinerary.  But that’s as far as I’ve gotten to thinking about a trip to Colorado.

10. Majorca

Strange as it may seen, neither my beloved nor I have visited any of the Balearic Islands. I remember my parents visiting the Easter I went to stay with my French penfriend when I was sweet 15. We, of course, would want to visit out of season and with our bikes. We’d want a luxurious sanctuary inland, far away from the typical tourist trail and we’d want to ride up Puig Major.

11. Australia

Last but not least, we’d love to visit Australia again. If you’re a follower if this blog, you’ll know we’ve spent the last two year ends enjoying Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. We’ve only scratched the surface and there’s plenty more on my “must see” list Down Under. Ideally, the trip would extend well beyond 5-6 weeks, maybe starting in late October so I could see the MotoGP on Philip Island, just the other side of the Mornington Peninsula. I’ve still to visit Kangaroo Island and Queensland, among many other places.

As you can see it’s quite a modest list and reflects that we’ve already travelled widely both for business and pleasure. At our time of life, we know what we like and, more importantly, what we don’t like. We probably need to get all our long-haul flying completed within the next 15 years thereafter it might be far too tiring, plus more difficult to get insurance cover. Thereafter, we’ll be more than happy to potter around Europe in our self-driving car, or by fast train.

All photos except The Hamptons and Australia courtesy of Wikipedia