In central France, the world famous and highly recognizable manor house Château de Chambord has just had a bit of an upgrade. The château’s gardens have recently been renovated and reopened to the public. This impressive home is certainly worth a visit — dare I say, the latest Must See feature? — if only to stroll through the manicured gardens and around the massive building.
For fans of tea, travel and pastries, there’s no better item for your travel bucket list that I can think of than having afternoon tea in London. Maybe that’s just my love of tea and pastries talking. But afternoon tea is a creation, afterall, of the English. For this month’s Must See Travel Bucket List, I’m highlighting five locations in London whose afternoon tea I’d love to try: from the traditional to the not so traditional.
Last month as I sat in the movie theater to see T2 Trainspotting I was reminded just how picturesque Scotland is. As viewers get to catch up with the characters created 20-some years ago by one of my favorite authors, Irvine Welsh, we are treated to some lovely shots. Indeed, I feel like I know Edinburgh already as most of Welsh’s novels are set in the city, albeit in rather working class areas. Whether it is the scenic park with panoramic views or a charming old city with cobblestone streets there’s something special about Edinburgh. That’s why Edinburgh is on my Must See travel bucketlist!
Imagine a 79 acre park with more than 7 million flower bulbs. Sound too good to be true? It’s not! That park is Keukenhof in the Netherlands and it is one of the world’s largest flower gardens. Every year, the park opens in late March for two months. Visitors flock to see these spectacular flowers. As a tulip lover, a visit to Keukenhof is undoubtedly on my travel bucket list.
Last spring, my husband and I started watching the Grand Sumo Tournament Highlights that NHK World aired. It’s a roughly 25 minute recap of the best matches of the day. We were hooked. As with so many things in life where you make assumptions without knowing all the facts, sumo wasn’t quite as straightforward. I can only speak for myself, but what I felt had always been depicted as two very overweight men pushing each other actually had a lot more nuance. Since then we haven’t dared miss a day of highlights. That’s why attending a sumo tournament is on My Must See List.
Each month I try to highlight a Must See. Usually this means a city, location or museum that I have on my own travel bucket-list. This month I want to do things a little different. Visiting a true European Christmas Market is undeniably on my Must See list. But there’s so many! To select just one would be too difficult and not fair to all of the other wonderful ones. So instead this month’s Must See pulls together five Christmas Markets to put on your own Must See list.
For the United States, and perhaps much of the Western world, Times Square is our central reference point when we refer to a large, busy, crowded intersection. It’s a site that draws people together, whether it be to watch the infamous crystallized ball “drop” on New Year’s Eve or simply to gawk at the larger than life signs that made the otherwise normal street into an animated zone. In reality, however, Japan’s Shibuya Crossing is the “real” Must See that I aspire to visit.
If you think you aren’t already familiar with Shibuya Crossing, you’re almost certainly wrong. The multi-directional crossing is a common go-to in any movie set in Tokyo or Japan. When those traffic lights change, masses of people swarm the streets to cross.
If it weren’t for those famous scenes in the movie Rocky of Sylvester Stallone running up the steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the world might never have known about this fantastic landmark. Not really. But for some smaller towns and sights this is definitely the case. Take for example Görlitz, Germany. After seeing the town used as the filming location for Wes Anderson’s whimsical The Grand Budapest Hotel and doing some research into the town’s beautiful architecture, Görlitz has been on my Must See list.
They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. However, it might be difficult to convince the Austrian lake town of Hallstatt. A Chinese mining company built an exact copy of the town in Guangdong. But you really can’t blame the Chinese. Many consider the village to be the most beautiful town in the world. It’s easy to see why Hallstatt, Austria is this month’s featured location on My Must See List.
A church built on a rock surrounded by the sea and only easily accessible only at low tide. Prehistoric pile-dwellings on a lake in the Alps. A tea plantation not in India, China or elsewhere in Asia but the continental United States. So many of My Must See highlights are man-made.
But how incredible are the naturally occurring phenomenon that surround us? This month’s featured Must See is located in Ireland. Giant’s Causeway is a unique stone formation along the Irish coast made by volcanic eruptions. But what is amazing is that the formation is roughly 40,000 basalt columns. It might look like a pathway carefully crafted by human hands. But it’s not! It is just Nature doing its thing.