Sydeny Opera House

Sydney, Australia

    This iconic gem of Australia has become a major tourist destination since its opening in October, 1973.  Built of a number of concrete shells that face the famous Sydney Harbor, the structure houses a number of venues and facilities for the performing arts — a concert hall, theaters, playhouses, and even a recording studio. The concert hall includes the Sydney Opera House Grand Organ, the largest mechanical tracker action organ in the world, with over 10,000 pipes. When the building was still in its early design phase, the construction cost estimate for the project was $7 million (1953). When it opened the final construction cost had become a staggering $102 million. Still, it remains a symbol of Australia and is a must see destination for any traveler to the land down-under.

The Edinburgh Royal Military Tattoo
Edinburgh, Scotland

Every August, the city of Edinburgh, Scotland, hosts a number of international military bands to accompany those of the British Armed Forces and those of the Commonwealth. Filled with colorful uniforms and costumes, music and dance, and (of course) the bagpipers of Scotland, these performers play to audiences from around the world. Like so many other international festivals, If you've not been to a military tattoo, you should attend one, and if you can, this is one that you should put on your bucket list and it should definately not be missed. Also, because it's in Scotland, consider renting a kilt for the event. You will not feel out of place.

Pearl Harbor

Oahu Island, Hawaii

    Had it not been for the Japanese attack on Oahu on December 7, 1941, its famous naval base would be known by few people outside of the military. Few remeber that it was more than the naval base that came under attack. The attack included air fields and army bases on the island. Few recall that the first shots of World War II were fired here, but not by the Japanese, rather by the Americans, when the destroyer USS Ward opened fire on a Japanese mini-sub nearly an hour before the carrier planes arrived. If you haven't been to Pearl Harbor, put it on your list and learn the history of the start of Americas involvement in World War II.

The Rialto Bridge
Venice, Italy

    It is the oldest of the four bridges that spans the Grand Canal of Venice, but it didn't always have its iconic shape. The origianl bridge was a pontoon structure built in 1181 and was known as the Ponte della Moneta. It was replaced in 1255 with a wooden structure of two incline ramps meeting in the center.  Two rows of shops were built along the sides of the bridge and it partily burnt down in 1310. After it collapsed twice — once in 1444 and again in 1524 — replacing it with a stone structure was proposed in 1551. Construction of the current bridge was completed in 1591. Today it is one of the many icons of Venice and is one of the city's top tourist attractions.

The Eiffel Tower
Paris, France

     Built Named after Gustave Eiffel, the engineer who designed and built it, the Eiffel tower was built specifically as the center-piece of the 1889 World’s Fair. When it was completed it was considered an eyesore by most of France’s intellectuals and artists, who looked forward to the day it would be torn down. However it has since become a cultural icon that is recognized the world over and symbolizes France. Towering at 1,063 feet, it is the tallest structure in Paris (and until the Chrysler Building in New York City was built in 1930, it was the tallest structure in the world), and is the worlds most visited monument.

The Space Needle
Seattle, Washington

     Built or the 1962 Seattle World's Fair, the Space Needle is a Seattle landmark and icon of the Pacific Northwest, attracting nearly 20,000 people a day. At 605 feet, it was once the tallest structure west of the Mississippi River. From its two observation decks and rotating restauraunt, it offers an excellent view of the Seattle Skyline, the Olympic and Cascade Mountains, Mount Rainier, Puget Sound , and the surrounding islands.  It is the centerpiece for Seattle's New Years Eve celebrations, with a fireworks show that is synchronized to music.

Dealey Plaza
Dallas, Texas

     The site was once known simply as the "birthplace of Dallas" because it was the location of the first home built in Dallas (which eventually became the city's first post office and courthouse).  Today, however, it is better knowna as the location of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. In 1993 it was named a National Historic Landmark to preserve not only the plaza, but also the streets, building, and structures visible from the assassination site. The infamous school book depository is now a museum, allowing the visitor a snipers view and offering the visitor a lesson in the history of that unforgettable day.

The Parthenon
Athens, Greece

Greece's most famous structure, the Parthenon is the ultimate example of classic architecture. Built in the 5th century BC, this temple to Athena Parhenos—the virgin protectress of Athens—is regarded as an artistic and sculptural masterpiece. It was nearly destroyed in 1687 when the Venetian allies fighting against the invading Ottoman Turks succeeded in blowing up the gunpowder store the Turks stockpiled there. Although the Greek govenment is working hard to preserve it, air pollution and the tourist who crowd the site are eroding the stone marvel.

The Alamo
San Antonio, Texas

The Alamo and the other missions of San Antonio have only recently (2015) been added to the UNESCO list of World Herritage Sites.  For those not familiar with the story of the famous battle, it is worth the trip to visit this and the other missions and to hear the re-telling of the battle from one of the knowlegable guides. This site is more than a tale of the history of San Antonio, it is the story of what it took for the state of Texas to be born, and it also captures the colorful bioographies of a number of great Americans: David Crockett, Jim Bowie, and William Travis to name a few.

Meteor Crater
Flagstaff, Arizona

     It fell to earth at over 4000 miles per hour, crashing with an explosive force 1000 times greater than the Hiroshima atomic bomb.  The shock wave and blast killed everything within 12 miles of the impact.  This was not some thermonuclear device built by man, but rather a large meteor that struck northern Arizona over 50,000 years ago, when the world was in the midst of an ice age.  Simply named Meteor Crater, the 550 feet deep and nearly a mile wide depression was labeled a Natural Landmark by the U.S. Government in 1968.  Today it is a popular travel destination. The site includes four observation areas located behind the museum and gift-shop area that allows viewing the crater from inside the rim. For the more adventurous with proper footwear, a guided rim trail hike is included in the price of admission, weather permitting.   Meteor Crater is located off I-40 at the Meteor Crater interchange, near Flagstaff.


Your Local Library


Yes, odd as it may seem, this is one destination every bucket-lister should have on their list at least several times. It is not only a good source of information about travel destination, it is also a gateway to fulfilling your life — which is what having a bucket list is all about.  There's more to living a full life than paying great sums of money to explore the world. How often have you wanted to learn a foreign language, but always use the excuse you just haven't the time? Go to the library. They have a number of language audio sources you can check out and learn from at your own pace. Or, how often have you said "Someday I'm going to read . . ."?  (Fill in the book title or name of the author.) Or check out one of the many travel videos they have to find new destinations and adventures to add to your bucket list. Visit your library at least once a week and explore the treasures that are yours to take. At least for a little while.

Georgia Aquarium
Atlanta, Georgia

With a tank that holds 6.3 million gallons of water, Atlanta, Georgia, is home to the biggest aquarium in the world. The aquarium, which opened in 2005, is home to over 100,000 creatures including otters, penguins, a plethora of sea life, and four massive whale sharks. Visitors can view not only these animals through the two-foot thick large acrylic glass panel, but they can also walk through an observation tunnel that gives them a fish-eye view of the tank. Another option the visitor has is the opportunity to get close to the giants – whale sharks and manta rays – that inhabit the tank. A limited number of visitor can arrange to dive or snorkel in the tank amongst these gentle beasts. This is certainly one of the must–see destinations of nature lovers and should be on any water sport enthusiast bucket list.

Neuschwanstein Castle
Füssen, Germany

Perhaps the most recognized and most photographed castle in the world, the castle of Neuschwanstein has been drawing visitors since the death of King Ludwig II, who commissioned its building.  Along with his other two properties - the small castle of Schloss Linderhof (his favorite property) and his palace at Herrenchimesee - these three sites represent the one of Germanys most visited tourist destinations.  This was the castle that Walt Disney used as the model for the Disneyland castle at the entrance to Fantasyland. Perched high above the town, the journey to the castle gates requires a bus or horse drawn carriage ride. (You could walk to the castle entrance, but the up-hill climb is strenuous. Better to take transportation to the top and walk down.)  The structure was never completed, and the King's extravagant castle building became so expensive that shortly after his death his family had to open the edifice up to the paying public to save the family finances.  Expect long lines and large crowds if you plan on visiting this site, especially in the summer.


Sunrise at Haleakala
Maui, Hawaii

Travel to the Hawaiian island of Maui isn't complete without a journey to the summit of Haleakala to view the sunrise (or sunset).  Although it is located on a tropical island, the summit temperatures are near freezing, and warm clothes are a must, unless you intend to stay in your car with the heater going.  And, to get there in time to see the sunrise, you should expect to make an early start to your day; plan to be up and on the road by 3:30 AM. There is an admission fee to get into the park and – because it is such a popular attraction – only a limited number of vehicles are allowed at the summit.  Expect the sunrise viewing to be crowded, and take along something to eat and drink, since neither is available for purchase in the park.  Another thing the park does not offer is gas stations.  Be sure you have plenty of gas before starting your outing.  While most visitors are there to view the sunrise, the sunset can be just as enjoyable. Some park staffers find it just as nice or nicer, especially when you consider the fact that there are fewer people and you can often see the moonrise at the same time. Remember that the summit is a sacred place for Native Hawaiians, so please be quiet and respectful when visiting this beautiful place.

New Orleans
Louisiana, USA

That famous city at the mouth of the Mississippi River is one of the travelers’ must-see destinations.  Known for its jazz, Creole cooking, and Mardi Gras, the city sports twenty historical districts - more than any other place in the United States.  New Orleans’ City Park (the largest municipal park in the country) was home to the famous Dueling Oaks - a pair of oak trees under which Creole gentlemen met to settle scores with pistol or sword. (One of the trees became diseased and was removed in 1940.)  Not to be missed is the Spanish architecture of the city’s French Quarter.  The original French Quarter burned down during the fires of 1788 and 1794. In the late 18th century the city was under Spanish rule, so when the area was rebuilt it was done in the modern Spanish architectural style of the time. The city known for its jazz, haunted places, Superdome (and football team), and the famous Canal Street streetcar, this is a essential historical destination for any world traveler.

The Pyramids of Giza and the Sphynx
Cairo, Egypt

Recognized as the only survivor of the seven wonders of the ancient world is the Great Pyramid of Giza built by Pharaoh Khufu. The pyramid is located on the west bank of the Nile at the outskirts of Cairo, and is the tallest of three pyramids located in the area known as Giza.  To the south is the pyramid built by his son, Khafre, which – while shorter – appears taller because its construction site is at a higher elevation.  The Great Sphynx sits in front of this pyramid and some believe the face of the Sphynx is that of Khafre.  The third (and smallest pyramid) is that of Khafre's son, Menkaure. At one time the outer surface of the Great Pyramid (that of Khufu) was smooth, covered with 5.5 million tons of white limestone, giving it a brilliance that made it stand out for miles.  A burial chamber for the pharaoh, the structure required some 8,000 ton of granite (imported from Aswan about 500 miles up the Nile river), and 500,000 tons of mortar.

Murano and Burano Islands
Venice, Italy

While a trip to Venice may be on many a presons list of dreams yet to be fulfilled, few of us think about including the desitinations of the islands of Murano and Burano in their itenerary.  But a trip to Venice without seeing these artistic destinations is a lost opportunity.  These two islands should certainly be on everyones list of things to see and do when visiting that Renaissance city
. Murano is best known for its glass blowing, an art that has been passed down for generations.  Several facilities provide some of the best glass art in the world.  Each facility offers glass blowing demonstrations and has sales floors where the visitor can purchase some of this fine art.  The second island — Burano — is known for its hand-stitched lacework.  The colorful pastel colored buildings are home to a dying art.  While many similar designs are available from a machine woven source, but they cannot match the quality or artistry of the work done by the women who skillfully turn lenghts of thread into works of art.

Havana
Cuba

At last! Unrestricted travel to the island of Cuba is here.  Already certain people can visit that Caribbean nation if they have the proper State Department documents.  And several cruises (overpriced) have already made such trips available. But the crown jewel of the islands destination remains its capital, Havana. While tourism has made a comeback to the island since Fidel Castro permitted international sightseers into its boarders in 1982, America has not been part of that activity. While travel there can be arranged by way of Mexico, Canada, and several other countries, it has (until now) not been possible from U.S. gateways. Two generations of Americans know this historical city from the Godfather movies. The time to see it is as soon as it becomes accessible to experience it's colonial charm; before it is spoiled by the Americana of a McDonalds, Burger King, or Kentucky Fried Chicken eatery at every corner. (Although there is a McDonalds at Guantanamo Bay.)



Cape Canaveral
Florida

Known as America's spaceport, Cape Canaveral has had a colorful and exciting history in taking man to the moon.  Originally constructed as a missile launch test site in 1950, the facility became world famous (and world popular) in the 1960's when it became the launch platform for manned space flight with the early Project Mercury and Project Gemini manned missions that culminated with the Apollo moon landing.  Near the Cape is the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, which hosts over 1.5 million visitors a year who come to view the exhibits, artifacts, displays and attractions of space flight.  The center also offers visitors a guided tour by bus of several of the launch facilities with a stop at the Apollo / Saturn V Center.



Vatican City
Rome, Italy

Surrounded by a high wall, Vatican City — with an area of approximately 110 acres — is the smallest internationally recognized independent state in the world.  Located within this small state are some of the world's most famous paintings and sculptures housed in the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter's Basilica.  It also has a unique economy in that the entire state is financially supported by the sales of postage stamps, souvenirs, entrance fees to the museums, and the sales of its books, pamphlets, and magazines.  Over 4 million tourists visit the sites located within Vatican City annually. 

Alcatraz
San Francisco Bay
San Francisco, California

Best known as the site of America's escape–proof prison, Alcatraz has often been referred to as "America's Devil's Island".  From 1934 until 1963 this maximum security Federal Penitentiary housed the worst of prisoners from across the country.  Its occupants read like a "Who's Who" from the criminal world, with famous inmates such as Machine Gun Kelly, Robert (the Birdman) Stroud, and even the great Al Capone. Situated in the middle of the San Francisco bay, it was surrounded by the cold Pacific waters, swift currents, and — according to the prison staff — man eating sharks, all of which deterred escape attempts.  Today the prison is part of the Golden Gate National Park Recreation Area operated by the National Park Service and hosts more than 1.3 million visitors annually. 

Uluru

About 200 miles Southwest of Alice Springs (the nearest town).
Australia

Previously known as Ayers Rock, Uluru (pronounced Uhl-ooh-roo) is a large, sandstone feature that was once part of a large mountain chain which has since eroded away.  The sandstone formation stands 1,142 feet high and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  This large natural wonder is a sacred site for the Aboriginal people of the area, and although it is open for tourist to climb, in order to show respect to the indigenous people, climbing at this site is discouraged.  It is a place where tourists congregate before sunrise and sunset to witness the how the rock changes color with the changing of the light.

Pripyat

About 700 miles from Kiev
The Ukrane

     For those rare travelers with a real sense of adventure, visit the town adjacent to the worst nuclear power plant accident site: Chernobyl.  Although radiation levels are still such that habitation of the area remains forbidden, you can get access to the town with a government issued pass that the tour company can provide.  The once bustling metropolis has become a ghost town with deserted buildings, abandoned vehicles, and an amusement park void of sounds except for the howling of the winds.  The interior of most buildings are off limits — not because of radiation, but because they are no longer structurally sound.  Although radiation within the tourist accessible areas is minimal, removal of any debris as souvenir is strictly forbidden (for obvious reasons).  There is a reason no one came to claim what remains there.

Stonehenge
Near Salisbury, England

     Older than the pyramids, this simple structure is located in Southwest England on the Salisbury Plain.  This collection of massive stones, built thousands of years ago by an unknown people, has puzzled archeologist and historians for centuries.  And the debate continues.  While some stones have fallen and many of the sites original ditches and holes have filled in, the 300-foot diameter circle of stone is believed to have been part of a series of concentric circles that were an ancient calendar to mark the seasons and allowed the ancient people to plan their crops.  Calculations have shown the rising and setting of the sun - as seen through the openings and positions of the stones - are remarkably precise.  Built with the simplest tools and techniques, Stonehenge remains one of the world's greatest enigmas and a visit to this site should be on every bucket list.

Leavenworth
Washington

     For the past half century, the town of Leavenworth, Washington, has been as much of a Bavarian town as any you might find in southern Germany.  Once a logging town, Leavenworth saw itself as a thriving community during the turn of the last century, when the railroad brought trade and commerce its way.  When the rail line was rerouted and the logging industry faded away, the town became a dying community.  Something had to be done to prevent it from was at the doorway to bring business back to the town.   In the early 60's community leaders decided to change the town's facade.  They made their community a Bavarian village.  With the Cascades standing in for the Alps, the town changed its image and brought in the tourist trade.  Today, Leavenworth celebrates its holiday festivals in the German style, including the much talked about Lighting of the Christmas Tree in the town square.  For a traditional European Christmas experience, Leavenworth
is certainly the place to be.


The Ngorongor Crater

Tanzania, East Africa

     Located 110 from Arusha, Tanzania, at the southern border of the Serengeti lies the caldera of a now extinct volcano known as the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.    The area became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979 and is part of the Serengeti ecosystem. The crater is home to many species of African animal including lions, leopards, water buffalo, wildebeest, zebra, hippopotamus, rhinoceros, and elephant.  There are, however, no giraffe in Ngorongoro; they cannot cross the steep walls of the crater rim.  From the lodges along the crater rim the visitor has an excellent view into the area and can watch the morning fog burn off in the hours before tourists are allowed to visit the area.  The view down the lush, foliage lined walls from the crater rim is like gazing into the fantastic world of Jurasic Park.  This is a trip every adventurer needs to put on their list.

The Winchester Mansion
San Jose, California
(525 South Winchester Blvd)

     This unusual residence is also often referred to as the Winchester Mystery House.  In 1884, when the additions to the house began, it was already a modest-sized dwelling.  However the owner, Mrs. Winchester (heir to the fortune of the Winchester rifle company) was convinced that if construction on the house ever ceased she would die.  This bizarre house – the result of an army of carpenters, masons, and plumbers working around the clock – is the result of that fear.       The house contains 950 doors and 10,000 windows - some of which opened onto blank walls.  It also has 47 fireplaces, nine kitchens, and dozens of passageways and secret hallways – some of which lead nowhere.  When Mrs. Winchester died at the age of 85, her eight story mansion contained 160 rooms and sprawled over six acres.  And so in 1922, after nearly 38 years of constant construction, the hammering finally stopped.

The Koutoublya minaret of Marrakesh

Marrakesh, Morocco

     The 220-foot tower is more than a pleasure to the eyes, but as unusual as it may seem, it has a delightful aroma that visitors can't fail to notice.  In 1195 the Sultan Yakub al Mansur defeated Alphonso VIII, the Castilian king, at the battle of Alarcos in Spain.  To thank Mohammed for the victory, Yakub ordered the mosque built, and into the mortar were mixed some 960 sacks of musk which gave the tower a unique aroma that is still noticeable today. The tower offers a magnificent view of the city, yet for more than six centuries only blind Moslem priests were allowed to climb to its top.  From that height it would have been possible to look into the open courtyards of the harems of Marrakesh – a sight barred to all men!

The Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast and Museum

Falls River, Massachusetts
(92 Second Street)


     The site of the grisly August 4, 1892 hatchet murder of Andrew J. and Abby Borden by their youngest daughter Lizzie has become a famous bed and breakfast destination.  Take a number and get in line if you want to spend the night in the house – and overnight in the bedrooms originally occupied by the Borden family.  Annually on August 4th, a dramatization is presented.  However, due to the popularity of the site and the dramatization, tickets should be purchased well in advance of your intended visit.
 
 
The Odyssey
Put a Pin In It
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     A new bucket list adventure or destination appears in every edition of The Odyssey.  It may be a specific structure or building located in some town or city (the Eiffel Tower, the Golden Gate Bridge), a tourist attraction or event (Disneyland, Mardi Gras), a park or place of natural beauty (the Arizona Memorial, the Grand Canyon), or some adventurous activity (dolphin encounter, a ride on the Vomit Comet).  Regardless of the subject, it will be specific, rather than general.  So, instead of making some general statement, like "go to Paris", this section will be on specific sights to visit while in Paris.  Also, it makes travel planning easier if you know what you want to see and do before you arrive at your destination. 

     If the place of "pin-trest" is a structure or location, or if it is a tourist attraction, then the city it is in or near will be identified as well.  If it is a park, the state/country it is in will be identified.  And, if it is an activity, a link to the activity web page will be included. 

     Are there any places you would recommend?  Are there any places you would like to see added to this list?  If so, go the the FEEDBACK page and send me an email.  Include informatin about the place / event / activity and let me know the particulars.
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