5 Places I'd Like To Visit Before I Die

LONDON
LONDON

London, England

The five places I'd like to visit before I die are on my own personal bucket list.  I went to London a few years back, and I'd like to revisit it.  The English people weren't stiff or snooty or cold.  On the contrary, they were great!  I felt sometimes I should emulate their more delicate sense of etiquette in speech.  Here are a few things that impressed me the most:

THE TATE  It is an internationally acclaimed art museum that has to be seen to be believed.  The Bottecellis, the Reubens...a wall of Old Masters with art students and sketchbooks studiously bent over their working, looking up periodically at a wall of beautiful pictures, so attractively arrayed.  I liked especially the Constables, with their haunting, moony mystical air.  They were tucked in a back corner of this fantastic museum.

What I loved and will remember to the day I die is stepping outside the Tate, by the Embankment, and looking over the parapet to all seven bridges over the Thames.

THE WIG AND PEN  is a small, dark, wood-panelled and wainscoted men's club in the "City" of London (a ten-block area in the heart of London which was traditionally the commercial area). It is bounded by Fleet Street, and Charles Dickens supposedly wrote part of "Bleak House" there.

Though I was escorted by my friend Andy, a member, we created a small sensation there.  It really was a club for men only in the traditional sense; not a place for live sex shows or anything like that; not a key club as in America, when you think of a men's club, but just a place where men drank their pints and read their newspapers and smoked their cigars in peace without having the pressure of being exquisitely polite to a bunch of ladies.  I felt  I was penetrating the Last Bastion of the Pukka Sahib.  It was great.  I had my half-pint of Bass and my Toad In The Hole, and for pudding--Spotted Dick.  What else?

221B BAKER STREET  Oh, I just HAD to go there!  The Sherlock Holmes Museum was perfectly atmospheric.  I expected Mrs. Hudson to bring up the tea any minute.  The tobacco was in the Persian slipper and the violin was leaning against a chair next to the hearth.

What really moved me, though, were the letters.  People were still writing to Sherlock Holmes, thinking he was a real, living person who could solve their mysteries.

STONEHENGE

STONEHENGE, WILTSHIRE, ENGLAND

I'd just love to go there. It is a place of such mystery, such power.  It has served as a burial ground since its earliest beginnings.  Carbon dating of remains found there show burials took place there from 3000 B.C.  It may be one of the oldest cemeteries in the world.

It is a mysterious place to my imagination.  No one knows how the early peoples engineered moving bluestones that weighed TONS so far from the place they were quarried.  The world itself, "henge", a hanging stone; (a henge-cliff is a precipice) has the glamour and resonance of the mysterious Ages of the Druids.

Some day, I tell myself.  Some day.  Some day before I die I will see this powerful place with my own two eyes.

LOCH LOMOND, SCOTLAND

The Corries, Bonnie, Bonnie Banks O' Loch Lomond, from You Tube

THE BONNIE BANKS O' LOCH LOMOND

My mother's maiden name was Douglas.  We have ancestors in Scotland, somewhere around Loch Lomond in the county of Dunbartonshire.  As kids, when we were growing up, my mom and dad both played musical instruments and Dad could sing.  That tune, "The Bonnie Banks o' Loch Lomond", has some special resonance for me.  It makes me nostalgic for an era I never knew and homesick for a place I've never been.

This tune is often the final piece of music played after a show in Scotland.  They remember, too,

The song is from a highlander who was captured during the 1745 uprising of Scottish against the English invaders in Scotland.  The songwriter was a Jacobite. (Our family has a history of non-conformist religion, too).  He was captured by the English, and the English tortured the Jacobites by saying one would live and one would die--they had to chose themselves who would live and who would die.

It is the chorus I remember the best:

O you'll take the high road and I'll take the low road

And I'll be in Scotland before ye

But me and my true love will never meet again

On the bonnie, bonnie banks o' Loch Lomond

I'd love to go there, and hear that song sung in a Scottish pub.  I'd love to see if I could track down some living relatives.  Like many Americans, I have such a mixed pedigree--Scottish, French, Pennsylvania Dutch German, and American Indian; but it seems the Scottish ancestry on my mother's side were the roots I identified with the most.

 

MACHU PICCHU

FORMER HOME OF THE INCAS

Machu Picchu is a pre-Columbian Inca site located high in the Andes mountains in Peru. I had never heard of this place until a friend of mine went there on an expedition with her archaeologist brother. She brought back pictures, and I was just stunned. It is so beautiful, so treasured, so unspoiled and so old.

My friend and I were working together in a call center for a security firm. Much of the world was inaccessible to me at that time--the Internet wasn't quite up and running. It's hard to believe now, but there really was a time before the Internet Era. And there really are people like me who remember it.

This place is 8,000 feet above sea level. My friend had to really prepare and get in shape to go there. At that time, a guide escorted the expedition through the jungle. My friend had to hack her way with a machete and camp out for (I believe it was) five days to get there. She said the elevation was what killed her. The air got so thin it made her very tired. She was determined not to be a wuss in front of her brother and the other members of the crew, so she made it there.

It was worth it. That place is just about perfectly preserved and hasn't been despoiled, being so hard to get to. It is referred to as "The Lost City of the Incas", because for centuries, only local people knew it ws there. It was built around 1430 AD and abandoned when the Spanish conquistadors overran the Inca Empire.

It is a special place, a sacred place. It's now a World Heritage site and I guess they have some tourism now. I hope the tourism hasn't commercialized this place. I don't think that could happen, really.

It's on my bucket list but I wonder if I will ever be in good enough shape to attempt the journey. I'm still a smoker, though I've tried everything to quit, and that thin air might just make this trip unfeasible. I hope not. It's a reason to quit smoking, right?

THE NARROWS (ZION NATIONAL PARK, UTAH)

HIKER'S PARADISE

I would dearly love to go hiking through The Narrows in Zion National Park, near Springdale in Utah.  The scenery is spectacular.  There's a place called "Wall Street" in the Narrows, which is a very narrow defile through the gorgeous river canyon on the North Fork of the Virgin River.  It's about a four-mile hike through some of the most beautiful and unspoiled scenery in America. 

I love to walk, I love to hike.  I have my favorite walks, both the real ones and the virtual ones I've discovered on the Net.

This is one of my very favorite net walks.  I'd so much love to be there for real before I say goodbye.

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Comments 48 comments

Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you, Grace. We'd go together! Me, too!


Gracenduta profile image

Gracenduta 4 years ago from Kenya

Nice photos, I would also like to visit MACHU PICCHU


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thanks for the comment, twoseven.


twoseven profile image

twoseven 5 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

Very interesting, and I love that these are not all traditional places from similar lists. The Narrows are amazing and I don't think you'd see them suggested in many other top 5 lists!

I've been to Machu Picchu and I do feel it's one of those places that is so much more amazing in person than in pictures. The size of it, and the feel of being there are simply amazing. One morning I hiked up the hill from the town right below of Aguas Calientes and got there while it was still foggy and before all the tour buses came - it was one of the most wonderful moments of my life. I definitely think going there would be the perfect motivation to quit smoking!


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thanks for the comment, Pia.


PiaC profile image

PiaC 5 years ago from Oakland, CA

your picture of The Narrows in Utah made me instantly want to go there as well. As someone who loves to Hike, it would be a perfect destination for me. Thanks for telling me about it. It looks lovely!


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York Author

I'd be interested to find out about your top five places, if you'd ever care to write a hub about it, Husky.


Husky1970 5 years ago

Paradise7, what an interesting and different liost of places. Great hub with great photos. I found this hub to be quite engaging but even more thought provoking. What would my top 5 places be? Hmmmm, I must seriously give that some thought. Thanks for making me work on my list. Enjoyed your hub and voted up and interesting.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thanks, B Creative! We'll go, let's do it!


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

I've been to London so many times and all through the country but never got to Stonehenge. My cousin there said you can no longer touch Stonehenge so we passed on our tours but still I realize now that I want to see it - and need to go before I kick the bucket.

And how about this - I've been to Scotland also many times but not Loch Lomond - so should we meet each other there - we can sing that song. Remember it "Oh you take the high road and I'll take the low road (etc)...on the bonny bonny banks of loch lomond."

Yes, it's time to travel once again.

Lovely hub - thanks and rated up!


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thanks for that info, I'm fascinated. I MUST visit Scotland, I love the whole idea of the Highlands.

And Greece!!! And Italy!!!!

Let's go!


McLaren 83 profile image

McLaren 83 5 years ago from Planet Earth

Close! It was a little heard of monument proposed to commemorate Scotland winning the Wars of Independence. I found it by chance. It is a Scottish lion representing King Robert the Bruce mauling an English Typhon, which reprensents the King Edward of England. The Typhon has a broken chain wrapped round his hand with the other end of the snapped chain hanging from the lions neck. This represents Scotland breaking its bondage to the foreign tyrants.

Other countries i would put on my own list are Greece and Italy. Yes i have been to them, but they are simply breath taking. If you want to see history coming to life then there are few places that come close.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Le lion crouchant!


McLaren 83 profile image

McLaren 83 5 years ago from Planet Earth

Really?

lol


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Of course!


McLaren 83 profile image

McLaren 83 5 years ago from Planet Earth

being of Scottish ancestory you must be able to recognise my profile picture next to this post?


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you so much, epigramman!


epigramman profile image

epigramman 6 years ago

5 places that I will keep visiting before I die:

1. Your hubs

2. Your hubs

3. Your hubs

4. ...time for a coffee or tea time and back to your hubs

5. Your hubs after a pee break

...and I must say this is a lovely lovely hub to look at - and yes there is heaven on earth! And you are one of its natural wonders here at hubpages!


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Your very welcome, 2 patricias, and I'm glad you enjoyed it!


2patricias profile image

2patricias 6 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

Lovely photos and an interesting Hub.

Tricia was born in south London. Last summer we went to Harrods for the day and it was her first visit there! Both of us have been to most of the London sites you describe, but neither of us to any of the US places.

Thanks for sharing this.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

You are very welcome. Thanks for visiting this, my very first hub.


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida

Admire your choices of places to visit. The only one I have not yet seen is Machu Picchu, though I feel I know it from photos and films. But one day, I'll get there.

Thank you for the well-written hub with such beautiful photos.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you, shervy, I hope so too!


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you, shervy, I hope so too!


shervy profile image

shervy 6 years ago from Kigali,Rwanda

The photo of ZION NATIONAL PARK is just amazing, hope you can visit that place for real and not just virtual walk it :)

Hope we could do it in our lifetime too :)


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you for your comment!


kcreery profile image

kcreery 6 years ago from Whistler Canada

London is a great place. I've been there a bunch of times. i'll have to get to Machu Picchu one day. I'll take the train. Zion National Park looks spectacular. Great hub.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Oh, I love London, too!


drej2522 profile image

drej2522 6 years ago from Augusta, GA

I love London! I was fortunate enough to be stationed just 2 hours away from there when I was in the Air Force. Love the city, love the country. I've never been to Machu Picchu or Zion National Park, but they look spectacular. I would love to go!


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thanks, Wallshark, I might just do that.


Wallshark profile image

Wallshark 6 years ago from Mississippi

If you haven't seen Alaska I recommend going there in the summer Its amazing


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

You are very welcome, Mike.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA

What a terrific list--you have made me want to create a similar list for myself. I have always wanted to see Stonehenge, as well.

Thanks for sharing with us.

Mike


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thanks, Richard.


RICHARD  6 years ago

TODO LOCO


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 6 years ago from Southern California, USA

Some great choices of locations to visit.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thanks for the great comment, Apricot!


apricot profile image

apricot 6 years ago from Italy

I wish I could be cultured too but I tried going round the Tate and just got bored!! More than visiting any country in the world I'd like to be able to appreciate art one day - I even like drawing but I just can't look at paintings!!

Ah! I wanted to say something about Stonehenge - I went a couple of years ago and I was a wee bit disappointed. My friend goes to the summer solstice in July, I think it is, and that's the only time when you can get near the stones (and you don't have to pay a fortune to get in)- he really recommended it. Oh! And another thing - according to my brother there are loads of stone circles around England and there's some even better ones in the Stonehenge area but they're just not famous. Some of them are quite bizarre too.

Sorry to go on - your hub inspired me!! You must have art in your veins!!


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 7 years ago from Upstate New York Author

You're very welcome, Cris. I enjoy all your hubs so much.


Cris A profile image

Cris A 7 years ago from Manila, Philippines

Those are some of the coolest places ever! If ever you make it to one or all of them, a postcard on my mailbox should make me real happy! Now I'm thinking where I can travel - but by armchair! Hahaha Thanks for sharing :D


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 7 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you, Herbivore. That's a for-sure on my bucket list, too.


theherbivorehippi profile image

theherbivorehippi 7 years ago from Holly, MI

These pics are gorgeous!! I've never heard of the one in Peru...that would defintely be a site to see.


vaidy19 profile image

vaidy19 7 years ago from Chennai, India

I guess that it is neither here nor there to say that people of a certain country are good or bad or whatever. It is probably because we once had a prejudiced view of them, maybe through hearsay, that we feel compelled to right a wrong by saying nice things about them. During my 9 months of travelling through 13 European countries, I met wonderful people everywhere. Yet, I am always asked which is the country I like the most, which is an understandable question, and also where I found the nicest people, which is not an understandable question.

Vaidy


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 7 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you, dohn121. Maybe someday we'll meet in Laos.


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

My interest in you brought me here! These pics are absolutely amazing. I really enjoyed this hub all together. My bucket list grows bigger and bigger every week from all of the hubs I frequented. I if could, I'd like to add one more to your list:

http://hubpages.com/travel/Visit-Luang-Prabang-Lao

I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Thank you for finding me!


Rob Dee profile image

Rob Dee 7 years ago from Florida

Yes....i keep the band name quiet. But look for Teer.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 7 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Rob, thanks for the comment. What band did you play in? I've looked at a couple of your most recent blogs, and the bandname isn't mentioned. Have you ever recorded?

It would be just so way cool to go hiking up to Machu Picchu. Just the ultimate.


Rob Dee profile image

Rob Dee 7 years ago from Florida

i've been to London....not my favorite place. Played at The Underworld in Camden. There's a pub upstairs called the Worlds End that is just awesome. i love British folks. i had a lot of friends there.

There are working trips to Machu Picchu that i looked into several years ago...it's a fairly good deal but still expensive. How cool would it be to get to hiking there huh?

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