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It is amazing how many people have “a trip around the world” or a number of exotic, culturally significant or spiritually uplifting destinations to visit on their bucket lists, as if we were nomads at heart (which perhaps we are).
Equally interesting is that some people have more things on their bucket list than anyone could achieve in a whole lifetime, and others have few or even none.
For both of these, and for travel lovers of all shapes and sizes, here is the ultimate bucket list of “must-see” places. It is not necessarily a practical list; some of these places are all but inaccessible, others in some way dangerous, including countries burdened by poverty, racked by disease, ravaged by war or suffering in the wake of some terrible (or man-made) catastrophe. Some of them will also be way over the average person’s budget.
However, we need to dream before we can act: in the words of a very wise North American Indian: “Truly rich is he who has more dreams in his soul than reality can destroy”. Some of these places one might actually visit, but in our dreams, we can visit them all.
Designated the winner of the “New 7 Wonders of the World” in 2007, the Taj Mahal (literally: crown of the palace) was commissioned by emperor Shah Jahan in 1631 in honor of his wife Mumtaz Mahal, who died whilst giving birth to their 14th child. Her tomb forms the main part of the interior, flanked by four minarets. The building is constructed entirely of white marble, inlaid with semi-precious stones; the marble takes on different colors according to the time of day.
Photos cannot do justice to its beauty: it has to be seen to be believed.
The Taj Mahal was designated an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. It lies in Agra, Uttar Pradesh in northeastern India. Agra has its own airport, which is 8km from the city center.
Yaki point is located in the Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona. At an elevation of 2213 m above sea level, it offers panoramic views over the canyon which take your breath away. A sunrise or sunset observed from Yaki Point is an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience which should definitely not be missed!
Yaki Point is easily accessed from the visitor`s center in Grand Canyon Village, Arizona. The best airport is Phoenix (3 ½ hours by car).
“Why” go to Bethlehem is pretty obvious; “how” is the question. Bethlehem lies 8.89 km due south of Jerusalem, around 3 ½ km within the Palestinian border. Though entry into Palestine is forbidden to Israelis, for tourists it is fairly easy (though passports WILL be checked on re-entering Israel). Bus Nr. 21 opposite the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem goes directly to Bethlehem (around ½ hour). Particularly worthy of note are the Separation Wall, the Aida Refugee Camp and (of course) the Church of the Nativity, one of the oldest churches in the world, honored since the 2nd century as the birthplace of Christ.
Closest airport is the Ben Gurion international airport (40 minutes from Jerusalem by taxi, or around 70 minutes by shuttle bus).
Designated one of the New 7 Wonders of the world in 2007, this 15th century Inca citadel was abandoned by the Incas at the time of the Spanish conquistas, so that it was neither discovered nor plundered and destroyed as most other Inca artefacts were. Located on a mountain ridge at an elevation of 2.430 m above sea level, Machu Picchu is built in the typical “ashlar” technique of the Incas, in which huge blocks of stone are cut regularly to fit together without mortar. The Incas were masters of this technique; Machu Picchu shows us that they were also skilled in the construction of terraced fields and aqueducts.
The closest town and railway station is Aguas Calientes, with regular bus tours to Machu Picchu. Aguas Calientes is around 3 ½ hours from Cusco, which has its own airport.
The oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the only one which has remained relatively intact, the Great Pyramid of Giza is thought to have been completed in 2560 BC! It is one of three pyramids in the Giza complex in El Giza, which also houses the immortal and enigmatic sphinx. Around 5 km northwest of Cairo city center, the complex is easily accessible by road; tourists should be aware that taxi drivers and other vendors will try to bleed them dry, however. It is advised to go as part of an organized trip, to take only small sums of money and to leave larger sums and valuables behind. That said, the grandeur of the spectacle makes Giza a place everyone should visit once in a lifetime!