I know! I know – don’t look a day over 63!!
Well, in Covid times, I bemoaned my spending my birthday (TWICE!!) on my own shores – a rarity over the past 45 years. That’s not a birthday thing – it’s a teaching thing, dating back to our main vacation falling in July and August. I must admit that I’d two splendid Covid birthdays in Ireland’s southwest – the sun even shone on both!. But, here I am – supposed to be hot air ballooning in Cappadocia this morning and even that southwest coast is too much a challenge this year.
In reflective mood (ie- too much time on my hands!!) I’ve listed some wonders I’ve enjoyed over the years – just to remind myself of how lucky I am…
1.chased the Northern Lights
2. floated over the Serengeti in a hot air balloon
3. watched the sun rise over Uluru and set over the Grand Canyon
4. stood in front of Munch’s Scream and Klimt’s Kiss
5. lost my money in Atlantic City and won it back in Vegas (and vice versa of course!)
6. panned for gold in the Australian outback!
7. seen the Snows of Kilimanjaro, stood on the Bridge on the River Kwai and slept in A Town Called Alice
8. swayed on canopy walkways above the rainforests of Borneo, Puerto Rico and Costa Rica
9. wondered at a desert mirage and slept in an oasis
10. walked the Siq into the hidden city of Petra
11. sipped coffee in Tangier and tea in the Sri Lankan Highlands.
12. sunbathed on Zanzibar and partied on Ios
13. ice-skated in Central Park and screamed throughout a Husky ride in Tromso
14. explored Frida Kahlo’s House and Monet’s Gardens
15. gotten my sugar fix with a Sally Lunn in Bath, a Nata in Lisbon, Tres Leches Cake in Mexico, Baklava in Turkey, Apfel Strudel in Vienna…
16. floated in the Dead Sea and swam with turtles in the Pacific
17. shivered in the freezing cold queuing for Broadway tickets and sweltered in the unforgiving heat, queuing for the Prada and Uffizi
18 cycled around the temples of Angkor Wat and trudged up the steps to the monasteries of Meteora
19. stood on that corner in Winslow Arizona..
20. searched (unsuccessfully) for the Loch Ness Monster
21. stood in silence at the Normandy Beaches, the Somme, The Killing Fields and Pearl Harbour
22. brunched on Dim Sum in Hong Kong, dined on Moose Burgers in Newfoundland – and pretty much everything in between..
23. gotten my kicks on Route 66 (all of it!)
24. rung in the New Year in Time Square and the Champs Elysees
25. enjoyed Opera under the stars in Arena di Verona (Aida to be exact)
26. pitched my tent at the Italian Lakes, Black Forest, the Dordogne, Virgin Islands, Big Sur, Cape Cod, New Orleans (now THAT was hot!!), Madrid (even hotter!!), Austrian Tyrol….
27. photographed the everchanging light beams and patterns in Antelope Canyon
28. sampled Parma Ham in Parma, Spaghetti Bolognese in Bologna, Chianti in Chianti, Gouda in Gouda, Turkish Delight in Turkey, Key Lime Pie in the Florida Keys……
29. witnessed turtles lay their eggs in the dark of night on an Omani beach
30. wondered at the mosaics in Ravenna
31. gazed in awe at the perfection of the Taj Mahal
32. bought black pearls in Tahiti and jade in Guatemala
33. sipped a Singapore Sling in Raffles Hotel
34. slept on a houseboat in Kashmir
35. seen Mount Etna glow.
36. scaled Skellig Michel like the monks of yore (and Luke Skywalker of course!)
37. stood on the equator
38. picked and eaten a fresh mango in the Virgin Islands
39. savoured wine tasting in the Douro Valley, cider tasting in Galicia and beer tasting – well – everywhere really!!
40. overlooked the Mediterranean from the ancient city of Carthage
41. watched on as Laos Buddhist monks collect their daily food ration in the early morning Alms ceremony
42. bought patchwork from the Pennsylvania Amish community
43. shared a bus with chickens in Thailand
44. munched on frites in Bruges – with mayo of course!
45. prayed silently at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem and on the Ghats at Varanasi
46. glided under the bridges of Paris
47. passed through Checkpoint Charlie when Berlin was still a divided city
48.marveled at those birds-eye views from Petronas, Burj Khalifa, CN Tower, Eiffel Tower, Twin Towers – and One World Trade Centre, Empire State Building, Sears Tower….
49. chomped on a freshly peeled pineapple – lollypop style – on a Lombok beach
50. gazed up in awe at the vault of the Sistine Chapel
51. wondered at the rock art in Namibia’s Damaraland
52. stepped directly in to the warm ocean from an overwater bungalow on Bora Bora
53. braved the suspended walkways of Caminito del Rey
54. descended through the narrow passageway to the burial chambers in the Great Pyramid at Giza
55. explored both sides of Nicosia – the last divided city in the world.
56. pondered upon Darwin’s theory of evolution amidst the Galapagos Islands
57. followed in the footsteps of mighty American civilizations at Teotihuacán, Chichen Itza, Uxmal, Lamanai and Tikal
58. seen the tulip fields in bloom
59. experienced a sighting of the annual Great Wildebeest Serengeti Migration
60. stood in the ruins of Troy and imagined a wooden horse at the gates!
61. drifted along the Nile in a felucca, the Mekong in a longboat, the Mississippi in a steamboat…..
62. viewed some of the 30.000 odd animals that inhabit the amazing Ngorongoro Crater – the largest caldera in the world
63. listened to Jazz on Bourbon Street and Blues in Beale Street
64. last but not least – been lucky enough, after every adventure, to return to the best little country on earth!!!
How blessed am I!!!