Bucket List #17: Liechtenstein

This was an interesting one for me. Mostly because I knew absolutely NOTHING about this country before I started researching for this post. I do want to put out a side note really quickly. I’m using the population numbers from worldometers.info, and the website has the population of Gibraltar listed as being lower than San Marino. I did, however, confirm that Gibraltar is technically a territory and not a country. I just wanted to put this out there in case anyone wanted to check and see what I’m getting my info and why I didn’t include Gibraltar, but now, let’s get on to the fascinating little country of Liechtenstein! (population: ~38,000)

First: Gutenberg Castle

Built around the year 1100, this castle is beautifully preserved and is open to the public, as it’s not currently occupied as a residence. If you’ve read even one my blogs, you know that this is a no brainer for me! First of all….the year 1100?? Holy cow! The history alone intrigues me to the max. Best of all? It’s free! Everyone can do free 🙂 there are also open air concerts hosted at this venue, so we would definitely want to take in some music with this amazing work of art in the background!

Next: Liechtenstein National Museum

Located in the capital city, Vaduz, this beautiful building was constructed in the 15th century as an inn, and is chock full of historical artifacts that pre-date the country’s history, and it’s also attached to the Postal Museum, which displays every postage stamp that’s been issued in Liechtenstein’s history. That may or may not interest you, but I thought it was cool!

Last: The Liechtenstein Festival

The Liechtenstein Festival is a two day event held in the city of Shaan, which is one of the country’s oldest cities. Full of music and local food, this would be an unbelievable way to get to know the culture, and, if I may say, have fun partying with the true Liechtensteiners! The only other festival we’ve written about is Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, so we figured we could have fun at another party or two in the locations we’re writing about 🙂

Now, on to the food! This is part of the “I knew nothing about this country” that I was talking about earlier. Liechtenstein is landlocked by Austria and Switzerland, two countries that I also have no idea about the food culture, so I didn’t even have a reference point to jump from. At least with San Marino, I could basically assume they ate Italian food! But aside from all that, here are three foods we’re going to try in Liechtenstein!

  1. Kaesknoepfle
    • This is a traditional pasta dish that’s combined with melted cheese, and served with fried onions on top. What more do we need? Carbs, cheese, and something fried! That could almost be it’s own holy trinity (you know, like onion, celery, and bell pepper is to Cajun cooking?).
  2. Jugged venison with Knoepfle
    • There are a few variations of this recipe that I found (some far different that others) but I found one thing to be common: the dish features venison that is floured, browned, and put in a pot full of vegetables, filled with red wine to deglaze the pan and provide extra richness, and served with on top of Knoepfle, a regional pasta dish similar to German spaetzle.
  3. Ribel
    • While I didn’t find this to be particularly excited, it does sound versatile and delicious! This is a cornmeal dish in which butter, milk, and water are emulsified and brought to a boil, the cornmeal is stirred in, and when the Ribel has “set,” its put back on the heat again to roast, turning it into a sort of crumble that’s served with different fruits like elderberry sauce and apple compote.

As an honorable mention for the food, I have to say that we’re very excited for the beer in Liechtenstein as well! This region of the world is extremely popular for their beer, and Liechtenstein is no exception! There are 3 active microbreweries in the country, the most popular being Liechtensteiner Brewhaus. With 25 different beers being brewed at this brewery, there will be no shortage of samples being had!

Alright my friends, that’s all I have for Liechtenstein! Can I admit something to you? This was the most fun post that I’ve written yet! It’s partially because I had zero frame of reference, so everything I learned was brand new, but also because the writing community, as a whole, has been so supportive since we started this blog, and we couldn’t be thankful for every one that reads and supports us 🙂 You all are the best!

Blessings,
Madison

Bucket List #16: San Marino

Alright everyone! We’re back with another week full of our family’s bucket list destinations, and we decided on an interesting theme than can be applied again to other continents in the future…..We’re going to write about the things we want to do in the smallest countries in Europe! I don’t know how we came up with it, but I got to thinking the other day: Most of the places I’ve written about are considered tourist destinations. Like, it wouldn’t be uncommon for someone to suggest a visit to those places (maybe Lima and Medellín). However, I thought it would be interesting to visit the smallest countries in Europe because they aren’t necessarily considered to be super touristy places. For this theme, we didn’t count Holy See, which technically is the smallest country with a population of just over 800. I talked about this in my post about Rome, so we didn’t feel it necessary to go over it again. As the title suggests, our first country is San Marino, coming in with a population of just under 34,000, and also considered the world’s oldest sovereign state. I did find it fascinating that Italy has two recognized countries that are landlocked within Italy itself (Vatican City/Holy See and San Marino)! Anyways, let’s talk about what we would do on a trip to San Marino!

First: Rocca Guaita

Rocca Guaita is a fortress that sits on the hill of the capital city, San Marino (anyone else think it’s strange when a country’s capital city has the same name?) This fortress was built in the 11th century (my history nerd senses are tingling) as a prison, and while it takes quite a bit of stair climbing to get to it, one looks at its amazing panoramic views tells me all I need to know about its beauty. So, we’ll definitely go see this beautiful fortress, but we’ll make sure to have a pair of shorts and some sturdy shoes to get there 🙂

Next: Palazzo Pubblico

This is the official government building, the town hall, and is located on the city square, known as Piazza della Libertà. During the day, there is an official “changing of the guard,” which is an extremely popular ceremony to watch for visitors! (Let me also tell you that my architectural nerd senses are popping off right now as well)

Last: Museo di Stato

You knew a museum was coming, didn’t you? As the national museum of San Marino, this houses over 5,000 works of art and archaeological finds dating back to the 1600s. As several websites I’ve researched have pointed out, a lot of the art was received as a donation from governments surrounding San Marino to show admiration for the Republic. Not that that’s a bad thing, but some of the language portraying this act made it sound like a big brother telling a little brother, “Here ya go little guy, I’ll let you have this.” I could be completely wrong about that! That’s just the sentiment I got.

While I’ve found that the food in San Marino is essentially the same as that of Italy, I did find a few dishes that seem to be more popular in this region! Here are the three dishes I’d like to try 🙂

  1. Fagioli con le Cotiche
    • This is a simple bean and bacon soup, and let’s be honest, what else do we need to hear other than bacon (side question: anyone that’s not from the States, is bacon as wildly popular in your country as it is here?)
  2. Nidi di Rondine
    • I’ve seen a few different interpretations of this dish, but the one I find most commonly is mini pasta sheets that are stuffed and rolled with ham or beef and cheese, covered in parmesan and baked until golden brown. Yeah, my mouthe watered slightly too.
  3. Torta Tre Monti
    • A traditional dessert dish in San Marino, this is representative of the three fortresses that sit on top of the of the city’s capital. The basic construct is layers of wafer, cemented together with either chocolate or hazelnut cream, and covered in chocolate fondant. Can I have 5, please?

Alright friends, that’s all I have for the small country of San Marino! Come back tomorrow for a look at my top 3 things I would do in Liechtenstein!

Blessings,
Madison

Bucket List #15: Lima

My friends. I apologize in advance, but I don’t have too much banter in me today about why I want to visit Lima, I just know it’s a city with an extremely rich, cultural history. My day has been quite hectic. As some of you know, our business had to lay off employees so they could receive pay in the form of unemployment. Today, from the time I was up until the time I came home, we were dealing with the SBA to secure a loan to bring our employees back on payroll, and we got it done! Even though this is a travel blog, I love to share other parts of our lives with you, and this was a small win that I wanted you to share in 🙂 that being said, this left very little time for research, and editing, so I’m going to do the best I can with the time I have! I committed to doing a post every day, Monday-Friday, and by gosh, that’s what I’m gonna do! So, let’s talk about Lima 🙂

First: Basilica Cathedral of Lima

Located on the downtown Plaza Mayor, this cathedral went under construction in the 1500s! It was damaged by two separate earthquakes, the most recent being the Lima-Callao earthquake in 1746, which almost entirely destroyed the city. The cathedral has stood the test of time since then, and is also the final resting place of the founder of the city, Francisco Pizarro.

Next: Museo de la Nacion

You probably won’t see a post without a museum….just saying, for future reference! I’m excited to learn more about Peruvian culture, about which I know very little, and I’m very excited to hear more about the Inca Empire! I may have said this before on this blog, but I hated history when I was in school. I thought it was such a waste of time, so I can tell you I definitely learned about the Inca Empire, but I had no clue it was from Peru. Maybe this will need to be more for education than entertainment……

Last: Huaca Pucllana

This ancient pyramid served as an important center of the Lima culture, which was a pre Incan civilization that existed from around 100-700 A.D. Talk about history! From what I can find, the tour has to be completed with a tour guide, but that it’s relatively cheap, so this will be an absolute must!

Now that it’s late and I’m hungry, let’s get the food portion out of the way!

  1. Cuy (guinea pig)
    • I’ve definitely never had guinea pig, but I’m certainly open minded about trying it! I’ve seen this when researching other South American cities as well, but it wasn’t as high up on other cities’ lists as Lima (or Peru as a whole). It’s traditionally served with potatoes and aji sauce (spicy yellow pepper sauce). Sounds delectable to me!
  2. Anticuchos de Corazón (grilled heart)
    • I know this is available in the U.S., but it wasn’t until recently that I’ve become more open minded with food, so this is also something I’ve never had. I’ve actually never had any organ meat of any kind, so you will definitely get a candid description of this experience whenever I’m able to try!
  3. Arroz con Pato (duck)
    • I love duck, and I love rice. What could go wrong here? I did see that the rice is traditionally combined with a cilantro paste and dark beer to give it a more bold flavor. Duck is probably the most perfect poultry you can eat as far as taste goes, so I’d be happy to have two or three servings 🙂

As an honorable mention, I have to try some ceviche. This was on my list for another South American city, but ceviche is recognized as the national dish of Peru, and I wouldn’t feel proper without trying a few variations!

Alright my friends, after a very long day, I’m ready to head down that old dusty road! I hope you all had a great week! I’ll be back on Monday with a brand new post, in which I’ll be revealing my theme for the week! Have a great weekend 🙂

Blessings,
Madison

Bucket List #14: Quito

The capital of Ecuador is very intriguing to me for one main reason. You know how much of a history buff I am, and Quito was one of the first two cities named a Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO, the other being Kraków, Poland (which I’ll be writing about very soon). From reading more about this, I’ve also found that the historic center of this city has been tremendously preserved. This is also a desired destination for us because we have some very good friends from Ecuador, so it would be amazing to get to see their home country and experience it from an outsider’s point of view! Based on what they’ve told us, the food is spectacular, and considering how much of a foodie I am, I can only imagine how much my arteries will clog just writing about how much I’m going to eat down there! So, before I keep jibber-jabbering about food, let’s get on to the three things I want to do while visiting Quito!

First: El Panecillo

A tremendous hill over over 200 meters, this is home to the statue, La Virgen de Quito, made entirely of aluminum. The hill overlooks the entire city, with a phenomenal view of the volcano, Cotopaxi. I think it’s pretty safe to say that if there’s a high place in one of our destinations that overlooks the city, it’s going to be a must-do!

Next: Casa del Alabado Museo

This is a very unique museum that showcases the area’s Indigenous history. I also really enjoyed reading about how the museum is formatted. Rather than showing the artifacts chronologically, they are organized thematically. Here’s a little clip from the museum’s offical website highlighting why the art is ordered this way:

“The permanent collection is organized thematically, focusing on native ancestral rituality and spirituality in the Americas. This allows visitors to form their own visual and cultural connections to the pieces within an innovative museographic and cultural framework.”

Pretty neat, right?

Last: el San Francisco

More properly known as “Iglesia y Convento de San Francisco,” this Catholic complex was built in the 16th century. This is considered the largest religious complex in South America, and it’s also home to the famous sculpture, Virgen de Quito (the bigger statue on El Panecillo is modeled after this original made in the late 1700s). There’s also a museum in the complex that houses more than 3,000 pieces of colonial art, which you know we will not be passing up.

I do have to throw in that my only honorable mention for this trip is spending as much time as possible in Quito’s Old Town to take in as much of the beautiful, historic district as possible! I get chills thinking about how many people, whether famous or ordinary, have walked those same streets.

I can’t wait anymore though, I have to move on to the food! Dinner is cooking and I’m salivating, so I need to get this part done before I can’t take anymore!

  1. Seco de Pollo
    • A hearty chicken stew that’s cooked in beer and wine, and accompanied by tomatoes, garlic, cumin, cinnamon, peppers, onions, citrus juice of choice, and cilantro, and served along side fried plantain, rice and beans, and potatoes. The more I read about these South American dishes, the more I don’t think I could handle as many servings as I think! They’re all served with so much on the side, I really think one helping would do the trick!
  2. Ceviche
    • With Ecuador bordering the Pacific Ocean, I can imagine the seafood will be far superior than anything I can get at home. That being said, I do admit that I’m not a major fan of raw fish when consumed outside the context of sushi. However, being that this is so popular in Ecuador, I’m willing to give it a shot! Anyone care to comment on their experience with ceviche?
  3. Llapingachos
    • If they’re anywhere near as tasty as they are fun to pronounce, these will be amazing! These are fried potato patties that are stuffed with cheese. Simple, yet effective!

I do have an honorable mention for the food that, and that’s a dessert called Flan de Coco, which is just a coconut flan that’s smothered with an orange caramel sauce. Now that I can take on more than one!

Alright my friends, that’s all I have for Quito! Let me know what you think, and share your experience if you’ve ever been 🙂

Blessings,
Madison

Bucket List #13: Medellín

I want to first begin this post by saying that I’m aware of how dangerous Medellín once was. It’s pretty clear that this city has made massive improvements in terms of crime, and the homicide rate has dropped lower than some popular cities in the States that I would have no problem visiting. As I researched how practical a trip to Medellín would be, I learned that most of the crime is consolidated to a specific area of the city (as is with most big cities), and it typically happens with people that are already caught up in some sort of dangerous criminal activity beforehand. I’m sure the stigma of how dangerous Medellín once was may take a very, very long time to escape the minds of foreigners, but after spending quite some time on the data behind the crime in this city, I would feel safe enough to go! I know it’s a little bit of a downer to start the post with, but I felt it necessary to talk about. I, as an American, know that the days of the Medellín Cartel are what typically come to mind first when the city is mentioned, so this is an important topic to address. Now, for the fun part, let’s talk about the 3 things I want to do most on a trip to Medellín!

First: The Museum of Antioquia

You already knew there would be a museum included, didn’t you? Since it’s obligatory for me to go to one in our destinations, this is my choice! This museum includes several works of art from famous artist and native of Medellín, Fernando Botero, including his painting, “The Death of Pablo Escobar,” and several statues that are located on the same plaza as the museum. I’m a sucker for amazing art, and this will be no exception 🙂

Next: Tour of Comuna 13.

Now, I mentioned before that Medellín has become a much safer city, and it certainly has. Comuna 13 was named the most dangerous neighborhood in Medellín while the city was the most dangerous city in the world. With the recency of this, it would be very difficult for me to take our little one with us on this adventure, but I think that this would be awesome for a couple different reasons. 1) It’s a huge part of the history of Medellín, have been controlled by Pablo Escobar, and being so dangerous that, at one point, there was a 6 p.m. curfew to try to control some of the violence. Now, there are guided tours that take you through the streets of the Comuna, and this is where it takes a turn for good. This Comuna, while still having its problems, is celebrated for its enormous turnaround from being invested with homicides and drug-trafficking to having colorful murals on building walls, and having kids playing on the vibrant streets during the day time. It’s also home to a great network of open-air escalators, which have helped curb the crime by giving the comuna better access to the rest of the city, and the polic better access to the comuna. I’m excited to see this incredible turnaround!

Last: Barefoot Park

How cool is this? A park in Medellín that was built in a zen-like style that encourages children and parents to run around, play, relax, all while doing so without their shoes! I wouldn’t have thought it would be a big deal, but this is one of the top rated tourist attractions in Medellín, so I’m looking forward to this! I wonder if they have some sort of yoga class that we could do in the park like I see at home?

Alright, alright alright….my favorite part! Food!!! Here are 3 dishes I MUST try while in Medellín!

  1. Bandeja Paisa
    • Everything I’ve read says that this is the most traditional dish in the Antioquia region of the country, and it sounds wonderful! It’s English translation is “Paisa Platter,” which includes white rice, red beans, carne asada, chorizo, black pudding, fried egg, plantain, arepa, avocado, and one of my favorites, chicharrónes! I usually end a dish like this by saying, “I’ll take 3!” but with how robust this platter is, I think 1 will do the trick 🙂
  2. Ajiaco
    • This was another dish I found was pretty universal when looking up traditional dishes in Medellín. This is a hearty soup made with chicken, potatoes, and corn, and is served with a plate of rice, avocado, plantain, additional cream (I would assume to put in the soup), and some places added a side of capers. For this dish, I can definitely say I’ll need more than one!
  3. Obleas
    • We always have to have dessert, right? Obleas are a simple but amazing street sweet, consisting of two wafers with whatever filling one would want, but the most popular in this region would be arequipe (aka dulche de leche). I’m confident that we would be having these after every single meal!

Also, we would be drinking every ounce of coffee we can get our hands on! Outside of Jamaican blue mountain coffee, we both think that Columbian coffee is the best choice, so you better believe we’ll be sucking down all the coffee in sight!

That’s all I have for Medellín, my friends! You all are a pleasure to write for 🙂 Have a great rest of your day/night!

Blessings,
Madison

Bucket List #12: Rio de Janeiro

Because I know so little about South America as a whole, I wanted to start with the most common cities people think about when they think of a destination related to this continent. Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires tend to be the most common ones that I hear from my friends, so Rio is #2 on my list for South America! As with most of the cities I’ll write about this week, I didn’t know much about it beforehand, other than that it was the host of the 2016 Summer Olympics. As today is such a busy day for me, I won’t waste any more time before getting into my top 3, so here we go!

First: Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer)

This is most certainly the easiest choice, and arguably the most recognizable attraction in Rio de Janerio (at least for those of us that aren’t locals). Built in the 1920s and finished in the ’30s, this statue is almost 100 feet tall (124 if you include its pedestal), with a wingspan of 92 feet! While there are typically large crowds, I did find where you can go on an early morning guided tour that takes place before the normal crowds arrive. This will be a must, and when we get a chance to do this, I’ll be sure to get tons of footage and let you know pricing 🙂

Next: Carnaval

Known as the biggest carnival in the world with over 2 million people on the streets daily, Carnaval is a festival that dates back to the mid 1600s, and takes place from the Friday before Lent and ending on Ash Wednesday. There’s not a lot more to say about this, other than that Rebecca and I want to be a part of the biggest festival in the world some day!

Last: Maracanã Stadium

Most of you probably know how much we love sports, and Brazil, at least to most to me and my friends, is almost synonymous with phenomenal soccer (or football, I know I know). This stadium holds almost 80,000 fans, and as I’ve come to learn, soccer fans are the most fans to be in a crowd with our of any sport that I’ve ever watched! From what I can find, Flamengo plays most of their home matches at Maracanã, so you better believe we’ll be getting some tickets and getting wild with our South American friends at the match!

You know what time it is………time for food!!! Here are the top 3 things I have to try while in Rio de Janeiro!

  1. Codfish Cake
    • While this definitely isn’t some sort of elegant, fine-dining type of dish, it’s something that can be found in most bars and restaurants as an appetizer. It sounds delicous, and looks like an easy finger food, taking the shape of a sort of “ball-like” version of a fried fish finger. Yes, I know that description isn’t the greatest, don’t judge me 🙂
  2. Picadinho
    • This is a traditional, hearty Brazilian stew, commonly made with sirloin, tomatoes, garlic, onions, beef broth, butter, and a few other seasonings. Trust me, there will not be just a single bowl eaten. Count me in for at least two!
  3. Brigadeiro
    • Of course we will not be skipping dessert. A brigadeiro seems to be what I would consider a truffle here in the states, and if it’s the same size as the truffles we have here, we will be consuming these by the dozen (and then going for a nice long run right after!)

Alright friends, that’s all for today! I know it’s a little shorter than normal, but life is extremely crazy right now with trying to make sure everything is prepared for our business when life (somewhat) returns to normal, but I didn’t want to miss a day. I would rather give you a thoughtful, but short, post, than to not post at all 🙂 Love you all!

Blessings,
Madison

Bucket List #11: Buenos Aires

First and foremost, I just wanted to say thank you to everyone reading this! Over the last couple days, our views and our social media following has grown astronomically, and we couldn’t be more grateful for such an amazing community of people! With that being said, I want to continue our bucket list series (ya know, the whole “no traveling” throws a wrench in going anywhere right now). I’ll rotate in more “Bucket List USA” series in the coming weeks, but right now, I want to take us to a continent I haven’t even written about yet! I’ve heard so many amazing things about Buenos Aires, and a lot of my influence for writing about it comes from Tim Ferriss, author of 4-Hour Body and 4-Hour Workweek. He gave some incredibly valuable information about his time living in Buenos Aires, so I knew right away that this would be first on my list for South America! So, without further adieu, here are the top 3 things I want to do in Buenos Aires, followed by the 3 dishes I will not leave without trying 🙂

First: The Recoleta Cemetery and Museums

You knew I had to have at least one museum on here, right? Do I detect an eye roll? In all seriousness, the architecture of this cemetery is incredible, as it’s the final resting place for several notable Argentinians, including Eva Peron (sorry to my Argentine friends, I can’t figure out how to put an accent mark above the ‘o’), former presidents, and many other famous residents. My inner history nerdiness is going nuts right now.

Next: The Colon Theater (again, accent on the second ‘o’)

I’m very much a lover of the musical theater, and from everything I’ve read, no one that loves theater can pass a chance to visit this one in particular. National Geographic names this theater one of the top 10 opera houses in the world, and the it’s widely regarded as one of the best concert halls on the globe. The original theater was built in 1857, and was replaced by a new on in 1908, showing that this gorgeous work of art has stood the test of time for over a century!

Last: La Boca

I really don’t want this seem like a copout…..but instead of writing about this beautiful, colorful neighborhood in the city, I’m just going to put a link for you to visit so you can see it for yourself 🙂 I’m serious, go check out this link! https://www.fodors.com/world/south-america/argentina/buenos-aires/experiences/news/inside-the-most-instagrammable-neighborhood-in-buenos-aires

Alright, now we’re at my favorite part of each post…FOOD!!! What I love about South America (at least from my experience with friends from there) is that the cultures all have amazing, and similar cuisines, but each of them are unique in their own ways. Here are the 3 things I can’t leave Buenos Aires without trying!

  1. Locro
    • A delicous and hearty stew, made with corn, beans, potatoes, squash and usually beef, although I think I would prefer chorizo, but I don’t make the rules! I’d love to make this for the family on a cold evening in front of the fireplace 🙂
  2. Empanadas
    • I had some UNBELIEVABLE empanadas in the Dominican Republic, so I can’t wait to see how they compare with the ones that I’m most certainly going to have in Buenos Aires! And I won’t be having just a few….I will be having several….dozen….okay maybe not that many, but you get what I’m saying!
  3. Dulche de Leche
    • When typing in any variation of “Argentinian dessers” on Google, the first thing on almost every single search result is dulche de leche, and let me tell you, I want it in every way it was described in the articles I found; spread on morning toast, straight out of the can, dolloped on top of a piece of pie, used as a dip for churros, or made into a wonderful dulche de leche ice cream. I…..am…..salivating.

I feel like each new post becomes my newest “I’m looking forward to this food the most!” Thank you so much for reading today’s post! Just to forecast the rest of the week, I will be sticking with South America for each of the next 4 posts. My tendency is always towards Europe if I don’t plan ahead, but I’ve specifically set this week aside for 5 South American destinations. Again, thank you for reading, and have a phenomenal rest of your day!

Blessings,
Madison

Bucket List USA #5: Seattle

The Pacific Northwest is the only place in the U.S. that I haven’t experience yet, and I intend to end that with a visit to Seattle! We recently had some friends in a small group we’re part of move to Indianapolis from Seattle, so it’s been fun to hear them describe what life is like over there. I also played baseball with two guys from the University of Gonzaga (Spokane, WA) that were able to tell me a little bit more about that part of the country. I’d love to give more reasons as to why I want to visit there, but I just genuinely have wanted to visit the Pacific Northwest for quite some time, and there’s really no other reason required 🙂 With all that being said, here are the things I want to do in Seattle!

First: Space Needle.

This one was too easy. In fact, I’d be willing to be that most Midwesterners like me would say that the Space Needle is synonymous with Seattle if you asked them to tell you anything about the city. With a 360 view, and an absolutely GORGEOUS view of Mt. Rainier, this would be my #1 thing to do while I’m here.

Next: Museum of Flight.

Always have to have a museum, right? This would be incredibly cool for me, but I actually think my son, Griffin, would have a blast here! He’s probably not quite old enough to really appreciate it, but he’s into all the normal stuff right now (big trucks, loud car horns, etc…), so I think by the time we’d be able to go visit, this would be mesmerizing to him. The Museum of Flight houses the first Air Force One, and several other amazing military aircraft. Along the same lines, I’d add a trip to the Boeing plant, where visitors can see the process and take a guided tour through the whole factory. How neat??

Last: Discovery Park.

One of the main reasons I want to visit Seattle is to see the gorgeous landscape of that part of the country. Visiting Discovery Park will provide not only an escape from the city, but a way to indulge in the nature surrounding the city. There’s also a learning center with interactive exhibits and information about the park itself. Griffin would love this 🙂

Some honorable mentions for my visit to Seattle include: Museum of Pop Culture, Chihuly Garden and Glass, and Pike Place Market for a day that doesn’t include museums!

Alright….time for food!! Other than seafood (you know, being so close to the ocean and all), I had no clue what’s popular in this area of the country, so the research was fun, so here are the 3 things I’m going to have while in Seattle!

  1. Triple Coconut Cream Pie
    • Wow. Just….wow. My mouth is watering! And yes, I started with dessert before dinner today, don’t judge! It’s lockdown season, so I’ll indulge as I please 🙂
  2. Short-Rib Pho
    • Up until recently, I didn’t know that “Pho” was pronounced “fuh,” so there’s an interesting tid-bit for you! Although this traditionally is a Vietnamese dish, I did read that Seattle has a decent sized Vietnamese population, and that you can get a phenomenal Pho, and my preference is short-rib!
  3. Cream cheese hot dog (or better known as….the Seattle Dog)
    • Yeah, it took me a second to think about this one too. Yes, I love hot dogs, what ballplayer doesn’t? Yes I love cream cheese….on bagels. But, after reading about it, I suppose there’s no harm in trying! I mean, it’s a hot dog. I’m 99.9% sure I’ll love it regardless!

Alright folks, that what I have for you on this dreary day outside! I love writing, but some days are harder than others to get motivated. You all keep me motivated on days I don’t feel like getting the laptop out, so thank you for that 🙂

Blessings,
Madison

Bucket List USA #4: Boston

There are so many reasons to visit Boston. Mostly for the history, but I have a significant second reason. The Boston Red Sox happen to be my favorite professional baseball team! As you’re probably well aware, I’m a gigantic baseball fan. I’ve played from the time I was old enough to throw a ball. I was fortunate enough to earn a scholarship to play in college, where I played for four years and had a very successful career. Although I don’t play anymore due to the rigors of post-collegiate life, I still very much enjoy talking, watching, and attending baseball games! Without a doubt, when we go to Boston, it will have to be in the summer during baseball season. If you’re a baseball fan, you’ll understand why I want to wait until they have a 3 game series with the New York Yankees to take my vacation! The crazy thing is, I’ve never been to Boston, so I don’t have a direct connection to the city. We happened to get a television around the time that Boston won the 2004 World Series, so they were really the first team I ever got to watch on a consistent basis. The rest, as they say, is history! With all that being said, here are the top 3 things I want to do in Boston! (I’ll leave out the Red Sox series since that’s a completely forgone conclusion)

First: Freedom Trail.

I’ll probably cry while going through this trail. I LOVE everyone around the world, even those that have vast differences that I do, but I’m such a proud American! I even tear up almost every time I hear the Star Spangled Banner. Along this trail, I’d especially like to see the Old Granary Burying Ground (where famous patriots like Paul Revere, John Hancock, and Samuel Adams are buried), the Old North Church, and the Bunker Hill Monument. When I was a child, my sisters and I used to watch a show on PBS called “Liberty Kids,” and it was a cartoon being told from the perspective of three kids that worked as apprentices for some of the famous founding fathers. Other than the textbooks, this show is actually what sparked my interest in my home country’s history to begin with!

Next: Harvard Square.

I have a little bit of a “whoa is me” moment about Harvard. When I was in high school, going to camps and showcases to get recruited by colleges, I actually attracted a lot of interest from one of the coaches at Harvard. I would have gone there in an absolute heartbeat; however, the coach I had been in contact with left Harvard for New Jersey Institute of Technology (still a great school, but not Harvard). I ultimately chose to go somewhere closer to home. With Harvard being the oldest American university, this would make for a gorgeous walk during an afternoon, where we can take in the sights and visit the many Harvard Art Museums!

Last: USS Constitution

According to planetware.com, the USS Constitution is the oldest commissioned ship in the United States Navy (launched in 1797), and is still operated by the US Navy. The ship is open to visitors, and there’s a USS Constitution Museum across the pier that accompanies the ship. Of all the USA destinations I’ve visited, I’m most excited about the history learning potential here.

Here are a couple honorable mentions that we must do while there: Boston Symphony Orchestra, visiting the campus of world renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology, JFK Presidential Library, and walking around the North End.

But now, you know what time it is! Time to go over some of the food I’d like to have while in Boston!

  1. New England Clam Chowder
    • I’d be out of my mind if I said anything different. I love chowders of all kind, but what makes New England chowder different is the distinct white color it gets from adding milk. Add that to the onions, potatoes, and of course, the fantastic clams, and you have yourself a hearty dish. From what I’ve read, Union Oyster House is the best place to go, having served this chowder since 1826. That’s a lot of chowder!
  2. Fish and Chips
    • I’m not a huge fan of white fish, but in classic American fashion, anything deep fried is okay with me! While this is definitely more known as a British dish, the quality of seafood in New England is so far superior to what we have in the Midwest, I find it difficult not to have this on this list.
  3. Boston Cream Pie
    • Was there really a chance that this wouldn’t end up on the list? I mean, it’s got the city’s name in it. One could argue that this is as much a cake as it is a pie, but…..does it really matter? It’s freakin’ delicious, and I will be indulging quite a bit.

Side note…I’m really going to have to do some dieting in between these trips if I eat as much of these featured dishes as I say I am!

Alright folks, that’s all I have for you on Boston! Please share your thoughts in the comments below or on any of our social media platforms! You all have a phenomenal rest of your day 🙂

Blessings,
Madison

Bucket List USA #3: New Orleans

Of all the cities in the States that I haven’t been to yet, New Orleans is the one I’m most excited to visit! It’s #3 on my USA bucket list, but that’s mostly because of the obligatory nature of wanting to see New York and LA. I’ve been close to New Orleans a few times (Baton Rouge, etc.), but I’ve never been to the actual city. My mom and sister went there earlier this year as a little mom/daughter getaway, and they’ve been raving about it ever since! I think the hardest part about this post is that New Orleans is like 5 cities lumped into one because of the amount of cultural integration featured there! Combine my existing excitement with the amount of espresso I’ve had today, and you can maybe understand why I’m so jacked up right now! With all that being said, here are the things I’m most looking forward to in New Orleans!

First: The French Quarter.

As the name implies, this areas is heavily influenced by French architecture. As you now know, I love beautiful architecture, so I’ll be spending quite a bit of time in the French Quarter. Most notably, I’ll be spending time on Bourbon Street, perhaps the most well-known part of the area (at least for out-of-towners like me). Speaking of architecture, the St. Louis Cathedral is located in the French Quarter, so I feel like this is going to be a must see for me!

Next: Preservation Hall.

As much as New Orleans is associated with jazz music, this will be a can’t miss part of the trip. This hall still features local artists (and I LOVE anything that’s local to the area, no matter where it is), and it has a small but intimate setting, so I’d want to take in as many shows as I could possibly fit in while here!

Last: Louisiana State Museum at the Cabildo.

You knew I was going to put a museum of some sort! As I’ve constantly repeated, I just want to know more about everything, no matter who, what, or where! This building was actually used as the home to Louisiana Supreme Court (it’s history dates back further, but I thought that was most notably), but now holds historical artifacts focusing predominantly on New Orleans, but includes the whole state of Louisiana as well.

With so much to do in New Orleans, I have to give you some honorable mentions before moving on to the food! Here we go: Mardi Gras (if we’re there during the celebration), the National WWII Museum, City Park, Audubon Aquarium, and the Jean Laffite National Historical Park and Reserve. So much to do!

Now, on to the food!

  1. Seafood Gumbo
    • There’s no way I would put anything but this in first place! I read an article saying that New Orleans locals would probably consider gumbo it’s own food group!
  2. Crawfish ÉTOUFFÉE (Sorry, had to copy and paste the word because couldn’t type it)
    • This is a very close second for me! I’ve actually never had crawfish, but I’ve seen the way it’s typically prepared in a cajun-style crawfish boil, and I literally salivate every time I see it being made! Combine that into a stew and serve it over rice, and you’re talking my language!
  3. Beignets
    • I will be having a minimum of 2 beignets after every meal, please (watch out blood sugar). I’ve read that Cafe du Monde is the “oldest and most iconic beignet shop,” so you can bet your mortgage that I’ll be frequenting this shop!

I have to say, I think New Orleans was the hardest place to pick just 3 dishes, considering the amount of different cultural influences on the cuisine.

Alright friends, that’s all I have for today! Please let me know what you think and share your experiences with New Orleans if you’ve ever been!

Blessings,
Madison