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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚
  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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚
  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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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 Γ‰TOUFFΓ‰E (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

Bucket List USA #2: Los Angeles

I have to tell you all…..I really needed a break from today to write this post! As we all know, this pandemic has wreaked a lot of havoc in everyday citizens’ lives, and Rebecca and I are no different. Today has been full of busywork at the office, but writing about my travel dreams is one thing that pulls me out of reality and lets me escape for just a little while! I think that Los Angeles is probably equal with New York on my list of places I need to visit in my home country. In many ways, the things that draw me here are similar to those of NYC: culture, history, arts, and the every day hustle and bustle of the city. With that being said, here are the three things I MUST do when our family visits LA πŸ™‚

First: Griffith Park and Observatory.

I really didn’t know much about this attraction until doing some further research. First and foremost, I have to point something out; This place was named after a man named Griffith J. Griffith! I don’t know much about the man, but it made me want to ask his parents, “So what’s the deal with the whole ‘same name’ thing you have going on with Griffith?” I know, I’m dumb, but that fascinated me! Griffith Park is the largest state park in California and is home to a zoo, planetarium, and some of the most scenic views you can have in all of the West Coast.

Next: Hollywood.

I mean…duh! I don’t think any trip to LA would be complete without walking down the Walk of Fame, or getting to see the hillside Hollywood sign. Of course, the odds of seeing some celebrities greatly increases by going into Hollywood as well, so this is a virtual must-do for our family!

Last: Natural History Museum of LA County.

As you know well by now, my supreme interest in history definitely contributes to this attraction. One of the things I feel obligated to do in my travels is to learn more about the place I’m visiting. I don’t say “obligated” as a bad thing either, I just feel that it’s great to have more knowledge and context about the place I’m exploring. Although I’m sure I’ll spend a TON (and I mean a ton) of time in the dinosaur exhibit, there’s also an exhibit that covers 500 years worth of So-Cal history! Nerd Madison is coming out now πŸ™‚

Here we go, my favorite part….three dishes famous in LA that I HAVE to have while I’m there! Also, I’m sure there will be a large discrepancy of opinion here considering LA is such a massive melting pot of nationalities, but we’ll make it work!

  1. French Dip Sandwich
    • This one seems to be on every list I can find about popular dishes in LA. I’m a huge fan of French dip sandwiches, so count me in for 4 or 5! I, however, don’t like my bread to be as greasy as some, so I’d rather save all the dip for the au jus sauce πŸ™‚
  2. Sushi (specifically, the California Roll)
    • If you read my post about Tokyo, you know how much I love sushi! So, why the heck wouldn’t I devour some California roll while I’m there??
  3. In-n-Out Burger
    • How American of me lol! I’ve had In-n-Out several times during my days in college. Our baseball team would play in Arizona for 10 days before it got warm back in Illinois (where our college was), and there was an In-n-Out right next to the stadium we played in. Needless to say, since In-n-Out in a West Coast chain, we frequented this amazing burger joint. It’s definitely highly disputed which chain is the best (In-n-Out, Whataburger, Five Guys, etc…), but there’s no doubt that In-n-Out would be a staple of my trip to LA. For those of you that have never been, order your fries “animal style.” You will NOT be disappointed!

Let me know about your experiences in LA!

Blessings,
Madison

Bucket List USA #1: New York City

I feel like this had to be the obvious. New York City is arguably the biggest cultural hub in the U.S. (L.A. may have something to say about that), but regardless of anyone’s opinion, this is somewhere I most certainly HAVE to go! Here’s what I’ll admit: I’m a Midwest kid. I like rolling green hills, driving on highways surrounded by nothing, and the quiet lifestyle that comes along with all those things. But you must know, there’s another side of me; a side that wants to be in the hustle and bustle, the noise, and the cultural creativity that comes with big cities! In fact, I recently went to Chicago for a couple days on a business trip and said to Rebecca when I came home, “Babe, I could really see myself living in a big city for a while. Maybe not a long time, but just for a couple years to find out what it’s really like.” And while that may be a far off dream at this point, I still think that it would be great one day to live in a big city, full of life, and just see how it goes! With that being said, here are the things I want to do in New York City!

First: Statue of Liberty.

I love my country, and Lady Liberty has been a sign of universal freedom for Americans since it was gifted to us by our friends in France. We would most certainly be making advance reservations to go up to her crown, as I somehow don’t think walking around the base would be sufficient enough for me to appreciate her beauty! If any of you have been to the top, please tell me about it in the comments!!

Next: Attend Wicked on Broadway.

This has been my favorite show ever since I became interested in fine arts, and if I could only ever see one show on Broadway, this would be it! Now, ideally, I’d get to see Chicago and Hamilton while on the same trip, but the one I have to see, without a doubt, is Wicked! What’s your favorite show??

Last: 9/11 Memorial and Museum.

This is a no-brainer. I still get tears in my eyes when I think about that fateful day. I was in my 3rd grade classroom when our teacher brought us together in a circle and told us what had happened in New York. She didn’t give details, just that something terrible had happened. We had a girl in our classroom (at the time, I lived in Canton, Ohio) that had a lot of close family in New York City, so we all gathered around her and said a small prayer for her family. Of all the memories I have when I was a child, other than sports accomplishments, this day was by far the most vivid. Where were you when 9/11/ happened?

Honorable Mentions:

I’m adding this category to just list off more things I want to do for each destination, but that didn’t go in my top 3 to expand upon! Here we go! Empire State building, Times Square, Fifth Avenue, New York Public Library, and St. Patrick’s Cathedral (plus much, MUCH more!)

Alright, my favorite part of the blogs….the foods that I want to have while in NYC!

  1. A hot-dog from a hot-dog cart!
    • I know, I know, a foodie that wants a hot dog?? I know it seems crazy, but I’m a baseball player, and I’ve had thousands of hot dogs in my lifetime! I can’t leave New York without getting one from one of their hundreds of hot-dog carts!
  2. Pastrami and Corned Beef Sandwich
    • Other than a well-constructed cheeseburger, there is no better sandwich than pastrami and corned beef (in my opinion, of course).
  3. New York Cheesecake
    • Let’s all collectively slobber together at the thought…I know I am! Rebecca, you better take the cake away from me after two slices, or you can bet our monthly rent that I’ll be eating the entire thing by myself!

Alright folks, that’s all I have for NYC! There’s so much to do there, it’s almost overwhelming to research everything! I still can’t believe I’ve never been there, having been born and raised in the U.S.A. My younger sister, Riley, has repeatedly told me how much she loved it and how badly she wants to go back. Lucky her! But, you can be sure that this trip will happen very soon πŸ™‚ Please make sure to follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and leave your comments about your experiences in New York City!

Blessings,
Madison

Bucket List #10: Edinburgh

Yesterday, we returned to Europe with our bucket list series, and today, we’re back in the UK with a bucket list destination to the capital of Scotland…Edinburgh! I’ve wanted to visit Scotland for a long time. Other than being an avid lover of architecture, I’m a huge golfer! Now, I’m not very good, but I love it enough to go out every single day if I could! That being said, St. Andrews is just over an hour from Edinburgh, and it’s widely regarded as the place that golf was born, and is home to arguably to most famous golf course in the world, St. Andrews Links. So rest assured that we will 1000% be visiting St. Andrews while on any vacation to Scotland, but first and foremost, let’s get into Edinburgh and go over the three things I absolutely must do while there!

First: The Edinburgh Castle.

This was a very easy choice. I love castles, and this is the most famous attraction in all of Scotland. What I didn’t know is how many cool things are inside, other than the beauty of the castle itself. According to planetware.com, some features of the castle include the Scottish National War memorial, the National War Museum, and the collection of Crown Jewels. Also on display is the 700+ year old Stone of Destiny, which was taken in the late 1200s by Edward I as a spoil of war, and was recently returned to Scotland in 1996. Even though it’s just a stone, I never cease to amaze myself with how much of a nerd I am when it comes to thinking about how much history that stone has been through1

Next: Arthur’s Seat.

Located at Holyrood Park, this is the highest point in the park and provides amazing views of the city! You can bet your behind that there will be many pictures taken from here! Part of my love for the UK and Ireland has been the shear beauty of the nature. Don’t get me wrong, I think nature is beautiful regardless of where you are, but I haven’t been to many places where I can just look at the hills and valleys and just be left speechless.

Last: The Royal Mile.

This was just as easy of a choice as the Edinburgh Castle. The Royal Mile is referred to as such because it’s a series of roads linking the Edinburgh Castle with the Palace of Holyroodhouse. I want to spend a lot of time in this area of the city because it’s home to several historical buildings like St. Giles Cathedral, the Scottish Parliament building, and the Heart of Midlothian (not a building, but still historically significant).

Now, let’s talk about some dishes I’d like to try while in Scotland! Before I dive into that, the first part of my “cuisine” section has to include the number of pubs on the Royal Mile! As I said yesterday, I’m a beer guy, so these pubs will be frequented while on our stay πŸ™‚

  1. Haggis
    • Known as the Scottish national dish, this is a must try while in Edinburgh. I will admit that this may not sound very appealing, but as a foodie, I’m very open to the possibility of anything tasting good if prepared correctly! The best description I can find of haggis is the organ meat from a sheep that’s minced with onion, oats for texture, and suet (a type of fat). It doesn’t sound appealing at all, but I know enough about the ingredients to know it seems like a winning combination, so I’d be ready for it! Rebecca and Griffin might have a little harder time, but I’m more open πŸ™‚
  2. Black Pudding
    • Now this I’m extremely excited about! I’d never had black pudding (for my American friends, blood sausage) until I went to Ireland, and I absolutely loved it. I had both black pudding and white pudding, but the black was definitely my favorite. I made sure to get three or four patties every time we went out somewhere for breakfast that had it.
  3. Cranachan
    • Somewhat of an adult dessert, there are several takes on this dish, but the recurring one I can find seems to be a mixture of whipped cream, honey, fresh raspberries, and whisky (there’s your “adult” part of the dessert). Then, it’s topped with toasted oats that have been soaked overnight in whisky. Like I said, there were several variations I found; chocolate, orange, hazelnut, etc…, but I like the original with the raspberries!

Well folks, I hope you enjoyed my bucket list post about Edinburgh! Please make sure to comment below if you’ve ever been and if there’s something our community should be sure to visit while we’re there!

Also, my first 10 bucket list posts have all been in foreign countries, but there are so many amazing places here in the U.S. that I’ve never been to, so next week, I’m going to have a 5 day series call “Bucket List USA,” where I go through the 5 places I want to visit the most in my home country. Have a great weekend everyone!

Blessings,
Madison

Bucket List #9: Brussels

So, we’re back in Europe today, for a little look into what I’d like to do when our family visits the capital of the European Union, Brussels! I didn’t refer back to my previous posts for this one, but I believe Brussels was on our list of destinations we wanted to visit when we were planning a nice little month to two month long trip. While Rebecca ruled it out pretty quickly, it stuck with me as somewhere very unique that I definitely want to see soon! Part of it’s appeal to me is that it’s not a mainstream vacation destination that most people in the States talk about. I’ve heard some people from here talking about Bruges or Ghent, but I actually don’t think I’ve met anyone that’s been to Brussels. With that roundabout intro paragraph, here are three things I want to do in Brussels!

First: Grand Place.

The main plaza in downtown Brussels has an illustrious history, with most of the buildings having been built in the 16-1700s. It’s history actually goes back to the 11th century, but it was later established as the epicenter of politics and economics in Belgium.

Next: Here’s a different one for ya….the Belgian Comic Strip Center.

This is definitely the most outside the box attraction that I’ve suggested visiting since starting the blog! From what I can read, there are about 200 rotating exhibits, ranging from comic strip drawings to manuscripts and reconstructed sets. How fun! There may be some more historically significant things to do while in Brussels, but this is something very outside the box that would be awesome for a lighter and relaxing day πŸ™‚

Last: Palais Royal.

This is the official residence of the Belgian Royal Family. I’ll make sure to post a picture of this on Instagram so you can see how gorgeous it is. This would have to be a summer trip, as the palace is only open for tourists during a select range of time in the summer. But now, on to my favorite part of my new format……here are three dishes I’m looking forward to when visiting Brussels!

  1. Frites/Fries
    • Here’s a funny legend for you. There’s a rumor that U.S. soldiers ate these during WWII, and mistakenly thought they were in France (no idea how that could’ve happened), but gave them the name French fries when they came home. Regardless, several websites I’ve seen have mentioned this at the top of their list, so I’d be curious to see if their take is different than what we have here in the States!
  2. The most obvious choice….waffles!
    • The waffles in Belgium are said to have deeper grooves to hold more of whatever your topping of choice is, and that they’re a bit less doughy and a bit crispier. I’m salivating, by the way. Waffles are easily in my top 3 foods to have for breakfast, so this is an absolute no-brainer!
  3. Carbonnades flamades
    • A hearty beef stew fortified with beer (duh) instead of wine, usually served with a side of those frites I mentioned earlier! While I’m on the topic of beer……you can rest assured that there will be many a pint consumed while in Belgium! Don’t worry, I’ll spread it out over a few days so I’m not a drunken idiot, but this is perhaps the “cuisine” I’m most looking forward to!

Alright everyone, that’s what I’m excited for when visiting Brussels! As always, if you’ve ever been, please let me know how your experience was, and leave some useful tips about your trip that our community can use going forward πŸ™‚

Blessings,
Madison

Bucket List #8: Tokyo

So far, my previous 7 bucket list destinations have all been in Europe, so I thought it would be nice to go somewhere completely different on today’s post, and go to a fan favorite: Tokyo! Every single person I know that’s been to Japan has loved it. Most of them have been to Tokyo, but no matter which part of Japan they’ve been to, they’ve all loved it. This would easily be the most culturally different trip that I’ve been on. I’ve been to the Caribbean, but mainly the touristy resorts, and Ireland much culturally close to the States. It was definitely different, but not enough to feel like I didn’t belong. I’m extremely curious what a trip to somewhere as culturally different as Japan. Not to say I wouldn’t feel welcome! I’m certain I would, but it’s still an interesting thought! With that being said, here are 3 attractions and 3 dishes I want to try while in Tokyo!

First: Ginza District.

This is the epicenter of shopping in Tokyo, being called “as iconic as Times Square” by planetware.com. This is where most people get their photo-op in while visiting Tokyo, and I’m incredibly excited to walk through the district, if for no other reason than to take in the amazing ambiance of the city!

Next: The SensŌ-ji Temple (sorry about the O, I can’t find the correct letter so I copy and pasted it lol).

This is Tokyo’s most famous shrine, having been built in 645 AD….I’m nerding SO hard right now. I’ve had fun writing about places that have been around since the 1100s, but this is a whole new level! Now, I did read that it’s been rebuilt before due to damage from WWII, but it’s retained it’s original appearance, and I’d be thrilled to visit this amazing temple. It’s also the most visited spiritual site in the world with over 30 million annual visitors!

Last: Tokyo National Museum.

Built in the early 1900s, this museum has works of art dating back to the 6th century. Most of the bucket list locations I list have a museum of some kind on my list, whether it’s history or art related. That being said, I think I’d be most excited to go to this museum due to the difference in culture and see the Japanese take on art vs. European!

I won’t write in further detail about this one, but I do have an honorable mention for places that I want to visit: The Meiji Shrine!

Now, as you know, I love food and am almost as excited about the food of these destinations as I am the vacation itself! With that said, here are three dishes I’m looking forward to on our visit to Tokyo!

  1. Sushi, sushi, sushi!
    • I love it, love it, love it! My taste buds are so freakin’ weird. I used to hate sushi, but after I graduated from college, I started trying food that we weren’t exposed to very often when I was younger. Once I tried a sushi roll that I actually liked, it was all downhill from there! Every time we go out for any type of Asian food, sushi is a must, so this is by far and away #1.
  2. Ramen
    • I can only imagine what ramen enthusiasts think when they see the packaged stuff that we destroy every day in our college dorms! But, I’ve seen several dozens of recipes of authentic ramen, and I couldn’t be more excited to try it!
  3. Unagi no Kobayaki
    • Any “Friends” fans in here that just made the signal that Rachel and Phoebe make? If not, go watch the clip on Youtube so you know what I’m talking about. This dish sounds unbelievably mouthwatering. Basically, it’s deboned eel that’s broiled and basted with soy sauce. Not too complicated, but it sounds fantastic!

Alright everyone, those are all the things I want to do and taste in Tokyo! If you’ve ever been, tell me about your experience below or on social media!

Blessings,
Madison

Bucket List #7: Moscow

See, I told you you’d see some more Eastern European cities this week! Here’s what I want to do however; lately, I’ve been posting every day about a destination that’s on my bucket list, and I’m going to continue doing so, but with a slight change. Most of my posts have been me picking out 3 places I’d like to visit and writing a paragraph about that particular place. I do, however, feel as if I’m just regurgitating some information that’s readily available on other websites, so I’m going to make a small change. I’m still going to do my bucket list posts (along with reviews once we’re done with quarantine and are able to go on more vacations). The format will be as follows: 1) An introductory paragraph into why I want to visit the destination. 2) Three places I want to go while I’m there, but instead of giving a complete history, I might just write a sentence or two about why I want to visit that particular attraction. Most of the writing I do involves research from Wikipedia and planetware.com. Planetware is great because they have reviews and attractions of almost everywhere you can think of visiting, so make sure to visit their website to get some more back story of the places I write about! 3) This will be my favorite part. I’m going to write about my three favorite dishes from this area that I want to try/have tried and love! I’m a huge food junkie, so this will be a very exciting part for me to write about! So, without further ado, here are the places I want to visit in Moscow!

First: Kremlin.

More specifically, I’d like to see the armory chamber and the Patriarch’s Palace. The whole compound is a gorgeous work or architecture, having been built in the 1400s. You know I’m a history nut, so this would keep me nerded out the whole time!

Next: Lenin’s Mausoleum.

This was one that I thought was incredibly interesting! Vladimir Lenin’s body is preserved and on public display in the sarcophagus, and visitors can go free of charge. Regardless of anyone’s views on Lenin’s political stances, I think it would be really cool to see the resting place of a former world leader.

Last: Red Square (St. Basil’s Cathedral)

I have a tremendous love for older architecture, and St. Basil’s Cathedral is no exception. Built in the 1500s, it has 9 chapels inside the church itself. Red Square is the center of Moscow, so this would be a great place to walk around and get a feel for the culture of the city.

Now, let’s talk about food! Here are three dishes I want to try in Moscow!

  1. Varenniki
    • From what I can see, I’d say they most compare to something like and empanada. It can be stuffed with something savory or something sweet. This is ideal for me because it’s got everything you want in one bite! Meat, cheese, bread, etc. Or, if you want, make it sweet and have a desert! I, personally, could have a meal consisting entirely of these! Give me the savory for dinner, and the sweet for desert!
  2. Beef Stroganoff
    • I mean…duh.
  3. Chicken Kiev
    • Similar to chicken cordon bleu, minus the ham, and add mushrooms and egg yolk. My mouth is absolutely watering looking at pictures of it!

Let me know what you think of the new format, and make sure to interact with us on social media! We’re active all the time, so be sure to leave a comment about any trips you’ve taken to Moscow (or Russia in general), and let us know what your favorite part was!

Blessings,
Madison