Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Bucket List

Of course I forgot about the onerous task I had willingly taken upon myself to compile a bucket list of places I need to go to before I die!

I had posted 3 places for the week of Jan 1st - 7th in accordance with my self imposed limit of three per week, and the I forgot all about it. So now I technically have 6 spots to fill by tonight !

So here goes. 
1. Library Way, New York
2. Ladurée, Paris
3. Hotel Sacher, Salzburg and Vienna

4. University of Oxford

Need I explain this? I wanna cry for joy when I think about the Oxford University and the day I'll get to roam around its hallowed corridors.

But for the sake of a justification, I am going to give you three points.

a. It is the second oldest surviving university in the world and the oldest university in the English-speaking world. (Sigh! My idea of romance!)

b. With over 11 million volumes housed on 120 miles (190 km) of shelving, it houses the second-largest library in the UK, after the British Library. It is a legal deposit library, which means that it is entitled to request a free copy of every book published in the UK. As such, its collection is growing at a rate of over three miles (five kilometres) of shelving every year. (Actually this would be my idea of romance!)

c. The Oxford Alumni List! It showcases the who's who of every significant arena in the world! And so many Nobel Laureates went to Oxford! It is magnificent and awe-inspiring. And if it is good enough for them, it is good enough for me. Just to think of a hallway that V.S. Naipaul and T. S. Elliot walked everyday for a year or two is enough to make my heart go pitter patter.

5. Liège, Eastern Belgium

Of course, food has to be part of every list! (Disclaimer: I am a gourmand, not a glutton! I will eat you alive if you say otherwise.) I wish to travel to Liège to eat a few waffles. Gaufre de Liège translates to waffles of Liège and is a richer, denser, sweeter, and chewier version of the Brussels waffle (commonly known as the Belgian waffle to the world, but this is of course not accurate, in view of the mighty contender from Liège). Invented by the chef of the prince-bishop of Liège in the 18th century as an adaptation of brioche bread dough, it features chunks of pearl sugar, which caramelizes on the outside of the waffle when baked. Funnily enough, is the most common type of waffle available in Belgium and is prepared in plain, vanilla and cinnamon varieties by street vendors across the nation. But I need to eat these waffles from Liège. And then I'll proceed to the rest of the country, and gormandize my way through. (Yes, I know that gormandize means eat like a pig and that it contradicts my aforestated disclaimer. But in Belgium, the birth land of chocolates and waffles,would you even blame me!)

6. Cherry Blossoms in Japan

Cherry Blossoms have taken over my life. They are everywhere I look and I strangely seem to be getting whiffs of them continually, and it is not like I have ever seen a real blossom in my life. (I admit that there is a slight possibility that this is because I use a cherry blossom perfume, shampoo and shower gel and have also covered my room and computer with pictures of them, but this is only a remote possibility. I am almost convinced that the trees are calling me home to Japan, but that's a story for another day.)

Hanami is the Japanese traditional custom of enjoying the beauty of flowers, "flower" in this case almost always meaning cherry blossoms or plum blossoms. From the end of March to early May, cherry blossoms flower all over Japan. The blossom forecast is announced each year by the weather bureau, and is watched carefully by those planning Hanami as the blossoms only last a week or two. And this is what I want to participate in. Incidentally, cherry blossom trees are known as Sakura in Japanese. Now that I know when to get to Japan and what to ask for, all I need is a ticket.

7. Antarctica

Of course, a visit to the South Pole would be the icing on the cake, but I would love to go to Antarctica. It seems like such a cool place (metaphorically, of course!).

Photo : © Samuel Blanc /

I would revel with the penguins and party with the seals.

Photo : © Samuel Blanc /

Photo : © Samuel Blanc /

At night, I would float on an iceberg and watch the southern lights, the Aurora Australis. That would be the good life!

Photo : © Samuel Blanc /

Photo : © Samuel Blanc /
8. Aurora Borealis

I would most definitely want to see the northern lights if I have seen the southern lights, or even otherwise. They have always always always fascinated me and they look so utterly, painfully gorgeous. (The Cree call this phenomenon the "Dance of the Spirits".) The touch of God is visible in so many things in the world, but the northern lights are a masterpiece.

And here I would live it up with the Polar Bears. Adorable, aren't they! And so much love! Thom could learn a thing or two from them I reckon!

Photo : © Samuel Blanc /

 9.Magnolia Bakery in New York

401 Bleecker Street New York, NY 10014

Possibly the creator of the 1990s cupcake craze in the US (which incidentally hit India in 2010), Magnolia Bakery was made renowned further by multiple references in Pop Culture, such as 'The Devil Wears Prada' and 'Sex and the City'. More than wanting to see what the fuss is all out, I genuinely want to eat these supposedly fabulous cupcakes and see what I've been missing all my life.

I think cupcakes are perfect. they are bite sized pieces of heaven that are a perfect antidote to anything evil. Cakes are undoubtedly my favourite food in the world, and cupcakes symbolize the best of the world of cakes. Magnolia Bakery might just be the answer to my problems.

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