Continuing with our seven theme — there are seven natural wonders of the world. Here’s the list I found:
- Aurora Borealis
- Rio de Janeiro
- Grand Canyon
- Great Barrier Reef
- Mount Everest
- Victoria Falls
- Paricutin, Mexico
Have you been to any of them or seen the aurora borealis? If you could only pick one place to visit which one would it be and why?
Julie: I’ve been to the Grand Canyon a couple of times. It well deserves its place on this list. I’d love to visit the others, with no intention of seeing Mt. Everest from the top. Ever.
Jessie: I’ve seen the Northern Lights on two occasions. I enjoyed seeing them during a trip to Iceland for a conference in 2016. The first time I saw them was several years earlier on Beggar’s Night, which in my village has been customarily celebrated on October 30. Children in costumes were running about trick-or-treating and ther, dancing in the skies above them were the most magnificent plumes of coloredlights. It was utterly magical. And a little spooky besides!
Liz: So, once I tried to go to the Grand Canyon, and it was…closed. Yep, I’m not kidding. Like you, Julie, I have no desire to visit Mt. Everest, but would also love to see the others!
Edith/Maddie: Closed, Liz? But why? In January 1970, I landed in Rio de Janeiro to begin my year as an exchange student. It is a stunningly beautiful city, just like in the pictures. Forty other American high school seniors and I spent two weeks having language and culture training before we dispersed to our host families (mine was in the southernmost state). I again stayed in Rio for a week at the end of the year with a temporary host family. We went up to the Christ Redeemer statue and to the beaches. Amazing. Also amazing is that, as a person from Los Angeles, I have never been to the Grand Canyon. I’ve been to Mexico and all over west Africa, but never to any of the other wonders on the list
Barb: I am feeling like a piker because I’ve never seen any of these. The closest I came was a business trip to Cairns, Australia, a popular jumping off point for the Great Barrier Reef. Bill and I have talked about a trip to the Grand Canyon, but nothing concrete has happened.
Sherry: Between my second and third grade years we took a car trip from Iowa to California and back. By the time we got to the Grand Canyon on the way home we’d already been dazzled by Garden of the Gods, Pikes Peak, the cliff dwellings, in Mesa Verde, cactus in Arizona, Disneyland, and Knott’s Berry Farm. It was hotter than the blazes when we looked over the edge and shrugged. I would love to see the Aurora Borealis.
Readers: Have you see any of these natural wonders? Are there any you’d like to see?
Enter me into the slacker column. I haven’t seen any of them. As many times as I’ve traveled to the West in recent years, you’d think I’d at least have been to the Grand Canyon, but no. It’s the one that’s at the top of my list though.
From reading through the comments, it seems like going at sunrise or sunset would be best!
I saw the Aurora Borealis when I was in Iceland on vacation in February 2017. And after Left Coast Crime in Phoenix in 2016, I spent a few days in Flagstaff and did a day trip to the Grand Canyon South Rim. Both were stunningly beautiful so I can understand why they are listed among the seven natural wonders.
Sherry, I agree that Garden of the Gods, Pikes Peak and Mesa Verde are also worth seeing. I visited these three places in July 2001 after a work trip to Colorado Springs. But the Grand Canyon stands out because it is so massive…so grand in size. We had many stops on our 1/2 day tour and every view was different and beautiful. Fortunately, I went there in February (not summer) and it was sunny and a balmy 65F which was ideal.
My first view of the Grand Canyon was at mid-day, and I’m afraid I was underwhelmed. It was big and all that, but beautiful? Not particularly. And then I saw it at sunset and the next morning at sunrise, and I suddenly understood what all the fuss was about. What was flat and not especially interesting at noon was breathtaking in the golden light of sunset and dawn. Filmmakers talk about the “magic hour”, the hour before the sun goes down, and you’ll get it instantly if you see the Grand Canyon at that hour.
For years … decades even, I longed to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef, but I could never manage the combination of time and money it would take to make it all the way to Australia to do that. It’s still the second-biggest travel regret I have. My biggest is that I never managed to see the Aurora. You just have to be in the right place at the right time and I never managed the two simultaneously.
A work colleague of mine spent a vacation in Rio, but came home early because he was kept awake all night by the gunfire. He admitted that Ipanema beach was stunning (both the beach and the people filling it), but he felt unsafe every waking and sleeping minute, and I can see why he didn’t find the experience pleasurable.
I never had a yen to see Victoria Falls, but I almost made it to Iguazu Falls at the border of Brazil and Argentina, but that trip fell through for health reasons, alas.
I was never even aware of the Paricutin volcano, but I’ve seen Kilauea erupting from both air and land, and it was one of the most breathtakingly beautiful and at the same time heartbreaking sights of my life. I’ve also cruised past it at night as the glowing lava made its way down the hillside into the ocean, and I must admit that was one of the most unforgettable experiences I’ve ever had.
But two other things I’d keep on my list of wonders was a trek to Tikal in Honduras, the ruin of an ancient Mayan city. It’s not Machu Picchu (another spot that deserves to be on a list of wonders IMHO), but it’ll do. I climbed the Great Pyramid there. Going up was easy. Going down, not so much. It was absolutely terrifying. I (and virtually every other person who climbed it) had to sit down and slide down each one of the hundreds of steps to the bottom. I didn’t kiss the ground when I made it to the bottom, but I gave it serious considerations.
The other wonder was the experience of flying into Quito, Ecuador from the port city of Manta. It was the first and only time I’ve been in a plane that had to climb for a landing, rather than descend. It was a unique and remarkable experience. That was the trip where I got a photograph of myself straddling the equator, with one foot in the southern hemisphere and one foot in the northern hemisphere. I later learned that the monument where I took that photo is not actually at the equator. It’s actually about 250 yards off. But that didn’t stop me from including the photo in my Christmas letter that year.
I’ve also longed to see the Pyramids in Egypt, the only surviving one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, but I never have. And between age, infirmity, and political unrest, it doesn’t appear as though I’m likely to do so. Nor am I likely ever to see Petra in Jordan. If you saw Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, the exterior of the Treasury at Petra was a stand-in for the locale of the Holy Grail. it’s truly magnificent, but alas, also not I spot I’m ever likely to be able to visit.
Finally, I would desperately like to see the Temple of Athena on the Acropolis in Athens. This would actually be the ideal time to go, since because of all the lock-downs, the horrible air pollution in Athens is temporarily gone. But that’s one last wonder, that I’m only going to be able to enjoy in photos.
I forgot I’ve been to Iguazu, Lee! I would also like to see the Pyramids one day.
On a family vacation years ago, we stopped by The Grand Canyon. Like Sherry’s experience, we looked, we gasped, we left. It was HOT! The closest I have been to any of the other natural wonders is to read about them in the book 1,000 Places To See Before You Die by Patricia Schultz.
Lee, in the comment above said that he felt the same until he saw it at sunrise and sunset — that must be the time!
After having been driven by the Grand Canyon NINE times as a child, hubby has taken me there twice. 🙂
I would love to see Aurora Borealis. What an awesome sight that has to be.
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I had a friend who went on an Aurora Borealis cruise last fall. The photos were stunning!
I can’t say that I have any desire to visit any of these places that you’ve listed.
My travel desire list would be London (The Sherlock Holmes Museum is a must for me), Ireland, Scotland and Hawaii in terms of specific cities or countries I’d like to visit. However, most of my fantasy travel checklist revolves around where a hard rock / heavy metal festival is being held, where a sports halls of fame are located or where there are mystery focused bookstore or book festivals.
I’m not a sight-seeing for the sake of sight-seeing kind of person. I want to get where I’m going to do what I planned to do when I got there.
I love activity focused travel!
When I was about 5, we visited the Grand Canyon. My mom got to go down on a burro, but I was too young. I was so disappointed. A few years ago, I returned with hubby, but he has a serious fear of heights, so I just looked over the edge and said, yep, sure is a beautiful big hole. I would love to return and spend more time.
I haven’t been to any of the others, but would love to experience Victoria Falls. Like Lee, I want to see the Great Pyramid and Petra, but unfortunately, like Lee, it’s not likely ever to happen.
I have been to Machu Picchu many times, seen a lot of incredible sights in South and North America and stood on the rim of Kilauea at a low activity time. I’ve been incredibly blessed with the things I’ve seen. I wish I could live to be 200 and in good health so I could keep on traveling to “exotic” places. For the short term, at least, I have to be content with my lovely backyard. And that’s OK.
I would love to see Machu Picchu! The photos are always so stunning!
I’ve wanted to see Auroroa Borealis since I was a kid, but did not have luck on a trip to Iceland.BUT I have been to Grand Canyon and it was worth the trip and worth the wait. I had a plan to go with my adult daughter…and she broke her ankle a few weeks before the trip! The airline gave us credit for the tickets and we swore “Next year!” And so we did. It was awesome, in the original, true meaning of the word. Unforgettable.
I need to go back and see it as an adult. I’ve flown over it which is pretty amazing.
We were able to go up in a helicopter, another first for us. ( I think they stopped doing that)
The only one I’ve seen is the Grand Canyon. It’s wonderful. I’d like to see the others, although the base of Mt. Everest will be just fine, thank you very much.
But think of some of the places not mentioned in the list, like Yosemite and Bryce Canyon. So many beautiful spots in our world.
Yosemite is amazing. I’ve never been to Bryce Canyon but have been to Arches National Park. There are so many beautiful places.
I’ve been to the Grand Canyon
It seems like a lot of us here have been!
Barb, you are not a piker. I haven’t seen any of them either.
I have, however, seen Niagara Falls a lot – which is often referred to as the 8th Wonder of the Natural World (I always thought it was one of the 7, but apparently not). But 8 doesn’t fit your theme. 🙂
Niagara Falls are amazing too. I was there after 5th grade.
We have been to Niagara Falls through Canada and to the Grand Canyon via Nevada. We actually saw Auroroa Borealis in our front yard in Washington in October 2006 and it was beautiful and very magical.
Oh, wow from your front yard!!!
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