12 Jan Wish, Kiss, and Touch
The new year is here! 2015 is the year for travel and discovery, and all the personal wealth that comes with it. We’ve put together a list of places for you to go this year that are not only beautiful and entrenched in history, they will bring you good fortune.
1. Edinburgh, Scotland- Grayfriar Bobby Statue
Meet the most famous and beloved terrier of Scotland, Grayfriars Bobby. His life-size statue stands near the main entrance of Greyfriar Kirkyard, a cemetery in Edinburgh’s Old Town. The statue was erected to memorialize the Skye Terrier who kept faithful watch over his master’s grave for 14 years until his own death in 1872. A tombstone marks his actual burial site in Kirkyard, where he rests eternally near the grave of his owner John Gray. The story has unfortunately been discredited by recent research, but tourists still enjoy rubbing the nose of the loyal pup for good fortune. City officials encourage you to pet gently, not because he bites, but because his nose has undergone some damage over the years from repeated touching.
2. Blarney, Co. Cork, Ireland- Blarney Castle
Kiss it, it’s Irish! When you’re in Ireland, be sure to visit the Blarney Castle and kiss the Blarney Stone for the “gift of the gab.” According to legend, proprietor of the castle Cormac MacCarthy was being denied his land owning rights by Queen Elizabeth I. Feeling helpless to argue his case, he called on the help of the goddess Cliodhna, who told him to kiss the first stone he saw on the way to court. MacCarthy followed her advice and plead his case with such eloquence that he won. So pleased with his good fortune, MacCarthy took the stone and incorporated it into his castle. Today you can climb to the top of the castle to kiss the Stone of Eloquence, but this is no easy feat. Be prepared to lie on your back and lean backward over the edge of the castle wall to reach it. Don’t worry, there are assistants there to help you!
“Don’t let go!”
3. Dijon, France- La Chouette à Dijon.
Yes, Dijon is France’s mustard capital, but it’s also home to the wish-granting stone owl sculpted into the side of the Notre Dame de Dijon. Just touch it with your left hand and make your wish! The story behind the owl has multiple versions, but one suggests that the owl represents the wisdom of the leaders of the city during the middle ages, when the cathedral was built. To help you explore Dijon, you can also follow the numbered brass plates in the ground also depicting an owl. The trail will guide you through the city to view some of Dijon’s best sites. “Owl”definitely do that the next time I’m in France.
4. Rome, Italy- Trevi Fountain
One of Rome’s top tourist attractions to be sure, and for good reason- The Trevi fountain is the city’s largest and arguably most beautiful fountain, and visiting it just might bring some positive things your way. Stand with your back to the fountain and toss a coin over your left shoulder with your right hand and some day your roads will lead you back to Rome. It’s been said that tossing a second coin will lead to a new romance, and a third, to a marriage. The best way to test which of these are true of course is to get to Rome for yourself, toss some coins and see what happens!
Am I doing it right??
5. Prague, Czech Republic- Charles Bridge
A visit to Prague would be impossible without a stroll across this 1,700 ft bridge spanning the Vitava River and connecting Old Town and Prague Castle. Fifteen statues of saints line each side of the bridge, one of those statues being that of Patron Saint of the Czech Republic, St. John of Nepomuk. If you’re walking toward Prague Castle, look for the eighth statue on the right, near the middle of the bridge and touch it for good luck. You can also make a stop for a wish before you reach the statue. A bit before the statue, a small golden cross marks the exact spot on the bridge from where the priest was thrown into the Vitava River after he would not tell the King what the Queen had confessed to him. If you touch the cross and make a wish, your wish will come true in one year and a day. So save your best wish for the Charles Bridge!
6. Nuremberg, Germany- Shöner Brunnen
Nuremberg’s name may be a bit tarnished from WWII, but this second-largest city in Bavaria has many positive things to appreciate- like gingerbread and toys, and who doesn’t love that? Nuremberg is the original home of the delicious spice cake and also hosts the world’s largest International Toy Fair each year. You can also visit Nuremberg’s Hauptmarkt (or market square) specifically the Schöner Brunnen/Beautiful Fountain for a healthy dose of good luck. This ornate fountain, resembling a church spire, is enclosed by a wrought-iron grille containing a golden ring. Step up to the grille and turn the golden ring three times and make a wish!
7. Beijing, China- Prince Gong Mansion.
This mansion, now converted into a museum, is one of the most ornate and well preserved in Beijing. The mansion was built in 1777 and given to Prince Gong in 1851. Today, the museum welcomes visitors from all over the world to view art exhibits and the mansion’s equally impressive gardens. Visitors may also write a wish on a wooden plaque and tie it to the Dragon Temple.
So there you have it, seven places to go in 2015 to bring you extra good fortune in this new year!