You can start your Xmas list early - National Geographic has just published a wonderful book for dreamers and travel buffs alike. Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 of the World's Greatest Trips, organizes its adventures by mode of travel. There are chapters on trips by water, by road, by rail, by foot and by air. Also included are culture adventures, action-adventure trips, a chapter entitled "In Gourmet Heaven", and pilgrimages for literary and history buffs. There are also lots of fun sidebars containing lists such as "The Top 10 Steam Train Trips", "The Top 10 Shopping Streets" or the "Top 10 Trolley Rides" (Toronto's 501 Queen Streetcar comes out on top, three spots ahead of San Francisco which is a bit puzzling, but hey, I never knew it was one of the longest streetcar routes in North America. I obviously have to spend more time exploring my own backyard).
It's quite fun to check off those trips one has already done and plan/dream for the future. Having just returned from a combined holiday of two of these journeys - a fantastic river boat cruise down the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers, I can vouch for it being a truly life-affirming and wonderful vacation. Lots of literary hotspots as well - a stop in Mainz where the Gutenburg Museum is, statues of Goethe and Schiller, and a literary tribute to Graham Greene's The Third Man, with a turn on Vienna's famous giant Ferris Wheel. Sorry if you have the zither music in your head now. Also in Vienna, I was able to knock off another of these 500 must-do experiences by making one of their "Top 10 Food Pilgrimages" to the Hotel Sacher to savour the famous sachertorte - a delicious chocolate cake with a tiny ribbon of apricot in the middle. It was so divine, I just had to take a photo!