Bucket List vs Adventures

Bucket List

Catch a Palio Horse Race in Siena! 

When someone speaks the word “traditional,” what sort of image comes to mind? Perhaps one quiet in nature, moving at a pedestrian pace?

Well leave your traditional preconceptions at the door, because Italy’s most historic sporting event, which started nearly 800 years ago, is anything but.

Il Palio is a horse race held twice-yearly. It pits ten jockeys against one another in a wild chase through Siena’s main square, Piazza del Campo. Riding bareback around the dangerous bends of a thickly-laid dirt track, the fatinos are frequently thrown from their horses in a spectacle that rarely exceeds a very exciting 90 seconds.

The charged atmosphere is driven by an intense civic identity that underpins the race. The city of Siena is broken into seventeen geographical districts (‘contradas’), with residents loyal to their district first, their city second, and their country third. The horses of Il Palio each represent a different contrada, battling against each other for glory.
To be part of that crowd of thousands is an experience few visitors will ever forget. It’s also far from the only adventure offered on a trip to the Palio di Siena. Having been a part of Sienese culture for centuries, the Palio is an event that takes over the city for days. Selection of the horses happens three days before they run, and a priest ceremoniously blesses them before a spectacular pre-race pageant. The days leading up to the Palio are as much a part of the experience as the race itself.

Live like a Baron at Chateau Bouffemont! 

The Internet has brought us many wonderful things, but one function Sir Tim Berners-Lee probably never envisioned was the ability to pay a small fee in exchange for a title of nobility. And yet, you may now buy a small patch of land and become a ‘Baron’ in a principality that you’ve likely never heard of. 

It’s a gimmick, granted one that provides a bit of fun, but the real draw to the life of Baron should be walking the grounds of a grand property, enjoying fine food and wine, and in lavishly entertaining friends. Without all of this, the title is fairly hollow.
Our suggestion: skip the title, and live the experience. We know just the place to do it. Located around 20 minutes from Paris’ Charles De Gaulle airport sits a 15-hectare estate, with expansive gardens, and a grand chateau at its centre. Built in the 1800s, Chateau Bouffemont was once the residence of the Marquise of Preignes and Baron Empain. And now, for a couple of nights, it can be yours. As you would expect of such a grand property, any stay at Chateau Bouffemont comes with a group of house staff to take care of all your needs; from a concierge service to a personal butler, and even your own private Cordon Bleu Chef. What’s more, the Chateau also offers panoramic views of the world-class Paris International Golf Club, racquets in the gardens, and mountain biking in Montmorency forest. There is no shortage of possibilities when you live the finer life.

Bucket List

Go behind-the-scenes with Red Bull Racing!

Millions tune in to watch the world’s best drivers take Formula 1 cars to the limit on the world’s most challenging circuits. However, hidden away from the public eye on an unassuming industrial estate in Milton Keynes you’ll find the Red Bull factory, where some of the planet’s most impressive engineers create and assemble the next generation of racing machines. It is closed to the public.

That is, until now.

Red Bull is the most dominant team of Formula One’s modern era, having won both the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships for four years running. With legendary British designer Adrian Newey at the helm of technical development, Red Bull has spent the last decade pushing the boundaries in the fastest sport in the world.

It is now possible to experience what most F1 fanatics can only dream of; going behind-the-scenes at the most exciting factory in Britain’s Motorsport Valley. Take charge of a Red Bull race simulator. Sit in a real ex-F1 chassis, and wrestle with an ex-F1 steering wheel and pedals. A 180-degree screen gives the impression that you’re driving some of the most famous circuits in racing. Positioned on a hexapod, the car rolls, pitches and yaws, providing the closest thing to an F1 driving experience than non-drivers may achieve.

Perhaps most fascinating are the race bays and the ops room. The race bays are where the cars live when they’re not travelling the world, and where the team practice their lightning-fast pit stops. The ops room, meanwhile, is a ‘mission control’ style tiered room, from which the engineers at the factory monitor every movement of the cars on race day. With the number of personnel allowed at the circuit closely regulated, the ops room is a remote data link vital to securing victories on the track.

Fly to near-space by helium balloon!

For decades, we have listened to the voice of William Shatner declare space as “the final frontier.” With most seeing the skies as unreachable, beyond the limits of the ‘ordinary’ human, luckily the impossible dream is now becoming a reality.

Ever since American entrepreneur Dennis Tito made the first self-funded space visit in 2001, a number of organisations have been developing the technology to commercialise space flight. Perhaps the most interesting new project is by Spanish-based Zero2Infinity, who are on the verge of taking people to the edge of the stratosphere, using technology that has been around for decades.

The result is Bloon, and it’s the safest, cleanest and calmest way to fly to near-space. Using an inert helium balloon, Bloon rises above 99.5% of Earth’s atmosphere, carrying passengers in a pod which is much like the pressurised cabin of an aircraft. It will be as safe as a hot air balloon fight, and as comfortable as a private jet.

The ascent is so peaceful, in fact, that you need to worry about very little but the view. The space holds four people, and the experience is fully customisable. From the take-off location, to the meals served on board, to the design of the upholstery – virtually anything is possible.

The phrase “out of this world” might well be clichéd, but this is one experience where you’ll be well within your rights to say so.

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