… and Stonehenge, the pyramids, the Hollywood Walk of Fame… and what the hell – might as well throw in the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen while we’re at it. So says Caroline Morse in her blog published in USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/destinations/2013/01/09/10-most-overrated-tourist-traps-and-what-to-see-instead/1820829/
She does give some excellent alternatives and the article makes for a fun read even if only to check off where you have been and what your opinion was. Here are some famous tourist spots that made her list –
Having grown up in England I have passed Stonehenge many times on long family car trips and even visited a couple of times. That was in a time when access to the famous stones was easy and free. Now of course, as Ms Morse points out, the stones have to be protected from tourists chiseling off lumps as souvenirs – which is a shame. Don’t they know that the stones are protected by ancient Druid spells ???
Blarney Stone, Ireland
I must confess I am guilty here. Having visited family in Ireland many times I have always shunned a visit to the Blarney Stone in favour of the roads less travelled. Instead of the Ring of Kerry we did the Dingle. Instead of Killarney we did Doolin. Even there we failed to escape the weekend hoards from England who just wanted a good pub with all the atmosphere of Irish craic so that they could shout themselves hoarse and get drunk as quickly as possible. I felt so sorry for the musicians and singers trying to compete with a bunch of yobs like that. My tip – visit Doolin known as the capital of Irish traditional music – but go midweek when the yobs are at work.
Pyramids at the Giza Necropolis, Egypt
However touristy it was (and it is) I just had to visit the pyramids at Giza. I even made the awkward and crippling climb up into the burial chamber in the middle of the pyramid. There’s nothing to see when you get there. So why go? Why climb Everest? Because it’s there. And I have to confess I committed the mortal sin of all tourists – I had my photo taken sitting on a camel. What a fraud I am. I didn’t want the damn thing to move – it was bad enough getting up on it screaming and yelling (the camel that is – not me) with filthy breath (again – the camel not me). But I did my touristy thing and even got teased by our Egyptian guide. “Well done” he said to me when I climbed off. “Now you can say you came to Egypt and behaved like a Japanese tourist.”…. Ouch!
Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy
I only saw this in the distance after visiting Lucca instead. If you are in the area you will probably enjoy Lucca much more with its cobbled streets and coffee shops. It is a working walled medieval town and my time there was too short. Would love to go back for a few days. Then maybe I would go and see the Tower – but maybe not.
Prague Astronomical Clock, Czech Republic
I think I AM a tourist. I quite enjoyed the clock. Sure there is a bit of a crush when the appointed hour draws near but it is a beautiful building and lovely to see the clock in action. Then you should go up the clock tower. There is an elevator inside and for a fee you can go right to the top for the most amazing views over Prague. Do this just before sunset for incredible photos.
Times Square, New York
I agree totally – nothing of any value to see or do there.
Hollywood Walk of Fame, California
Been there, done that – didn’t enjoy it. This particularly dirty part of California leaves me mystified as to why people go there and why I went there. But I did and I will never get that time back again!