The most over-rated travel experiences

You know we have all been dreaming of the day we can travel again. Just going through old photos of past trips makes me sigh. Oh gosh, remember that wonderful little cafe at Bellagio on Lake Como? Oh my goodness, every night we had sundowners there – crisp sparkling prosecco and complimentary snacks. And then there was the time we spent overnight in the Sahara Desert, relaxing next to an open fire after our camel ride, sipping on some Moroccan mint tea made with leaves purchased at the market that afternoon.

Those facebook memories that crop up with “this time 4 years ago” and there we are, sitting at the quayside of a blue and white painted village somewhere in the Greek Islands.

SIGH

It was therefore with interest that I came across a post from someone who had a list of the most overrated places to visit – and yes I had visited many of them and yes I had been underwhelmed to say the least. Let’s take a look at them –

The Mona Lisa – on display at The Louvre be sure that your visit is much more than just seeing the Mona Lisa. Depending on what time of year you go there will be crowds (or there used to be pre-Covid) and you have to peer to see this masterpiece. It is so small, and honestly, looks slightly soiled. It definitely is a bit of a disappointment.

But don’t worry – the Louvre has thousands of exhibits and it would take you 100 days to see everything – so choose wisely. As well as paintings it houses some amazing sculptures including the famous Venus de Milo.

Temple Bar, Dublin. Now having been to Dublin many times Temple Bar is a place I try to avoid. It has no feel of the real Ireland and over the weekends it tends to be packed with lads enjoying Bachelor Parties or screaming, giggling girls out on a stagette. Shudder! While Dublin has some great places to explore, like Trinity College, you need to get out of the city and into the villages to enjoy the real Ireland.

Santorini, Greece. If you consider spending a week on Santorini in one of the quieter villages, great. But if you are on a cruise ship you might want to stay on board during this visit. When we docked there I think there were 6 other cruise ships – it was a nightmare. We decided to walk up the hill (mistake number 1 – it was so busy with donkeys and so full of donkey poo) and found that the main square was ridiculous. Oh my goodness. The line up for the gondola to get back to the port was long and winding so we decided to walk down. (Mistake number 2 – you would think we had learned by then). The donkeys who had trundled uphill with overweight tourists were now heading down the hill anxious to get to their hay – or whatever donkeys eat. They were pushy and the downhill was slippery. I don’t think we will be doing that again!

Stonehenge – I know this place well as it not far off the M5 which we took often on our journeys from Cornwall up to Birmingham to go and see my nan. In those days (gosh makes me sound ancient) there were no fences so we could enter at will. We would stop the car for a welcome break from the long drive and explore the stones and wonder at the size of them. This changed in 1977 when the stones were roped off. Mostly to prevent people from climbing on the stones, chipping bits off or spoiling them with graffiti (aren’t we humans a wonderful lot?) Nowadays unless you go on a special tour where you can enter the circle after hours the experience is nowhere near as magical.

I was surprised and somewhat pleased to see that there is a proposal by Highways England to get rid of the A303 altogether. This road goes right past Stonehenge and some say that you get a better view from your car than you do at the sightseeing spot. I would support this, what do you think?

Well you know, they say nothing in life is perfect or it wouldn’t be real. So as true travellers we will take the bad with the good and take something from each. What was your most over-rated travel experience. I would love to hear!

By Lesley Keyter

Lesley Keyter is the face of travel in the fast growing city of Calgary. Every week since 1997 she has has featured live on the Morning News Global TV.

6 comments

  1. How about the pyramids, flies, overpriced buses, lousy tour guides, bad food, dust, heat (I worked in the Sahara for years) and oh yeah the bombings. Rent the video instead.

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    1. I am fascinated that you worked in the Sahara – yes you must have seen it all, for sure! Luckily when I visited Egypt it was just after the uprising in 2011. Of course Egypt was empty and this was a bonus for us. Managed to see King Tut completely on our own – not another tourist there. So I have good memories of Egypt but yes, if I had gone during the height of the tourist season it would have been very different I am sure

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    1. Good one! I haven’t been to the Isle of Capri for exactly that reason. I have been told that if you actually stay on the island it is lovely when all the day trippers have gone. It does make you feel as if travelling out of season is a better option.

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      1. We spent 2 nights in October 2019 in Capri. It wasn’t magical but very pleasant, especially when you get away from the main town square, crowded with day trippers moving in mobs. Walk out to NE to Villa Jovis, eat dinners at Lo Sfizio in the same direction, take a boat trip around the island and just relax. Weather and tides meant that Blue Grotto was closed.

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