experiences

our top 5 disappointing travel sights and what we learnt

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Hmmm… this post may not go down well but heck, we’ll put it out there and see who else agrees or disagrees.

We read this article recently about the most disappointing travel destinations. And we thought it was a little harsh because we tend to try to see a place for more than just the “tourist”-hype and labels that it has been given.

But then it did get us thinking about how we have been underwhelmed at times during our travels. Our disappointments aren’t blanketed to an entire place but more to a few sights.

Our disappointment with buying what we thought was water only to discover it was sparkling water.
Our disappointment with buying what we thought was water only to discover it was sparkling water.

Here are our Top 5 Travel Disappointing Sights. But please read to the end before jumping to conclusions.

5) Pamukkale

Yes, we recently wrote about how we enjoyed our time there but when we first laid our eyes on it. Were we disappointed? Hell yeh! It wasn’t anywhere as inviting as the pictures we have seen of it. The colours were not as romantic (thanks to PhotoShop no doubt). The pictures that sell Pamukkale are WAY better – but it’s not to say that it’s not worth visiting because it certainly is!

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4) The Statue of Liberty

Really? That’s it? We were expecting something taller and bigger and a little more exciting. Maybe we have been brain washed by too many Hollywood flicks where the big scary apocalyptic wave crashes dramatically into the statue. Okay – so that is us being gullible.

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3) Sea Lions on Kangaroo Island

Sorry that we have to drag out a local tourist draw card. Let’s start by saying that the scenery is definitely spectacular and what we experienced was no doubt enjoyable on Kangaroo Island.

One thing, we were really looking forward to seeing were the sea lions, relaxing on the beach and we did but as tiny little specks out by the water’s edge. We can completely understand that we need to keep our distance for the protection of the wildlife as well as humans but the distance was so far, we could barely see a thing without our camera zoom.

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2) The Terracotta Warriors

Not that they weren’t impressive because they are. It’s just the atmosphere and ambience of the place does not exude significance or excitement. It didn’t stir any thrill inside or “pinch me I’m here” feelings. We can’t quite place our fingers on it but we found it a little anticlimactic. Fascinating but anticlimactic.

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And the MOST disappointing sight?

1) Spanish Steps

Hawkers hassling us to buy roses and bubble guns as we stand in front of stairs that are covered in people. So where are the steps? We can’t even see them because of the bodies scattered. All the while being harassed to buy a rose… yeh, it has to be the most over-rated and underwhelming place we have seen. We probably spent a total of 5 minutes there before we were literally chased away by a hawker … to pay for the rose that he threw at us which we didn’t even want!

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And anyway, to be fair and honest, we are to blame! We hype these things up in our heads only to be disappointed and then try to blame the place. Uh-uh *shaking head*…. The problem is ours not the sight itself!

Our solution to avoiding disappointment: Don’t have any expectations.

We have learnt to realise that an experience is more than just an impression. And what we describe above are just impressions. Because overall our experience in all these places were nothing short of unbelievable.

  • We loved Pamukkale… actually we loved very drop of Turkey.
  • We were dazzled by NYC … we want to go back.
  • We love how untainted Kangaroo Island is…. we would stay longer next time.
  • We were enchanted by Rome… we yearn to go back.
  • We were mystified by Xi’an… we remember it fondly.

So it just shows that a “disappointment” of an attraction does not necessarily equate to negative feelings on an entire place. What about the atmosphere, the culture, the people, the food and everything else beyond the well-renowned must-sees?

Go somewhere to experience it, not just to see it! 

Maybe we will need to have a follow up post on our top 5 least disappointing or our top 5 favourite sights 🙂

So do you agree with any of the places? Or do you have somewhere else you want to include? 

Feel free to comment here

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the wood(en) anniversary

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Silver, ruby, gold anniversaries sound so glamorous. And why does our wood anniversary sound like a dud? Seems a little unfair that 5 years is deemed so worthless compared to 25 years or more. But guess it only matters if you are buying one another gifts – which we don’t do.

Wishes from the Press Club (in Melbourne)
Wishes from the Press Club (in Melbourne)

Every anniversary for us is as important as the last and we don’t need any gift or jewel to signify this. It seems an unusual concept for us to buy each other gifts for our birthdays, Valentine’s Day, anniversaries and Christmases etc etc. Flowers die, chocolates get eaten, material items have an expiry date (because they get old, broken, damaged, forgotten and gosh knows what else) so we opt for something that is much more long-lasting! True to our philosophy, we prefer to make sure that each of those important occasions are marked or celebrated with an experience. Experiences become memories which don’t get forgotten (at least not willingly). For us, it usually comes in the form of a theatre show, a major sporting event, a fine dining meal or a trip away – basically anything that we get to share together.

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So anyway, here, we are – September, 2013 which marks 5 years since we got married. The years have passed by so very fast that it makes us wonder whether we will be at the silver anniversary (that’s 25 years) before we know it?! Where would we be then? Looking into the crystal ball – we see that we would be in our 50s and still travelling, more than we are able to today as we would be retired then! Well, that is the plan and we can always dream.

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In the meantime, let’s not concern ourselves on what the silver, ruby or gold anniversaries hold for us. Let us celebrate each and every day and be grateful for the life that we have, the family and friends we have and the fact we can do what we love most and that is travel! So for now…. Turkey awaits us to help us celebrate our wedding anniversary and maybe we can find something wooden (that won’t get confiscated by Australian Customs) to bring back to remind us of how we celebrated one fifth of a quarter of a century 🙂