Rome

looking back at our visit to the colosseum

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It’s been a very long time since we were in Rome. And when we are not travelling, we like to mentally and visually revisit places we have been. So this week, we pay a visit to the Colosseum. Italy was one of those places that we didn’t appreciate enough when we were there, so it is back on our list of countries to see all over again.

We remember lining up outside the Colosseum, then waiting to buy our tickets and then waiting some more for the guided tour to start. We felt like we were spectators entering a stadium to watch a football game….

Then the minute we lay our eyes on the inside of the Colosseum, we are transformed back thousands of years. We ignore what is really there, we cannot help but picture a stadium of roaring Romans. We can hear cheering and booing. We can see gladiators… well, we actually visualise Russell Crowe and his entourage from the movie *cringe that Hollywood has brainwashed us* 😉

Actually out of all of Rome’s iconic sites, the Colosseum is probably our favourite. How we would love to visit it again one day!

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The Colosseum, as part of the Historic Centre of Rome,

was listed as a

UNESCO Heritage site in 1980.

To see the other UNESCO sites we have visited,

visit our unofficial bucket list

Have you been to the Colosseum? We’d love to hear your thoughts of it.

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

weekly photo challenge: minimalist

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Minimalist: relating to minimalism, providing a bare minimum of what is necessary

The “minimalist” is the pizza we were served in Rome is what we are submitting for this week’s photo challenge.

It looked bare compare to the pizzas we are use to which are laden with toppings.

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Have you been served something that was not what you expected?

Happy Weekend, Everyone!!

Please feel free to leave us your comments.

ignorance is bliss

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Sitting on our flight out of Naples, we read in the in-flight newspaper that in the past week, approximately 1500 minor criminals had been released into Naples due to overcrowded prisons. Ahhh… that explains a LOT about our time in Naples. Ignorance is bliss! Had we known this before we arrived in Naples, our stay may have been one filled with anxiety and fear. Instead, Naples to us at the time, was just a base to visit Pompeii and Capri. Admittedly, Naples was a little on the unusual side – we walked the streets and it was deserted, we searched for an internet cafe and were advised that it was best if we didn’t go there. We saw garbage bags being thrown out onto the footpath from apartments that were 5-6 floors up, right out the window and onto the footpath behind us. We only managed to escape ending up wearing all the rubbish. But, that aside we were able to visit Capri and Pompeii which made us happy.

The ferry to Capri was pretty rough but the view upon arriving was worth it. We had a fabulous tour guide for the day, Fabio…. yes, can it be anymore cliche? The roads on Capri were no different to the mainland Italy. Tight, busy and as Fabio put it… “Mamma mia roads”.

Capri
Capri

The following morning, we almost missed our day trip to Pompeii because we “snoozed” a few too many times. Fortunately we made it on the tour bus with only minutes to spare! Pompeii was a little eerie but still very fascinating. We were so pleased to see Mount Vesuvius towering in the background. To think in 62AD, it erupted and covered the town in 6-8 metres of ash not lava.  We saw plaster casts of 3 people who were found in the same position as they were when the ash covered the town. We saw city streets, shops and houses and artwork that still remained. Its quite extraordinary how intact and well preserved everything is.

Preserved foot where you can still see the bones
Preserved foot where you can still see the bones
Streets of Pompeii
Streets of Pompeii

To finish up our time in Italy, we had a rather amusing cab trip to the airport. The car was overheating and the driver had to stop three times to cool the radiator down with water. We offered to pay him and flag down another cab, a little fearful that the car might catch fire. There was steam coming out the bonnet…. he insisted that he take us and as we arrived at the airport, we could the see on the dashboard, the little H for HOT flashing red. We couldn’t bundle ourselves out of the car fast enough and onto that plane to Barcelona.