Spanish Steps

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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love to roam in roma

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Every city is slightly different to the next. But in the same token, every major city have similarities. In all major cities, we like to just walk and walk. We have on our radar what it is we want to see and do but the best way to feel the energy of the city is to roam. And that’s what we did in Rome.

GLADIATOR!
GLADIATOR!

So in our first day in Rome, we trekked to the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon and the Spanish Steps. Roma is a-buzzing! People tell us crossing the roads in Rome is an ordeal, and it sure was. When crossing roads, we learnt very quickly, if we “latched” on behind a local, we would safely  get across. And that worked every time!

Another day, we spent roaming in and around Vatican City and the Sistine Chapel. Lining up for the Sistine Chapel probably took up most of the day. In fact, when we left the gates of the Vatican, according to our map, we weren’t too far from the Sistine Chapel. So we headed in the general direction to find the tail of a queue of people. Ignorantly, we jumped on the end. Fortunately for us, it wasn’t a queue for the bathroom or a taxi, it was in fact the entrance queue, that ended up snaking for over 1 km we estimated. We turned at least 3 corners before we saw the entrance! Phew, it was a lucky gamble we took jumping inline. And it was worth the wait!

Classical Rome, you  were full of surprises! Everything from all the variety of pastas we ate, to the street vendors, but most of all to the interesting pizzas that you serve! After a long day’s walk, we ordered a ham, mushroom, olive and egg pizza. And to our dismay and horror, this was what we were served….

Did someone order pizza with NO topping?
Did someone order pizza with NO topping?

What must Italians from Italy think when they see what Australians and Americans serve up as pizzas? Oh my! In all seriousness though, we are so pasta-ed out. Although, the food is divine here, we have eaten so much pasta: so much so that we cannot imagine eating it for months to come. Unlucky for us though as after our next stop, Malta, we are coming back for more of Southern Italy!