Europe’s a big old place and there are literally thousands of things you can go and see.
But, what happens?
Like sheep, we all get herded around seeing the same things in the same places, falling for the same spiel from tourism brochures and, you know what, some places just aren’t worth it.
I did a post on five awe-inspiring natural sights that live up their reputation 100%, but on the flip side, here’s a list of seven sights that just make you go……meh.
So you travel all the way to Pisa to see this amazing tower and when you get there, that’s it. A tower that is leaning. Time to take a photo of you pretending to hold it up and then what? There’s not much else in Pisa. For the people who live there thank goodness they have the tower, otherwise, there would be no reason at all to visit and buy a fridge magnet.
Take a moment to enjoy the architectural splendour of the streets of Belgium’s capital then wander down a few back streets to try and find the statue of a urinating child. Once you do find it and realise that it’s about a quarter of the size you expected, try and get a shot of it by avoiding the heads of the hundred or so other people who had the same idea as you.
Everyone raves about Prague and how amazing it is.
Sorry, not me.
Prague was little more than a huge disappointment on practically every level. There is a big fuss made of the Charles Bridge and yes, I agree that historically and architecturally it is probably pretty significant but to your average Joe Tourist…it’s a bridge. Don’t fall for the hype. The statues are nice but even they are replicas of the originals.
Mona Lisa, The Louvre, Paris
The Louvre Gallery in Paris is one of the ‘go to’ places for any self-respecting tourist. And in the Louvre, we all head straight for the painting that we’ve all heard so much about. Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.
Well, prepare to be underwhelmed.
Besides the fact that you’ll be standing about 20 feet away because about fifty other people have squeezed in as well, the picture is REALLY small. It is also protected by glass about an inch thick so you get no real idea of what it’s really like because of the glare.
The Louvre itself is brilliant and there is no reason why you shouldn’t go but don’t forego the work of some other brilliant artists (Georges De La Tour is my personal favourite) to dash round to see something that will leave you disappointed.
Pere Lachaise Cemetery, Paris
When you hear talk of Pere Lachaise cemetery and the bohemian types buried there like Jim Morrison and Oscar Wilde it conjures up images of a windswept, fantastical place like a secret garden.
It isn’t. It’s a cemetery.
It also takes AGES to get there by metro and there is nothing else around so forget any quaint ideas about sightseeing while you’re there.
Once you’ve got off the metro and found the graves of Wilde, Morrison, Chopin. Moliere and Piaf, then what? Unless you’re a massive fan and this is some sort of pilgrimage for you, then it’s a graveyard with some famous people in it.
The Blue Lagoon, Comino, Malta
This is very much a triumph of advertising copy. The Blue Lagoon sounds like it would be the most enchanting, wonderful place on the planet where you could spend your day idly dangling your feet into the crystal waters as the sun beats down.
What you are skillfully not told is that the Blue Lagoon is a tiny volcanic island and the rock that leads to the sea – which, incidentally, is quite blue- is like walking on razors. Don’t even think about walking over the rocks without some sort of protection on your feet.
The sea is pleasant enough, but again, try and stand on the sea-bed and you risk cutting your feet to ribbons before stumbling hopelessly onto the shore to try and find a spot to lie on your towel where a piece of rock isn’t digging agonisingly into your skin.
Las Ramblas, Barcelona
I’m certain that when guidebooks were first printed then a visit to Barcelona’s Las Ramblas’ was a fabulous experience with hundreds of artisan stalls and shops lining the beautiful tree-lined avenue.
But…that was then and this is now. Las Ramblas is now a pretty unimpressive long tree-lined street with hundreds of souvenir and snack stalls. You can, of course, go ‘off piste’ and visit things like La Boqueria, the enormous covered market but to make a trip to Barcelona and include Las Ramblas high on the agenda is a mistake in my book.
What do you think?
Do you agree or disagree with my list?
Are there any others you think should be added?