Posted by: travelrat | January 19, 2020

Don’t Go There

I have noticed a rather annoying trend lately. Some writers are putting out pieces like ‘10 Places to Avoid in 2020’. I will acknowledge that there are places which are a little bit this side of Heaven; indeed, there are places I’d rather stick pins in my eyeballs than visit. But, I will attempt to convey that it’s my personal impression, and not try to discourage anyone else from visiting. I’m probably in a minority, and there are countless people, no doubt, who regard something that doesn’t float my boat as the holiday of a lifetime.

(Personally, I’d avoid places that offer ‘free drinks packages’ or ‘free kids’ places’ … but, of course, I accept there are those who would welcome such offers.)

A prime example was a writer who held up Angkor Wat as a ‘tourist-ridden catchpenny’. It certainly wasn’t when we visited; in fact, someone who lives in Siem Riep said that visitor numbers were significantly down this year. Besides, your ticket also gives you access to a vast complex, in which it’s easy to avoid the crowds.

It did, actually, make me wonder if the writer had actually seen the place, or was just going on hearsay.

A little bit more constructive was an article in an otherwise well-regarded travel magazine, which suggested that, if you didn’t want to visit a well-known attraction for some reason, you might like to go to another, similar but less-frequented site nearby. For instance, if you wanted to avoid Stonehenge, you could go to the stone circle at Avebury, instead.

Stonehenge was included in another list which caught my attention lately. It figured in Places that Look Great in Photographs, but are Disappointing When You Actually See Them. (Nothing new here; estate agents have been doing it for years) In this particular case, I agree to some extent. It’s only when you call at the Visitor Centre, where they’ll explain how it fits into a much greater landscape that it really becomes an experience not to be missed.

The bottom line, I think, is it’s OK to say I didn’t like it’ (and, preferably, say why) … but, to state ‘I didn’t like it, and therefore you shouldn’t go’ suggests a touch of arrogance and superiority, and is, in my opinion, just plain bad writing


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