Was anyone else one of those weird kids in elementary school who had a phase where they were obsessed with Ancient Egypt? I know I was. I dreamed of visiting Egypt one day and visiting the pyramids myself. But nowadays…..maybe not.
I'm not the only one who feels this way. In fact, there are several other countries that also have a suffering tourist industry right now. Check out these stories from the travelers of Reddit. Christianshiels asked:
What is one country that you will never visit again?
Unfortunately, the Sphinx won’t be getting any foreign visitors anytime soon.
This is horrifying.
“Egypt's tourism industry will never recover from this question."
“I was there in 2003, I was maybe 24ish on a tour with both of my parents.
I have never in my life been felt up as much as I have over there. In crowds, at museums, at the hotel. Random guys.
Even taking a camel ride: the older sleazy operator lifted me down without my consent and forced my body to do a slow slide against him.
It was disgusting. Really sad to hear it has gotten far worse."
It’s depressing to see the decline.egypt GIFGiphy
“Egypt. I visited Sharm El Sheikh back in 2015. The hotel area was amazing (I vaguely remember it being called "The Barron") and you felt like a king there. But that was it. As soon as you leave the hotel area, you feel like you're in a war zone. Trash everywhere, barely laid roads. Nothing to go look at, outside of the hotel (apart from stuff they sold to you as a day trip - Snorkelling, Camel riding, going out in the dessert with a quad bike).
It did not feel "right" to be there. Every time I went to buy water in a shop, the price would go up each day. They would tell you a price, many times 2 or 3 times the price you payed the day before and you'd need to haggle them down. I ended up saying that I'd pay a certain amount and not more. When they said "no", I'd leave the shop and they'd come chasing after me, saying "ok, ok, we can do £X.XX". It was stressful to be there.
If I wanted to enjoy myself, I'd stick to my hotel room, the pool or the beach and ignore the people trying to sell me stuff on the beach. I was the only one in the group of 5 people who didn't enjoy it. But I don't see the joy in having to haggle my way through the day and having seen everything after the 2nd day.”
“As an Egyptian woman, I want to say…
Firstly, I am 10000% sorry for every human being victimized by someone in Egypt.
On behalf of Egyptian women everywhere, THANK YOU for sharing your stories. Your stories are our stories. These things happen to us ALL.THE.TIME. But the women here are numb to it or condemned for speaking up. We try to communicate with the outside world on the issue of women's right, rape culture, sexual harassment but with the spoken and written language barrier, it makes it very difficult to get our stories out.
Egypt needs this rude awakening. Tourism will suffer and they cannot afford to have that happen. We need to take responsibility and make some serious changes.
Edit: I am choosing to no longer respond to comments, because I have had some strange encounters from a few. I am aware that this post has been reposted directly on Egyptian tourism channels and I am now receiving a ton of comments questioning me on personal matters, my location, my travel, my education, my family as well as questioning the validity of my experiences. Everyone is within their right to ask whatever question they may have but I fear that perhaps this might be a ploy to get pieces of information about me and my family to find my identity. For this, I am feel an overwhelming fear. So I will stop commenting from now, but I will continue to read.
For those not living in Egypt, I very much want to thank everyone for your kind words and support. I mostly write on these forums because I am able to express myself openly and honestly in a way that I've never experienced before and it is very therapeutic. Thank you for giving me the space to do that.
For the Egyptians that have commented, many of you are so understanding, humble and kind. You welcome my intense commentary and show me absolutely love and care. This gives me hope because I KNOW the good that is Egyptian people. I want the world to see this too. We have to stand for what's wrong, and act with our moral compass first. May God help Egypt and its people.”
Well that’s horrifying.
“Egypt. I made the mistake of going to a store on my own (dressed in a long-sleeved dress). The owner approached me, and started massaging my neck with a fragrant oil. I escaped and on the street, all men were laughing at me. Apparently I was wearing a scent that only prostitutes wear. Or so they told me. I was assaulted and ridiculed. I was staying at a 5* hotel, where a cleaner (male) took down my curtains. There were guys standing outside of my room after dark, waving at me and my friend, and laughing.”
Tourism is also definitely declining in the countries that these next few posts write about.
Definitely not worth a second trip.
“Jamaica…got mugged within the first 5 minutes I kid you not!”
“I don't think people realize how impoverished alot of Jamaica is. I'll never go back there either. I had a driver try to extort money from me on my honeymoon. The lady that set up the transportation at our resort was in on it. The driver accosted my wife demanding money for a previous ride he had given us but abandoned us so we had to find our own way back to the resort. I told my wife to go into the airport and he and I exchanged words.
He wanted the money for the return trip plus extra because he drove to pick us up for no reason. Mind you we waited over an hour for him. Once he realized I wasn't going to back down and I wasn't afraid of him calling the cops he backed down and left.”
A tough country to visit at the moment.fly flying GIF by Team CocoGiphy
“Haiti. Went on a medical mission. One day was spent at the beach. We got caught in the middle of a protest. I was groped, several other people were punched. It was terrifying. They only stopped when one of our translators yelled that we were medical workers.
We only ended up spending one hour at the beach so we wouldn't end up driving back through the same area at night. When we reached that area it was clear of people. A few overturned vehicles were on fire. A U.N. detail was hanging out in a big armored vehicle with a very large gun on top.
I can't imagine how awful it must be now with all of the civil unrest.”
At least Jimmy’s story had a happy ending.
“The Gambia in West Africa.
I've travelled to over 40 countries in my life including Egypt, Morocco, India and Cameroon and the Gambia is by far the worst of the bunch!
Went there in 2009 with my girlfriend (we were 20 at the time), it is by far the most corrupt country in the world.
Let me start by saying it's a beautiful country and the people there are the friendliest people you could wish to meet, but the way they are treated by the government is disgusting.
We met a local guy there called Jimmy Brave who lived in a hut on the beach with his young family, amazing guy, cooked us dinner every night and never wanted anything but friendship in return (we have him a fair bit of money on our last day, more than we usually would because he genuinely didn't want it)
Anyway one night we decided we wanted to check out the nightlife in the tourist area where it was safe, so my friend Jimmy agreed to meet us by the hotel entrance at 7PM, then we would take him for dinner and hit a few bars.
We got to the front of the hotel just before 7pm and Jimmy wasn't there, we waited around an hour, still no Jimmy.
At this point we assumed he had forgotten so we went back out of the rear exit onto the beach and to his hut, his wife said he had gone to meet us over an hour ago.
We searched for about 4 hours and still couldn't find him so his wife suggested we call the local tourist police, we called and they confirmed he had been arrested for loitering in front of the hotel.
We agreed to meet the head of police and arrived at the police station, this is where it got shady.
We went in and sat at a desk in a empty dark room, a big African guy in army clothing came in and sat in front of us, the guy had 2 cigs in his mouth smoking both at the same time.
He slammed his fist on the table and started shouting at us, demanding £500 (probably a years wages over there!) to release Jimmy.
Obviously we refused, after about an hour of arguing and various threats against us (we were a young white couple at the time and they assumed we were wealthy) we managed to agree on £70 and a 200-pack of cigs.
We paid and were told to wait outside, we were out there for over 2 hours and they brought the wrong guy out (we only knew our friend as Jimmy Brave not his real name so this proved challenging), anyway I was invited in to show the police who Jimmy was and had to pick him out of a huge cell filled with atleast 300 people, some who were very close to death.
Anyway Jimmy spotted me straight away and we had him released, when we got far enough away from the police station Jimmy broke down in tears, I’ve never seen a grown man cry like this in my life, he lifted up his top and he had several large open wounds where they had been whipping him in the cell and the police truck, we immediately took him to hospital where he remained for 2 days at a cost of £240ish (the hospital doctors were great).
So bare in mind he was beaten/whipped around 50 times (Hard!), just for waiting outside our hotel to take us for drinks.
And he was only released because we paid, if we had never turned up he said he would have died in there, they dont release the 'criminals' until somebody pays the corrupt police chief.
There was people literally dying in front of my eyes in the cell, I've always swore if I become rich I will be going back there just to release as many of these people as I possibly can (except any dangerous people who actually deserve to be there obviously)
This wasnt the only corruption from the police we seen while there it's just the main point, we seen police walking down the street slapping women and kids for absolutely no reason, one cop told me he would murder anyone I point out right now for £50 (he had an AK47).
I saw people dragged in the back of trucks never to be seen again just for asking people for a bottle of water.
I feel really sorry for the majority of the population in Senegambia as they are amazing happy people who have to live in constant fear of the police/government.
EDIT: I forgot to mention that Jimmy managed to move to the UK in 2016 with the help of me and another British family he met in the Gambia, he now lives in Stoke-on-Trent which is a few hours from where I live but we talk on facebook regularly and meet up once or twice a year.”
It can be really hard to see some of your dream travel spots turn into something different than it once was.
When even the hotel staff tells you not to leave the premises.schitts creek enjoy GIF by CBCGiphy
“South Africa, some random truck rolled up outside of our hotel and got in a shootout for no apparent reason. I walked out after the shooting to see around 7 people dead or at least injured, including our tour guide."
“My friend was told by the hotel management not to leave the hotel grounds for the duration of his stay.They'd wait at the gates of the hotel for the tourists to come out.
It sucks to see beautiful countries decline.
“Syria, I went before the civil war and it was honestly one of the loveliest places I've ever been, with super nice friendly people. Add to that the food is amazing. It would break my heart to see some of the places now.”
“My dad bought one of those "1000 places to see before you die" books on a whim a few years back. I think it was published in the early 2000s and it, of course, had Damascus in it. It was absolutely heartbreaking to see what used to be and it truly saddens me that I'll probably never get to see or experience it. It's one of the oldest and most culturally rich cities in the world, and today it's just full of rubble and death. It is a sobering reminder of how volatile this world is and how quickly things can change.”
Definitely not a good time to go back.
I would love to go back and be a tourist, but I don't think I will ever have the opportunity nor would it be responsible now that I have a family to vacation there. The country is absolutely beautiful, and the weather was nice. The people are one of the kindest, most respectful cultures I have ever had the pleasure of working with, full of beautiful traditions and fantastic food. Sadly, they have their issues and it wouldn't be wise to risk going there as a tourist. A real shame too, because I'd have loved to visit the resorts in Bamyan and go skiing and snowboarding there.”
Ok, let’s move past the negativity, and talk about which countries just aren’t certain peoples’ cups of tea.
I mean, fair.Independence Day Summer GIFGiphy
“Breaking the chains of Egypt and Afghanistan, lol.
The USA. Obviously not the same reasons as you guys have for Egypt and such..
I've been to NYC. It was pretty cool and I enjoyed it (although we didn't really do much touristy stuff like visit Liberty) but I don't really have any travel plans to the USA because I'm just not interested in it. I'm sure there are pretty places, but in terms of history, culture, food, etc. the US doesn't interest me.
I would quite like to visit Hawai'i some day, but I'm a little confused about what Hawaiians have said about how tourism negatively affects their economy, the lives of native Hawaiians, historical and cultural monuments and artefacts, etc. And I wouldn't want to visit a place where my tourism could be harmful to the people who live there. I can admire from afar.”
Not bad, just a little boring.
Not because it's dangerous. Not because of the people. It's the safest place I've been in and the people there are super nice.
Nothing happens there. Not in the four and a half years I've lived there. There is nothing fun there, it's got no interesting historical monuments. It's boring and there's nothing to see.
All I'll remember from there was the time spent in the international school, close friends, and everything I did outside of the country prior to the pandemic.”
“New Zealand. Nothing to do there and Kiwis have a massive inferiority complex. Wretched country. If I could sink both islands into the ocean I would.”
We get a bad rep, and probably deserve it.American Flag Girl GIF by DrivetanksGiphy
“Also USA. Worst place ever. An average American does not know anything outside the USA. They think they are the center of the world and they don't need to know anything about other countries. NYC is super polluted with beggars everywhere. I saw two people fighting with knifes at 1am. Over priced. Dirty. There are many racist people in the southern and middle States, add to this guns! People in the USA worship the dollar. They accept to do anything for money, no ethics. I didn't feel safe there.”
It is absolutely heartbreaking reading all of these stories. While there are bad people anywhere you go, it’s terrifying to hear about the extent that these things happen in other places.
The next time you plan a vacation, do your research.
The world is full of so many different cultures, ideas, and laws. Traveling to a new country that you've never been to can be quite a culture shock.
For those of us who haven't traveled overseas, it's interesting to know what might be shocking to us that is incredibly normal in another country. For those of us who have, this Redditor wanted to know what was surprising the first time you visited a country.
Redditor Spilakkk asked:
"What is the thing that surprised you the most when you traveled to a country you had never been to before?"
Some of these are quite surprising, and might bring a sense of longing to when it is safe for world travel once again.
Have a drink for the road!
"Probably in Germany when I bought a beer in a convenience store and they offered to open it for me so I could enjoy it on my walk."
"Haha, the good old German 'Wegbier,' that's how we call it. It just means having a [beer] for the walk from A to B."
"When I went to Berlin this threw me off. My tattoo artist took me across the street and bought me a beer and then we walked around. It was such a neat experience. My fiancé was busy in a meeting that day so the following day I said hey look what we can do. And I bought us two beers and then I said now we can go walk around. She was so skeptical at first but then we walked around Berlin, drinking beer and taking in the sights. It was such a neat experience."
"Honestly coming from Denmark I thought obviously having alcohol in public was allowed everywhere! Then I went to New York, wanted a bottle of wine for a nice dinner. Had to go to a special store, show ID (wtf, haven't done that since I was 15), and they wrapped it in the most shameful paper bag I've ever seen."
"It's honestly so funny to me that Americans talk about the right to own guns but they can't chill at a park with a beer. Overall great trip though, people are so nice!"
"Just remembered, on that same trip when my boyfriend and I crossed over from Canada into the US at 4am we had to get out and get a visa, no problem we filled out the forms then came time for paying. It was like $14 for both of us, I instinctively pull out my card and the guy asked us if we were French."
"I responded we were Danish and asked why, to which he replied 'Well, French guys also let their girlfriends pay,' while staring down my boyfriend. I just looked straight at him and said 'Where we're from we believe in equality,' and he looked so flustered while his coworker was laughing his *ss off behind him."
New York is exactly what we expect it to be, surprisingly enough.
"New York is exactly as advertised... everything i see on tv shows and movies are exactly the same..."
"I've been to a lot of places but New York is the only one that is exactly my expectation..."
"Does the pedestrian respond with 'HEY I'M WALKING HERE'?"
"To which you hear a response of 'go suck a d*ck.'"
"True story and I completely agree, NY is as expected."
"I loved the fact that people do indeed curse loudly and friendly at each other."
"Someone crosses the road and isn't paying attention and someone else will stick their head out the window and shouts some colorful anatomy question regarding their head."
"The sheer amount of garbage on the streets in Manhattan was the really big surprise for me. No alleys, no dumpsters, and giant buildings, so they just put out huge piles of garbage on the sidewalks."
"Every other first world city I've ever been in, a good rain will wash the city clean and leave, at least for a little while, a fresh smell in the air. Not New York. In New York, a rainy day just washes garbage everywhere."
Best Excuses For Late Assignments That Were Actually True | George Takei’s Oh MyyyTeachers have heard every excuse in the book from students who were trying to pull a fast one. We all know the classics: 'dog ate my homework,' 'my car burst...
People in Prague are polite.
"In Prague, when you open a camera in the street, it's like a force field! People automatically moves aside to not stand in the way."
"I learnt this in Prague in 2008 and made it a habit. It's very polite and people look at me graciously when I do it everywhere."
"Czechs are very polite, actually, in our own way. We scowl around, look like we are miserable all the time and will probably sigh loudly when another tourist asks where the castle is even though you can literally see it right there."
"But then, a mother with a stroller? Someone will help carry it up the stairs. People stand to the side of the escalators so people who have to hurry can run past. People stand to the side of the doors on any public transport so people can get off first, then they get on. Czechs are experts at CPR, statistically, Czechs give more CPR than any western country and we are damn good at it."
"There is a lot of stuff we are great at. Its not just beer."
Apparently there's scammers too.
"The strangest thing for me in Prague was how almost every money exchange store was trying to scam people by using horrible exchange rates. [I don't know] how these stores are still open."
"I'm pretty paranoid and have studied how scammers operate in every country and the one place where I traveled where I got scammed (but them I realized it and demanded my correct amount of money - while they pretended it was a mistake) was in Prague..."
Heated sidewalks in Finland
"Heated sidewalks in Finland! Absolutely life savers for me who had no idea how to walk on ice."
Standing for the royal anthem.
"In Thailand we were watching a movie and they played the [royal] anthem and everyone stood up for their king."
But that is changing.
"I'm in Thailand at the moment. There have been huge protests and speaking out against the monarchy for the past year or so (which is dangerous as it's illegal, with severe penalties). I went to watch a film a few weeks ago and only around half the people in the cinema stood up during the showing of the king's video before the movie (it's not actually the national anthem, just some rousing nationalist song with clips of him in ceremonial dress)."
"This may not sound like a big deal, but it was absolutely unthinkable, even 2 years ago, for half the people to show such disrespect and to remain seated during that part."
"Living in Thailand for 13 years, I can tell you the people loved their old king (King Rama 9) that sadly passed away. He was the most beloved person in the country. He had so many projects and undergoing's that helped the quality of life for so many people in Thailand. He was very connected to his country and people. I know for a fact everybody would pause and stand if his anthem was played anywhere out of voluntary action. I've never seen such respect for a king."
"On the other hand, his son, who is now the king of Thailand (King Rama 10) is much disliked compared to the other king due to his lifestyle and carelessness for the country. That's why they're protesting the monarchy. They know King Rama 9 won't be topped by any successors so might as well end it. I say good for them, they shouldn't be bowing to someone that doesn't care much for them."
Work really does end at 5:00 in Italy.
"A few years ago we went to Italy and I made my wife go on a side trip to Herculaneum and Pompeii for a couple days. In Herculaneum we were wandering around in town when 5:00 PM rolled around, and within 15 minutes the streets were filled with people, not hurrying past one another, but just standing around talking, having an ice cream, drinking a beer or whatever."
"Ashgabat Turkmenistan - everything about it. The entire city (every building) is white marble. It lights up at night like a sterile Las Vegas however, there is no advertising except for billboards of the dictator holding onto puppies by the neck to show everyone how nice he is. He has pretty much positioned himself as a religious prophet. The airport is shaped like a massive white marble eagle. It used to be a red building but soon after it was built they tore it down and built a white marble one to match the current décor."
"Also there is no white marble in Turkmenistan so it has to be imported from Italy. They were the largest importer of white marble in the world and drove the price up so high it cost them ridiculous amounts of money to build the buildings. Strange strange place."
One Reddit user created a list of a few of the interesting rules created by this dictator. We chose some of the most outlandish.
"Turkmenistan's post-Soviet history can be explained, in part, by their crazy dictator, Saparmurat Niyazov. Some of his decrees include:"
- "banning the use of lip syncing at public concerts in 2005 as well as sound recordings at 'musical performances on state holidays, in broadcasts by Turkmen television channels, at all cultural events organized by the state... in places of mass assembly and at weddings and celebrations organised by the public,' citing a negative effect on the development of musical arts incurred by the use of recorded music."
- "ordering that a 'palace of ice', or indoor ice skating rink, be built near the capital, so that those living in the desert country could learn to skate. The rink was built in 2008."
- "outlawing opera, ballet and circus performances in 2001 for being 'decidedly unturkmen-like'."
- "discouraging the use of gold teeth in Turkmenistan after he suggested that the populace chew on bones to strengthen their teeth and lessen the rate at which they fall out."
Prolonged eye contact.
"The amount of eye contact and observation. When I went to Morocco, in the evening the streets would be packed full of families sitting and talking. These people would watch each other, in fact even the way I'm describing it with 'watch' shows how unwelcome and uncomfortable it would be in England. People would also make eye contact and keep it frequently on the street, just with ease. It felt so strange for me at first."
"Yes!!! Oh my God I'm from Morocco and this has always been one of my main complaints about this place, and I never understood why it didn't bother other people so much!!"
"It would definitely be considered creepy in other countries but here, people see no issue in staring at you and what you're doing anywhere, anytime."
"It's one of the main reasons I hate going out."
"The smells of a different country. I'm from Australia and travelled to Malaysia a few years back. The city, the jungle, everything smelt different to any place in Australia."
"I still distinctly remember the smell of Turkey, Egypt, Switzerland, Spain, so many countries we visited traveling Europe and I remember coming home to Sydney and being like 'ahh so this is what home smells like!'"
"Yeah bro just come to the UK, the sweet smell of rain and cigarettes!"
Maybe we can learn a thing or two from these cultural differences, and celebrate how diverse our world truly is.
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When I first went to Paris, I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the city's architecture, its rich history, and the plethora of local pâtisserie options.
I was also extremely disoriented and not ready for the cutlure shock.
Maybe it was just the particular establishments, but I was berated for changing the position of my chair at a sidewalk café to face my lunch date. I didn't realize all chairs had to face outward towards the traffic view on the street.
Again, maybe I was unlucky with the restaurant choice.
At another restaurant, my coke was brought to the table in a can with an empty glass. No ice.
When I asked for it to be cold with ice, the server came back with a single ice cube perched on a spoon and proceeded to pour the can's contents directly over the ice cube on the spoon, which hovered over the glass. He then took said spoon away – with the ice.
I guess that's how they roll.
And yet, I wondered if the French visiting the states were appalled at finding "cold" beverages being diluted with the melting ice cubes in their glasses.
Curious to hear of examples of culture shock from strangers on the internet, Redditor FloridaLife96 asked:
You can expect cuisine to be a huge difference from what you're used to back home. But there's more to what your palate experiences when it comes to food experiences in America.
"Chocolate soft serve ice cream. I could not understand why we didn't have that in Norway as it had to be the best invention i the history of mankind. I was 8 BTW."
Portion Control, Or Lack Thereof
"The size of your popcorn portions when I went to watch a film. My whole arm could fit in the box." – Stapes89
"I bought a popcorn+soda combo and the soda was like 1L. Hurt my arm holding it. I don't know how anyone can finish 1L in one sitting. My family can't even finish a liter during dinner."
"I was on a trip to LA a few years back. We went to see a movie, and holy sh*t there are so many types of soda. Where I'm from there's 2 versions of a soda: sugar or no sugar."
"These crazy motherf'kers got cherry, vanilla, cinnamon, orange, pineapple, birch beer???, Cherry limonade, grape, Banana, fruit punch, peach, Mango, cranberry, lemon lime with cucumber and the list just goes on."
Contrasting environments were either pleasantly jarring or completely disappointing for these Redditors.
One The Road
"How on one side of a highway there can be a full-on ghetto, and on the other side of that highway there can be a relatively nice middle-class or even upscale neighborhood."
"Also, just how many police cars you see all the time."
"I was awestruck when on my coast to coast roadtrip we first entered the plains of Texas. You could see for miles and miles in any direction. It felt like you could see tomorrow's weather in the distance. Later I was even more awestruck at the sights of your country's deserts and the canyons, including a grand one."
"How unglamorous LA actually is, compared to how it is depicted in TV shows/movies."
"Hollywood is the absolute worst."
"When I first moved here I couldn't believe how different things were state to state. Some states are more different from one another than neighboring European nations are."
"The spaces between door and door frames in public toilets...I mean do you want to make eye contact with someone while sitting there ?"
Perceptions Of People
People say New Yorkers are rude. We're just direct and tell it like it is.
Some say Los Angeles is too slow. Maybe you're too fast.
How people engage in different parts of the country can be fascinating for sure.
"How open people were to start a conversation with a stranger(me). Where I'm from people are much more closed off. The restaurant food portions. One meal is equivalent to two or three meals for me The lack of proper public transport ( except in NY) The fact that a lot of people consider a 2 or 3 hour drive, a short drive."
People Are Direct
"How direct people are. Been to the US only once (NY, Queens, 2011) as part of a student exchange. People are straight to the point. Most of the times they are nice about it, while still being very concise. Love that. Also, how big everything is. From roads, to the campus, to the dorm room we were staying in etc"
Reactions To Accents
"The number of people who find a British accent difficult to understand (asking for water was a consistently humiliating experience)."
"You guys really are obsessed with your military."
"People in the military and vets get treated like celebrities. Unless they're homeless of course, then nobody gives a sh*t about them."
As a Japanese-American, I was blown away by how different things were even in my native country.
What stayed with me after visiting Tokyo was how clean the metropolitan areas were and how the locals respected cleanliness. Even more shocking was the absence of litter on the streets and sidewalks despite the lack of garbage cans in public.
People literally carried their snack wrappings or empty beverage cans with them until they were able to dispense them in receptacles found in convenience stores.
I look forward to being able to travel again and explore other worlds and learn from their cultures.
Wondrous landmarks you've seen in history books and in the background of some of your favorite cinema have an allure that makes you want to visit in person.
Seeing something breathtaking like the Grand Canyon or the Eiffel Tower is definitely impressive and simply cannot be taken in by merely looking at a photograph.
And then there are those landmarks that just leave you feeling disappointed and taking the obligatory "been there done that" selfie.
In all deference to Leonardo da Vinci, seeing the Mona Lisa in person was disappointing due to its miniature size. For me, the Louvre Museum itself was more awe-inspiring than the anticipatory main event.
Curious to hear about the impression of strangers, Redditor PSpen88 asked:
"The Four Corners in the US. It's just a concrete circle in the desert. Like, idk what else I expected, but I was disappointed."
"Plymouth Rock stinks. Just go to the Lobster Pot and get the fried plate and that will make your day a whole lot better."
Walk Of Fame
"Hollywood walk of fame. Such a dirty place full of homeless people, weirdos and rappers trying to sell you their CD. Really doesn't live up to the hype."
"The Las Vegas welcome sign. I thought it would be a lot taller."
"Not saying you shouldn't go and make up your own mind, but Las Vegas is very trashy; an entire city devoted to gambling and strip clubs was never pretending to be anything else."
"Essentially every famous bakery or restaurant I've been to in the US/Canada with a massive line out the door. The longer the line, the sh!ttier it is."
"The statue of The Little Mermaid in Copenhagen. Seriously, I had bigger action figures as a kid."
"I live in San Antonio and everytime I walk or drive by the Alamo its pretty wack."
"Man! I thought the Alamo was going to be a beastly bastard. It's like the size of a middle class house."
"Mount Rushmore. It's really far away from the viewing area."
"Stonehenge. Rocks behind a rope. Fun times."
I loved working on cruise ships because it allowed me to travel extensively to locations I would never get to if it weren't for the job.
If I had to choose my favorite destination, I would go with Santorini. The rugged topography shaped by a major volcanic eruption during the 16th century BC lends itself to an otherworldly sight.
I remember riding a mule to the top of the underwater caldera and taking in the majestic view of the Aegean Sea and rendering me speechless.
When Redditor throwawaycrossstitch asked, "Hands down, what's the most beautiful place on Earth that you've ever been to? What made it so?", Redditors responded with some of their favorite locales that will make you want to pack your bags.
Ready for a virtual trip? Let's go!
"I have never been outside of Europe, I'm Danish and grew up in the middle class so we only ever went on small European travels for a week or so every 2-3 years."
"A few years ago my father, stepmom, my two sisters and I were in Crete and my father decided to rent a car and go through a valley up a mountain to this small village that was surrounded by nothing but high hills and mountainsides. The village itself was beautiful in its culture and atmosphere of hospitality, even though there were a few gift shops, which kind of brought a touristy feel to an otherwise peaceful and 'out of reach' place."
"The real beauty was on the way back, when we stopped to take a hike down through a forest. It was the most beautiful walk I have ever been on, we walked on small stone paths laid by mountainside civilization more than 200 years prior, ate figs off a naturally growing fig tree and saw an old abandoned stone house. It was beautiful, and I took some nice pictures of my family to preserve the memories."
"The only other place I can think of that comes close is probably the old war tracks outside of Rome we walked by, back when I was on my high school study trip. The cobblestones laid on the road by ancient romans leading to small towns with wine cellars and a whole lot of culture."
"We have stayed on Big Island twice. In February, around my birthday, we flew over to Kauai for a day. It's exactly what I have always pictured when I hear "Hawaii". When we go back, we are staying there. Napali coast is on the list!"
"Innsbruck Austria. You see that bench over there? I passed out on the son of a b*tch after a night of partying in germany at a concert. Someone woke me up with breakfast, an espresso and this drink thats like gatorade. Spent that day recovering in Venice."
Eighth Wonder Of The World
"Milford Sound in the south island of New Zealand."
"Writer Rudyard Kipling once described it as, 'the eighth Wonder of the World'; and, after visiting it this year, I am in full agreement."
"For me it would be the Namib Desert."
"Maybe for most people it would seem a strange choice, but there is this haunting beauty of endless acres of shifting sands and emptiness contrasted against the wide sky. You feel like you are the only person on earth. And then you begin to notice that it isn't empty. There are signs of life here and there. Hardy and resilient. Traces of animals and insects passing by. Relics of humanity in ruins, abandoned buildings, vehicles, and ones far older, in carvings and designs on the rocks themselves. And then you get to the coast, and this mass of rock and sand crashes against the Atlantic, empty, as far as the eye can see."
"Its an experience and feeling that is hard to describe in words, but will stick with you always."
"A close second would be the Mountains ranges of the Himalayas, Hindu-Kush, Karakoram."
"Iceland, without a doubt. The waterfalls are stunning, the people are friendly, and the views, oh the views are from different world."
Norway Is Unreal
"I was backpacking in Norway once and made it up to the Lofoten Islands. It's far enough north that you can experience the northern lights or the midnight sun - I got the latter bc I was there in May. Think light turquoise waters, cotton candy-colored skies, and incredible views anywhere you went. I hiked to the overlook of Reinebringen (look it up, seriously) at 3 am and watched a storm roll in."
"Idk man, the whole place looked unreal. The colors, the gnarly, massive, terrifying fjords. Go to Norway y'all."
Goosebumps From The Alps
"Swiss alps and specifically the Jungfrau region. I've been there multiple times now and it still gives me goosebumps."
"The Grand Canyon, at night, looking up at the stars. It appears infinite, and is incredibly humbling. Hands down is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen."
When In Montana
"Glacier National Park, Montana, US. You drive up into the mountains and then no matter which direction you hike you are surrounded by stunning, snow-capped mountains (even in August), crystal-clear lakes, tiny waterfalls coming down the mountains, and wide fields of wildflowers."
A Gem In Japan
"When I visited Kyoto a few years back, my friend and I visited the Okochi Sanso Gardens. At a certain point, you can see these lush mountains, my friend and I stood in silence for a few minutes. The view and sounds of nature really made me so emotional."