It can happen during a city break or a long-anticipated trip of a lifetime. Jet lagged and homesick we become overwhelmed by the tourist hordes or underwhelmed by the very sights we have travelled so far to see. We can whine to our partner; take it out on the tour guide or, most satisfying of all it seems, post something spiteful on a travel review website.
The TripAdvisor rating system ranges from “terrible” to “excellent”, or from one star to five. While it’s fair to say that gripes about crowds, pickpockets and unscrupulous guides are justified; complaining that the Grand Canyon is dusty or that San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge is not the same colour as advertised fit into an entirely different category of grumbles.
Perhaps those who left the comments below just aren’t cut out for travel:
1 The Great Wall TripAdvisor reviewers are overwhelmingly positive about the world’s longest man-made structure but you can’t impress everyone.
“If bricks are your thing you may or may not enjoy this (I didn’t), if bricks and walls are not your thing best to avoid, if you can, too big.”
2 Prague The fairytale capital of the Czech Republic draws millions of awestruck visitors each year but one grumpy tourist won’t be back.
“… only good bit was the flight home. nothing to commend the place at all. Bitterly cold, icy underfoot. have they never heard of snow and ice clearance?”
3 Central Park, New York Winter weather seems to be a recurring problem and this contributor appears to be unaware of the leaf cycle of deciduous trees.
“We went in Feb and the place was like a used rugby field and trees were bare.”
Another vacationer left the most visited urban park in the United States feeling distinctly ho-hum about the experience.
“Nothing that any other major city doesn’t have. I’ll never get back those 3 hours of my life that I spent walking around this park.”
4 The Colosseum, Rome Who could fail to be mesmerised when visiting one of the seven wonders of the modern world? This reviewer was dismayed to find that the Colosseum (built in AD70) was showing signs of age.
“It’s pockmarked with holes everywhere … And the whole place reeked of past excesses – fights to the death, feeding unarmed people to the lions etc. Nasty! It’s also got steep stairs that are a distinct problem for anyone old or with children.”
And don’t hire a guide at the Roman Empire’s largest amphitheatre unless you enjoy being insulted.
“Guide made derogatory remarks to all the party, we were Irish and so we must be drunks.”
5 The British Museum, London According to the travel website, the British Museum is ranked No 1 of 1,386 things to do in the British capital. This patriotic Scot thought otherwise.
“The national museum of Scotland shows how you can have a fun and informative experience. The British museum does not.”
Another sightseer also left disappointed. On the upside, however, he was highly impressed with the conveniences. Museum curators take note.
“A lot of broken pots, came to kill a couple of hours but only filled 20 minutes, only saving grace the toilet facilities were excellent.”
6 Eiffel Tower, Paris City of Love? This English reviewer took one look at the Eiffel Tower and wanted to go home – where they build things properly.
“Too big, too ugly and too many people. Prefer Blackpool Tower.”
7 Loch Ness, Scotland A stopover at Loch Ness is a must for any self-respecting monster spotter. But when your expectations are as lofty as the Scottish Highlands, actually arriving can be something of an anticlimax.
“Nothing special here, just a regular lake like so many others.”
“Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition, more chance of seeing the monster than enjoying this trip.”
8 The Grand Canyon, Arizona Amid glowing “The most incredible thing I’ve seen” type reviews of the American landmark, there are a few holidaymakers who would rather be somewhere else.
“Couldn’t see what all the fuss is about. Dragged here by the missus when I should have been playing golf. It’s just a hole in the ground. A big hole, mind.”
And the award for convoluted logic goes to:
“Seeing the canyon in person is about as good as seeing pictures of the canyon. It’s possible the pictures might be better since the photographer only releases the most interesting views of the park.”
9 Angkor Wat, Cambodia Mildewing in the jungle, the ruins at Angkor Wat have captivated thousands of contributors, although a vocal minority can’t see what all the fuss is about.
“A quick look on google images will suffice unless you are into Hindu temples.”
And this reviewer appears to be inviting the TripAdvisor community over to compare morning skies.
“The sunrise is over-hyped. It is not recommended if you enjoy sleeping in! It’s frequently clouded-up, and well, the sunrises in my home are often better and more colorful.”
10 Hong Kong It seems that even our own fair city is subject to some ungenerous griping. Who could possibly complain about the much loved Star Ferry? There’s always one.
“Skip the rickety old boat and spend your money on something else. Where do I get my 20 minuets (sic) back plus the incredibly long walk to actually get there. Cannot say enough what a waste of time that was.”
Perhaps he should have headed up to The Peak on a clear day to enjoy the views. Or, maybe not.
“Okay so we watched the view of the city from the peak but then what?? I totally got bored after taking pictures here and there. It took us 30 minutes to arrive by car and we forced ourselves to stay at least one hour. In other words, the Peak is just a place where you can see Hong Kong from high up … ”
I don’t know why he bothered. I’ve heard that a quick look on Google Images will suffice. Particularly as photographers only release the most interesting views.