I think my biggest disappointment, in terms of expectations vs reality, has to be my trips to the so called ‘floating city’.
Venice is surely one of the most famous and iconic cities in the world. Can you even name a place that is remotely similar? (except maybe part of the UK in winter…).
No you can’t. It is truly unique.
But both times that I’ve visited, I’ve been left with torn feelings towards the place. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a beautiful city and the passion from Venetians is plain to see. But the reason it’s a disappointment to me? The crowds. Swaths of tourists clog the small alleyways and squares. They are EVERYWHERE! At least on the main island they do. Get away to some of the outer parts, like Murano and Giudecca and you’ll find more peace and quiet.
Of course, I am being hypocrite here…I’m adding to those vast numbers of tourists myself. But that is part of the reason of my sadness about places like Venice.
My last couple of days on my trip to Venice I thought about why do we actually travel?
If people are like myself, and I have many friends’ I’ve met on my journeys that are, the reason we travel is to fulfil a sense of adventure and to see with our own eyes some of the incredible things ‘out there’.
That is part of the problem in itself though is it not? Unfortunately, our love of seeing new and wonderful places can destroy what has made them great to start with. This is not to say everywhere in the world is becoming ruined by tourists. Venice is just perhaps one of only a few, but it is still something to be slightly concerned about.
Responsible travelling is something I am keen on. If possible it is essential that we do not exhaust these gems of human history and dilute the cultures that originally made these destinations attractive to visit.
Or…do we accept that the world is changing, travel is more accessible to a greater number of people, and that places like Venice will continue to change into the future despite the odd backpackers opinions? Therefore, do we aim to experience and discover even more throughout the world in the pursuit of uncrowded and less-well-known destinations?
I must admit, I have only ever backpacked for my travel experiences to date. I am yet to genuinely move to a new location and experience the true local lifestyle.
I move to Hanoi in a matter of weeks to start my 6 month stay and perhaps this will allow me to appreciate a little more what it is like live somewhere tourists visit regularly.