Holiday Visits that Don’t Impress
The launch of a new book edited by Bill Bryson, “The Road Less Travelled”, which looks at less well known, less visited places has given the Sunday Times to use the book and ask if readers know of others. The five places it says are the most over-rated are Stonehenge, Petra in Jordan, the Colosseum in Rome, Machu Picchu in Peru and Angkor in Cambodia. So far it has had 90 comments on its website for and against the choices. And that’s a lot more than articles usually get.
Take Stonehenge. It says, you can’t get close to it, touch it and you pay an entrance fee. The location is bleak and visitor facilities are limited. All true. When I was younger you could walk around the stones. Now you can see almost as much from the road. Why bother to pay? The book suggests Avebury which is nearby, is larger and more accessible. But that fails to take into account what we believe to be the importance of Stonehenge. Its role at each solstice. Its very bleakness is an attraction. This is also based on what current thinking tells us about it and, as historians and archaeologists reinterpret what might have happened, attitudes might change.
So what might I suggest?
Niagara Falls on the US/Canadian border has tacky towns dotted around a not very tall waterfall. Bath which is overchoked by traffic and visitors with architecture that can be seen elsewhere. Blackpool or Margate or one of many faded resorts that still exist in the past.
It doesn’t matter what I think. Destinations and attractions appeal for all sorts of different reasons. One person’s likes are another’s dislikes. What the book offers and what the Sunday Times doesn’t are new gems you might not know about.