German article on the West Coast Trail

The German Globetrotter magazine just published a full-colour article on the West Coast Trail in their Fall 2007 issue, entitled “Gaiters Please!” They used four of my photos for the article. I didn’t have any mud-photos, so they had to find someone who actually encountered the trail’s famous mud.

Falling into the tourist trap

CNN Travel posted an interesting article on tourists traps. They contend that many of the world’s top tourist icons are a let-down. Stonehenge is described as “an isolated pile of rocks in a usually muddy field”, and on Big Ben “Once you’ve seen it, you’ll know what time it is — time to go somewhere else”.

I agree. We stood in line at the Eiffel tower for about half an hour last year and gave up, as it would have taken us all day to get to the top. For me, the Niagara Falls were a big let-down: in my elementary school geography book the falls were depicted in a simple line drawing (no colourful photos in small-town Dutch elementary school books in the 70s!) as a huge waterfall surrounded by natural forests. When I visited the falls years later, that is what I expected to see. Something like Victoria or Iguazu falls. I was totally shocked by the city, towers and other traps surrounding the falls. Ever since then, the falls have been disappointing to me, even though I have been there four times now, and the falls themselves are quite pretty.

Steve Wright wrote a good article about evaluating tourism experiences and expectations earlier. Obviously, as far as CNN is concerned, many of the top icons don’t pass Steve’s test. But lesser known icons like Petra in Jordan, fare much better.