What happens when a tourist destination's image and reputation doesn't mesh with one's actual experience? Disappointment with a capital D.
Having just visited Scotland, and been disappointed by one of its best-known attractions, I thought I'd compile RepMan's Top 10 places to avoid list:
1.) Loch Ness, Scotland. There are many other lochs with far more to do and see than this one. Nessie's a no-go. Instead, head northwest to the Isle of Skye. In fact, the latter would lead my top 10 best places to see list.
2) Blarney Castle, Ireland. It takes forever to get to and, once there, you pay to forage around what is little more than a damp dump of rubble. And, the Blarney Stone itself is a small hunk of rock that I wouldn't kiss for all the potatoes in Ireland.
3) The Ring of Kerry, Ireland. Billed as a magical journey around the Emerald Isle the ring ride is, instead, a long, boring tour with little, if anything, of real interest to see or experience. Stick with Dublin. It's awesome.
4) Disneyworld, Disneyland and anything associated with Disney. If you're looking for the worst possible cost-benefit ratio, then these theme parks are your ticket (literally). Endless lines, massive hype and outrageous a la carte pricing make the Mouse more of a rat.
5) A Norwegian cruise. Call it a Norwegian snooze instead. If you've seen one fjord, you've seen them all. Opt for an Alaskan cruise instead. You'll love it.
6) The London Eye. Another over-hyped tourist trap, the Eye is nothing more than a big Ferris Wheel that stops every five minutes or so and provides views of the city. Big bloody deal. Don't waste your time or money. Opt for the Jack the Ripper walking tour instead. It kills.
7) Fort Sumter, Charleston, S.C. I adore everything about Charleston. But, the fabled Civil War fort is a must-miss. Avoid the long ferry ride to see a mass of rocks and ruins and, instead, visit one of the working history plantations like Middleton. They're spellbinding and the nearest thing to time travel I've yet found.
8) The NBC Studio Tour, NY, NY. The admission price is outrageous, the tour is underwhelming and you see little and learn even less about the fabled network. A Circle Line cruise around the island is still the best Big Apple experience in this blogger's opinion.
9) The Eiffel Tower. Sorry mes amis, but I found the long lines and overall experience less than formidable. Sitting at the Cafe de le Paix, sipping wine and people watching is a better alternative.
10) Berlin. I'm not sure what I expected, but as a huge history buff, I was very disappointed with the ultra modern destination. Aside from the Brandenburg Gate, there's really nothing to do or see (except for Checkpoint Charlie, which is way cool).
I wanted to end my Top 10 places to avoid list with a special honorable mention for the Ponce de Leon Fountain of Youth Site in St. Augustine, Fla. It's a five-and-dime version of Disneyworld with a few, trashy 'rides' that look as if they haven't been updated since Ponce himself first visited in the early 16th century.
How about you? Do you have over-hyped destinations that should be added to the list? Or, do you take exception with what I've said about one or more sites? Speak up. The plane's doors are about to close.