26 May 2008

Tourism Pet Peeve

Here’s a tourism pet peeve. Tourists in tour groups don’t look at anything. They talk to each other, they walk through major sights, and they line up and take pictures like mad. Here’s a short video at St. Peter’s Basilica of the tourists and their flashbulbs (it's sideways--watch the vertical line in the middle):

No one takes pictures of the floor, the ceiling, the view, or the detail. They don’t take notes, sketch, or try to take it in. They don’t notice other tourists. They all go home with the same pictures of the same places. Then they immediately turn around and pose, someone clicks their picture in front of the sight, and they trudge to the next place. I have seen people walk through art museums with some of the most awe-inspiring and beautifully rendered pieces in the world without looking at any of the art. Unless a tour guide says “look at that,” they cruise right by it. If you pay so much to come see the sights, why not actually see them?!

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Works Cited

Fiona Wild, ed. Eyewitness Travel Rome (London: Dorling Kindersley Limited, 1993), 2007 edition.

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Marble Faun. New York: Penguin Books, 1990/1860.

James, Henry. Daisy Miller. New York: Penguin Books, 2005/1878.

Powers, Alice Leccese. Italy in Mind: An Anthology. Toronto: Vintage Books, 1997.

Steves, Rick. Rick Steves' Italy 2007. New York: Avalon Travel Publishing, 2006.