Recently while doing some research for my upcoming trip to Cappadocia I came across an interesting discussion on tourist traps. A person asked what town she should stay to get an authentic experience in Cappadocia because she didn’t want to be in a tourist trap. I somewhat agree with her feelings but the thing that really hit home to me was one of the responses. The responder reminder her that she too was a tourist and that she was in a way contributing to a place losing its authenticity by coming. What a great response. It made me think deeply about some of the very touristy places I have been. What do I like about them? What do I dislike?
Some my favorite places are what some might consider tourist traps but find my logic why I love them and see if you agree.
Rio de Janeiro- my grandmother lived there. I went there at least once a year. My husband lived there. Every time we go to Brazil we go to Rio. Evvery time we say we will not go to the Christ statue or the Sugar Loaf. BBut every time we are back. Why? It is the breath taking views. It is the spirit of Rio. It is where all the tourists go, but so do we and so should every one who visits this city.
Venice- the ultimate toursit trap. It’s an island so you cannot get away too easily. There are all the cheesy souvenir shops, the street performers, the museums, the tours. But when I am in the Serenissima I can feel the memory of my ancestors walking the same calles during its heyday. I seee all the old buildings in their long forgotten glory. I get lost in its alleys and feel that is the ultimate charm of this city. I like seeing all the laundry hanging out to dry. I love watching little old men taking their old dogs out for walks. I feel like I walked into a scene from a book when I find a small piazza filled with residents just sitting around talking about better days. I feel privileged when all the tourists leave and I am walking alone through St. Mark’s Square. I even love the smell of the salt water and the smell of old buildings. Venice is a tourist trap but it has been one for about 300 years. They know what tourists want and they give it to themm. But the truly lucky ones are the ones that find, the inner beauty bbehind the neon signs.
Santorini- one of the people on the board I referred to earlier talked aboutt how she hated Santorini because she saw a load of water and a load of toilet paper being brought from the mainland and that reminded her how she was in a place that had to import many of its supplies in because of the tourists. I don’t think they needed to import tp only becausee of me. I know the locals benefit from it too. It’s an island after all and I hope they don’t have a toilet paper factory. The thing that struck me is that she let that experience spoil her time in this most beautiful island. I agree that the tourism industry has transformed this island into a tourism mecca. However, it has maintained its charm and it would be very difficult to spoil its beauty. One thing that I really like is that most of the hotels are still very small. There are no mega resorts on the island. While there are many shops and restaurants in Thira, the rest of the island has small tavernas for your delight.