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122 replies
Most disappointing experience or place in Europe
Europebytrain
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What place disappointed you most in Europe?
or
What experience was the worst?

For me it was Madrid. I do have great memories of bar hopping for tapas but I didn’t care for Madrid. It could be that I was spoiled by going to Barcelona, Toledo and Segovia first. I found Madrid dirty, conjested and too big to navigate easily.

dangerousjohnny
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I agree 100%, madrid was the absolute worst experience for me too. Overrated nightlife, shite accomodation, no scenery and I was robbed and arrested once. Not a pleasant experience for me.

JonDD
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France in general. Beautiful art and places to see but the people wreck it. Damn French people.

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For me, it was Barcelona, way dirtier than Madrid, creepy psychos every night ass grabbing and pickpocketing, and the sights are not great, even the Sagrada Familia failed to impress me. Good nightlife, though.

Rome was another one I didn’t care for, I think it is over rated. The sights are great, but there are so many things to see you get saturated, dirty as hell and going out the streets at night was insanity because the place was packed with drunk tourists and locals, put I mean PACKED!!!

Brussels was booooooooooorrrrrrrrriiiinnnnngggggggg, but I wasn’t dissapointed because everybody agrees on that.

Dublin…….. the same as Rome and Barcelona, but Dublin doesn’t have any must-see’s a Rome has. Now that I think of it, Dublin was probably the worst city in Europe I’ve been to.

dangerousjohnny
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quote:

Brussels was booooooooooorrrrrrrrriiiinnnnngggggggg, but I wasn’t dissapointed because everybody agrees on that.

Okay, now you’ve offended me!

eporue
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Milan, this place shouldn’t be in Italy, it isn’t worthy in my opinion! The Duomo is impressive but so are a lot of Duomo’s throughout Italy. Da Vinci’s Last Supper has been repainted so many times Leonardo shouldn’t even receive any credit. I personally felt the presence of more theives with the exception of Naples. Milan is dirty and just another big city without the history that the rest of Italy provides. My 2 cents!
Thanks!

kentish girl
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For me it has to be the first time I visited Rome, having just been for a second time I realise that the only reason I was disapointed first time round was because I diddnt have enough time there to enjoy it!
The other place that for me has to be my worst city in Europe (Rome doesnt really count anymore but would have 5 years ago), has to be the city of Cork in Ireland…….However, Ive heard from friends that they are sprucing it up at the mo, for European city of Culture.

It has SO many dodgy areas, there isnt much to see and it was filthy. Co.Cork on the otherhand is stunning!

positiveman
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Harrods in London. What a cynically overpriced shithole. On the other hand, my favorite city in Europe is Madrid. While travelling westward across Europe I ran into lots of travellers on the backpacking circuit who said Madrid wasn’t so great. Favorite travelling experience ever. But I think it had more to do with having just come from Disney-fied, over-touristed Italy in the summer. Madrid’s felt like a real, normal city center, where you could have your morning coffee at the bar next to all the old folks drinking their early morning cervezas. Loved that.

Any place with too many tourists is disappointing.

riverscuomo
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Copenhagen, Denmark. Not what I expected at all.

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quote:
Harrods in London. What a cynically overpriced shithole. On the other hand, my favorite city in Europe is Madrid. While travelling westward across Europe I ran into lots of travellers on the backpacking circuit who said Madrid wasn’t so great. Favorite travelling experience ever. But I think it had more to do with having just come from Disney-fied, over-touristed Italy in the summer. Madrid’s felt like a real, normal city center, where you could have your morning coffee at the bar next to all the old folks drinking their early morning cervezas. Loved that.

Any place with too many tourists is disappointing.

There’s probably only 2 of us that enjoyed Madrid. I’ve come across a lot of people that hated Madrid. That was the city I landed in, and my first impression was "Guanajuato in Mexico is more spanish than Madrid". But days passed by, and suddenly I realized I had been there for a week and not noticed it. It’s not my favorite city, but I like it, and it’s easier to see the locals doing their thing in a bar than in other big cities where there’s a big segregation between the tourists and the locals. I’m going back to fly back home, and I can’t wait (asides from the fact that I have very fond memories there thanks to the amazing people I met there).

Now, Copenhagen??? What’s wrong with it? I love this city, it’s so different from everything I have seen, and it is lively without being crowded, I love this place.

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Jester writes:

quote:Madrid’s felt like a real, normal city center, where you could have your morning coffee at the bar next to all the old folks drinking their early morning cervezas.
I guess I would be one of those ‘old folks,’ but I would be having Café con leche with Churros for breakfast rather than Aguardiente o Cerveza.
quote:There’s probably only 2 of us that enjoyed Madrid. I’ve come across a lot of people that hated Madrid. … It’s not my favorite city, but I like it, and it’s easier to see the locals doing their thing in a bar than in other big cities where there’s a big segregation between the tourists and the locals. I’m going back to fly back home, and I can’t wait (asides from the fact that I have very fond memories there thanks to the amazing people I met there).
I love Madrid! For me, it has as much charm as any Western European Capital. It has nothing to do with how the locals and the Tourists interact (Madrileños, except for those who make their living from Tourists, are not very patient with Tourists, especialy those who shout at them in English). This is not to say that I don’t enjoy Tasca-hopping with MadrileNo friends. But Madrid is a Grand City: from the Palacio Réal y Parque de Oriente to the Museo del Prado, Centro de Arte de la Reina Sofia, Plaza Mayór, Puerta de Alcalá, Parque del buen Retiro, Puerta del Sol, Puerta de Atocha, Paseo de la Castellana, Casa de Campo, etc., etc. Sure, Madrid has had ‘Urban Sprawl’ like so many other cities; but it is outward. The Government insists on preserving the architectural styles in Madrid de los Austrias (Old Madrid) and Madrid de los Bourbones. That may be why there are so many underground Parking Garages in Madrid.

De Madrid al Cielo!

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Wow, Madrid is getting pounded here. I was there back in 2001 & loved it! We did a nice tapas bar craw; courtesy of www.walksofspain.com (Thanks Andre Jarobo) & saw some great sights. I’m hoping to get back there soon. I found Antwerpen to be my least favorite. Actually, any time I can get away from Connecticut; it’s a win/win situation for me, but Antwerpen was a bit of a letdown. Though we were able to find the oldest prostitute in Belgium. This lady must have been pushin 70. It looked like she had been there since WWI & was waiting for WW3. Other than some good beer & a decent Marine Museum; I thought it was pretty average.

splitmup
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i fell down a hill in wiesbaden germany and got cut up. also never take a ride down the rein river. most 5 hours of pointless shit and getting sunburned was great.

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I knew Stonehendge would be a big nothing but I went anyway and it was everybit as uninteresting as I expected it to be. Avebury was more interesting.

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quote:
For me, it was Barcelona, way dirtier than Madrid, creepy psychos every night ass grabbing and pickpocketing, and the sights are not great, even the Sagrada Familia failed to impress me.

You have hereby established yourself as Most Indifferent Ever (you win the Gen-X prize). How could you not be impressed by the Sagrada Familia??

Also, I think you have failed to understand that the assgrabbing, pickpocketing, creepy psychos are part of Barcelona’s "mystique."

Anyway, I vote most disappointing as Rothenburg ob Tauber in Germany. The town is fine, I just got caught in a rainstorm and my bag broke, drenching all my shit (including my travel journal). Not fun. Actual places? Gyor, Hungary sucks.

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I found Copenhagen uncool because; the people were the rudest I have ever met, the sights were quite poor, prices were higher than in Sweden or Finland, the weather was crappy when I was there, no good hostel, the free city bikes are better off being used as scrap metal they are useless. I’ll think of more later.

The only good thing I found was some tourist/local youth orientated place which had free internet and condoms.

Andrew Runov
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Hamburg was way too boring and I expected so much more from a place rated so highly usually.

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I don’t take issue with most of what you say.

It was a poor country in the 17-19th centries, so there are not any grand sites on the order of France and Spain. Prices are sky high. The weather has been awful this summer, although we have had two good weeks of +25 degree weather in August. You obviously didn’t try any of the "DK hostels". They are quite nice.

But "rude" people? "Wrapped tight" and "reserved", perhaps even a little "standoffish" are the kind of terms i can understand, but in the main Danes are faultlessly polite and helpful.

Too bad it’s such a lousy tourist city. It’s by the far the nicest place i have ever lived.

I was just in the US for two weeks. What friendly people! It’s a nice place to visit but i wouldn’t want to live there ever again. So, between Copenhagen and the US i have the best of both worlds!

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quote:
France in general. Beautiful art and places to see but the people wreck it. Damn French people.
Should have spoken french to them. Would have helped.

wa1ter
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most disappointing?
Can’t say I’ve actually ever been disappointed no matter where I travel.
Then again, I don’t build places up in my mind either so there is no image for them to live up to.
As for least interesting… I’m not a fan of Brussels and wouldn’t recommend Sofia unless you know people there.

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I agree with frihed about the Danes. Personally, I love ‘em!

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Madrid – well when I first went there in 2000 for 3 nights I didn’t like it. However I then spent three weeks there last year and had a much better time.

Barcelona however…. the whole seedy crime thing was really offputting. I saw at least three robberies during a week there and when we went out at night we were constantly being harassed and hassled by lowlifes and prostitutes. Would be a better place if the city authorities and police sorted that out.

Milano: major disappointment. Just thought it was a bit drab and that there were better places in Italy. The fact that the youth hostel there is like a prison didn’t help.

Buchurest: the city was just grey drab and boring with little of cultural value or scenery. The rest of Romania though was amazing.

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I think women in Copenhagen are some of the most beautiful in Europe. Based on that alone, I like Copenhagen. Oh, and Tivoli is awesome for the atmosphere!

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quote:
quote:
France in general. Beautiful art and places to see but the people wreck it. Damn French people.
Should have spoken french to them. Would have helped.

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I was really disappointed in Malaga, Spain. My friend and I were just looking for a place to go and relax on the beach after Sevilla and his friend had told him Malaga was nice and had a great beach; I have no idea what kind of hallucinating drugs his friend was on. The city was dull and the beach was nothing to write home about.

I sort of agree with Madrid and Barcelona, but at the same time I really enjoyed the cities. Madrid was nice, but personally I did not think there was anything really special about it, but it did have some great parks. As for Barcelona, it was really seedy and the only interesting part about it was the old quarter and Gaudi’s architecture. After that, I never fell into the hype that surrounds Barcelona. Still, I did enjoy my time in each and Im glad I went.

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For me, it is Amsterdam. Why?

(1) I was in Brugges before Amsterdam so I did not really appreciate its canals.

(2) My daypack was almost stolen in an EasyInternetCafe.

(3) I thought my moneybelt (with my passport, all of my money, etc.) got lost when I woke up in the morning — my fault by the way (no need to tell the story). I panicked a bit.

(4) One of my roommates stole my flashlight (not really a big deal), but when I was looking for it and I asked him if he saw it, for some reason, he gave it back and told an excuse that he found it in the toilet bowl.

(5) It rained most of the time when I was there.

(6) I almost got run over by a bike — again, my fault (no need to tell the story).

(7) No student discounts for museum entrances and they were expensive. The Van Gogh museum was crap (never really liked his paintings but decided to go simply because people told me that it would be great) and I had to pay 12.50 euros just to get in. A total rip-off.

Although one of the good memories I have in Amsterdam was that they were filming a porno movie right outside my hostel when I was there. Pretty cool.

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Stockholm: They ‘cut you off’ after two or three beers.

With all these posters who are ‘down’ on Madrid: at least in Madrid you can buy four or five cañas de cerveza o copitas de Sangria at a sitting.

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quote:
Stockholm: They ‘cut you off’ after two or three beers.

With all these posters who are ‘down’ on Madrid: at least in Madrid you can buy four or five cañas de cerveza o copitas de Sangria at a sitting.

Can you even afford 2 beers in Stockholm?

The only thing good about Madrid was the beer.

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Luxembourg as a whole. Virtually no sights, people aren’t the friendliest and food is strange.

Agreed on milano— models, mopeds & maniacs and thats it!

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Crew,

I certainly agree that there are places in Europe that or more impressive than others, as well as places that are suited more to some people’s tastes over other people’s. However, I would encourage everyone to remember that:

1. How great, or how much fun a city is, is dependant on what the city has to offer. Dublin, has a much different charm than say Paris does, just like Barcelona is a lot different than Florence.

2. Although people may have poor traveling experience in certain countries (such as seeing crime, staying at ugly hostels, going to sites that did not particularly interest them) this does not dictate whether you are in a great city or not. One may just not be experience the city properly, or may not be understanding the city’s charm.

…just some thoughts….=)

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Nice way of putting it, PETES. Like we say in spanish, en gustos se rompen generos. Heymickey, just the porn filming would have done it for me

This song was played to me in a hostel (curious thing), it’s by Paul Kelly, called "Every Fucking City", and some days I did feel like that.

http://www.paulkelly…

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quote:
Luxembourg as a whole. Virtually no sights, people aren’t the friendliest and food is strange.

Agreed on milano— models, mopeds & maniacs and thats it!


uhmm… lux isn’t all that interesting but food is strange?
Damn, you must have been to all the wrong places.
If anything is good here it’s the food.

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Florance. If I had it to do over again, I would have went from Rome to Venice.Florance was not that good.

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quote:
Florance. If I had it to do over again, I would have went from Rome to Venice.Florance was not that good.

Maybe next time you should try ‘Florence’ then. Although at least in[url=‘http://www.aartecarpet.com/foto/florance.JPG’]Florance[/url] they put out the welcome mat for you.

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quote:
I found Antwerpen to be my least favorite. Actually, any time I can get away from Connecticut; it’s a win/win situation for me, but Antwerpen was a bit of a letdown. Though we were able to find the oldest prostitute in Belgium. This lady must have been pushin 70. It looked like she had been there since WWI & was waiting for WW3. Other than some good beer & a decent Marine Museum; I thought it was pretty average.

That’s really interesting that you disliked Antwerpen. I just returned from attending the Universeit Atwerpen/UFSIA in June and I absolutely fell in love with the city. Beautiful buildings, nice people, and a fun nightlife. I found it to be big enough to feel like a major city, but small enough to feel homey and nice.

I also found Rome to be the biggest letdown in my travels. I went there with several friends on our break from studies in Anterwp, and from the beginning of the trip it was disasterous. The people at our hostel were ridiculously rude and tried to con us into staying in one place when we had made reservations for somewhere else (they were sister hostels…we never actually made it to the actual place we had made plans to stay at). Everytime we went somewhere, I felt like I was in a cattle herd, being shoved from one place to another, and found most restaurants (even those off the beaten path) to be rather overpriced. The only upsides I found were the relatively easy to navigate city buses (despite the fact that they were constantly packed to the brim) and the easy walking distance to all the main attractions downtown.

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I was quite disappointed by Vienna. Similar to Sailor’s experience with Machu Picchu, I’d heard nothing but rave reviews about Vienna, but unlike almost every other European city, it just didn’t "wow" me. In all fairness, I loved Schonbrunn Palace and had some good food in Vienna…but it was rainy, St. Stephen’s church was too dimly-lit and the tower view was underwhelming, and the architecture was like Paris or Budapest, just not as spectacular.

Feh.

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Munich just didn’t do much for me. It was rainy, cold, and sort of depressing. But to it’s credit the haufbrauhaus was awesome!

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quote:
This song was played to me in a hostel (curious thing), it’s by Paul Kelly, called "Every Fucking City", and some days I did feel like that.

http://www.paulkelly…

I downloaded that song after hearing it for the first time near the end of my big tour of Europe. I thought it was absolutely hysterical, in that "this is so true" kind of way.

ChaseMan, Munich was probably also my biggest disappointment. I’d been told the Glockenspiel was incredible, a must-see, and then… well, it wasn’t.

Barcelona also seemed a bit disappointing, but in retrospect, it was because I had been so dazzled by Paris and the French countryside, it only seemed like a letdown in comparison. Also, Rome was disappointing for me – but not the city, the fact that I missed seeing any of it because I was sick.

By reading this thread, everyone should be able to see that, clearly, people’s opinions vary of the same place. Something to bear in mind when taking advice.

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Completely subjective, but… Bucharest and Cluj, Romania (stayed in the worst accomidation in Cluj, might be why), the ancient city of Troy (lame, especially the Wooden horse, and ESPECIALLY after visiting Pompeii), and Athens.

P.S. I LOVED Florence, Munich and Barcelona. Thought Avebury was crap (literally, so much crap in the fields that I paid more attention to where I walked than the actual stones).

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the ancient city of Troy (lame, especially the Wooden horse, and ESPECIALLY after visiting Pompeii)

What’s this horse? Is it supposued to be a reconstruction of the one in the Iliad?

Troy was built over a millenium before Pompeii, which exlains why the two archaeological sites are so different.


beach-lunch-siesta-beach-shower-dinner-nightlife-repeat

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Of all the places I’ve visited, Venice was the one place I was disappointed with. I just think the city is way overhyped, and I think I was expecting more. Not to mention, St. Mark’s Square was VERY crowded and filled with Americans! But, we did get a chance to get lost and walk around the quiet side streets. But other than that, I dont see how people can stay there for days, even though I hear the place changes after dark.

Also, this year I visited Paris for the second time, and I think its the last. Its a beautiful city, but I felt like I was at Disney World. Toooooo many Americans, not the intersting and openminded backpacking type, but the annoying rich American tourist type. I also saw a lot of American famlies, parents with their 2.5 kids. Also, the city is way too clean!! I like a city, with ‘warts and all’.

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Yes, every one agrees, Brussels sucks, nothing but tiny a peeing statue. But I gotta say it, sorry Wa1ter, Luxembourg. It might as well be Belgium. The countryside is ok, but many other places look like it, and the same goes for the city.

I gotta back the Danes up though. I was only in Copenhagen for 6 hours a few years ago on layover, but I got to walk around the city, and had to ask for directions a zillion times, and everyone who I talked to, who were just random people on the street, spoke better English than I do, and were exteremly nice.

And as for the French go…I’ve had enough French bashing. The next time some one says something about the French being mean, or snobish, or rude, I want some concrete examples. The French are no different than the majority of other nationalities. This is just an outdated stereotype that people continue to feed into and off of. What do you expect them to do, walk around with a big smile on their face and give you a hug? People have one rude waiter and suddenly the entire county is fulls of snobs. Come on!

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Adeelie, well said about the French.

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Also, this year I visited Paris for the second time, and I think its the last. Its a beautiful city, but I felt like I was at Disney World. Toooooo many Americans, not the intersting and openminded backpacking type, but the annoying rich American tourist type.

Yes!

Try visiting the neighborhoods once in a while to get away from the over-touristed areas. And try visiting in April or September, when tourism levels are low.


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Adeelie,

Very well said. The only rude people I met my entire time living in France (Paris) were American tourists (mostly from the northern and western states. The southerners I met were very cool).

the stereotype is a self-fulfilling prophecy. People arrive in France with this preconceived notion of what the French are like, and then make a judgement on the littlest things, and after having met just a handful of locals (most likely people who deal with millions of tourists on a daily basis, because that’s their job.)


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Milan was boring. And Sorrento, Italy was not worth staying a night. But it does lead to the Amalfi coast, which is incredible.

Oh yeah….Dublin reminded me of Cleveland. And that’s not a good comparison.

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I think in a lot of cases such stereotypes are to do with peoples experiences in the service culture (waiters etc) in Anglo-phone countries we’re used to people putting on fake smiles even when they’ve had a deeply shitty day as… well… it’s just how we do things. I found Spanish waiters barmen etc to be very gruff at first but were decent people once you got to know them which of course many tourists in on a flying visit will not get the chance to do.

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I found everyone in France to be exceptionally friendly, especially in Paris. They made fun of my accent ("Ah, c’est une petite québecoise!&quotWink but it was good-natured. I was actually surprised at how friendly and accommodating everyone seemed.

One exception: extremely rude woman working in the metro, who wasn’t at all thrilled about answering a bunch of tourists’ questions on how to get places. But, you know, there are rude people everywhere.

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i’ll be fair and give a break to any place where i happened to get bad weather or my plans didn’t work out. that’s not necessarily indicative of a bad city.

that said…

cologne was a waste of time. i only spent 2 days on a quick run from amsterdam. not much to see…just the rhine (big deal!) and a cathedral (not bad). the rest was just your standard city anywhere in the western world. (again, to be fair, i know this is because the US bombed the s*** out of the place in WWII…but it doesn’t change the fact that there’s nothing worth seeing there now.)

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quote:
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the ancient city of Troy (lame, especially the Wooden horse, and ESPECIALLY after visiting Pompeii)

What’s this horse? Is it supposued to be a reconstruction of the one in the Iliad?

Troy was built over a millenium before Pompeii, which exlains why the two archaeological sites are so different.

Yeah, they recreated the horse from the Iliad, it’s about ten years old and pretty unremarkable. I appreciate the history of Troy but the actual "ancient city" is pretty much gone, there’s really almost nothing left at all. I read some news articles that told this before I went there so I knew it wasn’t going to be incredible, but I still thought there would be more to it.

Pompeii was just amazing, it’s so well kept and only 75% has been excavated, so there’s still more to discover, plus, come on, they have small phallic symbols on the roads that point towards the brothels, that have VERY detailed paintings inside. Who wouldn’t like that? Wink

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Thanks guys! I’m glad some people see how unfair these French labels really are.

On a different note, I’m gonna get slaughtered for this one, but, Barcelona. I know, I know, it’s everyone’s favorite party town, and maybe it’s because when I was there I didn’t really do the whole night scene, but is that all that the city has to offer? Is this the only reason people love Barcelona? I’m an art history student, so believe me, I was not averse to the charms of Gaudi and La Ramblas (where I almost got mugged by three easily spooked prepubescents). Barcelona has some great architecture, but as a whole, the city did not do it for me. Has anyone else had this experience? Maybe it was because I couldn’t wrap my mind around the whole place, maybe because it’s in Spain, but just doesn’t feel Spanish. I guess it’s because I still can’t define the place, figure out what it’s all about, find one concrete thing that is Barcelonan? Can anyone help me figure out why I’m close to the only person on earth that simply cannot sing the praises of Barcelona? It’s not that I hated the place, but I simply did not love it.