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Have I become jaded? How to compare sights between (not within) countries

Have I become jaded? How to compare sights between (not within) countries

Old Apr 11th, 2010, 02:56 PM
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Have I become jaded? How to compare sights between (not within) countries

We've done a lot of traveling and visited a lot of very interesting places, and now it is becoming increasingly difficult for me when planning a trip to discern which places in a new country we are visiting are truly worthwhile. I can make the comparisons of various sites within a country but have difficulty deciding if a coastline, for example, is truly spectacular compared to other nice coastlines in the world or if this coastline is so highly recommended because it is the best coastline in a particular country. As another example, I no longer gravitate to locales where it is described as possible to see eagles, beavers, herons and fox in the wild. Why? Not because I am not interested in seeing wildlife but because I live somewhere where I can routinely see such things within an hour of my home. And, I have seen a lot of such things so, for me, this is not something that would push me to visit a locale. But, for others who've not experienced what I have, I can see why they'd be thrilled to get such a recommendation. So, my question is about comparing categories of sites intra country versus inter country.

I am contemplating this because I just started to plan a trip to Ireland. I read all about the great coastlines and cliffs etc. in Ireland and then start to wonder to myself how different these ocean environments are different from other similar places I have seen at various places in the world. Does one need something like the Michelin Green Guide with its rankings of absolutely must see vs see if you have time.

Does anyone else find themself in this situation? If so, how do you narrow things down? Thanks.
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Old Apr 11th, 2010, 03:08 PM
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I know what you are saying--perhaps we have seen too much.
However, do not miss the Slea Head drive on the west coast.
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Old Apr 11th, 2010, 03:15 PM
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I know exactly what you mean. I have been fortunate enough to have seen quite a few amazing places, and it's increasingly difficult to figure out where we want to go. And, because we have been so many many great places, we also struggle with the option of visiting a new area versus revisiting favorites. I tend to look at a lot of pictures first and then start my research.

I know we've been to some of the same places. For what it's worth, I thought Ireland had a beautiful coastline, and different from what I've seen elsewhere in Europe.

Tracy
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Old Apr 11th, 2010, 03:21 PM
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This is an interesting thread because I've been thinking about this myself not so much for scenery but for sights (cities/towns). I think I've had enough of archeological museums and coach museums so no matter how wonderful the guide books say a particular archeological museum is I think I will pass it by in favor of other activities.

Doesn't the Green Guide rank things by country? Do they have a comprehensive list of all European countries?

I use the UNESCO list as an indication of history/culture or beauty as UNESCO covers the entire world and I don't believe it's easy to get on their list. But beauty (or interest in a place) is subjective. I took a look at a couple of photos of places they have designated as outstanding natural beauty and I'm sure I would not go to some of these places as I didn't find them interesting.

It is easy to become jaded when you've seen a lot of places. I have a few more years of traveling to new countries then I will probably spend my final travel years going to my favorites and really exploring them.
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Old Apr 11th, 2010, 03:37 PM
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I also know what you mean. In the past year I went to two areas which rate high in most travelers' lists for scenic beauty. However, I have been lucky to have seen more beautiful places and found myself a bit disappointed. These places were pretty, not breathtakingly beautiful, but for those countries, they were their "most beautiful" and I respect that. I did think the coast line in Ireland was very scenic.
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Old Apr 11th, 2010, 04:02 PM
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To me, a country's culture, however one defines that, always plays a big role. Case in point: Norway is absolutely beautiful--the whole country would qualify for national park status in the United States. But I found it kind of sterile (sorry, Norway, my opinion only!) and really have found no compelling reason to return. On the other hand, I have returned to Italy several times because the Italian culture is so appealing to me. In the end, I think you'll go where you feel called.
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Old Apr 11th, 2010, 04:09 PM
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If it's any help: Irish sheep are always more interesting than American sheep. Even if they look and ARE alike.
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Old Apr 11th, 2010, 04:19 PM
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I think we are lucky if we have seen many places but still love where we live. We are off to Europe in June/July and I am really looking forward to it. But on Saturday when I walked along our beaches in lovely 27c weather I knew I lived in the best place in the world. 4 weeks ago when walking on my own I stopped for 5 minutes to watch 4 dolphins swim near me. It was just so bad I had to go to work otherwise I would have sat there much longer. Why do we go and spend all that money? To see the places we have read about, heard about and come home with all those memories. I love travelling but Perth, Western Australia has the best weather and beaches for me. It is also because my family is here. enjoy your holiday and often it is the little things or the places we didn't expect to see that make the trip.
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Old Apr 11th, 2010, 04:42 PM
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Each place is unique in its way. No matter how many cathedrals I have already seen, I can show interest in the tiniest village church and its particularities that tell me so much about this individual place and its people. Comparisons are IMHO unfair. I prefer seeing each place as new.
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Old Apr 11th, 2010, 05:21 PM
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First, anytime in a place far from home and in particular work is a good place to be and I’ll enjoy it.
That said, Florida or Hawaii is never on the top of my travel list since I live in a beach city and I never go.

Mountains thrill me. Not because I’m jaded, it’s just that if I want to see a beach, I can get to one in less than 10 minutes.
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Old Apr 11th, 2010, 06:52 PM
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I guess I'm not jaded yet. I still have a long list of places I want to see, and places I want to return to. Perhaps it helps to live in a sort of mediocre place.
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Old Apr 11th, 2010, 07:27 PM
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I think the problem is "sightseeing." Period.

If you plan your trips around "sightseeing", I think it's inevitable you'll tire of it, feel like you've become jaded and "seen to much." You probably have seen too much.

There is much more to travel than using your eyeballs. I tend to think that travel became reduced to eyeball use roughly about the same time television took over a lot of the culture.

There was a time when people enjoyed travel itself -- train rides, the company of foreigners, the different smells, the sharply different tastes and modes of gathering to eat, different cultural rhythms, different weather.

Now people get into their rental car, isolate themselves, go to international-type restaurants, set their alarms to go sightseeing, are insulated from the weather.

Also, people used to go traveling very much with the idea of learning about history from a different dimension. Now, historical venues are just photogenic backdrops for shopping and eating.

I'm planning my next trip around visiting venues where Hannibal took his elephants. I got interested, reading Livy.

I'm bored stiff by sightseeing.
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Old Apr 11th, 2010, 07:49 PM
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Zeppole makes excellent points. A-types travel like it is just another form of work. Or many people see travel being akin to sexual conquests, that is the number seems to matter more than the actual event. The idea of enjoying a place for the sake of enjoying a place often is lost.

I rarely read trip reports but when I do they never include we sat at this cafe and watched the world pass. The idea of pleasure my THINKING about what you have seen, rarely seems to part of the equation. It is more important to have the point and shoot to remind yourself of what you have just seen. A few trips I left my camera home and actually had to look at the world from a different perspective.

Yes I think I have seen enough churches in Italy and Spain. I am not sure how many more pictures of saints bleeding from arrows I can take. But I still love those countries because they are much more complex than their churches.

As for scenery, we have driven, taken buses, planes, taxis, trains, and my wife even walked 500 miles across northern Spain. There are always places that are beautiful but are European trips are a combination of many aspects of a country.

A bad baseball manager or bad book editor tries to make something of what it is not or compares it to something it is not. Things must stand and fall on its merits.
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Old Apr 11th, 2010, 07:58 PM
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Tuscanlifeedit, smack your fingers! How can you say that Pgh. is sort of mediocre?
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Old Apr 11th, 2010, 09:03 PM
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Interesting thread.
I never had Ireland on my "list" of places to see until friends of mine moved there a few years ago. Mostly because I'm no big fan of places where it rains a lot.
Now I go 5-6 times a year to visit my friends. And I'm considering to move to Dublin in the course of 2010 if a certain job opportunity will materialize.

It's not so much the coastline or the cliffs, which you will see find in comparable beauty in places of the world. But rather the people, and the rolling hills from Wicklow to the Galtee mountains, the vista from any higher elevation of endless fields of green seperated by endless stone walls, the loughs with villages dotted along the shoreline, the liveliness of Dublin, and so on.

I think you cannot appreciate a country without doing just a little bit of homework on its history. It's not a lot of work, and you got to spend less time than most people spend on researching the best B&Bs or restaurants. From pre-historic settlements to Ireland's role for European christianity, or from Anglo-Norman fortresses to the Easter rising of 1916; everything has left its traces that you can discover and cannot be duplicated in any other location. Even the new Dublin docklands will tell you something about the nation's transition from being homestead for Leprechauns and fairies to a financial hub. (Not that there is a non-negotiable obligation to visit any of those places)

If you travel with a "Top 10" guidebook, which is perfectly fine (IMO), you are more inclined to compare (IMO) the top 10 of Italy with those or Ireland or Austria. And, obviously, St Peter and the Vatican will score better than Clonmacnoise on first sight. Yet, the impact either had on European society is surprisingly similar. Just as a tiny example...
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Old Apr 11th, 2010, 09:18 PM
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Maybe "jaded" is the right word, but I certainly know what you mean. You've been lucky enough to experience a lot of different places, so your own sense of what's special to you has changed. Maybe you're pickier, but I'd prefer to think of it as you have more that you've seen and experienced to compare it to.

I feel the same way about different places to visit, and over time, DH and I have gotten better at figuring out what places and sights will be meaningful to us. And that may be different than it is to other people, partly because we have had the opportunity to travel and see many things. And sometimes, as already pointed out, it's because some of those beautiful places or experiences, we live near and get to enjoy every day. We live near the mountains, and spend lots of time in them, so we tend not to vacation in mountain locales. People say to us, "these mountains are different." And they definitely are; no two mountain ranges are the same. But when we travel, we'd rather spend our (limited) time with places and scenery that we don't experience every day, such as castles, or the ocean.
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Old Apr 12th, 2010, 12:09 AM
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julies, I understand you point to a certain extent. One rocky coast can look much like another, I agree. I had that feeling a bit in Oregon, comparing it to Britain for instance. But That didn't mean I didn't love the Oregon coast and enjoy every moment of it.
I don't "do" cities, they don't appeal to me, but the occasional visit to a city during a holiday breaks it up and gives a necessary contrast to the countryside.

I had never been to Ireland until last year when we went for a long weekend. It is beautiful, the coast is lovely, it is green, and it can be wet. But the people are the reason I would go back there, more than any other reason.

Maybe you need to try something very different. A different continent maybe - what about a safari? OK so you have wild life at home but a safari is different, and not only about the wildlife. Go for one under canvas, rather than in the chain lodges, and really experience it all. Listen to that lion roaring on the edge of camp, watch that elephant stroll through the middle of it. See a baby gnu being born. I can't believe you would feel jaded after such a trip.

Or look for a cycling holiday, maybe one where they carry your bags on to your next hotel for you. That way you can get to meet other people and see things at a slower pace. Not the spectacular cathedrals, castles or mountains, but the quiet way of life of a country.

Or a boat trip - hire a boat for a week or two and explore the waterways and villages of an area. You don't cover much ground, but you do get to see things others don't see, and you have a really relaxing holiday.
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Old Apr 12th, 2010, 12:40 AM
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I don't think I compare the places I have been; rather I enjoy them for what they are. I love being at a beautiful spot on the shore. It may remind me of other beautiful spots on other shores, and this adds to my enjoyment.

As far as the comment above ("I rarely read trip reports but when I do they never include we sat at this cafe and watched the world pass. The idea of pleasure my THINKING about what you have seen, rarely seems to part of the equation."):

You should read more trip reports, you are evidently missing the ones I've been reading.
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Old Apr 12th, 2010, 01:04 AM
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Only you know why you enjoy or don't enjoy a place (you can replace "enjoy" with "be inspired/educated/relaxed by" according to what you consider important about travelling).

Other people's enjoyment can be a guide to what you might enjoy, but in the end it's down to what you're travelling for. I find the whole idea of "must see" completely puzzling, unless it's in the context of "If you're looking for the history of X/ the best example of Y's painting/ the liveliest nightlife in Z, then......"
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Old Apr 12th, 2010, 01:15 AM
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'comparing sites between countries'?

The most depressing and odd thing I've heard for a while. I go away to relax and experience new things...I don't have a check list, I don't pre book restaurants, and the places I go to, and the things I see don't have to be the best ever. (you'll probably be aghast that I have been to Rome 4 times, twice for work and twice for a holiday, and still not seen the ceiling of the Sistene Chapel)
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