Filthy, shabby and ruined / Yes, please!

10 years ago, visiting the Statue of Liberty while in New York or the famous Eiffel Tower in Paris was a must. Let’s admit that today it is a different story. Even though media is still full of iconic photos next to the iron construction, many people are no longer interested in visiting places, which already had been photographed a million times and exposed in front of so many other eyes before – they are thirsty for the authenticity. 

12 April, 2019

by AISTE ZALAITE

 


A perfect place is no longer your own, you have to share it with thousands of other people who came to visit the same escalated tourist attraction and, in fact, has turned it into another “it” pit stop. 

You can come across many disappointing travellers’ stories and how the same looking hipster coffee shops, fancy restaurants, and most importantly LOTS OF PEOPLE now are highlighting their long-awaited travel destinations. A perfect place is no longer your own, you have to share it with thousands of other people who came to visit the same escalated tourist attraction and, in fact, has turned it into another “it” pit stop. 

After several upsetting experiences, passengers are searching for something “authentic” and you start hearing people going to hopefully not yet polished places like Kazakhstan or Iran where they expect to find a wild and unspoiled character of the country until it is not too late.

It is hard to define what makes an experience “authentic” but generally, it is associated with something that is real, true, and where you can get an in-depth understanding of your chosen destination.

It is hard to define what makes an experience “authentic” but generally, it is associated with something that is real, true, and where you can get an in-depth understanding of your chosen destination. It could mean simple and rural experiences like Chinese tourists flooding England’s village Kidlington for a “true sense of the country”, which sounds like a romantic quest for less urbanised areas. 

On the other side, “authentic” could mean dirty, poor infrastructure, little safety, and definitely no Wi-Fi. Slum tourism in Asia and South America raise moral questions, whether it is just privileged person’s chance to feel gratitude for what s/he already has or does it rather raise awareness to the problems that make us uncomfortable to talk about? Toxic tourism is controversial for your direct healthcare, nevertheless, the radioactive zone of Chernobyl can provide you with some interesting guided tours. One thing is common for all these stories – the number of travellers is increasing every year.  

Abandoned classroom in Skrunda, Latvia

Abandoned classroom in Skrunda, Latvia

It is rather unclear what we are truly searching in all these different places but my personal answer would be – a feeling.

It is rather unclear what we are truly searching in all these different places but my personal answer would be – a feeling. No matter whether it is a city, a countryside, or a bar - we want to feel years of history like a burden on our shoulders, memories of past generations, which would keep us wondering, how it was then compared to now. 

 

Before it is too late, check these places out:

1. Skrunda in Latvia – a ghost town and former Soviet radar station; 

2. Monte Palace in the Azores – abandoned hotel with a stunning view;

3. East Berlin and Madame Claude - a bar for regular people; 

4. Your grandparents’ homeland.

 

Locals in the bar  SanJose

Locals in the bar SanJose