Author and frequent traveller Leon Logothetis has put the cat among the guinea fowl with a
listing of his five most over-rated places in the world (well, the Middle East and Europe in this case).
Some of them seem quite understandable; others a bit puzzling. But that's the nature of travel. Nobody's
right and nobody's wrong. There's just millions of shades of grey.
It's like doing a backpacking trip in Europe. You'll meet someone who says "You gotta go to
Amsterdam. It's so cool. We sat outside for dinner and I had this amazing meal and stayed in
this incredible hostel." But then you go and it's raining and the hostel's full and you
can't find the restaurant and you eat in a dive and sleep in a dump and come away thinking,
"That place sucks."
Anyway, with that in mind, here's the over-rated list from Mr. Logothetis, as printed recently in the Los
Whoa? Paris. All I can think is the guy simply has too high expectations. But again, that's
what travel's all about.
He certainly has a point about taxi drivers in Athens. Dubai makes a certain amount of sense
given how much it's changed. Prague was great when I was there six years ago but who knows
what it's like these days. Moscow was interesting when I was there for the vote on the 2008
Summer Olympics but I have no desire to go back to a place where you can't trust public
officials. Besides, a future visit would almost certainly fall short of the star treatment the media got
at the Olympic session, where colleague Dave Perkins and I sat at the Bolshoi ballet and
watched Russian leader Vladimir Putin stride past us, just a few feet away.
But it got me thinking (always dangerous) about my own overrated places. I'm going again
soon and hope it's better, but the last time I was in London (the big one, not our London) it was about 35
degrees and simply stinky. London's not built for the heat and I couldn't wait to get out of there but I
understand it's a lot more comfortable these days so I'm looking forward to it.
Florence is beautiful, but in the summer you might as well forget about it; you can hardly
move and you spend the whole day feeling like you're on a Tokyo subway; all squished and
elbowed and sweaty and icky. No, thanks.
On a more local scale, you wonder about what's overrated in Toronto. Personally, I don't get
the Eaton Centre. It's fine, but it's a shopping mall. No better or worse than any others
except for the airy upper floors. And Yorkville is WAY overrated; two blocks of overpriced,
undervalued shops. The only good part is the small park with the giant rock that the city
built at enormous expense a few years back. West Queen West and even Bayview Avenue in
Leaside kick Yorkville's butt.
But that's just me. What do you think? What's overrated in southern Ontario and in the travel
world in general? I'd love to know your thoughts, so drop me a line at email@example.com