A melancholic bereavement famishes the traditionalists among us where, in the days of yore, visiting one of Europe’s beatific cities involved an economic flight and all the invigorating sites the eyes could take in.
However, since the renowned website tripadvisor slithered it’s way onto the public domain, giving all and sundry the option to voice their opinion regarding a recent trip they may have experienced, it seems that people now plan their holidays around the idiocy of their fellow compatriot’s reviews.
For any new age neanderthals completely in the dark as to tripadvisor, it is a basic search engine where budding tourists can view, rate and (worst of all) comment about any city, location, venue or hotel they may have visited or plan to visit. Where this becomes frightening is the morbid 21st century realism these people bring to their little dissertations!
I found myself, fresh from a memorable trip to Krakow, Poland, toggling through a menagerie of reviews of various Polish landmarks featured on the website.
My first returned search for the infamous Auschwitz concentration camp left me initially baffled until I inadvertently spasmed into fits of laughter.
The review (from a user I shall keep anonymous to preserve his no doubt esteemed public image) lead with the caption: “Auschwitz- not for the handicapped”. The most
dour among us would surely have been intrigued by this comic opening, so I of course delved into the labyrinth of this man’s qualms.
In the review he described how he and a disabled friend of his had visited the the former Nazi camp, only an hours distance from Krakow, where he ran into some glaring
flaws in design. One in particular, states his absolute disgust at how they “could not view the whole of the Kommandent’s building, as it was two-storied”.
In an age when our Jewish brethren were ruthlessly persecuted, could everyone please take two minutes for this man and damn the Nazis for not installing
lifts in their death camp!
Much closer to home was the appalling reviews the harpies of tripadvisor gave to our countries historic Kilmainhaim Goal. As well as the opportunity to review a place of interest, members of tripadvisor can give it a rating based on the flawless “5-star system”. Of the first ten reviews, not one turned up anything more than three stars, with one fastidious reviewer exclaiming: “It’s just a jail.”
I’m not sure if he expected the dead corpse of James Connolly openly on display for a quick Instagram snap, but on my first visit to Kilmainhaim Gaol as an eleven year old, myself and classmates found the history enthralling.
I have since visited Kilmainhaim twice and do not need the snide comments of tripadviser users telling me “It’s just a jail” to appreciate the magnanimous work of
rebel captives who died behind it’s walls for a countries’ freedom.
Fortunately the one seemingly practical section of the website’s functions is the hotel review section. No one, including myself, wants to turn up anywhere in the world with all the enthusiasm being in a new city brings to find they’re in for a rocky nights sleep in some dingy establishment off the beaten track. That said, one must keep in mind
how long they plan to spend in a hotel room (and for lubricious readers that is not a euphemism!) It would seem that a tripadvisor reviewer was too over encumbered with
the rigid inspection of their room to have ever set foot outside it and into the glorious cities that surrounds them.
Ratings condemn everything from tempermental water pressure to the noisy street life of the city below. One female user, rather than engross themselves in all Le Louvre has to offer in Paris, could not see past the niggling problem that “the radiator in my room simply wouldn’t turn on”. With Michelangelo’s “The Dying Slave” monument a mere Metro trip away, this feeble lady
(described as a single traveller in her late 20’s) just could not fathom a problematic radiator.
The homepage of tripadvisor encourages users to “Plan the Perfect Trip”. Perhaps some questions need to be asked as to wether or not the meticulous planning some people
go through before jetting off crucifies the element of discovery, synonymous with a holiday.
I’m not sure if we as a botched modern society are to blame or the site
itself (much the same argument has been raised over the likes of facebook in the past). It is always great to get an insight into the city you are planning to visit,
be it for the architecture of a Berlin in Germany or the tropical wonders of a Lagos in Nigeria. One word of advice however, don’t trust the mass lunacy of those using tripadvisor!