Tourism icons that have been ruined by crowds
The Vatican: it would be a sacred place of wonder, but for the tourists pushing and jostling to take photos on their iPads. There is no crowd control.
When I lived in Peru, I finally got time off to see Machu Picchu and followed a guide, who knew his stuff. Some English guy was sitting on a wall, talking away on his mobile as we filed past. He said to whomever was on the other end: "Ugh, the spirit of this place is ruined by all these bloody tourists." I didn't know if he was being ironic or just stupid.
Have you tried the London Eye? I still don't know why it was that, with a timed ticket, we had to stand in blazing heat for one and a half hours last summer. Granted the line is reasonably well controlled and there was a little entertainment, but what about the things we planned to do after our "timed" experience?
And some of the better ones ...
The Eiffel Tower: use the stairs. Not that hard, we went up once and again the following morning with a breakfast picnic. Best thing to do in Paris!
Come to Canada's Arctic. There are polar bears, walruses, bird colonies and glaciers – all of it hundreds of miles from any conurbation larger than 50,000 people. On the tundra, you'll never see someone you didn't come out with.
Interesting to read your piece on RTW options. My son and I did this in 2011. We enlisted the help of Netflights, who worked with us as follows, using BA/Qantas World Traveller Plus tickets throughout: Heathrow to San Francisco for two nights at the excellent Hotel Serrano; followed by a flight to LA, then Qantas to Brisbane for seven nights in a river-view room at the Ibis Hotel.
Next, we took the XPT train to Sydney for three nights at the Travelodge. We walked around the bay, had spectacular views of the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, visited the Olympic Park and had a great meal in Chinatown.
Onwards, via XPT again, to Melbourne for three nights at the Ibis Little Bourke Street, then a Qantas flight to Singapore for two nights at the very acceptable Miramar Hotel. Finally, a return flight to Heathrow, again on Qantas.
Inclusive of all transfers, hotels and travel we paid just £7,000 for two adults, incidental spending money extra.
All done in exactly three weeks due to work/ college commitments.