Nowadays, we have photo editing tools that can transform a cloudy gray day in a sunny, right one, that can enhance colours and, consequently, present everything in a brighter light. A grey castle with a somewhat brick-red roof is, all of a sudden, an amazing grey castle with a warm, almost orange roof. You get the point (I’ll tell you more about this castle in a different post, in the following days, here on the blog.) But it is more than just the improved photos. It is all about expecting to be mesmerized by everything – and I’ll talk more about this too below.
There are impressive, great places and cities
Yes, of course there are many stunning, well-maintained buildings – castles, museums, palaces, etc. I don’t even know with what example should I start – because, for instance, all the places I visited in Vienna or Paris are as glamorous as they look in photos (or close enough).
There are lovely places with an enhanced image that set high expectation that lead to disappointment. Great castles that look splendid from far away, but which are not so well maintained – state policy, money, etc. And this is just an example. Not every country or cultural department can afford to maintain a palace or a museum to the standards of the Louvre Museum – or Schoenbrunn Palace. I saw beautiful churches, lovely museums or castles or palaces that weren’t as glamorous as Versailles, for instance, but that are definitely worthy of appreciation.
Too many praises
When a place, a city or a country is praised over and over again, you tend to have high expectations. But, sometimes, the reality is not as presented in articles. Sometimes, the problem is with the articles (especially if they are advertorial content), but in other occasions it is about wonderful experiences with one place in a city, lacking to mention the downsides. It is very hard to try to cover all the angles – as a journalist. And each person with a blog, tells the story through his eyes. It is only natural. But that’s just it: these are personal experiences.
I read articles, on the travel blogs I follow, presenting the same city in opposite ways: a blogger enjoyed it, another one was very disappointed. Each blogger presented his experience in a sincere way.
It is also a matter of tastes and preferences
I may like a city and feel great in it, while others may not like it. I may like a castle for what it has to offer, even if it is not perfect and you can see the need for some works, while others can say it is a huge disappointment and not worth visiting.
You cannot expect every city to be as your dream ones. Not every city is Vienna, Paris, London. But every place, no matter how small, has its charm. If you come to Romania, for instance, beyond the famous destinations, I would just recommend you to go to the Apuseni Mountains, or to the Moldavian part of our country – Bucovina especially – and just stay in people’s houses, enjoy a great time. You will simply be charmed. But yes, it won’t be like staying at a Marriott Hotel. So, it depends on what you want from your travels.
However, not having high expectations from the start, can leave room to truly surprising discoveries. Moreover, it will let you enjoy each place, without comparing to an already established image.
Don’t get me wrong. I do appreciate articles depicting different places – tips, tricks, funny or disappointing experiences. Even articles with top places to see.
They are all useful.
BUT I do believe that each place should be discovered step by step, not expecting nor the greatest experience, not the worst.
And, yes, I made the mistake of having expectations. In Paris. Everyone talks about how romantic it is, hoe special from this point of view. While I had a great time there (despite the rain), while I enjoyed the opportunity to see some amazing places which I don’t know if I’ll be able to visit again (Versailles, the Louvre, etc.), I didn’t get the romantic side of the city. I explained all that in this article: How romance literally hit me in the face in Paris [Be warned: you will laugh!].
And I have a contra-example: I went, a few years ago, in a vacation in the Apuseni Mountains, Romania. And I had an amazing vacation! With many wonderful places, great people and awesome sights and discoveries.
So, especially since we have different preferences, since not everything looks as perfect in reality as in the photos we see and share online (and, let’s admit, we try to post great pictures as well, as only what is spectacular and beautiful gets shares), in order not to be disappointed, I do recommend anyone who travels, as a tourist or as a traveler/nomad, to just discover with an open mind and heart everything.