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May 17, 2013

Discuss: What Destination Lived Up to the Hype?

The Colosseum in Rome, Italy is one of the world's most impressive buildings.

In the age of social media, Trip Advisor, and blogs, it’s rare to visit somewhere and have no idea what to expect. Maybe you’re visiting a destination because it’s at the top of your bucket list, maybe it’s been recommended by a trusted friend or website, or maybe you’ve read about it in your favorite guidebook. Whatever the reason, however, we are rarely blank slates. We go into each destination with preconceived ideas about what it should be like: good or bad.

Fortunately, we usually hear about destinations because they are pretty awesome. So, for this week’s discussion, I want to know what destination most lived up to the hype. Which destination or sight did you hear a lot about before visiting and didn’t disappoint when you finally saw it or experienced it for yourself.

For me, it has to be the Colosseum in Rome, Italy. We’ve all heard amazing things about the Colosseum, and the pictures you see on the Internet and in books make it look magnificant. So, when I visited in 2006, I had very high expectations.

I can still vividly remember my first glimpse of the Roman ruin. I was exiting the subway station nearby. Once I reached the top of the stairs, there it was, towering above me. It was simply breathtaking.

It’s a moment that is permanently imprinted in my mind. Had I first seen the Colosseum at a distance, it may not have been as instantly impressive; however, catching a full view of something so magnificent as you reach the surface from underground is simply awe-inspiring.

Of course, my visit to the Colosseum wasn’t over once I reached the top of the stairs. Once inside, I was equally impressed with the size and condition of the ruins. Having never visited a Roman ruin before, I was blown away with how something so old could be so well preserved and so huge.

No matter how much I had heard, read, or seen prior to visiting, nothing could prepare me for that first magnifient view of the Colosseum.

What about you? What destination or sight totally exceeded the hype when you visited it? Let me know in the comments section below.


  1. Davide

    Places like that—like the Colosseum—are able to trigger your imagination before, during, and after you visit them! Love Rome 😉

  2. The Pyramids. We stayed at a hotel with a view of the pyramids. We arrived in Cairo after midnight. I just remember looking out the window at the pyramids in the dark, in disbelief about how big they actually were in person. I had imagined seeing them since I was a kid and couldn’t believe that I was actually there.

  3. Jennifer

    The Acropolis and Meteora in Greece. The Vatican, especially the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s. Kourion ruins with ancient theater on a cliff, Cyprus. Uluwatu, Bali.
    And, I totally agree with you about the Colluseum- so far, Rome is my favorite city in the world, by far!

  4. Sue

    The size and beauty of the Taj Mahal took my breath away, despite seeing thousands of photos of it before I got there.

  5. What a suprise that no one has mentioned south africa – it has so many brilliant destinations and hundreds of amazing experiences down every road. I have travelled the world and have yet to find a group of people more willing to share the wonderful place that is South Africa

  6. I’ve heard bad things about the colosseum as well though–haven’t been and ill go for sure and comimg up in the middle sounds awesome!

    the taj mahal blew my mind. walked though the door into the garden and gasped. thought it would be overrated.

  7. For me it was Machu Picchu in Peru. It was a trip I’d booked months in advance, and as I huffed and puffed my way up and down the Inca Trail over three-and-a-bit days previously; taking in the clean Andean air and stupendous views, I soooo hoped that the destination would match the experience of the journey. I was not disappointed.

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