Travel long enough and you’re bound to find places that you don’t click with. It happens. No matter how much you like to travel, you simply can’t love everywhere. It may be that their attractions simply don’t interest you. Or it could be an incident or circumstance that tarnishes the whole experience for you. But when that happens, you can’t let this impression ruin that place for you forever. Here are fives places where I didn’t have the greatest time but on reflection think deserve being given a second chance.
Zagreb, Croatia – (Weather)
I’ve heard good things about Zagreb. Most people I talk to about it say that they enjoyed the city, maybe not as much as the coast, but still nice. For me, all I remember is the 39°C heat and gale force winds that knocked people off their bicycles and tore metal sheet off buildings. While I may have expected hot weather in July, these extremes don’t make for the best sightseeing weather. I enjoyed my time on the Croatian coast last year, so I’m definitely keen to collect some less extreme memories of the country’s capital on a future visit.
La Paz, Bolivia – (Transit)
Sometimes, transit stops are a necessary evil of travel. Often to get from A to B, you need to stop via C. This was the case with La Paz for me. I think I only spent 24 hours in La Paz when I visited there last year. After arriving in the evening on the bus from Lake Titicaca, I spent the following morning arranging transport for that evening and a tour of the famous Uyuni Salt Flats. Lake Titicaca had been a priority. So were the salt flats. La Paz, not so much. In the end, there wasn’t a whole lot of time to take in this large and sprawling city. I saw a little, but not nearly enough to say I gave La Paz a fair chance.
Ljubljana, Slovenia – (Travel Fatigue)
My first big solo trip was traveling through Europe and Turkey for 11 weeks back in 2013. Not familiar with being on the move this long, I was ill prepared for the inevitable – travel fatigue. I didn’t know the weariness that builds up from changing beds every few nights – constantly adjusting to new locations, people and circumstances. Don’t get me wrong, I love exploring new places. This is just a side effect of all that change.I’ve since learned that 5 weeks in is generally when it hits me, which is valuable to know. But I didn’t know back then.
So after 5 weeks of moving through Switzerland, Italy and Slovenia I was in dire of need of a rest – a day or two to recharge. And it just so happened to hit me in Ljubljana. Sure, I saw some of the sights but my heart wasn’t really in it. I’m sure this little city has a lot to offer me when I return in a more receptive mood.
Kristiansand, Norway – (Time of Year)
When I arrived in Kristiansand it was mid March and Norway was still mostly in winter mode. So coming to a destination better known for summer visits was bound to run into obstacles. While places further north like Lofoten and Bergen are remarkable at that (or really any) time of year, sad to say Kristiansand doesn’t bring its A game in March. Kristiansand is mostly popular for outdoor activities like nature walking and lying on the beach which I wasn’t particularly keen to do in the frigid cold. Safe to say, I’ll more careful about seasonal destinations in future and when I do head back to Kristiansand, it’ll be when its a lot warmer.
Bologna, Italy – (Italy Fatigue)
You know what they say about too much of a good thing? In this case, Italy was that good thing. After 3 weeks bouncing around the northern part of Italy, I arrived in Bologna. Looking back at the photos, I can see its charms. But when I was there? It just felt like yet another Italian city. In my mind, I couldn’t properly differentiate it from any of the cities I’d visited. I didn’t have that problem when I went to Venice soon after. I mean, Venice is Venice!
I realise in the scheme of things 3 weeks is not very long. But I had crammed so many cities into that time, I hadn’t allowed myself a chance for all of them to leave a distinct impression. I’ve certainly learned from this and now if I am going to bounce around like the Mad Hatter, I do so for a shorter stretch of time.
Do you have a place that you feel you owe a second chance? Share where and why in the comments.