What does Angkor Wat, the Leaning Tower of Pisa and Singapore’s Merlion have in common – besides the fact that they’re all man-made tourist attractions, must-see sights and veritable icons of travel?
I’ll give you a hint: it starts with “s” and ends in “caffolding”. Give up? They’re all famous monuments that were ruined for me by unsightly scaffolding.
Think I’m exaggerating? You’re right, I am – but certainly none of these iconic structures were as photogenic as they should have been.
Just take a look at this photograph of me mugging for the camera in front of the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy…
It seems that just as the world’s most treasured artefacts and works or art need restoration and maintenance every once in a while, so too does its most treasured and iconic buildings, monuments and wonders.
It’s fair enough, I suppose, but it’s still a bit of a shame when Angkor Wat in Cambodia – a Khmer temple dating back to the early 12th Century and still one of mankind’s most impressive structures – has scaffolding on the front, a total anachronism.
Singapore’s Merlion, however, really takes the cake. Half lion, half mermaid, all awesome; I saw the city-state’s mascot in February, at the very start of my backpacking trip through South East Asia. When I returned in June, the famous Merlion of Merlion Park was out of commission.
Just take a look for yourself…
That baby was boxed-up and off limits to the public for more than two months! No wonder all the tourists down in Merlion Park were looking dazed and confused as they posed for photos next to a large wooden box.
But at least it was there – not like the time I travelled to Copenhagen, Denmark, and walked for hours searching for the city’s famed little mermaid statue only to find the
rock it usually sits on, the mermaid long gone on holiday to Shanghai.
And don’t even get me started about Barcelona’s La Sagrada Familia. When I went to see this famous Spanish basilica it had scaffolding and cranes all over it. Talk about ruining my photograph – it looked as though it wasn’t even finished…