11th Aug 2017

Are you germophobic? Best steer clear of these tourist traps ...

Six germ-infested tourist traps
Leon Della Bosca


Germophobes of the world beware! These six places are quite possibly the filthiest tourist traps you could visit. But if you find them irresistible, at least make sure you have some antiseptic wipes with you!


Market Theater Gum Wall
Seattle, Washington

gum wall 

This one tops my list because it’s the griminess of ‘Wall of Gum’ that makes it an attraction. It is exactly as it sounds – a brick wall covered in millions of pieces of chewed gum, in all manner of flavours and colours.


The wall sits by the Market Theatre and was started by accident when theatregoers would stick their gum on the wall before seeing a show.


Nowadays the 5m high by 15m wide wall is stuck several centimetres thick in bubblegum, business cards and chewing gum artwork.


The Blarney Stone
Blarney, Ireland

blarney stone

Said to give the gift of the gab to all those who kiss it, the Blarney Stone is easily the second most disgusting locale on the list. Superstition surrounding the ‘Stone’ proclaims that it can help you flatter the next female you encounter. But what good is that when your kisser bears the blight of the million lips that have pashed this petri dish of bacteria and god knows what else before you? Not to mention the potential injury you could incur trying to reach down and kiss the bloody thing!


Oscar Wilde’s Grave
Paris, France

oscar wilde grave 

It might look pretty, but all that lipstick was once on mouths and, as we all know, mouths are the germiest places on the planet. And though he may be honoured by all the attention, even Oscar once said: “A kiss may ruin a human life.” I’d listen to the man.


Statue of St Peter
Vatican City

st peters feet

People suck up to the statue of St Peter by rubbing and kissing its feet in the hope that it will grease their way through the gates of heaven. Christians just love kissing feet, don’t they? By the looks of the St Peter’s distorted feet, quite a few people have given them a good caress and canoodle. Hundreds of millions, I’d say. Hope someone’s giving them the odd spray with some ‘St Glen 20’ …


Karni Mata Temple
Rajasthan, India

karni mata temple


The next two are a tie for me. The Karni Mata Temple in Rajasthan is home to thousands of ‘holy’ rats. Thousands and thousands of rats. Do I need to say more? One more time: rats. Oh, and you have to enter the temple wearing no shoes and it’s supposed to be good luck if a rat scurries over your bare foot. I’d say your odds of that happening are high. You wouldn’t get me in there wearing a hazmat suit.


Louvre Museum
Paris, France

grimy rat at the louvre 

The Louvre is one on the world’s most visited tourist attractions, but it’s not just humans who are drawn to this Paris landmark. There is so much litter left behind by tourists at the Louvre that it’s become a prime feeding ground for rats. They run about the Tuileries Gardens in broad daylight and, at stages, reach plague proportions. They’re not small either, just look at the size of the one in the picture. I can hear cries of “The French rat stole my baby!” (too soon?).


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12th Aug 2017
Wow, did not know you were such a girly man Leon. Well there goes the image.
With the exception of the Temple and the rats most of these places would harbor few germs and it is the perception rather than the reality you have issues with. My dear wife has the same perceptions when we enter a fast food restaurant in Australia. Luckily she was partly cured with our trips to America where 'dirty' and 'fast food' took on another meaning entirely.
12th Aug 2017
Leon you do know that in Sydney for example, you are never more than a metre away from a rat, don't you? I suspect Melbourne would be similar and in fact any big city would be likewise.

As for the other sites you mention, I went to the Blarney Stone when I was a child with my family, and my Father, brother and I all kissed it with no ill effects. The other statues can be admired from afar if you are that squeamish. But what a lot you miss out on by not embracing the culture and tradition of these sites.

I personally would not add to the gum wall but that's because I don't use the stuff, so I have no need to touch it. By the way Manly did something similar a few years ago as a clean up Manly event. Quite successful as I recall.
12th Aug 2017
Hey K(i)SS were you not aware that the Blarney Stone is a great Irish joke? The hole in the wall is a former toilet - pre flush model. All castles have a similar hole that was used to dump all kinds of detritus into the moat or depressions below. Also it is rumoured that present day youth are responsible for post pub relief on the same stone. I think that I would have been tempted to take the same dare to use it for its original purpose when I was in my teens. Still if it helps you enjoy a holiday kiss away.
12th Aug 2017
You need to do it bit more research about the Blarney Stone Imagine and not believe every rumour you hear.

The castle is not in the town. It's located in fairly open rural and wooded parkland and really quite a 'stagger' away when full of a Friday or Saturday night over indulgence. Given that the stone is embedded some 4 storeys up, up very narrow, old, twisted winding ruined stairs, on private property and guarded at all times, it would be impossible for anyone to pee on it - even if they have very good aim - when drunk - at night- in the dark!
12th Aug 2017
Pee is the least of your worries - more germs in saliva than urine!
12th Aug 2017
I made a special trip from Jaipur to the Karni Mata temple. It was wonderful. The rats are looked after so well. I love them. They are, after all, living, feeling beings. And I'm still here to tell the tale. If you're a serious germophobe, then don't go to supermarkets with all the
handling and coughing and spluttering over everything eeeewwww
12th Aug 2017
Not to mention putting your groceries in the supermarket trolleys!
12th Aug 2017
You got it in one Biddi - sick of getting sick from supermarket visits!!
12th Aug 2017
Good grief....... I wouldn't kiss them either... spew..... wouldn't kiss the ring on the popes finger either!
12th Aug 2017
I am with you srs21! ... and rats carry bubonic plague - never under estimate the infectious nature of this animal.
The plague did come to Sydney - that's why Canberra was built inland away from the damp ocean living conditions.

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