Six germ-infested tourist traps

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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Do soapless cleansers kill germs?
Five things to do before you unpack

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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