Enjoying the Moment?
Alex Cobb | 20 March 2017

During my summer hitting the tourist hotspots, I was shocked by some of the sights I saw! Making my way around the ‘City of Love’, taking an overpriced gondola ride in Venice, I was left to question the beauty of Europe’s finest cities.

 

 

It’s not quite that the magic of these cities has had enough, packed up its bags and left, so much that it’s being distorted by an invasion of Androids, iPads and Canon SLRs. In my view it is these SLRs, smart phones and tablets that are the root of the problem! Attempting a relaxed stroll through the ‘Musee du Louvre’ in Paris, I was faced by an army of camera toting tourists. It came as no surprise that the army’s first manoeuvre was to see the famous ‘Mona Lisa, but I was amazed to find that after wriggling their way through the crowds they only intended to look at the painting through a camera lens.

 

 

Walking around the city, it quickly becomes evident that the whole of Paris is being viewed at arm’s length through an iPad. The desire to capture absolutely everything as a digital image makes you wonder whether these tourists are really taking in what these places have to offer. Google images is a much cheaper alternative for these techno tourists if all they want to do is look at a screen!

 

 

The same issue arose on a gondola ride in the astonishing city of Venice. Instead of embracing the peaceful atmosphere as we glided down narrow canals, the stunning sunset looming over us, multiple techno tourists insisted on viewing their surroundings through their gadgets. I’m not against the concept of taking photographs in these beautiful locations; I thoroughly delved into it whilst in Venice, but it seems to me that too many of these tourists are only seeing the city through a pixelated screen. Can they really be fully appreciating what the city has to offer?

 

It is not only that this mass of techno tourists lack the ability to embrace these cities’ beauty, but tourism as a whole is slowly murdering it. Taking an evening walk to the Eiffel Tower, it’s impossible to enjoy this amazing place when you’re beset by street sellers at every fifty metres, harassing you with handfuls of tiny tacky Eiffel towers. Not only are you forced to have an unavoidable conversation with them every thirty seconds, it’s most likely that their partner in crime has just taken your wallet from your back pocket!

 

 

Inevitably as time progresses these locations of beauty will adapt and change, but perhaps for now we should just embrace them as they are. As for the techno tourists, it is great to have photos as memories from your travels, but that is all you will have if you intend to view these incredible places solely through the screen of an iPad or the lens of your Canon SLR.

James Routledge 2016