Now You See It……

There's a beautiful natural attraction on the island of Gozo, you go to Malta and turn left, at least that's what hundreds of tourists have been led to believe.

Known as the Azure window, this wonderful landscape has been fashioned by the sea over the centuries and has had visitors flocking there. It's so beautiful that the amount of visitors is so vast that a whole tourist industry has grown around it.

The views are breathtaking and Dwerja Bay has become a hidden gem in the tourist itinerary, a must see if you're in that part of the world. Coaches take parties of tourists to visit the spectacular coastline to wonder at the beauty of it. The only problem is that the limestone arch that was the only thing worth seeing isn't there any more, after a tremendous storm it collapsed into the sea and is now just a bunch of rocks at the bottom of the ocean.

But that's not put off the people who run the trips and have built an economy around it, they still take coach loads of tourists every day to visit the site where the miracle of nature used to be. Instead of looking at a marvel the visitors are greeted by the sea, something that they could look at from anywhere basically, as the place is an island, but they pay for the pleasure of being taken along to see where it used to look good. This is Daleyism at it's finest, you can just imagine the tour guides in their trilby hats sitting at the front of the bus as it comes round the corner into the bay, giving their commentary, "this used to look brilliant, shame you weren't here a few years ago, still never mind, we can stop for a drink at my brother's bar instead."

Now if that upsets you, things are only going to get worse, one of the great tourist attractions in Australia is on it's last legs. Formed over billions of years, the Great Barrier Reef is dying, and dying is the correct term as the Great Barrier Reef is a living organism. It's suffering from a thing called bleaching, but never fear, there'll probably be tour guides who'll take you along to have a look at the hole where the reef used to be, or you can look at the decimated coral, at least it's a bit better than looking at nothing where a magical arch used to be.

Venice is on it's way to the depths of the ocean as well, so you'd best get there fast, the city has been sinking for many years but it's on that fast slippery slope, a bit like heroin addiction, to the bottom. But enterprising tour guides will still be able to take you to the city limits and issue you with snorkels and the gondolas could just use mini submarines instead. Basement apartments in Venice have always been difficult to market, but the same problems will soon exist for first, second, third and fourth floor apartments soon. The only real issue that I see is your cornetto getting soggy, but you'll have to live with that for the sake of visiting the Bride of the Adriatic.

Ironically, the Dead Sea is on it's way out as well. To me it's not a sea, it's a lake, but I have been called Geographically Challenged, by Jimmy of the D4 no less, when I called him an australian in an interview after he'd spent about half an hour telling me how proud he was to be a Kiwi. Anyway, experts have predicted that it will be gone within 50 years, so no great rush, but if you want to see it before it becomes the Dead Hole you'd better get your skates on. In fact in 50 years time you'll be able to walk across the Dead Sea, reviving a practice that was pretty popular about 2,000 years ago in the area. And as they say, what goes around, comes around.

Locals will have to change their sayings from "there's plenty more fish in the sea" to "there's plenty more camels in the sea."

We now enter greyer areas, the Cavern Club in Liverpool home to those lovable mop headed boys, The Beatles, well, not quite home as they didn't live there, but once again let's not spoil the spiel of the tour guides. The original club was opened in 1957, but closed in 1973 to make way for a railway. It was a good idea to close it as the carnage that would have been caused every night when the 7.15 from Knotty Ash came flying through whilst the punters were twisting and shouting to the sound of a Beatles tribute band would have been awful, not to say messy. But here's the rub, they rebuilt the club using some of the same bricks and the same plans as the original, so does that make it the same club, I think not.

"I'm telling you, Ringo, that this place wasn't as deep the last time we were here."

We've got a bit of Trigger's broom syndrome going on here, and a Trip Advisor visitor distinctly called it a replica, and if anyone should know it's a Trip Advisor reviewer. It's in the same place, with some of the same bricks, using the same plans, but it's 75 feet deeper. Also, I've never been there, but I'd like to know what happened to the railway, where did that get to, or is this another attraction that has disappeared.

All in all, the world is on a rollercoaster of self destruction, but it's spawned a new tourist industry where you can visit what used to be there. And you've got to admire the enterprise of this new band of entrepreneurs who will take you to see the Attraction That Was.

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