Tourists Driven Cuckoo By Chiming Clock

Bishop's Castle UK
Shirokazan, Flickr

A tourist destination in the U.K. has brought new meaning to the term “wake up call” with fears the constant chiming of the local clock tower is driving visitors away.

While thousands of tourists descend upon the small English town of Bishop’s Castle each year, many apparently vow never to return after spending sleepless nights listening to the chime of the city’s clock.

The bells in the clock tower chime not just on the hour, but every 15 minutes — regardless of whether it’s day or night.Debate has erupted recently over whether to quiet the clock for the sake of tourists. For the uninitiated, the constant jingling from the clock is maddening, according to the owner of a local hotel. He says many of his guests love the town but refuse to return because of the incessant chiming. Although the clock has been chiming every 15 minutes since the 18th century, he’s pushing for it to be silenced at night.

However to locals, the musical clock is part of the town’s character and many say they’re lulled to sleep by the reassuring chimes. “I always sleep better when I can hear it. It is definitely part of the town and it would be a real shame to see it go,” argued one resident.

Would a chiming clock drive you bonkers when traveling, or is preserving the character of the destination more important?

Tourists In Venice Shocked By €100 Coffee Bill

Caffe Lavena Venice Italy
Richard, enjoy my life! Flickr

It’s no secret that Europe is an expensive travel destination, but sometimes even Europeans are shocked to discover just how pricey their homeland can be.

A group of tourists from Rome got a nasty shock after enjoying a caffeine fix at a café in Venice. The travelers had taken a seat outdoors at the well-known Caffe Lavena in St. Mark’s Square where they drank four coffees and three liqueurs as they listened to live chamber music. However, things turned sour when the bill arrived, showing the group of seven owed €100 (about $134) for their drinks. The frustrated tourists say they didn’t realize that a €6/person music surcharge would be added to their check, resulting in a bill €42 higher than they were expecting.The café defended themselves by saying that all the prices were clearly listed in their menu, including the music surcharge and the €6 cost of a coffee.

This isn’t the first time tourists in Italy have been outraged by an unexpectedly high bill. Earlier this year, a group of British tourists were blindsided by a €16 charge for gelato at an ice cream shop in Rome – the story garnered so much attention it prompted the city’s mayor to apologize for the incident. And a few years back, a restaurant in Rome was actually shut down after it charged a Japanese couple €695 ($930) for a meal. Their receipt listed pasta dishes costing €200 and an obligatory tip of €115.50.

Have you ever been ripped off during your travels?

Glass Eyes, Diamonds And Other Strange Things Travelers Leave Behind

The Weirdest Things Left Behind on Planes

Most passengers don’t even wait for the seat belt light to go off before jumping up from their seats and getting ready to disembark the plane, so it’s no surprise that in the hurry belongings often get left behind.

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You’re probably imagining that most of the forgotten items involve things commonly stowed in the seat back compartment, such as passports, books and cell phones — and you wouldn’t be wrong. But it seems many of our fellow travelers are also flying with some pretty strange cargo, at least according to a study by booking site Skyscanner, which rounded up the most bizarre things left behind by passengers on planes.

Some of the oddities forgotten on flights include underwear, handcuffs and bags of diamonds — all the kinds of things that would certainly have you questioning who you’re sitting next to. Animals also made the list, with parrots, frogs, falcons and even eggs forgotten by their owners. Other items we’re not sure how the owners walked off without include prosthetic legs and glass eyes.

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However planes aren’t the only place where travelers experience forgetfulness. Airport security is an all too easy spot to misplace belongings and while many fliers forget their belts and keys, others leave behind false teeth, wigs and adult toys. London City Airport said these made the list of strangest things left in the terminal, along with an artificial skull, signed blank check book and yet another bag of diamonds.

Hotels have also seen their fair share of wacky objects forgotten in rooms, including a showjumping horse, a life size cardboard cutout of a comedian and a wok (apparently the guest had filled the toilet with charcoal in the hopes of turning it into a barbeque).

Greece Plans To Keep Rowdy Tourists Out Of Town

Greece club signs
Roger Price, Flickr

Disrespect the locals a few too many times and they may decide to shun you from the local enclaves and relegate you to tacky tourist ghettos. Unfortunately, that may be exactly what’s in store for visitors headed to the Greek islands.

Locals there say they’ve had enough of debauched tourists who have been wreaking havoc in the otherwise beautiful and peaceful Mediterranean region. Their solution? Set up segregated tourist zones to keep the riffraff out.The drastic plan is under consideration after a recent spate of incidents involving bar brawls, rowdy behavior and the stabbing of a British teenager on the island of Crete. The Greek islands attract huge numbers of young pleasure-seekers who are eager to party, much to the unhappiness of locals. To get around the problem, they’re looking at establishing “tourist strips” far from town where foreigners can go wild without bothering anyone.

If the Greeks do agree on the plan, it’ll be a sad day for travelers who actually want to experience everything the islands have to offer. Visiting a city that’s split in half — with locals on one side and tourists on another — is not really visiting the city at all. Think of the tourist strip in Cancun, which is nothing like the real Mexico, or Times Square in New York, which is far from representative of the Big Apple. Do we really want all of our travels to feel like a trip to the Vegas Strip? If we want to continue having authentic travel experiences, it’s time to step up and treat the locals and their way of life with respect.

Rape Fears Plague Indian Tourism

Several countries have updated their travel advisories to warn tourists of the threat of sexual assault when traveling to India. The South Asian country has made headlines in recent weeks and months following a spate of rape cases involving travelers and locals alike.

In the most recent incident, a 25-year-old British woman threw herself off her hotel balcony to escape a sexual assault. The woman was sleeping in a hotel in the tourist city of Agra, when the owner of the hotel burst into her room in the middle of the night demanding a massage before trying to assault her. The terrified woman jumped from her first floor balcony, and is now in the hospital suffering two broken legs and head injuries.This latest attack comes on the back of the vicious gang rape of a Swiss woman last Friday. The 39-year-old was camping in the temple town of Orchha with her husband when a gang of men arrived, armed with sticks. The men beat up the husband before tying the woman to a tree and attacking her. According to police, the woman said she was raped by up to seven or eight men.

But it’s not just travelers who face the threat of being molested in the subcontinent. Three months ago, a 23-year-old Indian medical student was killed after five men raped her on a bus before throwing her from the moving vehicle in the Indian capital, New Dehli. The deadly attack sent shockwaves across the country, spurring protests and a call for tougher laws against sexual assault.

However, any changes are too little too late for the country’s tourism industry, which is bracing itself for the fallout. Both the UK and Switzerland have issued travel advisories warning about the rise in sexually motivated crimes across the country.

What do you think? Would you still visit India despite the latest attacks?

[Photo credit: Flickr user McKay Savage]