The Top 5 ‘Germiest’ Places in the World
Clinical Herbalist Reviewed on June 19, 2009 by Paulina Nelega, RH
TripAdvisor.com initiated a poll on their website where out of more than 4,600 travelers who took part in the poll, 34 percent of them actually stated that they had become more aware of germs and washed and disinfected their hands more frequently whilst traveling abroad since the outbreak of the swine flu.
Furthermore, a glance over TripAdvisor.com’s forums has shown an increase of the words ‘germs’, ‘sanitizer’, and ‘disease’ by up to 97 percent, 182 percent, and 112 percent, respectively, between March and May of 2009 compared to the same period in 2008.
Here is TripAdvisor.com’s list of the top 5 ‘germiest’ tourist attractions:
1. The Blarney Stone, Blarney, Ireland
An old Irish legend says that anyone who kisses the Blarney Stone, which is simply a block of stone that has been built into Ireland’s Blarney Castle, will be bestowed with eloquent speech. However, the luck of the Irish might not be with you when you consider that nearly 400,000 lips from all over the world kiss the Blarney stone every year.
One TripAdvisor traveler commented, “[You] have to bend over backwards, and kiss the stone upside down (imagine the germs on the stone from everyone doing that!)”
2. Wall of Gum, Seattle, Washington
It has been said that the people who live and visit Seattle, are among the most eclectic in the world. Staying true to that statement, a very eclectic tradition sprung up at Seattle’s Market Theatre in Post Alley during the 1990’s: a massive wall of gum!
Whilst waiting in line at the Market Theatre, visitors started to stick their gum to the wall. This soon turned into a very colorful display with some people molding shapes and faces out of their gum before placing them on the wall.
One TripAdvisor traveler reminds everyone: “Don’t forget to contribute to the gum wall!”
3. Oscar Wilde’s Tomb, Paris, France
Like most literary greats, Oscar Wilde’s fan base continues to increase, even in these modern times. In fact, many of his adorning fans have shown their love and respect by placing lipstick kisses all over his tomb. Oscar Wilde’s tomb in the Pere-Lachaise cemetery in Paris now has hundreds of lipstick prints all over it.
Just as with the Blarney Stone, hundreds of fans have stopped by Oscar Wilde’s grave to give him one last good-bye kiss, and have left their germs behind! Every year hundreds more will continue to do the same. Perhaps buying a first edition book written by Oscar Wilde would be a better interpretation of a person’s adoration for the famous author and playwright?
As one TripAdvisor traveler puts it: “The tombstone of Oscar Wilde is…well, wild, excuse the pun.”
4. St. Mark’s Square, Venice, Italy
Venice’s St. Mark’s Square has been used as a background drop for many major movie features. All because of the thousands of pigeons who inhabit the square! However, these pigeons are hungry! So hungry, in fact, that they flock together waiting for a kind visitor to drop a morsel of food for them to steal. Some pigeons are not that well mannered and will fly at a visitor in an attempt to steal their food right out of their hands! Most pigeons are tame enough that visitors to the square are able to touch and hold the pigeons. Whilst most visitors find this type of bird behavior to be quite cute, some of the pigeons can leave dirty little gifts on tourist shoulders and heads.
One of TripAdvisor’s forum members recalls a recent trip to St. Mark’s Square: “I know it does seem a little bit disgusting, but it’s so totally hilarious to see your friend/partner/dad being attacked by birds!”
5. Forecourt of Grauman’s Chinese Theater (Handprints and Footprints), Hollywood, California
All Hollywood enthusiasts know about the most famous landmark in Hollywood, California – the star walk! Here lie the handprints and, sometimes, footprints of the biggest Hollywood legends and stars in history. However, before you rush to place your hands inside the handprint of your favorite movie star, think first about how many other people before you have placed their own hands inside that handprint!
One TripAdvisor traveler said, “You couldn’t help comparing your feet and hands, too [with those of the stars].”
Photo Credit: keepwaddling1
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Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan