Subject: Re: Great Expectations and Disappointing Destinations
I find my greatest disappointments are when someone has built something up too much for me anticipation wise. So now when someone makes a point of praising or panning something (place, attraction, site, restaurant, whatever) I always want the why behind their opinion... beautiful scenery, too expensive, too out of the way, too busy, whatever. Then I can see if the person's biases or rating factors are likely to match mine!

Grand Canyon FE - the tour bus rolled in one evening in early December at 8pm through the dark and knee high snow so I saw nothing of the canyon. We were happy just to be there after our tour bus got turned back in the Yosemite entrance days earlier and we had to go to Flagstaff for that night. Here we woke up in the morning to more snow on the balconies, but in our ten minute bus stop on the way out the clouds parted for my one and only glimpse of the Grand Canyon - and I was mesmerised. Snow capped ridges of red rock, glistening in the sun. I was awed by the magnitude - layers and layers - this was not just some gaping crevasse in the ground. This was Mother Nature saying *look at me*!

Venice FE - what can I say. I hadn't seen any movies or read any pictorial books on Venice but it had a lot to live up to in my mind and imagination having been the only Italian must-see in my list for years. And I am now totally in love with Venice - from the first moment I popped into San Marco square - the gondolas, bridges, canals, winding streets, squares, shops, charm, character, ... It will always be postcard in my mind. Blessed with brilliant weather I couldn't have asked for more in my 1 1/2 days in Venice.

Paris FE - everything I dreamed of and more. Not quite as much charm as my memory accords Venice, but then again this is a big city! Highlights=Musee Orsay, Musee Marmottan, smiles in response to my next-to-nothing French, and the French people - absolutely LOVED them (and the equality they give their dogs!)

NYC E - loved NYC Sept 2000. Loved walking the streets and seeing the hustle and bustle right out of NYPD Blue :) Went and saw Rent, got picked as an Aussie at South Street Seaport for being so polite on ordering and receiving our lunches! Got hassled by the cabbie for saying Could we please go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art? the Met? On ... street We took his silence for confusion but finally he could take no more and said I got it. Loved it! That and Sally Jesse Raphael telling me not to leave anything in the cab ;-P Cabs street-fighting for our business, Statue of Liberty, we took the subway!, Chrysler Building, polar bears, my first ever New York Baked Cheesecake - and in New York!!! Loved it!!! Still do.

Amsterdam DNM - too busy, not a lot of charm (certainly not compared to Delft which for me was a Met/Exceeded) Cairns DNM - believe it or not I was very disappointed. Not sure what I expected - I did a scuba dive tour out to the reef, and admittedly didn't go up to the rainforest, but it felt like a characterless city to me. Perhaps I missed something... It felt like a gateway to other things and nothing more.

Florence DNM - not sure what I expected. Perhaps I needed more leisure time to soak in the place rather than crossing off attractions.

San Fran M - I had expected it to exceed. Perhaps as my first OS trip at age 21 it was too overwhelming? Or perhaps I simply knew too much from seeing San Fran in movies and TV from day dot. Would love to go back and see it now with my matured travel vision :) Actually the weather probably did sour that experience a little with constant drizzle. Had my first American movie cinema experience - saw Mrs Doubtfire and people in the audience clapped and cheered...!

Victoria, Vancouver Island BC E - cute and cosy feeling. Quaint with attractive buildings and harbour. Liked its by the water atmosphere.

Christchurch M - lots to do. Beautiful flowers, trams, punting on the river.

...and too many more for this bandwidth! :) Megan Brisbane, Australia