Under Construction: Holiday Destinations To Avoid This Summer

In my twenties I did a lot of travelling. I seemed to get by on £600 for 6 weeks of roughing it around Europe, and I once went on a one way trip to Australia with £500 in my pocket and came back two years later! It was a great experience and I reminisce longingly about those good old days…maybe too often!

Image by Andy Hay

Of course, arriving in any great city you have to check out the main sights. I must now admit that I have been to India twice and shamefully have never visited the Taj Mahal.

I also spent a year and a half in Australia without even going to Sydney! It didn’t bother me, as I just saw other things instead, but if you DO make the effort to go and see the Seven Wonders of the World, or any famous landmarks, you want to have a good look at it!

We’re sinking!

There’s only one place that people head to when they visit Pisa in Italy. And it’s not Luigi’s famous pizza palace, although I hear it’s quite good. No, you have to go and pose with the incredible sinking building that is the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Built between 1173 and 1274, when the city was at the peak of its artistic achievement and military might, the locals are reported to have been mortified that their massive tower began to tilt un-photogenically to the right.

I mean, how embarrassing! They should have noticed over the course of a hundred years that the soft sand and rubble foundation was not going to hold this monster up.

So, I perhaps shouldn’t have been surprised when, some 715 years later, I rock up to see the tower for myself and….it’s covered in scaffolding. So much for my photo opportunity, I was really miffed.

Getting ruffled in Singapore

It was the same when I ventured much further east and found myself one day in Singapore. This is a mega-space age style city, with their chewing gum ban and clinically clean streets and buildings.

But there was one thing I HAD to do when I was there…

The beautiful old colonial hotel, Raffles, is famous in Singapore and around the world for the part it played in the Second World War. The Japanese first occupied Singapore in February 1942 and it survived the hardships of the time, even as a transit camp of prisoners of war after 1945.

But I was actually after the famous Singapore Sling, a wonderful concoction of gin, cherry liquor, Benedictine and fresh pineapple juice, sometimes topped up with club soda. The British colonists of the twenties and thirties used to sip this in the Long Bar veranda at Raffles, as gin contains quinine which was known to repel mosquitoes.

I found my way to the Raffles Hotel that fateful day – and came face to face with a wall of morbid scaffolding! Once again, I had arrived in the midst of renovation work. How did they know I was coming? My Singapore Sling didn’t have quite the same effect whilst looking out through the fretwork of bamboo with drills and hammers ringing out.

Image by May Wong

Hard hats required

If you want a few tips from someone who has been there, here are the top four places to avoid this summer;

  • The Panama Canal Extension has been under way since 2007 and due to be completed in two years time. I envisage lots of concrete and a whole lot of barging going on.
  • The Colosseum in Rome is up for a major 25 million euro facelift this year. Work was supposed to start at the tail end of 2011 and commence for two and half years.
  • The Statue of Liberty is shut, ladies and gentlemen, so that a secondary staircase and safety feature can be fitted. It closed in October 2011 for a year, although the Liberty Island is still open.
  • Pixar movie “Cars” inspired Disney ride “Cars Land” in Disneyland, California, won’t be ready for another year, so those wishing to ride on it had better take a crash helmet and a good book.

Leave your tips for other places under renovation here, pretty please!

Sarah O’Neill fancies herself as a bit of a globetrotter. She writes articles for CB Construction, Bristol. They are well known for their extensions and loft conversions, Bristol and in the south west.

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