attractions have topped an
unusual list compiled by editors at, a travel advice
Web site. This summer, editors at
the site named the five “germiest”
tourist spots in the world.
Despite the H1N1 scare that went
global this spring, tourists have
not stopped spitting out their gum
and sticking it onto a wall already
saturated with millions of gooey
pieces, editors say. Nor do germ
fears stop travelers from journeying
to the pigeon-infested St. Mark’s
Square in Venice, Italy, where the
birds often bestow droppings.
“These places are great attractions
regardless of the fact that they are
‘germy’,” said Brooke Ferencsik,
a travel expert at TripAdvisor.
“Venice is lovely, and it’s a great
spot, but with all the pigeons, I’d
bring an umbrella just in case the
birds drop some gifts from above.”
Though it is unlikely to get sick
from visiting one of these places,
health experts say germs are
always a gamble. The more people
who touch and visit a spot, the
more germs there are in the mix,
they say.
Their traveling advice is that travelers should load up on hand
sanitisers and wash their hands
often on their trips.
1. Market Theater Gum Wall in
Seattle, Washington
Strange tradition has appeared
in Seattle and led to the emergence
of an extravagant and unhygienic
memo – a brick wall near the local
theater, completely covered with
chewing gum. The tradition began
in the 90-ies of the last century.
At the market theater gum wall,
there is a distinct fruity aroma that
welcomes visitors when they pass
the giant wall of gum housing
millions of chewed pieces in Seattle.
The gum, pink, blue, yellow and
green, is piled several inches thick,
spanning an area 15 feet high and
50 feet wide.
The Gum Wall, also dubbed the
Wall of Gum, is one of the strangest
attractions in Pike Place Market,
where visitors can go to watch
fish throwers and see the original
“People will do artwork with the
gum,” said Jay Hitt, the marketing
director of the Market Theater.
“They write words on the wall,
stick posters and business cards.” The gum-sticking tradition began
by accident in 1993 when patrons,
mostly college students waiting in
line for a show, would stick gum to
the wall. Theater company workers
say they scraped the gum routinely,
but eventually gave up. Slowly the
gum amassed.
Today, there aren’t any rules at
the Gum Wall. Visitors from all over
the world snap photos next to it and
leave as many pieces of their own
gum as they want. For some people,
it is one of the brightest Seattle points
of interest, but for others it has a
completely repulsive appearance.
2. Forecourt of Grauman’s
Chinese Theatre in Hollywood,
What do George Clooney, Clint
Eastwood and Marilyn Monroe
have in common?
All three of them are celebrated
stars with their hand prints molded
into the concrete of the forecourt
of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre for
millions of people to touch. You
can see the handprints and feet of
many stars of world cinema on the
forecourt of Grauman’s Chinese
Theater on the Avenue of Stars in
Los Angeles. They left it in the wet
The sidewalk is littered with
246 celebrity hand and footprints
that draw in 4.5 million visitors
a year, many of whom put their
own hands and feet on them. The
site began as an accident in 1927
when Norma Talmadge, a famous
actress in the 1920s, stepped into
wet cement. Creator and owner of
the theater, Sid Grauman, decided
to make the hand and footprints a
“The stars are selected based on
the longevity of their career,” said
Levi Tinker, a tour guide at the
Grauman Theatre. “Stars who will
be around 10 to 20 years from now
are picked so people know who
they are.”
Millions of fans touch to these
prints. But nobody does their
disinfection. So before you’ll
“measure” your idol’s hands or feet
sizes, you should put on gloves or
wash your hands after it properly.
For germ-conscious travelers,
Tinker says the concrete is mopped
daily and pressure washed once a
3. Blarney Stone in Blarney, Where the Blarney Stone came
from and how it got to Ireland is
a matter of debate. One old tale
goes: Once upon a time, the king of
Ireland saved a woman drowning
in Blarney Lake. The woman
told the king that if he kissed the
stone, he would receive the gift of
eloquence. Thus, the tradition of
kissing the Blarney stone was born.
Yearly, about 400,000 people
kissed the stone, says a spokesman
for Blarney Castle & Gardens. To do
so, the person must be hung upside
down to kiss the rock. Some people
prefer watching to smooching.
4.St. Mark’s Square in Venice,
In the heart of Venice, Italy, lies
St. Mark’s Square, also known as
Piazza San Marco, where both
tourists and pigeons flock. Each
year, more than 2 million visitors
venture to St. Mark’s Square to see
the Doge’s Palace and St. Mark’s
Thousands of the dirty birds
crowd the square sometimes
leaving their droppings or attacking
visitors. Some fearless visitors who aren’t worried about germs
snap pictures with the birds. But
health experts warn that birds are
notorious for carrying dangerous
germs and viruses.
In 2007, city officials have worked
hard to remove the pigeons from
the square. They have banned
people from feeding them and
have even started trapping the
birds in nets, significantly reducing
the pigeon population. If you want
to see the famous pigeons, go soon.
5. Oscar Wilde’s Tomb in Paris,
It’s an unusual site in the Père
Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. author
and playwright Oscar Wilde’s
body rests in a tomb speckled with
lipstick marks from visitors from
all over the world showing their
literary appreciation.
Wilde, who died in 1900 from
cerebral meningitis, continues to be
a celebrated literary figure today and
his famous for his tabooed sexuality
at the time and his novels such as
“The Picture of Dorian Gray.”
The kisses display a rainbow
of colors so much so that travel
experts say Oscar Wilde’s name
on the tomb can be hard to discern
One TripAdvisor traveler wrote
after visiting the grave, “The
tombstone of Oscar Wilde is … well,
wild, excuse the pun.”
Sourced from TripAdvisor

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