Printer Friendly

The strange questions tourists ask.

Byline: By RHODRI OWEN Western Mail

Which of Caernarfon Castle's towers does Prince Charles sleep in when he visits North Wales? Is Wales closed at this time of year? Staff at Wales' top tourist attractions have revealed some of the daft questions they are occasionally asked by foreign visitors.

Earlier this week it was reported that tour guides in Rome are getting fed up of having to field ridiculous questions from foreign tourists.

Marco Colzi, head of the tour guides' trade union, announced a campaign was being mounted to raise the level of knowledge of visitors to the Eternal City.

Among the questions being asked of Italian tour guides were:

'Did Moses pose for Michelangelo?'

'If this is the 'Sixteen' Chapel where are the other 15?'

'Was the Colosseum built as a ruin?'

'Where in Rome is Jesus buried?'

In a quick straw poll yesterday, the Western Mail discovered tourists to Wales can be just as dim- witted as those who visit Italy.

At Caerleon, Monmouthshire, we were told, 'Someone once turned up at the Fortress Roman Baths here with a towel under their arm, despite the fact that there hasn't been a drop of water in it since Roman times.

'And another time someone rang up to ask if they had lifeguards working there.'

An employee at the austere Caernarfon Castle was once asked, 'Which tower does Prince Charles stay in when he visits the castle?'

While tour guides there are regularly asked by American visitors, 'Which room was Prince Charles born in?' or 'Why didn't they put elevators inside the towers?'

At Caerphilly Castle, staff have had to keep a straight face while fielding questions such as, 'Why did they build the castle in the middle of the town?' and 'Why was the castle built so far away from the railway station?'

'It's mostly Americans, I'm afraid,' said one employee. 'Sometimes its hard to realise they are actually asking genuine questions.'

A spokeswoman from the Museum of Welsh Life at St Fagans, Cardiff, commented, 'Our staff have heard a variety of hilarious comments and have been asked the strangest questions to rival anything said to those irritated Italians.

'The main assumption from many an innocent visitor is that the museum has received the good fortune of stumbling across this village of intact houses and buildings, kept safe from the ravages of fashion and history, only to be found as the perfect museum.

'Pigsties are also a puzzle to many a visitor from across the pond who believe that they were built as 'Wendy houses' for the children of the farmhouse or that the inhabitants of Nantwallter cottage must have been really tiny to fit into their sty as a kind of outhouse or an overspill for their multitude of children.

'Visitors to Kennixton farmhouse have also insisted that the bedbox is an airing cupboard and the butter churn a washing machine.

'Finally, an American couple were visiting the Maestir schoolhouse recently when the museum assistant heard the cry of, 'Esther, come on in here, I've found the Welsh alphabet. It goes, 'Doh, ray, me, fah, soh, lah, te, doh'.'

Meanwhile a visitor to the National Botanic Garden of Wales at Llanarthne in Carmarthenshire recently pointed to some green algae growing on a water plant feature inside the great glass house and helpfully suggested to a tour guide, 'You can get that off by scrubbing it with Dettol.': Would you believe it:Here's what some clueless tourists have had to say at some of Britain's other visitor hotspots: Tower of London - 'Can you explain the relationship between the Queen and the Queen Mother?'

Stonehenge - 'Where do you keep the stones at night?'

Cheddar Gorge - 'Are the stalactites made of cardboard?'

King's College Chapel, Cambridge - 'Do they still castrate choirboys?'

Beatles Experience, Liverpool (as a tribute band were playing) - 'I can't believe I am watching The Beatles playing for free.'

Edinburgh - 'What time does the one o'clock gun fire from Edinburgh Castle?'

Windsor Castle - 'Great castle... why did they build it so close to Heathrow?'

London Dungeon - 'Why didn't they catch Jack the Ripper if they knew his name?'

Piccadilly Circus, London - 'Where do they hold the actual circus?'
COPYRIGHT 2004 MGN Ltd.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Nov 12, 2004
Words:699
Previous Article:Dating agency kicks serial romancer Clive off books.
Next Article:Bush bashes the bible in pursuitof war, plunder and Mammon.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters