Last week, when we were camping in Big Sur, I decided to take spouse down to Hearst Castle for a tour. I had taken a tour there about 20 years ago and remembered it being mildly interesting. It was then surprising when it turned out that I didn't really remember anything and that it was highly interesting.
There was a tapestry there that was owned by Louis the fifteenth. The guide pointed out that the Louvre had a copy of the piece, and seemed to gloat over how uneasy that must make the French feel. Apparently Hearst was an art collector and there were beautiful sculptures, paintings, tapestries and other antique pieces, many of which are worth over 10 million bucks a piece.
At the end of the tour, we were invited to watch a National Geographic sponsored Imax film about the castle. So first you tour the castle, then watch a film about the castle. It was quite redundant, especially as they tried to hawk the DVD upon exiting the theatre.
I never manage to get out of a tourist trap without being dragged through the "gift shop". I'm putting quotes because I believe it's a misnomer. Selfishness shop would be more accurate. Or Souvenir shop at the very least. I'll bet less than one percent of that crap is bought as gifts. Keychains, photo frames, t-shirts, yo-yos, snow globes, teaspoons, pennants, crap, crap, crap.
I did see some authentic Pick Up Stix, made out of wood even! For a moment, I hazed over with nostalgia, then looked at the price and slammed it down in disgust. 20 bucks for some oversized toothpicks.