Have you ever been somewhere really hyped up and just found it a bit average? Bundled yourself off somewhere on the recommendations of friends, forum users or travel mags to find it’s just a bit, well, meh?
Every regular traveller tends to have one place that didn’t stand up to expectations, and for me it was Beijing. I’m not sure if anyone really rates the Chinese capital, but it was a bit of a let down. Sure, the 798 Art Zone was OK and the Forbidden City a fascinating place to get lost for a while, but beyond that I found it one sprawling, disorientating spiral of main roads and noise, a maelstrom of fog and fumes populated by hustlers and hawkers. And of course all that phlegm-hacking spitting everywhere.
Of course there’s a lot more to China and to form an opinion on the country from four days in Beijing is akin to visiting Bradford having never stepped in Europe and writing off the whole continent, so I’m keen to go back. I just think I’d start in Shanghai next time.