There’s nothing quite as exciting as a trip to a new place. But if you’re lucky enough to take a vacation, don’t do anything to ruin the experience for other tourists.
It seems every year a few people stupidly take big risks, and as a result [become] seriously injured.
Otherwise, you’ll make the same mistake as…
1. The guy who ripped the earlobe off of an Easter Island statue.
Perhaps the greatest mystery of Easter Island has nothing to do with the original purpose of the statues (which has been solved, by the way). A bigger question: Why did a Finnish man think that it was a good idea to rip off one of the heads’ earlobes?
Marko Kulju was visiting the Rapa Nui National Park when he decided to pluck the souvenir off of a 13-foot moai statue. Local authorities weren’t exactly pleased.
“Fortunately, this type of thing does not happen every day,” said government official Liliana Castro, “but it does happen, and it is almost impossible to control because on Easter Island there are sites of great archaeological value everywhere and the park guards cannot prevent all such incidents.”
2. The guy who broke off a statue’s finger while “trying to measure it.”
The Museo dell’Opera del Duomo in Florence is one of the most respected institutions in the world, which is why it hosted an incredibly valuable 600-year-old piece thought to be the work of medieval sculptor Giovanni d’Ambrogio.
But an American tourist apparently thought that the size of the statue’s hand was the most incredible part of the sculpture.
The fundamental rules for visiting a museum have been forgotten, that is, ‘Do not touch the works.’
That’s why he reportedly attempted to measure one of the fingers…and promptly broke it off.
To be fair, there were security guards on duty, and they did their best to stop the man, but he acted quickly. The incident has prompted outrage in Florence, where many residents see it as an example of the boorish nature of American visitors.
“In a globalized world like ours, the fundamental rules for visiting a museum have been forgotten, that is, ‘Do not touch the works,'” said Timothy Verdun, the head of the museum.
3. The two guys (and hundreds of others) who are ruining Rome’s Colosseum.
The Colosseum is the legendary site of gladiator battles, but recently, it’s also hosted numerous battles between authorities and vandals.
Two Brazilian men were arrested after sustaining injuries in an attempt to climb over a Colosseum gate in the early hours of the morning. One suffered a fractured hip bone. That same day, two spray-painted words were found in the Colosseum, although authorities didn’t immediately link the two crimes.
In any case, vandalism is a massive problem at many tourist destinations. Rome is even considering costly video surveillance and a “red zone” where tourists would be closely watched.
“We worry that this could become a game and people could start competing over it,” one authority said. “Our idea is to create a ring-shaped area during closure time safeguarded by an anti-intrusion system. The issue is finding a way to distinguish between animal and human intrusion, otherwise you’ll have a cat triggering the alarm.”
Or, people could just stop vandalizing famous, hugely important historic sites.
4. The 12-year-old boy who tripped and punched a painting.
A Taiwanese boy lived out the most embarrassing nightmare imaginable when he tripped at a Taipei museum. His hands flew out in an attempt to catch his balance—and went straight through a 350-year-old oil painting.
The painting, a Paolo Porpora oil-on-canvas work called “Flowers,” is valued at roughly $1.5 million.
The exhibition’s organizer, Sun Chi-hsuan, spoke about the damage.
“The painting’s bottom right is damaged,” he said. “The boy’s hand made contact with the artwork and left a hole the size of a fist.”
However, he insisted that the boy shouldn’t be blamed. He also noted that the 12-year-old was apologetic.
The painting was part of a private collection, which means that someone at the museum probably had to make a very awkward phone call to the owner. The good news is that it was also insured. Hopefully, the 12-year-old boy is able to live this down.
Unfortunately, though, YouTube exists, so he’ll be able to see the evidence of his unfortunate mistake any time he wants. And so will we.
5. The unfortunate guy who tripped down a staircase into a display of Qing dynasty vases.
At some point in your life, you have to wonder whether you’re living in a Mr. Bean movie.
That thought might have occurred to Nick Flynn, who visited a museum in Cambridge and accidentally destroyed an entire display of extremely old (and extremely valuable) Qing dynasty vases.
To be fair, it’s not entirely Flynn’s fault. The Fitzwilliam museum’s curators should have understood that if you put priceless vases at the bottom of a flight of stairs, you’re basically inviting the gods of slapstick comedy to do their worst.
Flynn’s shoelaces were untied, by his own admission. When he started to slip, he reached out, and…well, we’ll let him tell it.
“I was trying to grab hold of something but the walls were smooth marble and I couldn’t stop myself,” he told the Daily Mail. Go ahead and picture that.
Flynn (rightfully) didn’t face charges for the mishap. He was, however, arrested at one point and banned from the museum at another, while the authorities were figuring out if the damage was intentional.
The vases were valued at about $130,000, but Flynn doesn’t seem to feel much remorse.
“Everyone asks if I feel guilty, but I actually think I did the museum a favor,” he wrote for The Guardian. “So many people have gone there to see the windowsill where it all happened that I must have increased visitor numbers. They should make me a trustee.”
6. The guy who spray painted over a Rothko painting.
At least he apologized, right?
“I made a mistake,” Vladimir Umanets wrote in a decidedly unapologetic opinion piece for The Guardian.
Umanets was referring to an incident in which he spray painted a message onto a painting by abstract expressionist artist Mark Rothko, leading to an expensive restoration of the piece (and a two-year prison sentence for Umanets). Umanets’ message was, unfortunately, pretty basic.
“I wanted to change the art world by introducing Yellowism—an autonomous phenomenon in contemporary visual culture—to the people. But defacing Mark Rothko’s Black on Maroon at the Tate Modern was not the right way of going about it.”
His apology continued, but it didn’t get much better.
“First, it was wrong to deface the work of a fellow artist, more poignantly a piece by Rothko, whose work and ethos I greatly admire.”
Whatever. We’re not going to give his strange justification any more screen time, although you’re free to read it in its entirety, if you’re so inclined. We’re okay with letting “Yellowism” die.
7. The guy who broke a statue while trying to take a selfie.
An unnamed 24-year-old man was apparently trying to take a selfie when he broke a priceless statue of Dom Sebastiao, a respected Portuguese ruler.
The man had scaled the side of a Lisbon train station to get near the 126-year-old statue. As Fox News reports, he lost his balance while snapping his shot, and the statue tumbled to the ground in front of horrified onlookers.
The man then attempted to flee, but he was quickly captured by police. No word on what charges he faced, but given the statue’s historical importance, he probably didn’t get off too easy (and we doubt that the selfie was ultimately worth it).
Dom Sebastiao was killed at the Battle of the Three Kings, and his body was never recovered; legend holds that Dom Sebastiao will eventually return to Portugal to reclaim his throne in a time of trouble.
Many locals saw the “child-sized, sad-eyed” statue many as one of the country’s most significant and enduring tributes to the lost king.
Keep that in mind before climbing somewhere to get that perfect selfie.
8. The family that took a calf out of Yellowstone.
No, that’s not a misprint. A pair of international travelers allegedly took a bison calf away from its family in order to keep it from freezing. Yellowstone National Park rangers said that the well-intentioned travelers thought that the calf was “shivering,” so they tucked it into the back of their vehicle and took it to a nearby ranger station.
Of course, bison are well-equipped by nature to handle the cold, and this calf would have been perfectly fine if left alone. Sadly, the story has a sad ending; The animal couldn’t be reunited with the rest of its herd, presumably because it was handled by humans, so it was euthanized.
“Visitors need to know the safety regulations and respect the wildlife they are coming to see,” said a park ranger. “The well-being of these animals depends on visitors exercising good judgement.”
This story enraged social media in 2016, and we think it illustrates the most important rule of tourism: If you don’t know what you’re doing, don’t do anything (especially where wildlife is concerned). You might accidentally injure wildlife—or yourself.
“The visitors are given info packs when they first enter these parks which give strict instructions about such matters, the rangers do speak with visitors as well to get the message across, plus there are warning signs all over,” Deborah Regen of EcoTourLinQ, a sustainable travel and ecotourism blog, tells FashionBeans. “Yet it seems every year a few people stupidly take big risks, and as a result [become] seriously injured.”