The curse strikes again

As the sun gradually began to set over the imposing temple of Angkor Wat, I felt privileged and awestruck by its beauty. It was an image I’d seen in many guide books, and now I was stood right in front of it, camera at the ready to take a spectactular photo. There was a slight problem though. A huge blue tarpaulin was covering a big part of the structure, ruining my chances of getting the perfect shot. The curse had struck again.

Angkor Wat

Can you guess what’s hidden behind the tree in the above picture?

It also happened in Kuala Lumpur. I’d been told by a friend that I absolutely had to see the huge gold statue of Murugan, a Hindu deity, which stands outside the Batu Caves. It was an unmissable, iconic image she said, and one that I had to capture for posterity. Excitedly I made the trip and, lo and behold, the impressive statue was covered in scaffolding. You don’t see that in the guide books or the pages of National Geographic.

KL statue

Not much chance of getting round this one

I do genuinely believe that I’m cursed when it comes to seeing iconic sights on my travels; particularly ones that I’ve spent many years hoping that I’ll see. Almost without fail it seems that when I turn up, some form of building work or refurbishment is taking place, meaning that I either can’t visit the attraction or it’s covered in scaffolding and tarpaulin.

It happened again today during a visit to Norwich cathedral, which prompted me to write this blog post. After scouting around to find the perfect shot, I lined up my camera only to realise that there was a red and white cordon all around the cloisters, plus the added bonus of a warning sign tacked on to one of the columns. I should have expected it I suppose.

photo (15)

Norwich Cathedral plus cordon

I fully understand that renovation and repair work has to be undertaken in order to preserve these attractions and keep them in the best condition possible, but it’s still a bit of a blow to find out that it’s going on when I’m visiting. So, how do you get round the problem?

Do your research
Firstly, if you’re planning a visit to a monument or attraction, do your research beforehand and check whether it’s going to be open on the day you are going and whether any refurbishment work is going to be carried out. A check on the internet should give you answers, or you could try calling beforehand.

Get creative with your photography
There’s not a lot else you can do if the picturesque castle you’re visting is covered in tarpaulin. Try to find different camera angles; look at it from all sides and find a way to hide the offending object. I often find myself crouching and crawling about in all kinds of strange positions trying to do this, but it works – most of the time

Vow to return
Sometimes the renovation work is so extreme, like in the case of the scaffolding-encased deity, that you just have to admit defeat, buy a postcard and maybe vow to return one day when the work’s finished.

Has this ever happened to you? Do you have any other tips for getting round the problem? If so, get in touch via the comments!


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