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Many tourists apparently neglect to pack brain

Sun., Sept. 21, 2008

We don’t really need any more “ugly American” stories floating around overseas, but we’re afraid it probably was a Yank visiting the more-than-1,300-year-old Whitby Abbey on the northeast coast of England who asked: “Why did they build so many ruined castles and abbeys in England?”

That’s one of the more stellar examples of embarrassing questions asked by tourists, according to English Heritage, which is charged with maintaining hundreds of England’s most historic sites.

But we prefer to think it was a British fan of his countryman, heavy-metal rocker Ozzy Osbourne, who visited Osborne House, Queen Victoria’s summer palace, and asked: “Is this where Sharon and Ozzy actually live?”

More dumb questions:

•“Can you tell me where I can see the Hobbits?” – at Kenwood House, Hampstead.

•“How long does life membership last?” – at Osborne House, Isle of Wight.

•“Are the tunnels underground?” – at Dover Castle and Secret Wartime Tunnels, Kent.

•“Is this Dracula’s castle?” – at Whitby Abbey, North Yorkshire.

•“What time do you switch the mist off?” – at Dover Castle and Secret Wartime Tunnels.

•“Is that a man-made jetty?” – pointing at a 300-million-year-old rock formation at Dunstanburg Castle, Northumberland.


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