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Do you remember the first time?

 
 
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Author mrayers
Partaker
#16 | Posted: 7 Feb 2017 13:49 | Edited by: mrayers 
meltwaterfalls:
Only if you feel like it, its not really a race. If it was then I would have pulled up with "cramp" by now as I couldn't keep pace with others here :)

I was thinking about this a while ago, when I read Els' blog post about "Completing Europe," and was considering the impossibility of making much of a dent in that continent's list (someday). I do have some plans in the works, maybe in a year, or a few... :-)

meltwaterfalls:
I'm very envious of your first African site being Ambohimanga, it feels suitably obscure.

I relish my life in obscurity. ;-) In fact, just after I made the above post, I took a look at the list of the Most Visited WHS here, and was a little surprised to see that I have only visited 13 of the top 100!

Author Astraftis
Partaker
#17 | Posted: 5 Oct 2020 19:16 | Edited by: Astraftis 
OK, so, this is an old thread, but it is very nice and I feel I can use it as "presentation", as I have just discovered this community and begun writing reviews! :-)

First things first, my first ever visited WHS should have been one between Venice, Rome or Florence, or even Assisi, since I am pretty sure that I went to the nearest one to me, Leonardo's Last Supper in Milan, only on a later date, principally because of the infinite restauration works that ended only in 1999, after more than 20 years! I remember that in my childhood the Cenacolo was indeed more legendary than actually experienced, something that exists, but is very remote. But well, now I am more than making up for this, since at the end of this month I am going to visit it again, with as little advance as never before, taking advantage of the decreased number of tourists (especially American and Asian ones)! In any case, I surely saw the church (Santa Maria delle Grazie) as a very little kid.

But the true first conscious WHS visit for the sake of it was neither of these, and instead took place no less than in... Røros, in Norway! And it was a very big disappointment. It went like this.

It was my real first independent and self-organized trip, right after the high school diploma, in August 2005. I was 18 and went to Norway, an early fascination of mine, with an old friend. We went for a very classical tour: arriving at Oslo by airplane, than Bergen by train (both were a repeat for me, having been there with my parents as a kid), something around the Sognefjord (a cruise and the Flåmsbane, but not the Nærøyfjord), and finally to Trondheim (maybe surprisingly, my northernmost point up to date). And then, with a couple of days left still to go back to Oslo and then Italy, the eureka moment came looking through the guidebook: hey, there's this place which is listed as a "world heritage" by UNESCO, just like Bergen's Brygge we saw, so it must be worth a visit, isn't it? I managed to convince my friend to do a stop-over there, as it was easily reachable by train. Unfortunately, we were totally clueless about what deserved such international attention in the small village, and on a budget as only teenagers at the end of a trip in Norway can be, and so we didn't bother to visit the museum (my friend surely wasn't keen on it) and just wandered around trying to understand the place (which was nice, by the way). I remember some interesting encounters at the hostel where we stayed and the "delicacies" we tried at the local Milano pizzeria. The next day we were off to the capital again.

I admit, I would have at least visited the museum, but felt bogged down by the absence of interest of my travel companion. However, the lessons had already been learnt: there's no worse blind man than the one that doesn't want to see, & never give up exploring even if the appearances are not enticing at first! Ah, such is the power of WHSs ;-)

Author meltwaterfalls
Partaker
#18 | Posted: 6 Oct 2020 04:57 
Astraftis:
I admit, I would have at least visited the museum, but felt bogged down by the absence of interest of my travel companion. However, the lessons had already been learnt: there's no worse blind man than the one that doesn't want to see, & never give up exploring even if the appearances are not enticing at first! Ah, such is the power of WHSs ;-)

Oh I like that.

Welcome on board, I hope it has been fun going to some of the more out of the way WHS :)

Author elsslots
Admin
#19 | Posted: 6 Oct 2020 10:41 
Welcome Astraftis! Your reviews are scheduled from later this week on - of interesting (T)WHS I can already reveal!

Author joelonroad
Partaker
#20 | Posted: 9 Oct 2020 23:06 
My first ever intentional WHS visit would've been the Antequera Dolmens, of all places! We'd already seen the sites in Seville and then dropped by Granada, and it was while we were housesitting in the little Andalusian town of Lucena (currently on the T list for its olive groves!) that we decided to investigate the idea of focusing on WHS. Been to a couple since then!

I'm not sure what my first site overall would've been, but either the Blue Mountains or the Sydney Opera House. I grew up in Sydney and likely visited both of those before I can remember, though if I was forced to guess I'd say probably the Blue Mountains.

By continent:
Australia: As above
Europe: Canals of Amsterdam (my first trip to Europe started in Amsterdam for typically early 20s reasons 😉)
Africa: Mount Kilimanjaro
Asia: Angkor
North America: Grand Canyon (or Hawaii Volcanoes NP if that counts)
South America: ..to be continued!

Author clyde
Partaker
#21 | Posted: 10 Oct 2020 10:52 
Welcome Astraftis!

Thanks for helping me go down memory lane Joel! Here is my intended 1st whs visit by continent:

Europe : Sagrada Familia
Oceania : Lagoons of New Caledonia, then Chief Roi Mata's Domain, Vanuatu
Arab States : Pyramids of Giza
North America : Statue of Liberty
Central America : Panama Viejo
South America : Quito
Asia: Nikko

Author Colvin
Partaker
#22 | Posted: 10 Oct 2020 19:48 | Edited by: Colvin 
Great topic, and welcome Astraftis!

Like many there is a discrepancy between my first visited and my first intentionally visited World Heritage Sites. My first visited was Great Smoky Mountains National Park, as part of a family vacation, but my first intentional visit was to Gros Morne National Park, during a tour of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia almost fifteen years ago. I visited three World Heritage Sites on that trip, but the only one I would have likely visited even if I hadn't known about World Heritage Sites was L'Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site. By chance I had looked up the World Heritage Site list while I was trip planning, and added both Gros Morne and Old Town Lunenburg to the itinerary. It turned out to be a great decision, and I've been intentionally seeking out World Heritage Sites on my travels since.

Since then, I've visited World Heritage Sites on each inhabited continent. Here are my first visited and first intentionally visited sites per continent:

North America: Great Smoky Mountains National Park (first visited); Gros Morne National Park (first intentional)
Europe: The Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments (first visited); The Historic Areas of Istanbul (first intentional)
Asia: Lake Baikal (first visited); Hierapolis-Pamukkale (first intentional)
Oceania: Tongariro National Park (first visited and intentional)
Africa: Memphis and its Necropolis - the Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur (first visited and intentional)
South America: Jesuit Missions of the Guaranis (first visited and intentional)

Author Liam
Partaker
#23 | Posted: 11 Oct 2020 16:46 
It's fun to learn what first switched people on to World Heritage Sites. I first found reference to them in a student dorm in Krakow in 2003 towards the end of a fortnight Interrailing around eastern Europe, meaning that the first WHS I visited thereafter was my planned trip the following day to Auschwitz.

I then forgot about all about World Heritage Sites until the following year when I stumbled across a different reference while arranging my holidays. So the first site I deliberately visited was Fes in Morocco.

By continent (and not the UNESCO groupings):

Europe: not sure, either Jodrell Bank or Corfu (first visited), probably Tower of London (first intentional)
Asia: Ephesus (first visited), Petra (first intentional)
Africa: Carthage (first visited), Fes (first intentional)
South America: Lima (both)
North America: Statue of Liberty (both)
Oceania: Te Wahipounamou (both)

Author Sjobe
Partaker
#24 | Posted: 12 Oct 2020 04:01 | Edited by: Sjobe 
I did also this rehearsal. During the process I started to wonder what "intentional" actually means: does it mean that one was aware that a site was a WHS at the time fo visit, OR does it mean that a site being a WHS was the actual reason to visit it. Therefore I made very complicated analysis of Europe. Sites on all the other continents are intentional (whatever it means).

Furthermore, I noticed that all my first visits to Africa and Asia was to so called Arab States. Therefore I made an alternative divide between Arab States, Africa and Asia.

EUROPE: Old Rauma (first visited, not WHS at the time), Fortress of Suomenlinna (first visited, WHS at the time), Historic Centre (Old Town) of Tallinn (first intentional [I knew it was a WHS when I visited but not a reason to be there]), Arles, Roman and Romanesque Monuments (first intentional [I went there because it is a WHS])
ASIA: Petra
AFRICA: Medina of Fez
NORTH AMERICA: Statue of Liberty
SOUTH AMERICA: City of Cuzco
OCEANIA: –

OR alternatively

ARAB STATES: Medina of Fez
AFRICA: Tiya
ASIA: Cathedral and Churches of Echmiatsin and the Archaeological Site of Zvartnots

Author Colvin
Partaker
#25 | Posted: 12 Oct 2020 17:19 | Edited by: Colvin 
Sjobe:
During the process I started to wonder what "intentional" actually means: does it mean that one was aware that a site was a WHS at the time fo visit, OR does it mean that a site being a WHS was the actual reason to visit it.

That's a fair enough question. I take intentional to be what meltwaterfalls considered a "knowing visit". For instance, I probably would have visited Istanbul when I visited Turkey regardless of whether it was a World Heritage Site, but since I started incorporating World Heritage Sites into my travels after my Atlantic Canada trip, I made sure to research why sites were inscribed before I visited, so that I could be sure to see some key components.

Still, if I were to interpret intentional as a site off the beaten path that I would have never visited without the list, I might have to adjust some of my first visits!

Author Astraftis
Partaker
#26 | Posted: 12 Oct 2020 19:34 | Edited by: Astraftis 
Sjobe:
I started to wonder what "intentional" actually means: does it mean that one was aware that a site was a WHS at the time fo visit, OR does it mean that a site being a WHS was the actual reason to visit it.

I understand it more a the latter, but that doesn't necessarily mean that you deviated for hundreds of kms just to go there; it means that the WHSness of that site was the foremost, not necessarily the only, reason to go there, even if this means just to reinforce some obvious choices, like Istanbul in Turkey for Colvin (or anyone, I guess). In such cases, it might just mean that you especially look after the motivations that inscribed the site in the first place (e.g. the city walls in Istanbul, which apparently are not visited by many). But here, I think the definition might be unproblematically left open for interpretation... Anyway, I wouldn't count "casual" visits that just happened.

Let me too strain my memory to try to compile my personal per-continent list, even if for most it's just a wishlist...

Home country (Italy): first ever Venice/Rome/Florence, first intentional Castel del Monte, as late as 2010 (I mean, many of the most obvious ones are ruled out since they are already "must sees" that one is nearly forced to visit as part e.g. of school trips, so in any case they're not WHSly intentional)
Europe: first ever should be either the Porta Nigra in Trier or the Cologne cathedral (but wasn't yet a WHS), first intentional, well, Røros! :-)
Africa (whole continent): first ever Tétouan (Morocco) (should already have been), first intentional Konso (Ethiopia) - now, this left me wondering if I visited the Omo valley for the "right" reasons...
Asia (whole continent): first ever Bursa (Turkey), but still wasn't a WHS at the time, so first intentional Çatalhöyük (Turkey)!!
- Asia (no Arab States nor Middle East): first ever and intentional Kathmandu valley (Nepal)
- Arab states: first ever Tétouan, first intentional Qusair Amra (Jordan)
- Middle East: as Asia
Oceania*: missing, first on the wishlist Nan Madol (Micronesia)
North and Central America*: missing, first on the wishlist Writing-on-Stone / Áísínai'pi (Canada - nice, but I suspect I have to update my wishlist)
South America*: missing, first on the wishlist Qhapaq Ñan (Andes)

* * *

Colvin:
Still, if I were to interpret intentional as a site off the beaten path that I would have never visited without the list, I might have to adjust some of my first visits!

This probably warrants a different, new thread!

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