A Belgian travel blogger is busy this week profusely apologizing on social media after he snapped a photo inadvertently desecrating an ancient historical site in Italy.
According to the Daily Mail, the travel blogger, who goes by the name Nils Travels on social media, posted a photo on June 1 sitting on top of an ancient pillar at the Pompeii ruins. In case you were unaware, climbing on top of sites like this is not only disrespectful, but also forbidden.
Once the blogger posted the image to social media he was immediately flooded with comments condemning his actions. He even received a few death threats for the photo, according to the Daily Mail.
Area researcher Vincenzo Marasco wrote in a Facebook post about the image that “the fragility of our historic heritage must be protected,” noting that he also reported the blogger, who has amassed some 43,000 followers, to the archaeological site’s authorities.
According to the Daily Mail, the image was first captioned with the words, “Found a little area that had NO people! Meaning, nobody to yell at me meaning I had to come down from this thing! Exactly what I needed!”
He has since taken the caption off the image on Instagram. On Facebook he also replaced the caption with a lengthy apology, which reads: “I would like to apologise to everyone that I have offended by sitting on this stone column. I admit that it was not my smartest decision, and I was not thinking about the historical significance of the place and how it could be perceived by others if I pictured myself in this manner. In my photography, I try to always convey the beauty and feeling that I experience myself in a place, so I meant in no way to disrespect the cultural and historical heritage this place signifies. Browsing through the latest photos on Instagram which were taken at Pompeii, I see many photos exactly like mine. However, as someone with a large online following in the tourism niche, I realise I bear a greater responsibility than others to be an example of what and what not to post, or how to behave as a traveller. Now more than ever that is clear to me. We all know the internet can be a hostile place, but this was my first brush with the ugly side of it. I love traveling from the bottom of my heart, it is what drives me and feeds my soul, and to read the – often nationalistic and xenophobic – harm and death wishes that I have received over the past 24 hours hurts me to the core. However, I have learned from this experience and I will apply it to my future travels. I hope others can learn from my mistake too. I am ready to move forward, discuss and engage in a healthy debate with anyone who wishes.”
He then urged his fans and followers to donate to the Pompeii Preservation Project.
Maybe next time he should think twice about where he poses, unless of course he wants to end up on our tourists behaving badly list.
This article originally appeared on Travel + Leisure.
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