TripAdvisor, oh, what would we do without TripAdvisor? We’ve all been on the site, scouring through photos to determine where to stay and what to eat while travelling. Specifically, looking at photos posted by reviewers (not by the self-promoting hotel or restaurant) can be rather revealing - it is often immediately evident whether or not a place is worthwhile.

It is easy to make snap judgments, such as “wow, that is some shabby decor,” or “I would never walk within 500 feet of that restaurant.” However, have you ever viewed TripAdvisor photos from a more existential perspective? Seriously, have you ever looked at a photo on TripAdvisor and thought, “How on Earth is this place still in business?” Or, “What conditions could possibly lead to the circumstances documented in this photograph?” Or even more deeply, “If this place exists and makes money, then what have I been doing with my life?”

If you’re a normal person, you probably responded to the above with a definitive, “No.” You are probably wondering why anyone would waste his or her life contemplating the philosophical questions posed by TripAdvisor photos. However, maybe you’re like me. Maybe you wish the world made sense, and maybe TripAdvisor undermines your longing for sense. If you are searching for an ally in your astonishment, you have come to the right place. Keep reading, for you are not alone.

25 25. The mysterious holes from the bedsheets in Krakow’s Hotel Astoria...

This particular photo really makes me wonder how these three, tiny holes emerged in the bedsheet. Why are holes so small, and why are they so clumped together? Why are there only three?

I imagine a tiny creature with a tiny mouth biting into one section of the sheets. This creature is disappointed by the taste, but does not yet want to abandon the idea of eating bedsheets and so decides to take another bite nearby. The aforementioned creature repeats this biting once more before deciding that bedsheets are not very tasty or nourishing.

Or, maybe there are mice in the hotel and I am putting far too much thought into this.

24 24. Carmen photographed this suspicious scraped substance on a shelf in the Hotel Acropoli in Rome:

Okay, now this is just ridiculous. What could this substance be? It’s not as simple as a clumsy spill or a stain, because look at the way the brown substance has been applied to the shelf. The marks reveal a scraping kind of tool, which means a person deliberately wanted the brown substance on this shelf. And then this same person, once finished, looked at this shelf and decided, “Yes, this looks good,” before walking away.

Someone was satisfied with the appearance of this shelf. What could the purpose of the brown be? Maybe it is wood putty, used to patch a hole in the shelf? But then, wouldn’t a normal person repaint the shelf white so as to, I don’t know, not raise so many questions?

23 23. The Peace and Love Hostel in Paris features this electrical outlet:

So this is clearly a severe fire hazard, right? Don’t electricians exist in the world to prevent this kind of thing? Are there electricians in Paris, and if so, why didn’t the Peace and Love management hire one in the designing of this hostel? Or am I completely missing the mark, and is this indeed the work of an electrician?

If so, then what does one need to study in order to be an electrician in Paris? If this photo is any indication of standards, then can I be an electrician in Paris? Because wow, I would love to live in Paris. If any of you readers have information about electrician qualifications in Paris, please write in the comment section below.

22 22. Speaking of faulty electrical wiring, look at this next photo from the Alma Hotel in Athens:

So many questions come to mind when contemplating this photo. Did the hotel manager suddenly decide, “Oh, we don’t need more light switches,” and yank the bottom fixture out of the wall? Or is this a small bird nest for travellers with canaries? What is the purpose of the plastic bag? Is this in fact a genius way to store small valuables, and am I the only one unaware of this trend? Or perhaps this is an ancient Grecian tradition, small holes in walls filled with bags.

Once again, if you readers know something I don’t about filling vacant electrical outlets with plastic baggies, then please comment below. Because I am stumped.

21 21. Also, the Alma Hotel does not provide their guests with a shower curtain.

Okay, so remember the photo we just saw, the one with the hole in wall + small plastic baggie? Well the same hotel, the Alma in Athens, has transcended the need for shower curtains. Are you kidding me? No shower curtain? I don’t know if any of you readers have tried this before, but showering with no curtain is a recipe for disaster.

The water goes everywhere, the floor gets all wet, and honestly it is just unpleasant. How in the world can a hotel charge its customers if it doesn’t provide something as basic as a shower curtain? Am I missing something about basic hospitality standards? I thought running a hotel required something of the owner, but perhaps everything I thought about the world is wrong.

20 20. Michele R ordered pizza from Da Celia in Venice, only to find this odd concoction:

Okay, so I am open to this one, if confronted with the proper argument. Michele R, if you are reading this, please tell us all how these flavors played out while eating the pizza, because this photo has piqued my curiosity. Eggs are good, French fries are good, and pizza is good, so what could be entirely wrong about combining them? It sounds good on paper, right?

I want to meet the mind that decided to combine eggs, French fries, and pizza, because that mind had to 1.) Come up with the idea to combine three rather diverse foods, 2.) Actually make the first egg/French fry pizza, and 3.) Believe so much in this idea, so as to include it in a public menu subject to eyebrow raising and potential ridicule.

What I’m saying is, the inventor of the egg/French fry pizza must be really committed to this idea, so who am I to outright dismiss it?

19 19. While we’re on the subject of food, what is this object served by the Scotch Steak House in London?

Let’s begin this study by listing the familiar foods. French fries, check. Cucumber, check. Tomato, check. Lettuce, check. Bit of mushrooms, check. What are we left with? Oh, just the massive pink slab of who-knows-what resting on top of it all. I don’t know about you, but I think I would literally start bawling if a waiter served this to me at a restaurant. It would just be an emotionally overwhelming experience, as this does not visually match any food familiar to a normal person.

Is it discolored fish? Is it raw meat? You and I will never know, but if M_Anton_Ego, the originally poster of this photo, is out there....please let us know.

18 18. Let’s move away from food and look at the about-to-crumble walls in the Hipotel Paris:

This one’s just sad. Imagine, you arrive in Paris for the first time, you take the taxi from the airport into the city, moving past beautiful buildings, maybe even seeing the Eiffel Tower in the distance, you arrive at the front door of the Hipotel - everything is going good so far! The concierge hands you your keys, you find your room and unlock the door, only to find the above image.

How is the Hipotel in existence? Not even from a business perspective, but from a physical perspective - how is the wall in this photo still standing? I wouldn’t be able to fall asleep here, simply for fear of the entire structure tumbling down. Would you?

17 17. And the Hotel Tre Stelle in Rome does very little to disguise these cracks:

Wow. This is just lazy. I mean, this closet clearly is not real wood, it must be some kind of plastic synthetic composite in order to crack in such a manner. AKA, this closet is very cheap. Don't you think the Hotel Tre Stelle can find, like, forty dollars in its budget to find a replacement at IKEA? No, instead the Hotel Tre Stelle opted for the ingenious work of a master craftsman.

It looks like this job was handled with a sophisticated combination of packing tape and epoxy. Once again, who is in charge here? Is anyone in charge?

16 16. I don’t want to know where these stains are from, courtesy of the Extended Stay America in Boston:

My oh my. Where did these stains come from? It looks like someone dipped a wheel in a giant pile of dust and dirt before rolling it all around these sheets. Am I crazy in thinking that stains usually occur as specks or splashes, the result of liquid? This photo presents something entirely unfamiliar. Maybe I haven’t travelled enough, but wow, I have certainly never seen anything like this in my life.

Were these present when TripAdvisor user Skippydel checked in to the hotel, or did these stains suddenly appear in a mysterious manner overnight? Skippydel, if you are out there, we want to hear the rest of this story.

15 15. Oh, and the Extended Stay has a nontraditional definition of “Smoke Free.”

According to S0ccerm0m12, she requested a Smoke Free room at the Extended Stay in Boston. She checked in to her room to find the smoke detector wrapped in plastic. Correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t plastic non-breathable? Isn’t this why we’re all told, as small children, to not put plastic bags over our heads? How can a smoke detector operate if it’s insulated in plastic?

Is this again a trend I am not privy to, or perhaps an advanced form of smoke detector technology? Is this similar to people who keep their furniture wrapped in plastic, to prevent damage? Anyone with more information is free to comment.

14 14: Get me away from these Hotel Des Andelys bedsheets...

Is everyone reading this article familiar with the phenomenon in this photo? These are bedbugs. Yep, bedbugs. Again, who is running this hotel? Do they feel any sense of regret for taking a traveller’s money, only to serve them a bedbug-ridden room? Also, was this photo taken upon check-in, or in the middle of the night? Because wow, imagine opening your hotel room door to find these sheets.

Naikel, the original poster of this photo, if you are reading this article, please comment and tell us all about the Hotel Des Andelys....we just want to understand exactly how this hotel operates.

13 13. Virginia C left a note for the cleaning staff of the Pocono Plaza in Pennsylvania:

If you look up the Pocono Plaza on TripAdvisor, you will find a startling amount of negative reviews. Which makes me question- did any of the unsatisfied reviewers on TripAdvisor do any research before booking the hotel? Did they visit only to complete some kind of personal endurance test? But let’s move past this judgment and focus on the photo.

Now, Virginia, did you actually leave this note behind for the cleaning staff? If so, I wonder if  you received a reply. Maybe the cleaners were too distracted by the “Good Job” in your note, and discarded the criticism. If they work at the Pocono Plaza, they could probably use the compliment.

12 12. More from the Pocono Plaza:

Obviously, this photo left me with a million questions. Luckily, the TripAdvisor reviewer Tina S provided some answers.

Apparently, Tina tried to shower but noticed that the water was a deep brown. She walked down to the front desk to ask about the water, and they told her to run the water in the bathtub until it returned to a clear consistency. Tina S claims that she filled the bathtub two and a half times, and the water never altered from the yellowish brown shown above. She returned to the front desk, only to be met with the same direction, to run the water until it was clear.

I don’t know about you, but I think my head would have exploded at that point.

11 10. Here is a bug (or alien) in the Hotel Edward Paddington in London:

WHOA, what is this creature? Did we go back to prehistoric times, or is this monster still a species wandering the Earth? If the latter is true, I think it is time to leave the planet.

According to the caption accompanying this photo, a visitor of the Hotel Edward Paddington in London found this, uh ...thing? ...horrifying alien? in the bathtub. Would anyone take a bath ever again after encountering this in the tub? Would anywhere be safe ever again, if you came face to face with this bug beast?

10 9. And a rat at the Yes Kaosan in Bangkok...

How can anyone, in good conscience, allow another human being to pay to sleep in a building containing rats? And how can a hotel containing rats stay in business? Wouldn’t every customer just leave or demand a refund? I, personally, would like to meet anyone who spent an entire night in the Yes Kaosan. Are the rats friendly in person or something? Or maybe the rats deliver room service, and so serve a function, rendering them non-threatening. .

Can anyone help me out here? Because I am failing to see how a functioning hotel can contain rats.

9 8. The Birmingham Best Inn needs to update their decor...

Let’s just try to imagine how this one happened. I mean, a curtain fixture can’t spontaneously detach from the wall, right? There had to be some stress applied to the curtain for this to happen.

Perhaps a bored, small child decided to swing from the curtain, as if it were a rope or tree vine. Regardless, this problem doesn’t seem too difficult to fix. Couldn’t the hotel management just re-screw the white pole into the wall? Don’t they have pride in the appearance of the hotel? And if not, why? What is going on in the Birmingham Best Inn?

8 7. The Birmingham Best is also missing a lampshade....

This is another head scratcher. You can clearly see the screw above the light, indicating that something decorative is supposed to cover the ugly, cream-colored plastic fixture. Why not simply replace the lampshade? From the looks of this photo, the rest of the room seems rather well-maintained. The wallpaper is clean, the headboard of the bed is well-polished, and the paintings are rather elegant. So why not complete the mood of the room by adding a new shade to the wall fixture?

As I asked in the previous entry, what is going on at the Birmingham Best, preventing these simple things from being fixed?

7 6. What kind of scrappy, long-clawed creature shredded the Birmingham Best’s bathroom carpet?

This carpet looks like it was mauled by some angry, otherworldly creature, right? Unless they allow cats in this hotel (which I don’t think they do). Seriously, what is this? Have you seen any similar carpet trauma? The design of the carpet is questionable enough in its own right, so perhaps a design afficiano disguised as a guest decided to take matters into their own hands.

Or maybe, just maybe, the owner is lazy.

6 5. What kind of hack architect designed the stairs in Moscow’s Art Galaktika Hotel?

This...this will plunge every sane person into existential crisis. What on Earth is going on here? Who designed this? Did they not realize the necessity of making measurements before building a staircase? Again, what are the standards of employment in other countries?

Because this photo makes me think anyone could be an architect in Russia, and if this is the case, then why does anyone bother with school? In fact, why did I finish school? If you can look at this photo without re-evaluating your entire life, then congratulations.