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Pt. 1 Italy trip report, some good, some bad

Pt. 1 Italy trip report, some good, some bad

Old May 14th, 2002, 06:57 AM
  #21  
wow!
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My first trip to Europe was Italy and, with one guidebook and some research on my part, I knew about all of these issues ahead of time. Things like hotels "failing to mention" parking charges and noise levels in rooms can be resolved ahead of time by asking the HOTEL not relying on people's postings on Rick Steves' chat room. Research in books, on Internet sites, in chat rooms, etc. is the key to a well planned vacation. It's unfathomable that someone would spend so much of her trip storming off from cab drivers who handle her luggage, leaving restaurants in a huff, and making enormous fusses with hotel management. Wow.
 
Old May 14th, 2002, 07:28 AM
  #22  
xxx
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Agree with the others that this may not be a legit post (how can anyone be so miserable so much of the time?)<BR><BR>I can't imagine traveling with someone who remembers every negative experience in such vivid detail. What a downer.
 
Old May 14th, 2002, 07:36 AM
  #23  
Tracey
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It's just amazing how different people have different experiences. My than fianc&eacute;e, now husband, and I went to Italy two years ago and had a great time with no problems. Sure there are things we would do differently, who wouldn't, but everything was better than I expected. We didn't drive, maybe that was the difference, we took the train everywhere. Everyone was helpful, the food was to die for, and the accommodations were good. We stayed at inexpensive hotel is Rome, Sienna, Venice, Milan and Zurich. They were all clean and staff was always helpful. I got all the names from Rick Steve's books. All the travel tips came from this board. You just need to go with the flow...
 
Old May 14th, 2002, 07:52 AM
  #24  
jay
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I love Rome but I can relate to feeling like you've been ripped off and being irritated by it. Cover charges can be quite annoying when they aren't posted anywhere or on the menu and they mysteriously appear on the bill. Or when the bill is so sloppy you can't tell what they're charging you for and they get so impatient and nasty when you question it, but you're sure they're ripping you off. But, I still love Rome. I don't think it's worth arguing about a couple of dollars and won't let that ruin my trip.
 
Old May 14th, 2002, 07:58 AM
  #25  
Mark
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Could someone PLEASE post (as a reply on this thread) the joke about the woman going to Italy and her all-negative-all-the-time hairdresser (I can't quite remember all of it)? I think it would be very appropriate here!
 
Old May 14th, 2002, 08:06 AM
  #26  
Therese
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Pam's experience sounds fairly credible to me. Cumulative negative experiences can make anybody grumpy. The cover charge in Italian restaurants has always struck me as stupid, and some of the absolute worst food I have ever eaten was in Venice (I am always stunned at the people who post here about the great food they had in Venice, wondering if I was just extraordinarily unlucky or if maybe they are not the very best judges of food, but never mind that).<BR><BR>Things like late dinners and smoking and wild drivers are just part of the scene it Italy, and luggage surcharges and minibar nazis are universal (most minibars are now made so that the entire inside is full of product, precluding use as a storage area for items you've bought elsewhere).
 
Old May 14th, 2002, 08:17 AM
  #27  
Capo
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Pam, sorry to hear that you had a bad time in a wonderful country. <BR><BR>Although you said there were things you enjoyed about Italy, it really does seem that there were far more things you didn't like. You certainly don't have to return there (there are plenty of others who love Italy) but, if you don't, I feel it's your loss. <BR><BR>On our recent trip there (three weeks) we got ripped off by a gondolier in Venice (shortchanged on time) and by a taxi driver in Rome (although that was *our* fault for not taking a metered taxi) but those few incidents paled besides all the wonderful, warm, friendly people we met. In fact, right after the gondolier ripped us off, I had a woman in a souvenir shop go out of her way to give me another euro back because she had made a mistake in giving me change for a postcard. A small gesture, but one which amply demonstrated that Italy is not a country where everyone is out to take advantage of you, as you seem to think. <BR><BR>We didn't *like* the coperto charges -- more prevalent in Venice than anywhere else, it seemed -- but they were always clearly noted on the menus of the restaurants we ate at so, if they had bothered us that much, we could have chosen to not eat at those places. <BR><BR>We'd read in numerous places -- including Rick Steves' book -- that there is often an extra charge for luggage in taxis. If that driver charged you extra for luggage, you weren't being ripped off; you were unaware. <BR><BR>We absolutely loved Italy and would return there in a heartbeat. You and your husband may choose to never return there but I'd hate for your apparent negativity to scare other people away from visiting this great country and the wonderful people who live there.
 
Old May 14th, 2002, 08:21 AM
  #28  
xxx
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Pam: I enjoyed your trip report as it was the truth. I hate it when the phonies on this board post their dripping sweet trip reports about how everything went as planned,the buffet breakfasts were gourmet,everyone was so friendly and helpful etc,etc,etc. I wish more people would post the truth. By the way don't give up on Italy now that you know "the ropes" a second visit should be a piece of cake.
 
Old May 14th, 2002, 08:23 AM
  #29  
Amy
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Pam...if you are indeed not a troll:<BR><BR>I don't know where you did your research but any guidebook worth its salt would've told you about almost all the "ripoffs" you claim to experience.<BR><BR>Coperto is covered in Rick Steves' books. All guides tell you the Italians eat an almost non-existent breakfast (a coffee and roll) a larger lunch and a very late dinner. That should be NO surprise to anyone who's done their research. In addition, all books warn of the vespas, heavy traffic in the cities and the dangerous driving, particularly from Sorrento south. I don't see how you could have done extensive research yet not know any of this. As for the luggage charge, they do that here in Boston, so I would not have flinched at that either. As an experienced traveler, I would think you'd know that as well.<BR><BR>You can get a bad room or bad hotel in any city in any part of the world, so blaming that on Italy is just foolish. And for someone so well-traveled, I can't believe this is the first time you've noticed how overpriced hotel minibars are. That happens the world over, not just in Italy.<BR><BR>I post this only so that first-time travelers to Italy aren't put off by this particular post. I just got back from my first time there, and having done the proper research, I was much better prepared than our friend Pam here! It was a delightful trip, with wonderful meals, friendly shopowners, hotel staff and amiable waitstaff. I'd go again in a heartbeat.
 
Old May 14th, 2002, 08:38 AM
  #30  
LJ
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I don't know about the rest of you, but the thought of Pam's husband (does this guy have a name of his own?)STORMING downstairs to the management over the tragic loss of his piece of chewed salami,half-eaten mozarella and some left-over w(h)ine...had me in stitches...do you think Pam is playing this for laughs? Can anybody really be so humourless as to go through Italy and complain that they don't properly synchonize the timing of their restorations to avoid offending the eyes of the tourists?
 
Old May 14th, 2002, 08:38 AM
  #31  
Capo
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xxx, if there's any "truth" to traveling in Italy, France, the United States, or anywhere else, it's that everyone's experience is going to be different. Another "truth" is that some people are more informed than others and this may affect how their trip turns out. Another "truth" is that some people may have more bad experiences than others but that does not make the bad experiences representative of the country, or the people. And yet another "truth" is that people differ in their reaction to bad experiences; for some, it spoils their whole trip whereas, for others, they weigh those bad experiences against the positive. <BR><BR>
 
Old May 14th, 2002, 08:43 AM
  #32  
Carol
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Just an FYI on minibars (which has nothing to do with Pam's trip!) Some hotels have gone to the new automated minibars. Bascially everything is in a certain spot and if you remove something it it automatically charged. (It works kind of like a vending machine). I had a coworker remove the ENTIRE mini bar contents for her "diet" food and they entire amount showed on her bill! The hotel did fix the problem, but... it points out the fact that these are NOT provided for your food. While I have very rarely had my cheese removed it has happened. (I will go buy diet cokes and swap mine for theres so I have cold ones however!)
 
Old May 14th, 2002, 08:55 AM
  #33  
what
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Pam you say you live in Egypt? Or do you live in Disneyland? I am not a seasoned traveler as most on this board, but I have been to Italy twice and I live in Chicago. I've encountered smokey restaurants here at home as well as attempts at being ripped off by cab-drivers and restaurants. I've gone to some hometown museums, only to find renovations going on. I find this all a part of normal everyday living and can't imagine anyone who has traveled as extensively as you would complain about these things. Sure, Italy has its share of dirt and smoke and yes, some Italians try to rip off the tourists, but it happens everywhere, even right here in the US so get over it!
 
Old May 14th, 2002, 08:57 AM
  #34  
Sue
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You know, guys, I think at bottom all of us know we bear some responsibility for our bad experiences. If we get a flat tire, and find ourselves without a spare, without a doubt it was our responsibility to maintain the car and its equipment before we set out.<BR><BR>But if we come across a person standing at the side of the road swearing at the flat they just got, is this really the time to say, gee, we wouldn’t swear or complain like that if we got a flat tire! Or gee, we never get caught without a spare when we have a flat, we’re too well prepared! <BR><BR>If we react like that to complaints, the effect is only to put hot air in ourselves, and not in the tire (where it might actually be of some use.)<BR>
 
Old May 14th, 2002, 08:57 AM
  #35  
carolyn
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In response to Amy,<BR><BR>As a soon-to-be first time visitor to Italy, I was not put off by this post. I look at any travel to be an adventure, and have learned to go with the flow. I've done research and am fully aware that you have to be very careful in Italy when it comes to extra charges, lack of change, etc.<BR><BR>As for Pam's post, I surely don't know the price of cabs in Egypt, but being in the states, 9 euros for a 10 minute cab ride sounds inexpensive to me and the cost per bag not unreasonable. Personally, I've paid $15 for a 10 minute cab ride, so the $8 is a deal in my eyes. And I've been charged .50 per bag in some towns. Just take a minute and consider the cost of gasoline over there!<BR><BR>A 49 euro lunch sounds reasonable also, especially with a liter of wine. Try to get that in DC. I think it is very important to check prices on the menu, or ask if none are posted, before sitting down to a restaurant. You are just setting yourself up for anything.<BR><BR>If you check into your room and find it's unsatisfactory, politely request a room change. <BR><BR>It's a shame Pam couldn't find more positive aspects of her trip.
 
Old May 14th, 2002, 10:05 AM
  #36  
ukexpat
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For those of you comparing the "renovations of your local library", local treatment in restaurants, etc. to Pam's trip. Just remember that these experiences at home come free of charge, not at a cost of a trip to Italy and back. Yes, we all realize these same things happen at home, but when they happen on vacation they urk you much more. I don't think Pam said Italy is a bad place, just warning us of what to be weary of if we go.
 
Old May 14th, 2002, 11:07 AM
  #37  
lisa
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Hmm. "We found the Forum quite disappointing as we have visited much better Roman stadiums in other parts of the world." Why are you comparing the Forum to stadiums? I can only guess you're referring not to the Forum, but to the Colosseum. If that's the case, I still think it's a strange statement. It's like saying, "I found the Statue of Liberty very disappointing as I've seen better statues in other parts of the world" or "I found the Eiffel Tower disappointing as I've seen better towers elsewhere." The Colosseum as just another stadium...what a concept.<BR><BR>Also, I was struck by the repeated use of the word "ripoff" in your report. Being charged for things that you were not expecting to be charged for does not constitute a ripoff. A ripoff is when someone tries to charge you for something that they shouldn't have. I may not like having to pay a "coperto," and I am certainly not accustomed to having to pay one in restaurants at home, but that doesn't make it a ripoff, it makes it a cultural difference (but one that I expected in Rome since I had read about it in guidebooks beforehand). And the taxi driver's extra charge for each bag is standard practice everywhere I've ever been, so I can't understand why you wouldn't have encountered this before in your vast travels. <BR><BR>I do think the whole tone of your report was astoundingly negative. We all have bad experiences on our travels sometimes, but you seemed to have one right after the other, in settings that most other people have enjoyed immensely. That's not to negate your experience. Obviously you didn't enjoy it much. However, I chalk that up more to the eye of the beholder than to Italy.
 
Old May 14th, 2002, 11:25 AM
  #38  
ellen
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It has everything to do with attitude. When my cabdriver in Rome said the fare was higher because it was Sunday and because I had luggage I believed him - it made sense to me. I didn't automatically assume I was being ripped off and go storming off. Some people go through life looking for the worst in people. How sad.
 
Old May 14th, 2002, 11:34 AM
  #39  
xxx
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What a wonderful trip report. Now I'm really excited for my trip this summer.
 
Old May 14th, 2002, 11:36 AM
  #40  
Italy Bound
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It sounds as though Pam is an overindulged, spoiled, narcissistic person who expects the world to revolve around her. <BR><BR>Guess what, it doesn't. You have to learn to roll with the punches. Nothing is perfect and for those of us already making plans to go to Italy you have put a damper on our plans. But guess what? Not for long.
 

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