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The sculptures were superb, but we left the Borghese with a bad taste in our mouths

The sculptures were superb, but we left the Borghese with a bad taste in our mouths

Jan 17th, 2008, 06:26 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 66,081
111op: If you remember right - about 10 or 15 other posters said your plan was crazy -- it wasn't just me. You came back and proved it was possible to get to the Prado w/ just a couple of hours on the ground. Not that all of our opinions were invalid - since most would think 20 minutes isn't long enough to "do" the Prado -- but that in an extreme situation, one can get there and back.

Does not mean that our thoughts were wrong - for the average visitor, what you accomplished would not have been possible.
janisj is online now  
Jan 17th, 2008, 06:32 PM
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But janisj, I didn't go for Prado. I went for the Patinir show.

Plus, as you acknowledged, it'd not have been possible for an average visitor. But then I wasn't asking for an average visitor. I was asking for myself.

I'm not claiming that I'm above average, but I do think that posters here tend to presume a lot of things -- be it about a poster, a trip, or something else. It's something I find baffling, honestly.

Of course you could argue that I'm being presumptuous -- or even judgemental -- about the OP in this case. I'd like to argue not. I've tried to explain how people can interpret what she wrote differently -- even if she did mean to be well intentioned.
111op is offline  
Jan 17th, 2008, 06:36 PM
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Hi julies,

I apologize if I offended you in any way... I was really just concerned and a little sad for you after reading many of your posts where it seemed like you had bad experiences or were really unhappy about expenses. I was wondering if maybe you were a first-time Italy visitor, only because I've heard similar sentiments from first-time visitors who went to Italy with "A,B,C" in their imagination and were unpleasantly surprised to find the reality is "X,Y,Z".

I also wanted to bring up your frequent comments about the expense of items. Not to criticize you, but to share how I used to struggle with the same thing since I keep track of money carefully in both my personal and professional life. The best thing that happened to my vacations was when I stopped doing the conversion to US dollars or thinking in terms of how much of a product the amount of money could buy me at home. I quit measuring experiences in terms of money and my trips keep getting better and more enjoyable. My trip (or trips in a good year) to Europe are the highlight of my year and they are too short to be consumed with worrying about the dollars and cents (not that I go stay in 5-star hotels, but I don't worry about the expense of a book or postcard or meal if it enhances my vacation).

Anyway... again, I am sorry if I offended you. I hope you will have more opportunities in the future for happier experiences in Rome.
TexasAggie is offline  
Jan 17th, 2008, 06:40 PM
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Personally, I don't open threads with titles like "My twelve perfect days in . . ."

If it was all perfect you simply aren't discerning enough!
Fra_Diavolo is offline  
Jan 17th, 2008, 06:41 PM
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>>I mean, a museum visit was cut short. They wasted 40 euros.<<

No, they didn't waste 40 Euros. They spent, at a minimum according to Julies' account, 1.5 hours in the museum. They had a guided tour, even if Julies didn't like the guide. They did see the Daphne and Canova's Pauline Borghese.

>>By the way, our time in the museum (way less than 2 hours) cost us E40 or $60 for 2 people.<<

As Oscar Wilde said, "Some people know the price of everything and the value of nothing."
Zerlina is offline  
Jan 17th, 2008, 07:00 PM
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I dont know what the Borghese would be like with a guide or the audioguides (we tend to rely on our guidebooks rather than either) but I do know that we have had a couple of enjoyable visit there under the 2-hour regime. I would prefer not to have the time limit, but we were able to see everything and didnt feel rushed (we did use the full 2 hours however, on our last visit.

I guess that stressing about the time or an incompatible guide is a recipe for having an unsatisfactory visit. My advice would be to keep it simple on a first visit. So sorry you had an unsatisfactory experience, Julie.
jjkbrook is offline  
Jan 17th, 2008, 07:14 PM
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>>By the way, our time in the museum (way less than 2 hours) cost us E40 or $60 for 2 people.<<

As Oscar Wilde said, "Some people know the price of everything and the value of nothing."


Huh? Is that supposed to mean that julies didn't "know the value" of their museum visit? If you read her title she even says "the sculptures were superb". I don't see a "value" judgement being placed on the cost or what they spent. It's a "by the way" -- no different than "by the way a our taxi from CDG cost $50" or "by the way we spent 100 euros on our dinner for two". Giving the price of the museum admission just seems like one more attempt to be helpful with information. Anyone who interprets "by the way" as "we were ripped off" or "it wasn't worth it" really has a nasty cloud hanging over them. Perhaps in light of the bad treatment they got, she does feel it was a lot for what they got out of it. Who wants to pay to be abused? But to give a snide "you don't know the value of anything" is beyond being a little rude in my humble opinion.
NeoPatrick is offline  
Jan 17th, 2008, 07:50 PM
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Kristina, I'm not usually a fan of audiguides but the ones at the Borghese were quite good (and if you don't like them you can always not use them). When we entered the galleries, we went directly to the last room and worked our way backwards so we were alone for the first 30 mins or so. The biggest disappointment for me was not having enough time/mental energy for the paintings upstairs. Enjoy.
mvor is offline  
Jan 17th, 2008, 08:28 PM
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I don't understand why Julies is being attacked for posting a message about her bad experience. If I only wanted to read wonderful things about a place, I would only read my bookguide and not even bother to log on and check this website. Was "you shall not talk about a negative experience when traveling" on the conditions when we register to be users of this website? Because, if it was, I certainly missed it.

I went to Morocco last year and, because of the lack of health standards there, I got sick to the point even going to the hospital. I wish I had read about it in my "wonderful" bookguide or even had read a post about somebody who had gone through the same, but I didn't, so I never thought that could happen (at least to the point of going to the hospital). The owner of one of the riads where I stayed told me that it usually happens to a lot of tourists who go to Morocco, but I never read anything about it (perhaps those people don't want to say anything about it because they are afraid of being accused of being negative by those who had a wonderful trip).

Julies said that she loved the sculptures but, apparently, almost everybody feels it's unacceptable for her to complain about a situation that happened not only to her, but to the other people who visited the gallery that same day (and who must feel the same as Julies and who have probably complained about it with all their friends and relatives).

I, particularly, want to know about both the good and the bad about a place I'm planning to visit, so I know what to expect. I even look up all kinds of pictures on the Internet that show the ugly side of a beautiful place, so that I can have a "real" concept of it and not let myself be enchanted by the always gorgeous pictures featured in bookguides and gorgeous shots shown on TV.

In fact, everytime I "dream of" moving to Italy, I turn on the TV and watch the news programs on RAI INTERNATIONAL. They certainly make me come back to earth and realize what a diferrent place is the fabled Italy that we visit and the real italy where most italian people live.

I'm glad people like Julies post messages like this, so that we can have a full picture of what might happen when you visit a place.

While "Il David" and "The Last Supper" were two of the highlights of my trip when I visited Italy in 2006, I must admit that "Vatican City" (both St. Peter's Cathedral and the museums) and "The Galleria degli Uffizi" were a disappointment. I would like to say why, but after seeing Julies being attacked for complaining about her bad experience, I'm afraid of even daring to do so (Well, I've said why on other messages I've previously posted so it's not really an enigma).

If you don't like Julies' posts, why don't you ignore them and spend your time reading only flattering ones? I, as well as a lot of other people, certainly enjoy reading "negative" posts in order to have a full picture of what might happen when you travel instead of a partial one.

Thanks for your post Julies!
Castellanese is offline  
Jan 17th, 2008, 08:53 PM
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sheesh - no one (well, practically no one) is attacking julies. Just because someone doesn't agree or suggests a different way of seeing something - that is not a personal attack. Would you have preferred if everyone had said - "you are right, the Borghese sucks" Some have that opinion and some don't.

A difference of opinion does not a personal attack make . . . it is simply a difference of opinion.
janisj is online now  
Jan 17th, 2008, 09:45 PM
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Sometimes people have an emotional reaction to someone else's negative feedback to a place they liked. I think sometimes it's because it calls into question the reader's own tastes/knowledge, etc, or at least they think it does. I;m in agreement with Neo and Castellanese, I'd like the bad with the good. Actually, I learn more from the bad than all the sunshine, at least to the point of knowing whether it would apply to me.

In this case, yes - 2 hours or not, being herded through a museum would prevent me from enjoying anything about that time because I'd be getting irritated too. When I'm irritated, there isn't a sculpture I could see in quick passing that would make the fun come back. So I'd be bothered too, as julies was. So? See, someone did get something out of this feedback.

The notion that the "harm" that would come of this post is that thousands of people would be deterred is funny. It's popular enough that they're literally shoving people out the door. Is deterrence really a concern?

Clifton is offline  
Jan 17th, 2008, 09:45 PM
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Castellanese - ps, I know I was one of your Morocco thread advise-giver-outers. But didn't mention getting sick, as we didn't. Betcha it was either salad or ice cubes though. That's it 75% of the time. Not just Morocco, but anywhere the tap water's not safe to drink. I guess I'm just used to it from other trips and didn't really think about mentioning it. Sorry you ended up laid up. (and for the future - NO ice, no salad because they rinse the leaves under a tap; drink and brush teeth with bottled water only; and only fruit you peel yourself. It's the way of 3rd world travel)

Clifton is offline  
Jan 17th, 2008, 10:01 PM
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I am glad you posted this, because for some reason in all my research, I was completely unaware that we were only allotted 2 hours inside the museum. That does change things. It won't keep me from going of course, but it does make me rethink how I want to see the museum.

There will be 4 of us together and I was going to opt for the guided tour because I thought it would be easier for our little group (one person tends to lag behind). Now, I think I may opt for the audio guide, or just my guidebook knowing that we only have 2 hours.

Oh, btw, I read your "tips" post and found it to be good, helpful advice.

However, I want to reiterate what I said in my previous post; I personally appreciate the information in one post instead of multiples, more of a "trip report" style. My guess is that if this post had been part of a longer, larger report you probably would have received a different response.

Still, I appreciate ALL information, both good and bad experiences.
Kristina is offline  
Jan 18th, 2008, 05:02 AM
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Well Patrick, Zerlina quoted Oscar Wilde, whose quote refers to "some people."

Whether Zerlina meant that julies didn't know the value of her visit -- well that's an interpretation.

Just like your interpreting the sentence about 40 euros for two as being an off-hand "by the way" comment is also an

Do the guards really do kick people out after two hours? Personally I don't know why people need two hours for that place. I was done in under an hour.

If julies was there recently (i.e. a week ago), she actually got the bonus of being there for a special Canova show. The Borghese is organizing art shows devoted to a specific artist over a period of 10 years, or something like that.

That should have been something to boast about and indeed something to look out for. So maybe some people indeed "know the price of everything and the value of nothing."

111op is offline  
Jan 18th, 2008, 05:10 AM
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111op, Oh, come on now, get serious.
When someone posts a quote and says "some people" aren't we ALL to assume that the reason for the quote is that it realated to THIS post?
What would have been the point in using that quote if it had nothing to do with the post it was posted on.

You know and I know and anyone with an IQ over about 30 knows that the quote was supposed to relate to the poster.

And if you read carefully, you'll see that I didn't give an interpretation of what "by the way" meant in this instance. I merely pointed out that it could be interpreted two ways, and that it would be wrong for anyone to determine that it definitely should only be interpreted one way -- MYSELF included. That's why I even added what it "could" mean if it were taken negatively.

But you're picking at straws to pretend that someone would post a quote and then comment on it without suggesting it related to the poster. That's just plain insane!

"Some people must just like to stir up trouble."
NeoPatrick is offline  
Jan 18th, 2008, 05:13 AM
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Janisj, I'm not saying people must say "you're right; it sucks", but don't tell me that people here are just "disagreeing" with her because you know they aren't. There are people here complaining because, apparently, she's posted a few threads where she talks about the unpleasent side of her Rome trip. "Attack" may be a bit exagerated word, but you sure know what I'm talking about.

Clifton, I'm not really complaining because nobody told me about the water, I'm just saying that I would've liked to read about someone who'd gone through the same thing to learn this. You were certainly one of the many people who gave me very good advice while planning my trip. I had an amazing experience in Morocco and I don't regret having visited it in spite of having gotten sick.
Castellanese is offline  
Jan 18th, 2008, 05:15 AM
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Ok, I was facetious.

But now to be fair, did Zerlina say that what julies did was wrong? As I said, she has her interpretation. You have yours.

Obviously I have mine.

111op is offline  
Jan 18th, 2008, 05:20 AM
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Ok, it probably would be better if I changed "interpreation" to "opinion" in my post above. You get the idea.
111op is offline  
Jan 18th, 2008, 05:44 AM
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I think it boils down to this: that visits to places where there is tight scheduling can be a risky experience. It's a spin of the ol' roulette wheel, and we all know the odds are stacked in favour of the house.

How then to manage the risk? What I take from your post, julies, is a reminder to plot one's course beforehand well in advance. That is, decisions about 'tour versus audioguide versus self-guide with book' should be made in advance, not on the spot. When the decision is irrevocable, and the site in question high in priority, one doesn't want the decision rushed. This is why this board is so great - you are always nearly certain to find people with experience of both types of tour, and with an opinion to offer. That said, there are some risks that can't be hedged: the whole place could have been shut down for the entire day due to a bomb threat, say, or a strike, in which case you would really have been out of luck.

Speaking of luck, it was rotten luck about the meeting. However is it possible that the gift shop would have been accessible before the tour as well as after? (I haven't been to the Borghese in years, but I know that other museum gift shops don't require an entrance ticket, but are open to the public...) As for the prices, I'm afraid this is a case of the vendor charging what the market will bear. Take heart that the profits generally go to the upkeep of these places, which are still amazing bargains.

Regarding the yelling, having witnessed several minor traffic accidents in Rome and Florence, not to mention having survived Rome FCO airport when our flight was cancelled, I have concluded that passion, not reason, rules the day in Italy. The entire population sometimes seems to be living a scene from an opera - part of the charm of the place most of the time, but also part of why hell is defined as a place organized by Italians.....

Thanks for the post.
Sue_xx_yy is offline  
Jan 18th, 2008, 05:59 AM
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I'm pretty sure that you can access the gift shop before and after the tour. I don't remember for sure though.

Borghese does seem to have a pretty strict coat check policy. The other place I remember as being strict is the Barnes Collection in Merion, Pa. In fact, it was much stricter than Borghese.

Personally I do think that it's overrated. The Berninis and the Canovas are nice, and there's a Raphael (maybe more than one), at least one very important Titian and at least one Antonello. And of course the Caravaggios.

But it can't provide a match for the Vatican Museums, for example. I can see why people prefer the Borghese for its smaller size, however.
111op is offline  

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