This was the question repeating itself over and over in my head as I trekked through the Roman streets. Frantically looking down at my Apple Watch every two minutes, I saw my ETA counting up from my scheduled time and began to panic.
Please let me give you a quick introduction to the Borghese Gallery. At first glance it may seem like your average European museum – sculptures, paintings, and lots of tour groups. What sets this place apart, however, is the fact that you are only given two hours to browse the collections.
Being the organized traveler that I am, my ticket had been purchased a month prior to the date and the time slot was chosen to give myself ample time from airport touchdown in Rome to AirBnb check in to Borghese arrival. Indeed, that would’ve been the case, except that this was my first time walking in Rome and neither Apple nor Google Maps was doing a great job in getting me to my destination.
After walking for about fifteen minutes in the wrong direction, I was at peak freak out, and decided to stop, take a deep breath, and appreciate the moment. Worst case scenario, I wouldn’t make my scheduled time and would have to either reschedule or use this as an excuse to return to Rome the following year.
These actions worked to sharpen my focus as I studied the area map carefully, allowing me to plot a mental route to the aforementioned destination. Soon I was power walking like I had never power walked before, and little by little my ETA was making its way back to the opening time.
Somehow I was able to make it to the front door at 17:00, where I was told that all bags must be checked downstairs. By that point, though, it was clear that there was no hard and fast rule for arriving on time or early. Sure, it would’ve eliminated the stress I felt as I navigated my way to this magnificent museum. But maybe, just maybe, this mini adventure made my visit all the more memorable.