Sunday, September 27, 2009

An open letter to the management of the Gala-Salvador Dali Estate

Dear Management,

I have loved Dali ever since I can remember. His work and story have consistently inspired me through out my life. Over the years I have been lucky enough to visit many Dali exhibitions and have even wept openly on seeing his work in the flesh. But most of all, I have longed to come to Spain to visit his house.

Today was that day and it came and went - and I didn't even get further than Figueres. Which means I wasted an entire day of my very limited time in Spain. Why? Because of the lack of simple directional instructions provided on the Dali House website and printed information.

Firstly I had to buy a ticket online. By reservation only. 8EUR, nothing much really. I had no problem with this, and read the instructions for getting to the Dali House carefully to ensure I wouldn't miss my reservation. I even made a copy of the directions and saved them on my iPhone so I would not lose them.

Next I had to catch a train from Barcelona to Figueres. Simple enough according to the website. What the site didn't say was that this is a 2 hour train trip. One way. Needless to say I made it to Figueres in time to collect my ticket (an hour prior to my reservation). But where was I meant to collect my ticket from?

The website said to catch a bus or taxi to Portligat from Figueres. As there was no signage or information at Figueres train station, I went to the bus station across the road. They told me I needed to walk up the road to the information stand. The information stand was closed. Time was ticking away. I wandered around the streets until I found a small gallery where I asked for directions. They sent me to another Dali Museum in Figueres.

By this point I had missed my reservation. The staff at the Dali Museum tried to be helpful by telling me they didn't know how to get to the Dali House, but it would take at least another hour by bus and that I should stay the night here in a hotel.

Given that it was now 4pm, had no change of clothes and I had already spent a fortune getting there, it seemed spending another 2 hours going back to Barcelona on the train was the only option.

I asked if I could visit the Dali Museum instead, but apparently this was impossible. As each Dali property has different management, one entry could not be transfered to another. Seems ridiculous, because you by online tickets via the same website. So the staff told me I would need to pay entry again. And because I'd already wasted more than 30EUR getting to Figueres, I decided I wasn't wasting another penny on Dali's poorly run estate today. And I caught the train back to Barcelona.

Considering you got to keep my 8EUR entry fee, and probably many other people's entry fees too - would it be too much to ask to have your web people add some more detailed instructions to your website?

I'll look forward to visiting the Dali House in 10 years time when I can afford to come back again. If I can find it.



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