Rick's Livin' Large on Smaller Bucks
Is Europe more expensive than last year? Sure. Is it a good value? Absolutely. Here's a sampling of my expenses this month:
Two-and-a-half course dinner (we split the lemon tarte) on the beach in Nice during a sunset: $50 for two. (That included a fine bottle of Bandol, my new favorite red wine on the French Riviera. The waiter steamed off the label for me and it decorates the inside cover of my guidebook).
A room with a balcony in Villefranche-sur-Mer, overlooking the bay of Antibes, counting the world-class yachts bobbing in the harbor: $75 for the double.
A public bus ride around most of Monte Carlo's Grand Prix circuit (all prepped for the big race): $2.
Private time all alone with the best collection of Marc Chagall paintings anywhere in captivity: $6.
A zippy ride on Copenhagen's new subway from the airport to my hotel: $3.50 (faster than the $30 taxi equivalent if you know where you're going).
A healthy salad-bar dinner surrounded by healthy salad-bar Danes: $10.
Beer on a Budget
I arrived in Copenhagen today and I learned that all the young people drinking beer in public places really shouldn't put me off as it has in past years. Apart from the euro situation, a drink in a bar is just too expensive for many here in Scandinavia. So, people buy bottles of beer for the equivalent of $1.50 from a kiosk rather than $5 in a bar--and sit with their friends on pedestrian squares or along canals. There's no more beer being consumed here than in cheap beer countries (or the USA)...but because it's outdoor "picnic beer" you see it more. On my way back to my hotel tonight, I passed a happy gang of six wheeling a case of beer down to the park-it's party time with the Little Mermaid!