What Does $5 Buy You in Europe Today?
Travel Blog • Doug Mack • 04.04.12 | 10:53 AM ET
Editor’s note: For his new book, Europe on 5 Wrong Turns a Day, Doug Mack traveled around the continent using a decades-old copy of Arthur Frommer’s “Europe on Five Dollars a Day.”
So what will $5 buy in Europe these days?
During the course of their World Hum interview, Leif Pettersen asked Doug just that. Here’s what Doug came up with:
- Florence: Some crappy knockoff designer sunglasses from an unofficial vendor by the Arno (but only after you bargained down from the original price and the salesman, with a practiced sigh/grin, says that he’s never, EVER made an offer this low, but ...).
- Paris: A pain au chocolat and maybe a macaron from Gerard Mulot on the Left Bank, along with eternal, wistful memories of same, an enduring, bittersweet nostalgia for that transcendent instant when all seemed right with the world. This is all true. Or a couple of condoms from the Eiffel Tower gift shop. Also true.
- Amsterdam: Aw, bro, I know this kinda shady place down a back alley, you gotta bang on this steel door, but for five bucks they’ll hook you up with a little bag of this, like, super-primo ... Gouda.
- Brussels: A couple of chocolate bars in the shape of Manneken-Pis.
- Berlin: Two fake East German stamps in your passport at Checkpoint Charlie.
- Munich: Beer! Or a prostate cancer test from a vending machine at Oktoberfest. I promise this is a real thing. Unfortunately (or not), it does not involve a little robot hand cranking out of the machine, finger extended. In fact, it’s a little stick; you pee on it, like a pregnancy test, which you can also procure from the same machine.
- Zurich: Ha! Good one. Right, like you can get something for $5 in Zurich. You take a single breath of that crisp Alpine air and it sets you back 8.35 CHF, which is, like, $210.04 at the current exchange rate. Though that does include VAT.
- Vienna: Your choice of all manner of Mozart-themed tchotchkes. A Mozart wig, alas, will set you back quite a bit more than 5 dollars, but such is the price of timeless fashion.
- Venice: A map, so you can figure out where the *%$@!! you are in that enchanted labyrinth-land. Or a shoddy plastic version of those famous Venetian masks.
- Rome: Gelato. Gelatogelatogelato. Go to Gelateria del Teatro, near the Piazza Navona. Five bucks (or, you know, the equivalent in euros) will get you two scoops of creamy transcendence that rivals the Sistine Chapel for awesomeness. (Hyperbole? Of course not.) Try the lemon. Or the chocolate-wine. Thank me later.
- Madrid: A ticket in the highest, most sun-blasted seats at a novillada con picadores bullfight. Available online through a Ticketmaster subsidiary. (Again, I am not making this up.)