Plans for crisp roasted goose on Thanksgiving Day though went awry…
That’s because three days prior to my planned feast I came down with a severe case of food poisoning. Bad enough that my Frankfurt hotel had to change my room. I guess my Exorcist-like activities didn’t go well with housekeeping.
With prices sky high across the pond these days, they say that getting there is the cheapest part of a European vacation. Unless, of course, you treat yourself to a free first class roundtrip ticket as I did. More about that later.
As for today’s living costs in places like Germany, at an average exchange rate of $1.40 to the Euro plus inflation, costs are high in just about every imagineable catagory. For example:
A gallon of gasoline – make that a liter – goes for between 1.50 and 1.75 Euros. Now multiply that x 4 for dollars and you’re paying in the unbelievable neighborhood of $8.50 per gallon!
It doesn’t stop there.
You may think that our average sales taxes of between 8% and 9.5% seem high, but they’re nothing compared to most Euro Zone nations where the sales tax on just about any product is 19% (the exception being certain necessity grocery items and medicines).
One highlights of my trip included visits to the former West Berlin refugee camps I was processed through and lived in after escaping from East Germany. I went to the spectacular Dom Cathedral in Colone and the St. Thomas Church in my hometown of Leipzig where Johann Sebastian Bach is buried.
I ran into into New Moon star Robert Pattinson and Twilight‘s Taylor Lautner in Berlin where they were on a world-wide publicity stop for ‘Breaking Dawn.’ OK, so that wasn’t that big a deal.
It was sweet crossing the Atlantic in first class splendor, especially since I didn’t have to pay for it.
I never would’ve been able to afford the nearly $8,000 tickets, I used frequent flyer miles instead. I used 100,000 going east on Continental and 125,000 for the return on Delta. Or was it the other way around?
What I got for that?
Incredible wide space and super plush seats that turn into completely stretched out beds as well as a full entertainment center. And the food was ALL GOURMET. For dinner alone I think it must’ve been a seven course serving on both airlines, with the booze and champagne flowing freely. Not to mention all the other special extras the carriers throw in.
Those ever present mini-bars in the better hotel rooms. Used to be they carried nothing but beer, wine and pop. Then they added other high-profit items like pretzels, mints and nuts. And a few years ago many hotels converted these little profit centers to sensor activated mini-bars. This often posed problems for me when I cheaped out and stored some of my own cold items in these small fridges.
Was I ever surprised to find that many European hotels have added boxes of condoms to their mini-bars!
So to make room for some food items purchased earlier in the day I had to move some of the hotel’s soda bottles—and the condoms.
And you guessed it.
When I checked out, the front desk attendant gleefully announced— loud enough for everyone to hear—an add-on charge of seven Euros for condoms.
"No sir, I didn’t buy them. I just moved them," I responded.
"Well, OK then Mr. Poessiger. I hope your stay with us was gratifying anyway."