If you’re charging outrageous prices in your cafe, you have to think ‘Location, location, location.’ It’s not about the coffee, it’s about the experience – the privilege of sitting where you’re sitting.
Two memorably overpriced coffees in my travel experience were on Paris’s elegant Boulevard Saint Germain and in Sienna’s wonderful Piazza del Campo. Today’s double espresso beat them both hands down in the price department.
Friends and the guidebook had recommended Caffe Florian, though both warned that it would be a budget-blowing afternoon.
It was established in 1720, making it arguably the world’s oldest continuously operating cafe. Add a cent per year history surcharge.
Then there’s that location charge. St Mark’s Square, Venice. That will be another two euros, prego.
My doppio came served on a silver platter, with Mevrouw T’s bottle of Perrier (ordered separately), a flask of water and a bowl of potato crisps. Add a few euros for ‘complimentary’ crisps.
Then there was the music. The guidebook had told us there would be an additional fee when the band was playing. It didn’t say how much.
Some of our fellow customers made sure they got their money’s worth by dancing between the tables.
Time to pay the bill. You have to laugh.
There was a small additional payment required for use of the bathroom.
A few minutes after we left came the serious hit. In all the excitement I’d left my sunglasses (Rebel Sport, Sydney, cost $50) on the velvet seat. I rushed back inside to find the waiter waiting. ‘You lost…?’ He produced the missing shades, thus earning his tip.
I don’t know why I’m so excited about this indulgence. Think of the starving children in Africa and all that. But it is a story, maybe even one I can write up properly and sell to a publication somewhere. Whether it will be worth more than 30 euros remains to be seen.
Please feel free to recommend other places the budget-conscious traveller should avoid.