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europe is expensive

January 3, 2012

A conversation between Ali and I when we landed in Barcelona a few days ago:

Ali: “I’m not paying 25 Euros per day per device for Internet.”

Me: “You say this every time we come here. I understand that the cost is ridiculous, but it is what it is.”

Park Guell in Barcelona

Ali: “It’s 6 Euros more here per day than it was in Paris. They are robbing us!”

Me: “We paid 30 Euros for 5 shrimp last night. That works out to about $10 per shrimp. The Internet is a bargain when you think of it in those terms.”

Maya getting a crepe lesson at the Ritz-Carlton in Barcelona

Ali: “I have to figure out a plan B.”

Me: “Do whatever you need to do. All I know is that I need the Internet so I can do work. Make it happen.”

Gorgeous lobby at the of the nicest hotels I have ever stayed at.

At this point Ali took off to the lobby muttering something about an Ibahn monopoly – so I can only piece together what happened next: Ali hopped on someone’s unsecured network and then Skyped with his office’s offshore helpdesk. Together they concluded they could make Ali’s laptop a hotspot!

After patting each other on the back – virtually of course – the hot spot came to life.

Ali: “Now we can connect your laptop, my laptop and the iPad all at once!”

New Year's Eve at Cafe Divinio in Barcelona

Forget the Sagrada Familia and Park Guell – obviously having Internet on 3 devices for the price of one is a feat that not even Gaudi could ever surpass.

137 Comments leave one →
  1. January 3, 2012 12:08 am

    Ah! Barcelona! How I miss thee…..

    What happened to hotels that offer free wifi?

    €30 for 5 shrimp? I’m guessing Ali likes his food more so than technology?

    • January 3, 2012 2:26 pm

      I haven’t found many hotels that offer free wi-fi…anywhere! And the shrimp were for me and Maya – of course. 🙂

  2. January 3, 2012 12:15 am

    Now thats the benefit of having a techie as a husband 🙂 🙂

    and yes, Europe is sister lives in France and she tells me about some ridiculous pricing, but then we compare to the Indian prices so that makes it even more bewildering 🙂 🙂

    • January 3, 2012 2:27 pm

      France is SO expensive, I just don’t understand how people afford to live there?

  3. January 3, 2012 12:16 am

    Can I just say that pic of you and Maya is absolutely beautiful. It looks so peaceful and casual, like “Oh yes it’s just us lounging in Barcelona, no big deal”.

    I totally understand Ali’s thinking. Sometimes it’s just about feeling like you’re getting ripped off and it is so irritating. I am a total penny pincher and I also don’t mind spending serious money if I feel something is worth it. But when I feel I am getting scammed I’ll go Ali’s route just for the principal of the whole thing.

    • January 3, 2012 2:28 pm

      Thank you Marie. You are too kind.

      And yes, I understand the principle of the matter – I just like to give Ali a hard time about it. 🙂 I’m good at that.

  4. January 3, 2012 12:48 am

    LOVE IT!! What a genius you have there…he’s a keeper 😉 Cute and Smart!

    What a gorgeous place! That lobby is what I would LOVE my bedroom to look like! I hope you’re having a blast there, doll!!

    Keep showing us the gorgeousness!


    • January 3, 2012 2:28 pm

      Ali is a computer/Internet genius. I’ll give him that. And if he reads this comment I think his ego is going to get even bigger!

  5. January 3, 2012 2:37 am

    Clever indeed .. well the man is a genius 🙂 he got you what you wanted …

    lovely pictures

    Happy new year to you hubby and maya …

  6. squigglefloey permalink
    January 3, 2012 3:27 am

    I think you’ve mastered the seductive-sultry look in your first pic! haha. Gorgeous 🙂 I need crepe lessons too btw.

    • January 3, 2012 2:29 pm

      So I have learned something from watching countless episodes of America’s Next Top Model?? 🙂 Thank you!

  7. January 3, 2012 4:59 am

    Im in love with your pink coat!

  8. January 3, 2012 5:11 am

    Priorities. Bahahhaahaha!

  9. January 3, 2012 5:57 am

    Barcelona is one of my dreams. I want to see ALL the Gaudi!! Maya looks so cute cooking. The photo of you and Ali (in front of the Gaudi!!!) is great but the one of you and Maya is amazing. I’m enjoying the tour. Glad you can keep posting…clever these techno people, eh?!

    • January 3, 2012 2:30 pm

      I loved Barcelona more than I thought. And Gaudi too! I hope you find your way there Fran!

  10. January 3, 2012 5:59 am

    I like how you said “make it happen” to Ali… 🙂 Love the picture of you and Maya. Your hair and Maya’s are looking fabulous, as always! What? No orange sweater for Ali? 😉
    That is one expensive shrimp!

    • January 3, 2012 2:31 pm

      No orange sweater on this trip…I did the packing. 🙂

  11. January 3, 2012 6:14 am

    You and Maya look gorgeous!!!!!!!!!!!
    Happy New Year!!!!!!!!

  12. January 3, 2012 6:31 am

    Innovation at its finest! I love it!

    And what a fun way to ring in the new year! Hope it was wonderful. 🙂

  13. January 3, 2012 6:45 am

    ”Make it happen.” lol
    I only heard about the Ritz in Agatha Christie’s books. Even more beautiful than I pictured!
    You guys definitely didn’t get the cheap Asian genes. Even dead drunk, I wouldn’t have paid 30$ for 5 shrimps!

  14. January 3, 2012 6:50 am

    I have a great idea. Ali can forego all parking tickets (by putting enough coins in the meter) in between now and the next trip to Europe, and the Internet will pay for itself!

    Glad you’re having fun – really sorry I missed you, although in the end I couldn’t have in any and all cases.

    • January 3, 2012 2:33 pm

      You have an amazing memory Jennie…I’d totally forgotten I can hold the parking tickets against him still. So glad you reminded me!

  15. January 3, 2012 6:57 am

    Europe is expensive indeed! But make sure to take advantage of the tax-free shopping and get your refund at the airport! Plus, Louis Vuitton is much much cheaper in France than anywhere else (especially if you take advantage of taxfree)

    • January 3, 2012 2:33 pm

      Unfortunately the LV was NOT cheaper in France. I think it used to be but everything, and I mean everything, is SO much more expensive now.

  16. January 3, 2012 7:19 am

    Europe is expensive, and here in the UK (who practically sit on the European fence) is even more expensive.

    Great pictures and Happy New Year, hope you enjoyed it.

    • January 3, 2012 2:34 pm

      The UK is SO expensive too – I agree. But it’s worth every penny, especially the fabulous Indian food. 🙂

  17. January 3, 2012 7:39 am

    I always hate paying for both water and internet in western Europe. Traveling helps us gain perspective on how lucky we are to live in the U.S. where internet and drinking from the tap are free and won’t kill us. 😉
    Happy New Year!!

    • January 3, 2012 2:34 pm

      I just had to get over paying for water – it blows me away but I realized I had to stop complaining about it here.

  18. January 3, 2012 7:44 am

    Love the pictures!!!! Happy 2012 friend!

    “Virtual pat on the back” – hahahaha!

  19. January 3, 2012 7:56 am

    Perhaps turning the computer into a hotspot makes up for the use of 4 knives for one sandwich? haha

    • January 3, 2012 2:35 pm

      I suppose I can forgive the knives…seeing as I could actually do work thanks to Ali’s hotspot?

  20. January 3, 2012 8:56 am

    expensive?! say it aint so! We just booked a trip to Portugal (and are fully expecting to drop a chunk of cash while we’re there)! Happy 2012 !

    • January 3, 2012 2:36 pm

      Portugal is going to be beautiful! I haven’t been but I hear amazing things about it. I’m so envious already!

  21. January 3, 2012 8:59 am

    LOVE that you are in Barce!!! How I only wish we could have afforded the ritz! Gaudi is pretty amazing though, isn’t he?!

    • January 3, 2012 2:36 pm

      I have to admit that Gaudi was way more amazing than I expected. Really, just so unique and funky. Loved it.

  22. January 3, 2012 9:24 am

    LOVE your pink coat!! And yes….I hear Europe is very expensive. Hubby and I really want to go this year though…so we shall see. I can tell you one thing….we will not be staying at the Ritz! The closest I’ll get to that hotel is seeing the lobby! Please take a picture of your room…just so I can see what it looks like. Hope you are having fun.

    • January 3, 2012 2:37 pm

      I have room pictures – let me know if you’d like me to email them to you! It was a splurge but a beautiful hotel that was worth it.

  23. nadia permalink
    January 3, 2012 9:29 am

    sooooo envious of you all, pics are fabulous!! that lobby is stunning and lil maya in the kitchen, to die for! keep the pics coming, dreaming of gaudi and barcelona from LA…please eat some paella for me and enjoy every bite. can’t wait to hear every detail, hugs to my jani mani xoxoxo

  24. January 3, 2012 9:36 am

    but you are spending New Years in Barcelona so


    so glad Ali figured out the internet issue!

    and how sweet of the chef to let Maya learn how to make crepes!!!!

    Happy New Year Ameena!

    • January 3, 2012 2:38 pm

      Happy New Year Cindy! Hope you are well and your 2012 is off to a great start!

  25. January 3, 2012 9:39 am

    I keep looking for trips to Europe on Expedia, and although it doesn’t seem to expensive to get there, I know it will be insane once there. I reaaaalllly want to go though!

    • January 3, 2012 2:43 pm

      Airfare is probably good right now because of the chilly weather here…but yes, nothing else is cheaper as far as I can see!

  26. January 3, 2012 9:47 am

    I love Barcelona and the Gaudi architecture! Europe is crazy expensive though.

  27. January 3, 2012 10:01 am

    too funny. I love Gaudi. We have several prints of his work hanging in our house. Amazing and so ahead of his time. Safe travels Ameena and Happy New Year!

    • January 3, 2012 2:44 pm

      So ahead of his time is right…his stuff is so funky that until this trip I would have guessed it’s modern art (as you can tell I know nothing about art!).

  28. January 3, 2012 10:03 am

    That hotel is criminal: who still charges for wi-fi in this day & age!! Your husband is a wise man: less money on wi-fi = more money at Chanel 🙂

    • January 3, 2012 2:45 pm

      There’s wi-fi and then there’s Chanel. Apples and oranges. I have no idea who can afford this stuff in Europe!

  29. caloricandcrazy permalink
    January 3, 2012 10:38 am

    That lobby looks so beautiful 🙂

  30. January 3, 2012 11:02 am

    LOL!! Ali is funny!!!

  31. January 3, 2012 11:36 am

    I love how Maya is getting crepe lessons at a Ritz-Carlton, and Ali is concerned about internet costs. I also love how you’re in Barcelona and Ali is concerned about needing the internet. I understand his technology *cough* obsession *cough* … I mean appreciation … but you’re in EUROPE. I’m so jealous. 😛

    • January 3, 2012 2:46 pm

      I am partially to blame – I needed Internet for work! Regardless of the price. He had to make it happen no matter what. 🙂

  32. January 3, 2012 11:42 am

    You look like a super model in that picture with the pink coat! I absolutely LOVE that picture of you and Maya! She loves you so much! what a beautiful girl! You are both stunning!

    • January 3, 2012 2:47 pm

      Thank you Barbara – you leave the most amazingly kind comments. I appreciate every single one of them!

  33. January 3, 2012 12:01 pm

    happy new year! i loved all the paris pictures…such a gorgeous city, it never fails to make me smile 🙂

    • January 3, 2012 2:47 pm

      It never fails to make me smile either. Happy New Year Kate!

  34. January 3, 2012 12:03 pm

    You’re telling me that a place like the Ritz charges for WiFi? I’ll stick with the Hampton Inn (we even got dinner and breakfast free). Though the lobby didn’t look quite that nice. 🙂

    I hope you’re having a blast….it sure looks it.

    • January 3, 2012 2:48 pm

      Hampton Inn sounds like a fantastic deal – I am pretty sure that no place in Paris offers such a fantastic package!!

  35. January 3, 2012 12:30 pm

    Ameena – frame that last picture!

  36. January 3, 2012 12:37 pm

    there is always a smarter way! nice thinking you guys…

    yea you are right…Europe is expensive.

    • January 3, 2012 2:49 pm

      I can’t take credit – Ali and his team thought the whole thing up!

  37. January 3, 2012 12:48 pm

    Hello modern technology – I heard someone else do that while on vacation. Obviously you NEED internet!

    Happy New Year, girl! Looks like you had a fab time with family.

    • January 3, 2012 2:49 pm

      Happy New Year to you too MK! I hope you had just a good NYE. 🙂

  38. January 3, 2012 1:32 pm

    Your pink coat is DIVINE, my dear. Bummer you had to work in Europe and couldn’t focus solely on sipping chocolate, shopping, and exploring in general. But a girl’s gotta pay the bills somehow, I understand.

    • January 3, 2012 2:50 pm

      Luckily I like my job so I didn’t mind taking a break from the chocolate and shopping. 🙂 And thank you for the compliment!

  39. January 3, 2012 2:41 pm

    I feel about paying for internet connection at hotels, cafes, trains etc. the same way I feel about coughing up 99 cents for apps: I just won’t do it! ‘Irregardless’ of how much the shrimp costs at said hotel.
    The pic of Maya making crepes if my fave!

    • January 3, 2012 2:51 pm

      Ha! I have a “I don’t pay for apps” policy myself. I have no idea why. It’s just a $1! But I won’t do it!

  40. January 3, 2012 2:45 pm

    I love the last picture!

    I cannot keep me eyes off your pink winter coat.

    • January 3, 2012 2:51 pm

      Thank you Priyanka! I bought it several years ago in Vancouver. 🙂

  41. January 3, 2012 2:56 pm

    this is too funny! I kinda see his point, it is a ripoff, but then you are staying at the Ritz, what is a little extra. But I do the same thing, I pay for things that I can’t really skimp on, and I hate paying for things that should be totally free, or cheap. When I was in Barca – they charged 12 euros a day for internet and that was pretty reasonable compared to 25. 🙂 brings back memories… enjoy! You guys look great.

    • January 4, 2012 1:59 pm

      12 is far more reasonable! I am so confused why ours was double?

  42. January 3, 2012 3:45 pm

    I love the picture with you and Maya, she is beautiful and growing up so fast!!!

  43. January 3, 2012 4:31 pm

    Yes! How did I miss the pink coat the first time. It’s just the thing for jet-setting through Europe

    • January 4, 2012 2:01 pm

      Thank you my friend. I love my coat but after wearing it for the last 9 days I don’t want to see it again for a while. 🙂

  44. January 3, 2012 5:17 pm

    Oh Barcelona was my favorite. The Sagrada Familia is way too cool. We only spent 3 days there and it just wasn’t enough.

    And heck yeah ,it was pricey!

    • January 4, 2012 2:02 pm

      3 days is not enough in Barcelona! I know that now…will definitely have to make another trip someday!

  45. January 3, 2012 5:51 pm

    you are all like freaking models.

    Daaaamn You!


  46. January 3, 2012 6:41 pm

    I loved Barcelona! And yay for Ali for turning his laptop into a mobile hotspot. I only know how to do that with an actual hotpot device thingy. It sounds pretty sophisticated…

    Believe it or not, there was free wi fi at most of the hostels I stayed at in Europe this summer, including the one in Barcelona (although I suspect said hostel also had free bedbugs).

    I thought the Olympic Park was pretty sweet, with incredible views. I rode a bike around it.

    • January 4, 2012 2:04 pm

      Free bedbugs…I’m laughing at that right now. And I’m also hoping that we don’t come back with any!

  47. January 3, 2012 7:34 pm

    Yet another way I know that The Universe meant for us to be friends – you currency-exchanged internet into shrimp. I do that sort of thing to Marcus all the time when I’m trying to put the cost of something into perspective so that we can get the show on the road. It’s the little things in life.

    • January 4, 2012 2:06 pm

      You never cease to make me laugh…my whole life is about getting Ali and his show on the road. Love that you can relate.

  48. Janelle permalink
    January 3, 2012 7:37 pm

    Who cares how much internet costs, you are in Barcelona!

    • January 4, 2012 2:07 pm

      You’d think that would be enough, right? But we always have to complain about something. It’s genetic I think.

  49. January 3, 2012 8:16 pm

    Hahah oh my hubs would get a kick out of that 🙂

    Barcelona looks wonderful and Maya is growing up so fast!

    PS. My friend had a baby girl a few months back and named her Maya too. Except she spells it Mahya. Does my head in lol.

    • January 4, 2012 2:07 pm

      People who spell things oddly mystify me. I met this one girl whose parents spelled her name Jennipher. I felt bad for her.

  50. January 3, 2012 9:23 pm

    Haha I love your stories about Ali. I feel like he is a never ending source of entertainment. For me at least. 🙂

    Happy belated New Year Ameena – I hope you had a good one!

  51. January 3, 2012 10:39 pm

    ”Make it happen” <— Lol.

    I can't believe you guys spent 30$ for 5 shrimps. My cheap asian genes are screaming right now.

    • January 4, 2012 2:08 pm

      My cheap Indian genes didn’t want me to do it either but I was hungry. I have no other excuse!

  52. January 4, 2012 1:49 am

    I love Barcelona! I will be there again in May (right after a friends wedding in San Sebastian)! Glad you are enjoying your time despite the obvious rip offs for internet. I usually sign up for the global plan (or whatever it is called) from Boingo since most hotels are on the network so I pay like $50 a month and just use it where ever I can get a Boingo hotspot. It worked out for the most part the last time we were traveling. I’m impressed Ali found a workable solution.

    • January 4, 2012 2:09 pm

      I’m so jealous of your trip in May! And I wonder if Ali knows about this Boingo thing…I will be asking him!

  53. January 4, 2012 4:40 am

    I’m getting a little travel envy, I sense a European tour. And yet here I am surfing away on the internet for free with many devices and I can get a pound of shrimp for less than your 5 (trying to make myself feel better). Enjoy.

    • January 4, 2012 2:10 pm

      My European tour is coming to an end tomorrow, unfortunately. Back to work on Friday! Hope that makes you feel a bit better?

  54. January 4, 2012 5:27 am

    I’ve never seen a hotel offer free wi-fi.. It really is a rip-off!! But so are those shrimp, unless of course they were the size of maya!

  55. January 4, 2012 6:36 am

    Love seeing your pictures! The wifi situation is ridiculous. I mean, if I am paying THAT price for the room the least you can do is throw in the internet. Seriously. Way to go Ali! Love the ingenuity. And p.s. I have noted “nicest hotel I have ever stayed in” – it’s now on my list!

    I hope your trip has been amazing – even considering you couldn’t meet me. 🙂

    • January 4, 2012 2:11 pm

      You must hit the Ritz, you live so close by! And yes, our trip has been amazing. I’m sorry to see it end. 😦

  56. January 4, 2012 11:35 am

    I liked how you used the shrimp argument-so my kinda gal…twist the world till the world sees things your way!
    And did I tell you how pretty the pink coat looks? No? Okay, the pink coat looks super hot!
    And did I also tell you how the last pic is an absolute classic, the kinds that would make many women want to have daughters…you both look wow!

    And poor Ali, give him some credit…he got what you wanted after all:-)

    • January 4, 2012 2:11 pm

      Thank you for the multiple compliments…you are making me feel like a million bucks. Although Ali will say you’re giving me a big head. 🙂

      And Ali…can’t give him credit. Otherwise he’ll get a big head!

  57. January 4, 2012 3:00 pm

    Lucky you getting all 3 working.

    Pics are awesome and I love your pink coat. 😉

    • January 5, 2012 2:56 pm

      Thank you Laila! Love your avatar – if that’s the right word?

  58. Tandra permalink
    January 4, 2012 3:24 pm

    The pictures are sooooo nice, loved your pink coat…and the last picture of you and Maya is soooooo adorable…Enjoy your vacation !

    • January 5, 2012 2:57 pm

      Thank you Tandra! I hope that 2012 is off to a good start for you!

  59. January 4, 2012 6:00 pm

    Sounds (and looks) like you’re having a great European vaca. Happy happy new year!

  60. January 4, 2012 7:46 pm

    I have always wanted to go to Barcelona – and the crepe cooking lessons would be a great addition. Lucky Maya! 🙂

    • January 5, 2012 2:58 pm

      It wasn’t a formal cooking lesson, we just got lucky with a really nice chef who pulled Maya into his little crepe making corner! Barcelona residents are SUPER friendly.

  61. January 4, 2012 10:53 pm

    A Very happy new year to you, Ali & Maya, …Spain has always been and is still a place I want to visit…Lovely pictures esp..of you and… Maya…That was really brilliant and sweet of Ali to have sorted out the internet problem …He made it happen..:)

    • January 5, 2012 2:59 pm

      Happy New Year to you too my friend! Thank you for all the compliments. 🙂

  62. January 4, 2012 11:43 pm

    Oh how fun, Barcelona is one of my favorite cities 🙂 Have fun, now with the hot spot with you at all times we know Ali will

  63. January 5, 2012 12:44 am

    Your pink coat is adorable. Almost as adorable as Maya cooking crepes 🙂 I spent a year in Barcelona and your photos have made me so nostalgic…

    • January 5, 2012 3:00 pm

      You are so lucky to have spent a year in Barcelona. I had 3 days and it wasn’t enough.

  64. January 5, 2012 5:35 am

    It’s been years since I was in Barcelona. Your sagrada familia picture reminded me of some fun times! It looks like you all had some good times as well. That hotel looks beautiful!

    • January 5, 2012 3:00 pm

      We had the best time. Unfortunately it has come to an end. 😦

  65. January 5, 2012 11:45 am

    I AM IN LOVE with Barcelona! OOOOH so lovely!

  66. January 5, 2012 5:23 pm

    Oh man…I’m already dreading what our monthly budget is going to look like when we go to Paris in May! Thanks for making me smile at all your cute shots in Spain!

  67. January 7, 2012 6:46 am

    Beautiful pictures of you guys!! That hotel lobby looks like something out of Vogue. I hope you’re having a wonderful time expensive as it sounds!

  68. January 9, 2012 9:04 pm

    Never underestimate the value of a tech savvy husband! Never! That last photo of you and Maya is precious!

  69. January 10, 2012 8:43 am

    Europe is ineeded expensive, 25e is loot. Ameena, i so love your pink coat and lovely dovely pictures and little maya and pancake adorable .) Hope you had a fantastic time! I’m actully planning a trip to spain!!

    • January 10, 2012 1:59 pm

      Thank you Ananda! And let me know if you need any Spain recommendations!

  70. January 14, 2012 10:06 am

    Barcelona for New Years Eve, very cool! And quite genius with the laptop hotspot 🙂 Love the photo of you and Maya 🙂

  71. January 19, 2012 12:20 am

    I’m reading your posts backwards, but loving every one of your photos – beautiful!
    Yay Ali! Happy wife, happy life. Smart man. 😉
    And lucky Maya!

  72. January 30, 2012 6:53 am

    jesus. you guys stay at the nicest places!! My friend’s hubs works for Google and they got to go to europe for “his work” and everything was comped!!!

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