It all started with an impromptu sort of thing.
Meeting a friend after a long time. It’s been quite a while since we spent some time together, we have a lot of catching up to do.
So we decided to meet in the next few days, in Turin, and spend a whole day rambling around the Egyptian Museum. We both love Egyptian antiquities, and the old museum was one of our favorite haunts..
And there’s climate control in the museum – so we could stroll among the mummies and talk, in the cool air. Then maybe a bite somewhere reasonably cheap but quality.
So, why not?
Well, let me tell you why not.
A quick check with the Egyptian Museum website tells me the ugly truth.
The basic ticket is a stiff 17 euro, and comes with two catches.
First, you have to book in advance the day and the hour of your visit.
Second, fifteen minutes late on your booked visit, and you’re out – and no refunds.
Oh, and make it quick – the tickets are running out, and you’d better book for a visit after the 26th of August.
Of course, we could book without any real problem a guided tour.
It’s 47 euro per person, and the tour takes two hours.
Forget rambling aimlessly among the mummies.
And once again, you must book day and time, and again if you miss the appointment by more than fifteen minutes you’re out and there’s no refund.
That’s 94 euro for two persons.
Add about 50 bucks for a cheap dinner – 70 is probably likelier (the lady is high maintenance).
Another 50 in public transport for the both of us.
And maybe an ice cream or a cool lemonade? Say another 25 bucks /Turin is one of the most expensive cities in Italy).
And pocket money, to buy books in the museum bookstore, or gadgets, or whatever.
It’s 250/300 euro at least for a day on the town and two hours in the Egyptian Museum.
So, considering the current state of my finances – and my friend’s current “between jobs” status – I think we’ll meet wherever we please, whenever we please, and spend a day window-shopping, browsing the shelves in used bookstores and second-hand record shops, chatting and enjoying cool drinks.
Between October and May, the Louvre Museum in Paris is free to visit on the first Sunday of the month.
And a cheap return flight from Milan to Paris, for two, would probably set me back 100 euro.
We could easily find a good place to sleep for two and cover it with the remaining 150/200 euro of our Egyptian Museum budget.
The trick is booking with a good advance – what about next October, or maybe April?
April in Paris, sounds fine, right?
OK, so we should throw in another 100 euro for expenses and pocket money.
But what the heck, it’s a weekend in Paris, for two, we’re talking about – la Ville Loumiere, not two hours jogging among the mummies while an underpaid, bored Egyptology student drones on.
And the fun thing is, book with enough advance, and the same mathematics works for London (where we could crash on a friend’s couch, and actually save on the sleeping accommodations), or Berlin.
And I’ve yet to check for a visit to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
So, all in all, I think there will be something to discuss with my friend, over a cool glass of lemonade. She’ll be shocked. And probably intrigued.