Infomercial for Prague

Sometimes, when I go to check my email, I see these articles entitled “Best Places to Retire” or “Where to Retire for Only $2000 a month.” I would read about living in the South of France or Argentina and wonder what it would be like to live in those beautiful places. Not like I’m anywhere close to retirement – but I can dream.
But if I were to retire, Argentina is way too hot (although they have had some good luck with that one musical) and isn’t the South of France like South Florida? Where rich old white people go to vacation and then just never leave?

I feel like I’m about to shoot an infomercial or sing a bad jingle for a carpet cleaning service but let me tell you that for only $1500 a month, two people (that’s right, two people – a couple…of people) can live in a 2+1 flat in the center of Prague (2+1 = 2 rooms, usually one bedroom and a living room + a kitchen). I know what you’re thinking (yup, I am selling something on QVC), “What? Only 2 rooms. That’s hardly anything.” Technically, it’s a bedroom, a living room, a kitchen, an eating area, a bathroom, and possibly more depending on the apartment. Plus, these costs include furnishings. Yeah, that’s right: Furniture.

On another note, the cost of food in the Czech Republic is extremely low. I can purchase 5 fresh rolls for 10Kc with is equivalent to 50 cents. Large buckets of yogurt are only $1.50…so much cheese for only a couple of dollars. So. Much. Cheese. The milk tastes a little weird but you get used to it.

Even eating out is pretty reasonable. If you are just wanting a giant sausage (and they have 7 varieties of sausage) to eat while browsing through the shops along Na Prikopke, only 50KC (just $2). Or perhaps a cone with some chocolate gelato? 35KC  (Just over a dollar – and that’s for the good stuff. The cheap stuff is only 15KC – under a dollar). But maybe you want to eat at a restaurant. The prices range from 50Kc to 300Kc depending on what you are getting. I’ve seen salads for only 60KC ($3) and a giant plate of schnitzel, potato dumplings, and vegetables for 250KC ($12). If you are looking for food in the middle of Prague 1 (the tourist center of the city), then expect higher prices. If you go away from that tourist center, you can find the most amazing restaurants that will serve you the largest bowl of the moistest gnocchi with delicious sheep’s cheese and perfectly cooked bacon (150Kc = $7).

Let me give you a little piece of advice when you eat out here: Nothing is free. No free refills. And if there are some delicious looking pretzels hanging on a little hook from your table, don’t eat them. If there is a bowl of nuts with saran wrap over it, don’t take the saran wrap off. You just bought those nuts. And if you ask for a side of honey mustard, you just threw away $2. Yes, TWO DOLLARS for two ounces of  honey mustard. And don’t eat out at any American-themed restaurants. Avoid TGI Fridays, Hooters, (yes, I am ashamed to say that they have a Hooters here…it was bad enough in America), and any “American” bar. It’s just a trick so they can overcharge you.

If you do chose to retire in/visit Prague, please drink beer. This may sound weird since I didn’t like beer before two months ago…but water is very expensive. Water comes in 8 ounce glass bottles and costs FOUR dollars. Just drink a beer. It’s only $1. And you get a lot of beer. Good beer. And that’s coming from a girl who spent 3 and half years at a party college and didn’t drink one beer. Literally. I literally was never able to finish more than 1/6 of a beer and I’m pretty sure I didn’t even try that more than 5 times. So, technically I spent 3 1/2 years in college and didn’t finish more than 5/6ths of ONE beer. But beer is good in Prague. So, drink beer. And save money.

Prague is also the “Paris” of Eastern Europe. But it’s better because not that many people have heard of it except for people living in Europe. And things are generally pretty cheap here because of it. There are plenty of Asian and Czech tourists but not as many English-speaking tourists as you would expect. Let me put it this way, I am surprised when I hear someone speaking English and I get a little excited that I can finally eavesdrop on someone else’s conversation again (it was one of my favorite things to do in America). I’m thinking of learning Czech just so I can eavesdrop again.

Back on track here, if you want to retire in a place other than South Florida, I would seriously consider Prague and/or the Czech Republic. It won’t be on the lists in those articles but that’s probably because France’s tourist department is paying Yahoo/MSN/Other Lifestyle Article Publisher to say France.

In conclusion, remember that you are not Meg Ryan or Madonna. So, you can’t afford to move to the South of France or Argentina.

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