Hi Marghe(my daughter is Marghe(rita),too),
I'd like to reassure you on this issue. Travelling in Europe, as elsewhere,
is no more affordable as it used to be in the eighties.
But La Chiusa's prices are for the very rich(American) traveller. I'm sure
it's like heaven, but let's land down to earth. Sticking to normal,comfortable,and
pleasant hotels and to clean,inviting restaurants that give you a wonderful
italian meal,you can fix your budget at around 100 to 160 USD for a double
room and to 45 to 80 USD for a meal for two people at an average restaurant.The
budget young travellers could spend even 50$ for a simple,clean room.The
occasional splurge in a first quality restaurant can cost 60 to 100 USD
per person, but I would say that one isn't likely to want such a meal
twice a day, everyday in the vacation. Usually I and my wife have breakfast
at the hotel,dinner at a good but not pricey restaurant,and for lunch
either a pizza,or a rich ice cream, or a basket of fruit,and this leaves
us lighter for sightseeing. In many cities you'll find the italian version
of a fast food(assuming you'll keep away from the american version),with
many regional variations. As for restaurants, I agree that those 5 or maybe
10 high end,100$ restaurants in the whole country, that are mentioned
in many guidebooks are probably worth the cost, but following guidebooks
will not always assure you the best deal. Many simpler, familiar style trattorias
will give you outstanding food for a fraction of that price. Generally
speaking 30$ is the right price I like to pay for a resataurant meal,except
in major tourist cities like Venice or Florence where 50$ is more realistic.
As for other european countries, in general food will be more expensive
in Great Britain (if good food can ever be found there), France, or especially
Scandinavian countries. Cheaper in Spain and Portugal, Eastern europe and
Lodging will be more expensive in Great Britain, Switzerland, Paris,and
large cities in other countries like Germany.
Although I've never been in Sweden I know that there's a peculiarity with
the cost of hotels: they usually come for half the price in summer, when
it's tourist season: isn't that cool?
Have a nice time in Europe and give a kiss from me to beautiful Hawaii (I
was in Oahu, Kauai and Maui 12 years ago).
Ciao from Italy,