This picture was taken from the top of the Zugspitze, which sits along the German/Austrian border. The trip – in addition to being a very nice revisiting of childhood places – was wonderfully cheap. In December 2001, Americans were still afraid to fly anywhere (resulting in very low airfares), and the dollar was strong against the euro. 82 cents for one euro. Flew to Germany for a week, rented a Mercedes, skiied in the Alps, and it still probably didn’t go far beyond $1k, total.
Fast forward five years. I was just pricing flights out of the UK, and I assumed that the exchange rate was somewhere in the $1.50 = £1 range that it has been for years. Except it hasn’t been, it seems. When I went to check it – wow. Nearly $2 to the £1, now.
And the euro? It’s almost flipped places with the dollar. It’ll now take you $1.32 to buy €1. Suddenly, failing to exchange back all those euros I ended the past few trips with doesn’t seem so irresponsible, anymore . . .