Changing money is a dirty business

Yesterday morning was tough.

We had until 13:00 to convert traveler’s cheques worth USD 2000 into Euros. The first bank we went to, recommended by Lucilla, had a USD 400 limit on currency exchanges. This was going to be a long morning.

After leaving the first bank, I was sure that, by the time we had converted half of our money, the guardia di finanza (fraud squad) would be trailing us around the city. By the time we had 15 minutes left, we decided to cut our losses and go to a bank on the Piazza della Signoria in the center of town, where we knew we’d get ripped-off. At least they were willing to exchange any amount of money.

After paying Lucilla, we went out for lunch. Unfortunately, we didn’t have breakfast because we wanted to have time to convert our money. It’s still pretty cold outside, so we headed for Piazza di Santa Croce to see what we could find. Although Santa Croce is a tourist attraction, it’s still a little bit out of the way, and therefore not as expensive as some other parts of the town. We actually decided to eat outside, because the sun was beating down and warming us up. The wind had almost completely died out, so it was a very pleasant meal.

We took a stroll for about an hour and wandered through some of the wonderful sights of Florence — the enormous Duomo, the square below the Uffizi gallery, and the Piazza della Repubblica, before returning home to plan the evening.

Before dinner, I returned to La Ch@t and signed up for Internet access and posted yesterday’s story. We had a wonderful dinner and decided that we can’t afford to do it all that often. Time to start working on making food in our flat.

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