The British Pound Sterling.
While over half of the European Union converted over to the euro in 2002, it’s no wonder that the British decided to keep their pound sterling. Not only is it solid and strong (with £1 there equaling roughly $1.6 here), but it’s beautiful.
Yesterday, I went to pick up some pounds from the bank to get me through the first few days of my journey, as I knew I would need to have some of their currency upon landing in order to get my visa and a bus ticket to Brighton. I was surprised to see how beautifully they were colored. Depending on the note, the color schemes ranged from aquas to cherry to something that resembles an orange creamsicle, but they all share a common image of Queen Elizabeth II on the front. The backs have historical figures–religious, political, scientific–and pictures depicting those figures. One, the £50, was funny in the fact that it also had a quote from the each of the persons it pictured: James Watt and Matthew Boulton. My favorite was the £10, which had Charles Darwin on the back with a bird (pictured below).
Strange to us, the notes were different sizes. The more the note was worth, the larger it was. While this makes some sense, it does make carrying differently valued notes somewhat difficult, as even the £10 is awkwardly larger than the typical US dollar would be, and thus does not fit comfortably in any wallet I’ve bought here.
Also different for someone from the states, they don’t have a £1 note. Rather, it’s a coin. In fact, anything under £5 comes in a coin. I don’t have any of those yet, and I’m sure that they will take a little longer to get acquainted with, as they come in different values than some of our coins here. Still, it will be an excellent learning experience, and I look forward to leaving on Friday!