Less Thank a Week 'Til Italy

It's crush time now to get plans finalized for Italy. I leave Sunday. Walking tours have been booked for Florence (me and David on Thanksgiving Day!), I've made contact with a walking guide in Venice (including a pub crawl) but the minimum number of people haven't signed up. Venice is definitely going to be play-it-by-ear situation. I'm stressing about Rome. My friend wants to see the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican, don't know how that's going to fit in with all the other Roman things to see. *sigh* I just need to remember to breathe...

I've been using Rick Steves' Italy 2008 to plan this trip. The book says it's doable to spend $35 a day on meals, but I think the exchange rate was calculated at 1.30 (Euro to the U.S. Dollar) and I think it's about 1.46 now. Yeah, it sucks. I wonder what the begging laws are in Italy? Should I bring along a piece of cardboard and black Sharpie to stand on a street corner?

But overall, I'm trying to keep a positive outlook. I looked up the hotels and they don't look as scary as I thought they'd be (one used to be a palace and they look quite lovely) and I've figured out ways to (cheaply) get from the airport/train station to each hotel.

For various reasons, I'm stressed about the trip.

On another note, being Veteran's Day, I'm sharing a beautiful story called "When Veteran's Day is Personal" by the Barefoot. Grab your box of tissues!