I arrive in Venice the morning of August 22, 2004. Hotel Monaco & Grand Canal Hotel. Ya know, in case you want to send wine and flowers to my room. I’m not allergic to strawberries either. On August 24th, I depart by train to Bologna, where the Grand Hotel Baglioni will have the great pleasure of our company. But on the 25th, we’re going to rent a car and drive to Cinque Terra, where we’ll be sleeping the nights of the 25 and 26 of August. Grand Hotel Portovenere, via Garibaldi. Here, of course, I’d adore a spa treatment or four. See a pattern here or what? Grand Hotel. How grand; I hope their idea of “grand” means air conditioning. We depart for Florence on the 27. In Florence, I completely intend to drive again taking day trips to Tuscany…which might mean a night there. But we will remain in Florence, guests at The Excelsior, until the 29th, when we train it to Rome. IC DE LA Ville, Intercontinental. Leave Italy altogether on September 2 headed home with an extra bag of full of clothes, olive oil, handbags, and shoes. Here’s the best part. Smelly nor I can drive a manual car. I have no desire to learn, though I’ve tried many times. I’m a bad enough driver in an automatic. So pray for us. Pray we find a Hertz with an automatic. Otherwise, I’m totally hopping into a car with strangers. I just packed. No chance they’ll have room for me and my bags. They won’t even have room for me and all my shoes. Note to self: read a self-help book on the art of traveling light. I doubt I will ever master this task. I really want to see Tuscany. I want to wear a bikini and smell like the sun. I need to lose 5 lbs…now that, my friends, would be grand.