THE TRIP WAS GREAT. I can not thank the RS friends enough for all the wonderful tips, advice and support. I'm not sure how much detail to write on this site but I'll post a little at a time. Our flights went well. We had seats together as we had planned. The plane was full and cramped for space. The moms did not sleep well on the plane but the girls did fine. We arrived in Zurich and 1 mom's bag did not make it. Bummer. Had to wait in to deal with lost luggage but swiss air seemed to have a good system to deal with it(maybe it happens too often?). We had pre arranged for a minibus to pick us up at the airport. Even though we were later than expected because of lost luggage, etc. Peter, the driver, was faithfully waiting for us. He was not cheap, but was great and worth everything we paid him. He showed us around some beautful sites, lake, park, etc. in Zurcih(he grew up there) and even went back to the airport ,an hour later, to pick up the other 2 from our group who flew stand by and arrived later than expected. He loaded all our luggage and drove us to zurich city center, pointed out some highlights and let us out to explore. Then he drove us thru beautiful countryside, stopping for photo ops, etc. and delivered us to our destination, "Our Chalet" girl scout center. Everything we saw was beautiful. We did snooze some on the drive but he would wake us to not miss the highlights. It was great to not have to think to much or mess with trains or luggage while we were so tired.
We arrived at the chalet around 7:00 pm, had about an hour to rest, settle in and unpack and then the chalet has evening activities planned each nite at 8:00. Saturday's evening activity was a nite hike to some waterfalls. It was beautiful and fun in spite of the fact that we were really tired. Afterwards back to the chalet to sleep, get up Sunday morning, hiked 30 mins to the bus stop(taking picutres along the way. We were right up in the alps and everything was green, beautiful, flowers everywhere), rode the bus into adleboden and went to a church service at a sweet little german speaking reformed church. It appeared to be either confirmation or graduation Sunday. The only thing we understood was when they said the Lord's prayer. However, it was still beautiful and worshipful. We walked around the town of adleboden, ate lunch and a nice little Italian restaurant. I had an excellent caprese salad, stopped in a bakery where all the baked goods look like art works and headed back to the chalet. Hiked, rested, hung out and then the evening activity was some girl scout wide games with staff from many parts of the world and some other guests from Scotland that soon became our new friends.
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We were at The Chalet 12 years ago this week - your post brings back wonderful memories. Thanks for sharing - can't wait to hear more!
felicia, It's great to hear that you had such a wonderful time! We'll all be waiting for the next installment.
Sorry for the delay. It has been hectic getting caught up from 2 weeks gone and I have been busy getting my girls ready for church camp. Anyway, I left off at the Chalet on Sunday nite after girl scout wide games with our new friends from Scotland. Monday morning, most of the group set out on a 2 hour hike to the wood carvers house. A few of us took a taxi and met them there for lunch, shopping and dessert. The wood carver is impressive. It is a multi generational family business. I bought a beautiful bread bowl, coasters and a hair clip. Their house has the most beautiful view. It is up on the edge of the alps and you will just have to see some photos but even photos don't do it justice. if you want to see photos, you can message me. Then, next door to the woodcarver, is the sweetest old couple that makes lemon cake fresh daily and serves hot chocolate and coffee with it. It was great. The hiking group opted to continue hiking back to the chalet. They decided to take a different route for new scenery. It seems they were lost, took them about 4 hours to get home. The 2 moms with them were exhausted(glad I was in the taxi). The girls, however, seemed quite proud of their accomplishment of a 6 hour hiking day. That evening the girls put on their girl scout uniform with much decorated badge work on their sash. I took lots of pictures of them as a group and individual in the mountains, with the chalet, etc. I knew it would likely be the last time to see them in their uniform. They have felt the last few years that they have outgrown their uniform. I know they brought their uniform and put it on without complaint for me but I think they actually felt proud of their accomplishments both in scouting and traveling to Europe. I'm pretty proud of them. So, the evening activity scheduled was a campfire with girl scout campfire songs. How perfect for our final nite and the ceremony I had planned for them. More later.
Felicia, I envy your Scouts this experience! I hope they know how lucky they are to have such a dedicated guide. (And the house next to the woodcarver's house must have smelled heavenly!)
The woodcarver and the house next door with lemon cake were both such wonderful, sweet authentic experiences. The lemon cake was great. Nice big slices, a little bit like a pound cake, not too sweet. One of my girls does not like chocolate but she loves lemon cake and apple strudel so she had plenty of yummy desserts on this trip.
So, Monday nite was our 3rd and last nite in Switzerland at the GS chalet. The chalet staff had a campfire planned. Staff from all over the world was there and also our new friends from Scotland. Most of the ladies from Scotland were adult girl guides but our girls connected with then and enjoyed them alot. At the campfire, we all new several of the same songs which was very fun. We also learned new songs. Our troop has always loved the song, "I love the mountains" which was perfect to sing at our campfire in the Alps. We also sang," mmm.... I wanna linger, mmm... a little longer, mmm.... I little longer with you. mmm.... it's such a perfect nite, mmm... it doesn't seem quite right, mmm.......that it should be my last with you........" We sang barges, G for generosity and of course, TAPS. Then, I had each girl come up with me and my asst, told about her girl scout accomplishments and pinned her with the appropriate pin. My daughter got her Gold Award pin that night (similar to eagle scout). Then one of the Scotland ladies gave all the girls a special coin that had been minted in Scotland to celebrate the 100th anniversary of girl guides and girl scouting. It was a very nice evening and then we needed to get back to our rooms and get packed up because we had to catch a taxi in the morning at 7:00 and take the 30 min taxi ride to the train station in frutigen. The taxi was less complicated than the bus and the bus station in adleboden was a 30 min walk from Our Chalet so everyone was happy to pitch in for the taxi. At the train station in Frutigen we had to pick up our actual tickets that we had purchased in advance over the internet. I'm sure some of you remember what a slow learner I was on purchasing train tickets. I was not sure how the ticket pick up would go. I had the confirmation number and had no problems picking up our tickets.
By the way, Tim was kind enough to call and talk me thru my first train ticket purchase which was these tickets from frutigen to milan. We were a bit insecure about where to get on the train and how to know which was the correct train but it was easy, the train was nice, not crowded, we had the whole section to our selves. We had packed a snack at the chalet to eat on the train. The train was clean, nice and comfortable. We changed trains in milan without any trouble and found our train to Florence. We arrived in Florence. Now we need Euros. We tried to find a bank or ATM but could not. I think we did not know where to look. A taxi for the 9 of us was ready and available but wanted Euros. We exchanged at an exchange place at the train station. I felt stuck, the exchange rate was terrible. I think it is my only trip regret. But, live and learn, and on to the B&B. We drove up and the buildings and housing is different than we expected and not to sure we were even in the correct place. However, rang the bell and the most welcoming and helpful young man answered, called me by name, clearly expecting us and helped everyone with all their luggage up the stairs to the greatest little place to call home the next 2 days, La Casa Dei tintori. I think Lola recommended this place and said we would not be disappointed. Thank you. We made more new friends. The hosts were great. helped us exchange money, recommended a great place for dinner and had pre-purchased our tickets to the Accademia to see David and Uffizi. We checked in, got maps, recommendations and directions and headed off to see David. He was grand! I would have to recommend to NOT miss seeing the real David if in Florence. The girls were glad to see it but probably not as impressed as the adults.
After the accademia, we had our first gelato. It was love at first bite. You guys were not joking. I'm sure we had it 2-3 times/day while in Italy and we still lost weight so it must not be fattening. Then, walked around the main city area, near the Duomo, baptistry doors, etc. We should have lingered longer and spent a little more time because it was after 6:00 in the evening on a tuesday nite and there was no crowd. We didn't stay long because we were coming back the next morning. Our B&B host recommended a great place for dinner, Ristorante del fagioli, it was close to where we were staying, local and family style (sorda, easy to order things to share). It was yummy. I shared a nice florentine steak and italian green beans. my girls had ravioli. By this time we were very tired and had an early morning so home to bed. Next morning it is off to climb to the top of Duomo.
Yea, Tim! And what kind of merit badge does that warrant? I immediately went to TripAdvisor to check out Florence's La Casa Dei Tintori, and just guess whose review popped up? ;-) I'm sooo glad you all had such a great trip; I remember your first thread here a loooong time ago! I've had my fingers crossed for many months... Eagerly awaiting more...
Had a great nites sleep in florence and a wonderful breakfast of beautiful pastries at our B&B. Then off to climb 463 steps of Brunelleschi's Dome. (The girls had studied Brunelleschi and the Renaissance in history this past year which made it more interesting for them). The views and our photos were worth the hike. The depth and definition of the frescos in the dome look like they are coming out of the painting. Unbelievably impressive. Back down from the dome and then spent some time in the cathedral. The cathedral is pretty impressive both inside and out. There is so much detail just on the outside of the cathedral. I can not imagine how it was built. Then we went outside to see the gold doors of the baptistry and realized we should have paid better attention the nite before when there was no crowd. Definitely getting busy now in this main touristy area.
So, we are headed off to the Big Mercato(market for everything, fresh fruit, meat, fish, flowers) and then to the leather market. The girls LOVED shopping in the leather market. We bought purses, belts, wallets, ties(not leather of course), clothes. We made a big haul here. Good thing there just happened to be a UPS shipping center right next door to our B&B(did I mention everything was perfect about this B&B). I'm sure about now we had to have a gelato break on the way to drop our stuff off in our rooms. Then we visited another incredibly impressive church, Santa Maria Novella and also the nearby pharmacy where the nuns make and sell soap. Now this soap place was a little hard to find and a little walk. I'd say for our group, probably not worth it. It was in a very beautiful building, very high end service and ambiance. Too busy and didn't really seem appropriate for the girls to be waited on just to smell and be curious. They seemed busy with serious buyers. But, I'm glad I saw it.
same day in Firenzia we had 4:00 tickets to see the Uffizzi gallery. We walked right past all the lines and crowds and went in with the tickets are B&B had purchased for us. Beautiful gallery and impressive to see original art work from so many famous artists. The moms could have stayed longer but 1 1/2 was plenty for the girls. The RS downloads for art work and info in the Uffizzi was good and enhanced the appreciation for what we were seeing. Leaving the Uffizzi, there happens to be gelato, so...(well, nigel said at least twice a day). Now on to our cooking class. The walk to the cooking class was longer than we expected. Maybe we should have checked into some transportation options. On the other hand, we burned plenty of calories before dinner and we have had alot of gelato. The class was great. The food was great. We made pasta, meatballs, 2 sauces for the meatballs, salad and tiramisu. The host and his wife for this class were the nicest couple. The class was in their appt. She is pregnant with their first baby and he cooks for her all the time. We made new friends. We are excited to hear when their new baby arrives. The class was great, the girls learned alot, we all want to try it at home. The class was called cook, eat italia. It was our favorite meal of the trip. By coincidence one of the girls noticed we always eat italian food together to celebrate their GS accomplishments. After they finished their bronze award we ate at spaghetti warehouse, after their silver award, Olive garden and after their Gold award(similar to eagle award) we go to a cooking class in Italy. The cooking class was very accommodating. They were happy to schedule a class for our group of 9 on a wed nite even though the website says the classes are on tues and sat for only 6 people. So, be sure and ask if they are able to adjust for your group or schedule. Took taxi home. Tired and happy.
I enjoyed every word of this post. Every moment was beautifully described Felicia, thank you! What a blessing for all of the girls, a trip of a lifetime. Contratulations on your very successful trip!
That was our last nite in florence. There were a couple of things we had hoped to squeeze in but just did not have the time. 1. was to walk across and experience the Ponte Vecchio. We only got to walk past it on the way to our cooking class. Also, we had hoped to see Piazzole Michelangelo but did not have time. There were several other things to see in florence (like bobili gardens and San Lorenzo Church) not to mention the surrounding area. Ok, if you read my earliest posts (before I learned the wisdom of staying put at least 2 nites and experiencing each place), I was just going to have a train stop over in Florence to race by to see "David". thank you to all of you who said, "So much more to see and do in Florence" and "stay at least 2 nites everywhere" If I go back to Italy, I will stay a week in Florence and surrounding area. But in a way it feels better to leave wanting for more instead of wishing we could have left sooner. So, time to move on. Our mini van/taxi driver that took us from the train station to the B&B was such a nice guy and he had given us his card so we called him to come back and get us. Back to the train station and on to VENICE. Seems like maybe our train had a delay or maybe it was a different train but regardless, it did not cause any complications and we did not have any reservations that would be compromised. Did not really know what to expect in Venice except I knew Nigel and Lola had both spoke well of it. Lots of other people did not care for Venice and described it as crowded, dirty with bad food and over priced. Well, we loved it. Again, so glad we stayed in Venice for 2 nites on the main island. I think that is a must and so thankful for that recommendation from Nigel and others. And guess what, our accommodations were totally different from our last 2 places (chalet in the alps and B&B in florence) but equally as unique and perfect for our stay.
Nigel recommended the perfect little spot on the main island but away from the main tourist area. Convenient to everything, easy to access with our luggage. NO stairs between vaporetto stops and our accomadations. It was a Jesuit monastery. It had an interesting history, very clean, quiet, plentiful and free breakfast. And, had 2 great gelato places very near by. So, we arrive at the Venice train station(there is more than one and I can't remember the name but on the main island, maybe Nigel will comment in case anyone needs to know). Before we left the train station, we bought a 24 hour vaporetto pass. The girls bought some kind of youth pass that gave them discounts and it saved them more on the vaporetto pass then the cost of their youth pass so be sure and ask about it if you go to Venice. So, I asked Nigel for directions to Don Orione(monastery). He says,"There is the quick route(25 mins) thru the back canals or the WOW route (45 mins). We took the WOW route down the grand canal. Great decision. It really is indescribable. I took a ton of pictures just coming down the grand canal. (message me if you want a link to see my photos). Who would think to build a major city ON THE WATER??? It is old and crumbly and and noisy and peaceful and beautiful and unique all at the same time. We loved it. Followed Nigel's directions exactly, got to our place to stay and settled in our rooms. The bath towels were kind like table linens. That reminds me, Florence and Venice had bidets. This was new for the girls. I encouraged them to try them out for cultural experience but I don't think I had any takers. They were good for washing your feet before bed. So, now out to explore and find something to eat in Venice. We have already heard the food was not very good and expensive in Venice so we just planned to eat gelato and pizza and everyone was happy.
So, we are settled in our rooms in Venice and head out to explore and find food. We take the vaporetto over to st. mark's square and just start exploring. We see a giant cruise ship, Queen Victoria, and assume that means things near by must still be crowded. Everywhere is a photo opportunity, over every cute little bridge, down the alleys with the interesting, old buildings, etc. We find our first mask shop and try on several masks. We are strategically wondering around to get lost in Venice. We find a cute little sidewalk cafe type restaurant and they have pizza so good enough. It was fine. The girls thought it was good so all is well. So, after dinner we just continued on exploring, finding interesting places to shop and buy souvenirs. We bought murano glass beads, books, postcards, we bought fresh cherries, etc. Right before dusk we were in some inward canal street and happened on the perfect gondolas for us. the girls were in one boat and the moms in the other. We got a fair deal and split between all of us it was great. The gondoliers were great. They were fun, they sang, they took pictures with the girls and they were very handsome. The sky was beautiful. We paddled out into the main canal with all the impressive buildings and it truly was magical. We paddled under the bridge of sighs as the sun was going down and the sun reflected perfectly on the white of the bridge and into the water. I"m quite proud of that picture. What great memories. After our gondola ride it was getting dark and we headed to st. mark's square. There was no crowd. It felt like we had the place to ourselves to enjoy the classical concert going on outside in st. mark's square. We popped into Danieli Hotel just to see it. It looks just like in the movie, "Tourist" . Caught our vaperetto back to our hotel stop which is also right next to the lovely hotel that Lola recommended we stop for dessert- Pensione La Calcina. It was perfect.
So, it was pretty late by the time we stopped for desert at La Calcina so I asked the girls if they still wanted desert(of course they did). I know I keep using the word beautiful to describe everything but it IS. The buildings, the flowers, the food, the gelato, it all seems like it is prepared by artists. La Calcina's website describes the setting as "outside in the wonderful terrace on the Giudecca canal". It was on the canal, looking out over the water, white table cloths and napkins, great coffee, desserts were yummy and beautiful in presentation. It was not crowded so quiet and relaxing to hear the water at nite. It is so true that Venice is different when the cruise ships have left for the day.
Then back to our rooms to sleep. The next morning we get up and eat a lovely (included breakfast) and head out early to beat the crowds. We take the lift to the top of Campanile St. Mark's for a panorama view of Venice. We can see the cruise ships coming. Our next stop is St. Mark's basilica. I carry a special camera backpack to keep my equipment safe so my daughter and I are going to check my backpack, keep the camera with me to take photos, and attempt the trick to skip the line with the checked bag receipt. The rest of the group waited in line but I knew my daughter and I would want to stay in longer taking everything in and getting photos. It is a little challenging to find the place to check the bags. It is around the corner and a short ways down an alley. Since it is a very touristy area, just had to ask a few people to find it. I was worried if my stuff would be safe. It was all fine, went right in. It is amazing to me to hear stories of christianity being dead when everywhere is surrounded by such history of the church. I know the church is not about a building but these "buildings" seem to have been built to worship God by giving him the best they had.
Also, the RS book on Venice had so much information to describe the paintings in the basilica, etc. Mr. Steves research and insight into all we were seeing added so much to our appreciation and enjoyment of what we were experiencing. So, lots of reading and research does pay off. I might even venture to say that people who come home from a place like Europe or Venice with a bad report maybe did not do enough research. Ok, I don't mean to step on any toes and I know there can be exceptions and bad things beyond peoples control, I'm just trying to say, in general, the reading ahead and researching makes a big difference in helping you to stop and smell the roses. It helps you know what you are looking at and look more intentionally.
So, while we were in st. mark's basilica, we wanted to see the museum as had been recommended. By this time another museum may have sounded a little much for our group but glad we followed thru to look for the entrance to the museum. Again, it was a little tricky to find, don't leave the basilica but go back close to where you came in to find steps going up to the "museum". It is really more like paying a little to see more of the basilica and to go out on the roof. Guess what, beautiful views on the roof of the canal, the square, etc. Also the replica 4 bronze horses are outside and the originals are inside this museum. They are pretty impressive and even more interesting to us because my daughters had been to Istanbul and heard the history and story from there also. (our family went to istanbul for a wedding a few years back). Also, the St Mark's Basilica is modeled after the 6th century Hagia Sophia in Constantinople(Istanbul) which we also saw when we were there for the wedding. History is way more interesting to see it by travel than to read it in a book in school. So, now we have done the 2 things in St. Mark's square that we expected to be crowded with day visitors and it is not even 11:00am. We headed over to doge's palace to pick up our pre purchased tickets for the secret itineraries tour. We enjoyed the tour, saw, heard and learned many fascinating things and I think this secret tour is the only way you get to actually walk across the bridge of sighs. This tour, in English, requires reservations and is limited in when it is offered and how many people they take so I would recommend buying tickets a month early.
So, now we take a vaporetto to rialto market for lunch and shopping. It is really recommended to see rialto market in the early morning but it would not fit in our schedule. We still enjoyed it in the afternoon.
I'm so delighted to read more of your story! Having followed a lot of the preparation posts, it's truly delightful to see how well your research paid off and how much everyone enjoyed the trip. I hope you keep finding a few minutes to write more, it's a fantastic trip report and I can't wait to read the next instalment.
What a wonderful play-by-play report. It's great to hear how all of your advance research really paid off. Sounds like a fabulous time!
I echo what Nelly and Angela said. I really enjoyed reading about your planning. (Sorry I didn't offer any suggestions, but I had not been to the places you were going.) And now it is really fun to read about the actual trip. It sounds fantastic! I hope you feel good about all the hard work you did putting it together. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for the words of encouragement. I'll continue to report on our trip as I have time. It was alot of work and at times I was a bit concerned I could pull it all together. Yes, I'm thankful for the end results. It was definitely a group effort. Everyone really had a great time and it is especially fun to see the girls share pictures with friends and be proud and excited.
Felicia, I am so glad you mentioned on the Helpline that you had written a trip report. I am enjoying every word--- and so glad it all went well. I know how very hard you worked on this.
Tim and Lola,
Good to hear from you. You guys were so valuable in helping pull all this trip together. I'll continue to report as I have time. I do have a missed train stop story to share latter on in the trip. Lee was kind enough to talk to my husband on the phone to help us with some short notice info. more on that later.
Go to Florence, stay in the B&B where we stayed and eat lots of gelato. If I make it back, I'll stay there for a week and day trip to the surrounding countryside.
Felicia, Like Lola, I'm happy that you tipped us off about your trip report. Since I haven't been reading any trip reports, I would have missed yours - and that would have been tragic! I'm breathing a big sigh of relief that you had no trouble getting your tickets and riding the trains. I have to admit that I was a little worried that had I messed up, you and your girls would have gotten off to a terrible start. Thanks for the great report! Now I'm more determined than ever to visit Italy, particularly Florence. Gelato forever!
Felicia, I am enjoying every word of your trip report. I know this will be the trip of a lifetime to your Scouts no matter how many trips they make to Europe in the future. You are a truly wonderful person for taking on this
Thanks for the encouragement. I need to get back to writing my trip report. I've been busy with back to school stuff and visiting potential colleges for my daughter for next year. It was a great trip. I'll write more soon.
Felicia -- as a former member of the Magic Empire girl scout council, all I can do is THANK YOU for the investment of time and love and expertise that you have given to these girls. They will be better citizens of our country and our world because YOU care enough to lead them, to open them up to these experiences, etc. I know the Europe trip is only one (big) part of what you've done for them.
Back to my trip report. We left off in Venice. As time goes by, I love the trip, all we did and experienced even more. It is almost unreal to think I've been to Venice and experienced all that we did. Anyway, we left off on the way to the Rialto market. We travel by vaporetto so every time we get on the vaporetto and travel down the grand canal, it's so fun to see the sites, the old building and the canal washing up on the base of them. The sounds and sites are so unique. There is so much activity on the water. Gondola's, small taxi boats, large wooden taxi boats, there are boats for everything, even construction boats and trash boats. There was even a bicycle peddling on the water. NO Joke! Somehow the bicycle was rigged onto a type of raft and the guy was peddling down the canal. (I did take his picture because it would be hard to describe it to friends back home). Anyway, we get off at the rialto stop and spend the rest of the afternoon in the Rialto market. The girls love shopping. One of our favorite stores was a small little shop with hand made leather photo albums and writing journals. My daughter looked at most of them and picked her favorite to bring home. I bought a photo album. Several of the others also bought handmade journals with hand made paper. This was also going to be the last chance for the girls to buy masks so they went from booth to booth comparing prices and mask styles and colors. The girls are encouraging the Prom committee at home to have a mascaraed ball for their prom theme. There was also a very nice murano glass shop with beautiful and unique murano glass jewelry. The store owner was darling and my asst leader bought a really cool necklace with chunky glass shapes. She gets lots of compliments when she wears it to work. We really enjoyed the people, shop owners, etc. Maybe they were just nice and humoring us because we were shoppers but we had a good time and great experience.
When we were thru shopping, we watched people. Lots to see, very interesting. Then we just wondered around and enjoyed ourselves, ended up near the canal. The girls had fun just sitting on the deck and hanging their feet over the edge. It was evening, the weather and colors were great. There was a near by restaurant with seating outside near the canal. Really, it's like a fairy tale. And the food was good. I know so many say the food is bad in Venice and you guys must think I don't know good food, but I'm actually a bit of a food snob. The food was very good. I don't eat it if it is not worth the calories. So we spent the evening on the grand canal at this enjoyable outside restaurant and I took some of my favorite pictures of the girls here. I think I will ask my artist friend to paint one of them for me. The area where we ate had the word erberia engraved in the cement on the arches. We were told that long ago it was an herb market. We just learned so many little fun tidbits everywhere we went. This was also the spot where we saw the guy riding the bike in the grand canal. We stayed until the sun went down and then took the vaporetto back down the grand canal to our monastery. The 2 day vaporetto pass was a great deal for us because we used it alot. Before we went in for the nite, we all wanted one last gelato. Several places were already closed but there was one near the monastery that was still open. I had dark chocolate and raspberry one last time. So the next morning we get up, free breakfast at the monastery and get on the vaporetto head up the grand canal one last time to get to the train station. It was sad to leave Venice behind. We had wonderful experiences and great fun in Venice. We passed by the busy morning rialto market on the way to the train. So, on to salzbutg but since our train goes thru Verona on the way, the girls want stop in Verona to see Juliet's balcony.
thanks for writing about the girls trip to "Our Chalet" It brought back sweet memories being as Girl Scout growing up and then a leader for my niece and daughters. I have a hand carved Chalet music box and an hand carved angel from the woodcarver there. My sister went with her Senior troop when we lived in Germany in the 60's. I am glad the girls had the chance to take this trip. Well done for getting them there. I am sure they sold lots of boxes of cookies for their trip.
I do plan to finish this trip report someday but I've been very busy this year with all the HS senior stuff, college visits, etc. So glad I did all this trip planning the year before they were seniors.