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Finale addendum 

Almost noon Rome time, we have been on the plane since about 9:30am. Felt I should add a bit of detail from yesterday and I certainly have the time to do it. Rome to Chicago is a ten and a half hour flight today.  Plenty of time to catch up on some sleep IF the baby stops crying and the flight attendants make less trips up and down the aisle.  Not whining, mind you.  I’m sure you know there is no whining allowed on SCSS trips. Another reason why parents enjoy these trips! :)  Just finished lunch.  For the life of me I do not understand what the fascination is with peas on  this trip!  We have had them probably four times during this trip.  Today when I opened the foil on my entree lo and behold……more PEAS!   Yesterday was glorious in Rome on many counts. When we started our day the sky was a brilliant blue, cloudless and warm. We toured the coliseum and he forum with our guide.  Always heading to the shady spots which felt ten degrees cooler.  I have to admit that group there’s guide, while exceptionally knowledgeable was a bit on the dry and wordy side!  Again, I was trying really hard to listen and soak up more rocks and stuff history but at some point I was like many of the kids…..ear bud in but volume off or at least turned down. And then there’s my husband, God love him……always asking questions.  At some point in the Forum I told him his question quota had been met!!!   Then to piazza Navona.... read more


its 11:45pm. Wake up,call at 5:30, leaving hotel at 6:30.  What a trip! So many stories. So many laughs. So many memories.   Above all… many great people now added to the SCSS family.  We will be home soon.  Prayers for safe travel and for Mr. Harris to not get lost!  :)  Good night from Roma!  Fondly, ... read more

Last Day 

Good Morning, All!   First, thank you for all of your comments!  I feel so connected!!  Wake up call at 6:20 this morning.  We got an extra five minutes.  Of course, I choose to roll over and wait until 7:00 to get up.  I can be ready in thirty minutes.  Bus here at 8:00.  Heading to coliseum, forum and pantheon. Caps!!!!  Free time around piazza Navona and then final concert at 5:00. Hoping to do all the fun stuff out on the square.  We must get electricity from some bat or gelateria.  However forecast of showers this afternoon.  We will see.  Off for the bus.  Kids all good.  No worries!  Later!... read more

It’s Vatican Day 

Good morning, All!  Today’s the day. Someone said in the crowd this morning waiting for the bus…..this is the day that we have been practicing for in the last ten months. Honestly, I’m a bit overwhelmed today but I’m not going to tell anyone!  St. Peter’s.  St. Peter’s!!!!!!!!  They were given our repertoire a very long time ago.  They selected four pieces for the mass: Adoramus Te, Down in the River to Pray, For the Beauty of the Earth and The Lord Bless You and Keep You. I’m taking our Italian speaking nurse with me into St Peter’s.  I’m not sure if Mass will be in Italian or Latin.  Just asked a couple of my bus one adults who are Catholics if the Mass is in Latin would they understand it……the answer….no, but I think I could guess. Doesn’t instill a lot of faith!  Haha get it….faith!  (Can you tell I’m a bit punchy!)  Overwhelmed and so very humbled.  A bit teary eyed as I type.  We are about to enter the walls of Rome.  OH MY!  I’m so amazed every time I visit this city. It truly is beautiful.  I have to be honest that the first time I visited Rome in 2005 I was not impressed.  The Gartner family gave it another chance in 2007 and again in 2010.  This will be my fourth time. I fall in love with it even more every time. We are going to drop off near the Vatican and give them about 90 min to shop/eat/drink and get back so that we can drop our concert attire.  For those of you... read more

Left Montecatini and heading to Rome 

buona Sera from the bus!  It is 5:41pm and I honestly have to think really hard to remember what we have done all day.   What a fun day. Headed to beautiful Tuscany today to have our bike adventure.  What a gorgeous day with perfect weather. Can you just picture beautiful country roads, cypress trees dotting the golden and green landscape and then a roadside rest with 109 really nice hybrid bikes and helmets sitting and waiting for us.  Kids were so excited.  Adults….well, lots of them were!  Rode through the countryside and then double backed to a sweet little village town for our lunch.  Picture a small park with a big shade tree in the middle with a 100 blue shirted bikers eating their bag lunch!  TWO baguette sandwiches, Orange fanta, bottle water and a cookie.  We snarfed those right down!  Rode back to our departure site and back on the bus.  We made a variation to the itinerary and went to the charming hill town of Pienza.  We were all pretty much done with crowds and tourists and Florence!  Went the charming, peaceful route today.  Side note: Gartner family visited this beautiful hill top town for lunch back in 2008.  Always knew I wanted a repeat visit.  Today I was walking with one of the chaperones and told him that it really is fun to travel but it is REALLY fun to share travel with others.  We went straight to the town square and sang four songs.  You ought to see how fast we attract crowds!  Sang Cantate Domino, Down in the River, Blue Skies and Ride... read more

Florence and Impruneta

i cannot begin every post w OH MY GOSH but OH MY GOSH!  We left our hotel this morning at 10:30 for a supposed half hour ride into Florence.  Almost two hours later we were dropped off, walked to our meeting point and had 70 minutes to power shop and eat Florence style.  The secret when you are part of group travel is to go in small groups and go fast as soon as you are “let go”!  Neil and I took two girls and we were on a mission!!!!!!  We headed to a small store and bought sandwiches and used facilities and started the hunt!  Both girls and I bought dresses, leather items and gelato.  Neil bought an apple.  😀 Back to the square to meet our tour guides.  We split up into three groups which were much more manageable.  There are soo many of us.  We saw the beautiful doors of the Baptistry, the Duomo and bell tower, and then headed to the Academia to stand in line to see Michaelangelo’s David.  Stand in line, stand in line.  Believe it or not there was NO whining. Well, maybe by ME!  I don’t like weather or traffic issues!!!!!  It seems that cruise ship traffic has also invaded Florence.  Like Venice isn’t bad enough!  SCSS was in Florence ten years ago and I must say it has gotten so much more popular.  Don’t misunderstand, a beautiful city and everyone should see it but it really was crowded today.  Met back up in the square once again and this time had about 40 minutes.  A day without multiple gelatos is... read more


buon giorno!  I have no idea when you will receive this!  I have tried and tried to find Internet to share as much as possible.  To put things into perspective…..last nights hotel still uses rotary phones in several of our rooms.  Internet available but…… I wish you could hear what I’m hearing right now.  I was in the bathroom brushing my teeth when I heard this beautiful sound.  Our gentlemen singing Adoramus Te down below on the tree lined street.  Gorgeous!!!!  This hotel is so charming.  Again we are talking 3 star, but quaint, little box showers or tubs with handles, green shutters on the outside windows, windows that can actually open and want to be opened, all the food groups represented at breakfast, blood orange juice – delicious!   Getting ready to head to Florence, concert attire in hand.  Performance tonight at 9:15 pm at the monestery.  Today we will be taken on a walking tour that ends by seeing the David! OH MY GOSH!  I must confess the last time in Florence, I chose to stay and shop and have cappuccino than to see the David. How shallow of me!!!!!!  Must run. Buses here.... read more


    Singing in Santa Margarita Ligure!  Such a treat. Check out those risers that were built in!  Perfect!  Such a beautiful day!... read more


do you know what agip is?  It’s supposed to be a fuel, rest stop.  When Scss stops there it is a shoppers haven. Magnum bars, toblerone, gummi whatever, fanta limone, selfie sticks (!), espresso, and more magnum bars!  We really do other things besides eat when we come over.   Heading into Florence from our bus ride day.  Imagine telling your kids that you have to go on a six and a half hour road trip.  Happy?  Maybe, maybe not?  This group always loves road trips.  Always someone to laugh with, always someone to talk with! adults and kids.   Tried to get wifi at the rest stop. No luck!!!!!  I’ll keep trying.... read more

On the bus

Good Morning, Everyone, Bonjour! Buongiorno!  Heading to Italy!  So exciting.  Let’s go  back to yesterday.  We have such FILLED days I actually have to sit here and think about what we did!   Started the day with a wonderful breakfast.  If you ever come to Europe and want a relatively inexpensive accomodation and great breakfast check out the NOVOTEL chain.  Let’s see if I can list all that was available: chocolate bread, eggs, crepe like pancakes, four different cereals, chocolate bread, meats, cheeses, apricots, apples, bananas, prunes (!), breads, hard rolls, nutella, fruit preserves, chocolate bread, wonderful coffee, fruit juices, milk (it tastes better over here, too!) butter (the best!), and CHOCOLATE BREAD. I try to go around to all of our tables and make sure they try it here.  It really is unlike anything I have had in the States.  Everyone loves breakfast!   We then boarded the bus for a beautiful drive to EZE.  Google image EZE.  It looks just like the pictures.  A great HIKE up the hill and then dozens of little alley ways filled with beautiful flowers and of course souvenirs.  My mission was to find a “toilette” and in this very swank tourist destination you just didn’t see signs.  I came upon a Relais-Chateau hotel, went into the lobby and acted interested in the property and asked for a brochure and then asked to use their facilities.  I can tell you it was the nicest one ever!  :)  I heard the name Jack Nicholson a couple of times and assumed he was there.  It really was a BEAUTIFUL location.  Mission accomplished and then... read more


June 28, 2015
Sycamore Presbyterian Church

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