Guest Season

I apologize for my silence, but on March 6, Guest Season (GS) officially began. After a very quiet fall and winter, we have guests in Delft for twenty-five days in March and April. Our first weeklong guest just departed. From the perspective of someone who is not certain she has any sort of hosting gift, my prime observations on having longish guests are as follows:

There is a lot to see and do around here in a week. And there is a lot you can’t see and do in a week.

I think because living in Delft has become our life, I had lost sight of how amazing the first impression of the town can be. Before our guest came, I sent him a ridiculously long email detailing about ten museums, a handful of historical sites, and several outdoor activities he might wish to visit or partake in. I was concerned that maybe he would be bored, and that he should consider a day trip to Belgium, or at least Amsterdam. In actuality, he visited two cultural sites, zero museums, and engaged in bicycle riding. He stayed up late at night watching our Harry Potter DVDs. He visited the beach in Scheveningen, but never made it to Amsterdam. He wandered around, sat at cafes, and took 527 digital photos (actual count)—and he loved it.

I had also wondered if I would enjoy tour-guiding. In practice, I realized it was fun and a privilege to show someone around and recapture some of that wonder from July: “Yes, we live here.” It was also relaxing to sometimes just send him out by himself.

From a domestic perspective, you clean, clean, clean before guests come, but everything is a mess one day later. And there is a surprising jump in the amount of food it takes to feed three people in comparison to two. There is a certain reshuffling to share your small apartment and there were times toward the end of the week when I just needed space, simply because I am a space person.

We have a week to reset and wash sheets and restock the fridge, and then the guest room is booked again for a week… by my sister, who I utterly can’t wait to see! Get yourself to Europe, Li!

Out for a bike ride on a pre-spring day. We borrowed a bike for our guest. The bike was described by the lender as "fragile. Don't put too much pressure on the pedals."

Do you have any magical hosting tips for me?

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5 Comments

Filed under Our Dutch Adventure

5 responses to “Guest Season

  1. Lianne

    Ready to go!! And speaking of feeding three people versus two. Mom mentioned she told you I am no longer a picky eater, and this is partially true. Hooray!
    Can’t wait to see you!!! I may top that picture count…

  2. Tom

    I can’t wait for the recap and photo journal!!
    Have a great time!

  3. Mathieu

    In addition to numerous week(end) guests, we also have the pleasure of hosting my in-laws for 4-6 weeks every year. Sometimes with aunts and uncles included.

    Aside from the basics (extra keys, OV chip cards, GPS and loaner prepaid mobile phone), the best tip that I’ve learned over the years is that everyone needs a vacation from the vacation. Plan some time for everyone to just be on their own, and not try to cram too much in. Learned that one that hard way.

    For specific things to do, some time on the water in Rotterdam is always a winner. The Spido tour, though a bit cheesy, captures everyone’s imagination and showcases the port beautifully. A proven day out is to visit the Nolet (Ketel 1) distillery in Schiedam and then catch the water taxi for dinner at Hotel New York. If the weather’s nice, after dinner take the water taxi to Boompjes and continue lounging on the water at one of the cafes in Blaak.

    The Pannenkoekenboot is another fun one. All-you-can eat Dutch pancakes on a boat that tours the harbor. More than seeing the city, the people-watching is amazing. Real Hollands. Just don’t get trampled in the rush to the buffet when it opens. Personally I find the 1-hour runs to be a bit too short, so it’s worth the extra few euro to go for one of the longer ones. You’ll also get a few other things to eat besides pancakes (= saté), and they include an ice cream buffet. 🙂

    Unfortunately the China Boat is no longer in business … same concept as the Pannenkoenenboot, but with a Chinese buffet that would rise out of the floor accompanied by dramatic music and sparklers.

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