Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Visitors Galore

 We've just capped a 6-day visitor carousel!  The house is disturbingly quiet.  I spent this afternoon taking a massive nap, eating leftover mango sorbet, the work of one of our guests, and working off the sugar rush by dancing crazily to Lady Gaga.  I will spend my sleepless hours tonight answering emails of interest from sprinters and their managers.  But first, a quick recap of the past five days, which included two sets of highly enjoyable houseguests:

Last Wednesday at 11pm, the girlfriend of one of our "regular" (he's stayed twice!) houseguests arrived from the train station with her cousin.  They ended up being kindred spirits: fun-loving, polite, and hilarious.

New friends!  Katelyn and Nora.

Highlights of their stay included, but were not limited to:

  • The most spectacular food truck fair I've ever attended
  • Taking the above photo while walking near the Weteringplantsoen
  • Talking books and libraries with Nora
  • Running about 12k with Katelyn at the Phanos monthly "Free Friday Night Run"
  • Visiting this awesome cat museum

The food fair included open roasting pits, a literal mustache ride, and the best gazpacho I've ever had outside of Spain.

You might recall our old Utrechtsestraat neighbor, Mustache Bar.

Many children queued up to ride the mustache.  This was the second mustache-themed truck featured.
Spitted, roasting pork.  Yum.

Every few minutes, this sweaty-looking man would employ a garden hose to cool off the huge steel can housing these franks and chickens.

Amateurs skewered and roasted their own pig meat, on a less-intimidating scale.

Diners could rent this tiny tapa-bar-for-two.  10 minutes for 3.50 euro, per person.
I stuffed myself happily on gazpacho, itty-bitty fried bacalao, white asparagus with butter and garlic, a lamb sandwich, and a piece of chocolate-beetroot cake.  Perhaps reward overkill for the measly 800m run that I completed earlier in the day in Heiloo.  Oh, well.  

The second set of guests arrived Saturday morning... early.  In fact, they arrived early enough that our first set of guests were still happily tucked away in the guest room.  All involved parties had been forewarned of this exchange, so all six of us had breakfast together and went to the NEMO before Katelyn and Nora departed for their final night's lodging locale, near Ed's work.  This left us with Jack and Lisa, Ed's married college friends (as they are known), who probably don't remember much about Saturday due to jet lag.

Highlights of Jack and Lisa's stay included, but were not limited to:
  • Jack's training for his first marathon, to take place in just over one month.  This required a 4-mile and a 9-mile run, which were plotted as tours of Amsterdam's numerous runner-friendly parks.  Between the two outings, we covered Flevopark, Oosterpark, Vondelpark, and Rembrandtpark.  If I ever do the second run again, it occurred to me, I could easily squeeze in Sarphatipark.  What a great city.
  • Going to the newly reopened Van Gogh and Rijksmusuems.
  • Leading Jack and Lisa on rented Mac Bikes through the Amsterdamse Bos, along the Schiphol runways, all the way to lunch in Hoofddorp.  Lowlight of the highlight:  Biking into a headwind the entire way.  Highlight of the highlight:  Taking the train home.  Except for Ed.  He rode his bike home.  I only beat him to the front door by a bike length.  
  • Playing my favorite board game, Ticket to Ride, where all four of our long routes began... as in life... in Amsterdam.  
  • Oo-ing over impressionist paintings with Lisa, whose favorite style is, like mine, impressionism.
Any photographs I took of Jack and Lisa's visit were, unfortunately for me and those looking for some color at this point in this post, were taken with their camera.  I do, however, have a photo of a nice art nouveau vase.  Enjoy.

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