There's nothing like out of town company to help you get reacquainted with where you live. That's exactly what we did when we hosted two ladies from Germany. Our friends hailed from what used to be East Germany before the wall came down and grew up behind the iron curtain. Of course, they were told that the West was evil. I'm glad they didn't believe that!
Sybille and Gundi were the perfect house guests and I hope we were the perfect hosts. We gave it our best shot for two weeks, taking the ladies all around the Pacific Northwest. They got to see a waterfall for the first time, had a day at an American shopping mall and found several goodies on sale, went for a boat ride (thank you Susan Wiggs, boating queen!), visited Debbie Macomber's office and had lunch with the amazing Debbie, had lunch at the Seattle Space Needle, took a ferry boat ride, went to the ocean, had root beer floats and a banana split, saw Mt. St. Helens, shared meals with friends,and learned how to country line dance. We were busy every day of the week. A big highlight was getting to meet our charming mayor of Bremerton, Mayor Patty Lent, who treated them like rock stars, pinned our Bremerton lapel pin on them and gave them each a Bremerton ball cap.
Sybille came bearing eleven pounds of chocolate courtesy of Berggold Chocolates, for whom she was writing a blog on the trip. Berggolda, the German version of Flat Stanley (if you don't know who that is, think the Travelocity gnome) came everywhere with us and had her picture taken with various folks and at our many tourist stops for the blog back home.
Our company had a wonderful time, and so did we. There truly is no place like the Pacific Northwest, and it was fun visiting places where we just don't normally go. For example, I hadn't been to the Space Needle since I was a kid. Going as a grown-up I think I appreciated the view a lot more. And you know what? They still serve the lunar orbiter, an ice cream treat that, thanks to hot water and dry ice, makes a very impressive dessert. A kid at the table in back of us was having one and boy did that bring back memories. I remember my godmother buying me one when she took me to the Space Needle for my birthday.
But you know what was best about the whole adventure? Spending time with new friends and getting to know more about them and their country. My German is still not very good, but I'm going to keep working on it because we want to go there and visit our new friends and let them tour us around their home towns. I bet they, too, will wind up seeing where they live with fresh eyes.
And now, what about you? What fun tourist attraction near your home have you not seen in years? If you had visitors from another country what would you show them?