You never know who is going to walk through the front door when you run a bed and breakfast. One of the most rewarding parts of being an innkeeper is the relationships we form with our guests and the conversations we have with them over breakfast. We meet thousands of interesting people a year. Some have become like family after having visited us numerous times. Others may never come back again but most certainly will leave behind everlasting memories. Our guest last night was one of those.
The reservation came through online. I saw the reservation was from a French man and took note of it. That is not entirely unusual as we have had numerous French guests stay with us, mostly because it is noted on our website that I happen to speak French, so they know they will feel comfortable. In this particular case I assumed that was why this guest was staying here also. Little did I know he had no idea who we were or anything about us. He booked our bed and breakfast strictly based upon location, as he has been trekking across the United States by bicycle, starting in New York in early April and ending in San Francisco this coming July. We happened to be at the correct mile marker off the Hennepin Canal for his ride from LaSalle en route to Geneseo.
When he arrived yesterday afternoon, he was surprised to find I could speak French when I checked him in. He was both pleased and a little relieved. Since he had just gotten off a 53-mile ride we got him and his bike situated and got him up to his room without too much discussion. About an hour later, he came down to tell me that he resides in Paris half the time and in Marrakech, Morocco, the other half. He was blown away that not only had I studied French at the Sorbonne in Paris but had done my research for my master’s thesis in Morocco. He joyfully shared photos of his home and of his daughter and granddaughter who live in Morocco.
After a good night’s rest, this morning we prepared for him one of our signature breakfasts called Bird In a Nest. I added a little Moroccan flair with some Argan oil and some Ras el Hanout spice on the asparagus. He was so happy to have some of the flavor of home on his plate he immediately posted a photo of the breakfast on his blog to share with his family, who believes he is eating poorly here in the states. We had a delightful discussion over breakfast about his travels and treks across Morocco and of course about his life in both France and Morocco. What a lovely gentleman and what kismet.
After he left I went to look at the note he wrote in the book in his room, and he gleefully wrote how pleasantly surprised he was to meet us and to find our love for both of his home countries. I’m sure this will be a stop he will remember and take with him through the rest of his travels. It will certainly be a memory that I will cherish as well.
If there is one thing we repeatedly discover about doing what we do, it is that we truly live in a very small world. No matter how isolated we may think we are, we really aren’t that far away from anywhere or anyone. And even if we don’t get to travel often, at least we get to travel vicariously through the myriad of fascinating people who come our way.
Monika Sudakov is the chef and innkeeper at the Chestnut Street Inn in Sheffield. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.