Marja and Klaas go west

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009 @ %I:%M %p | Life

marja-klaas.jpgThe last week of March Marja and Klaas stayed with me in Rochester (yeah, I’m a little slow with this post). For Marja it was the first time on a plane. Klaas had been on various Navy transport flights but not on, ehh, normal commercial flights. The furthest Marja has been was an Italy vacation at the end of high school. Now, Rochester NY and then the Big City itself for another week. An expedition if ever there was one!

Monday afternoon I picked them up from the airport. Everything, 3 adults and luggage, fitted in the Mini Cooper. I was a bit curious about that beforehand. Marja took the backseat. Much the rest of the week Klaas climbed onto the backseat and it became an entertaining recurring feature to watch the Mini shake side to side while Klaas climbed in and out.

So how was the week? It was a blast! I had a great time showing them around, exposing them to a few of the quirks of American culture and to speak the funny language the whole week. Marja and Klaas brought me Speculaas and Stroopwafels and that already made the visit a success!

On Tuesday we swung by The Spot for an afternoon snack and coffee cq tea. First I ran into Andrew there and then Richard (of RBC fame). The parking ticket perhaps countered the cheeriness a bit. Earlier that day we tried to visit Genesee Country Village but it was still closed for the season so from there we paid Charlotte Beach a brief, very cold and windy, visit.

Wednesday was Quilt Day and we visited quilt shops in Victor and Penn Yan. The Mennonite store in Penn Yan was remarkable. First, it was amusing to learn that the belief allows for a web site and internet advertising. Klaas struck up a conversation with the girl managing the store trying to explain the difference between Deutsch, Dutch and High Deutsch (apparently the dialect in which their church performs its services) but it proved a significant challenge to explain that Deutsch means Germany and Dutch means The Netherlands, two different countries. Now, I must admit I don’t know where “Dutch” comes from as an indication of people from The Netherlands and/or the language we speak. We call ourselves Nederlanders and we speak Nederlands. I blame the English for the confusion. Class, next week we discuss the difference between Holland and The Netherlands.

Going out for breakfast is still uncommon in The Netherlands. Charlie’s Frog Pound introduced my visitors to that habit. That evening we watched on tv a rather badly acted (Keanu Reeves…) and confusing Dracula movie. After seeing the Genesee river falls in Rochester on Thursday, on Friday it was the turn of some real big falls: Niagara Falls. We went to the Canadian side which I hadn’t seen yet either. The weather cooperated wonderfully. Very clear, nice temperature but still there was a lot of snow and ice surrounding the falls. We walked through the Canadian Niagara Falls town as well which appears to have a ghost house theme, among others a Dracula Castle!

Saturday Marja and Klaas walked to the Museum of Play which I had explained was “just around corner, a bit further along East Ave past the George Eastman House.” I guess the “just a bit further” meant in reality quite a hike… Hey, Marja had said herself that they walk everywhere. They brought back a Dracula puppet which was very cute.

On Sunday we hiked the nature trial in Mendon Ponds Park and very nicely a deer showed herself in order to be photographed. We had some heavy rain showers that afternoon and so we took refuge at Simply Crepes in Pittsford Village. The wait was a bit long but those pancakes are worth it!

The next morning Marja and Klaas embarked on the second part of their adventure: the train to New York City for a week’s stay there.

Pictures in the gallery.



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