Friends or family have joined us on 9 of our 17 home exchange vacations. We let our exchange partners know this is the plan; they are always gracious and approve. The guest list has included families with two or three children, my wife’s brother, three cousins, and friends from California, France, and England. Our kids have invited friends and girlfriends, which is more complicated.
We continued this policy during our house swap this summer in Berlin. Danny was cycling across the continent and stopped by for a few days. Our two teenagers were delighted to have someone their own age to hang out with. We first met Danny in 2006 when we traded homes with his family.
A week later Pierre and Charlotte arrived from Paris for a long weekend. We have seen them frequently since swapping in 2000. They suggested a historical underground tour, a shrewd choice given the rainy weather and something we hadn’t discovered while researching tourist attractions in Berlin. They were far better company and companions than our two kids. Each evening we shared gourmet dinners with French and German wines.
This summer a family we knew rented a luxurious villa in Umbria for a month. They invited family and friends to join them as their guests for a week at a time. We visited them between home exchanges in Belgium and Germany.
It was fun. Mornings were free for breakfast, jogging, or sleeping in. About 10 or 11am we would get in one of two cars and visit famous places such as Orvieto and Castiglione del Lago. We would walk around town for an hour or two and have a leisurely trattoria lunch, then another couple of hours of tourism before heading back home to relax or cool off in the pool. Our hosts and whoever was inclined would cook tasty dinners, washed down with Italian wines such as Prosecco, Orvieto, or Chianti. You can see the happy group in the photo.
I have been thinking it would be great to have a large house in Europe so we could invite more than the usual number of friends and family to join us on holiday. Could this be done via home exchange? That will be the subject of my next post.