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  IV. A Tale of Four Travelers: Guesthouse Gerti & Gabi

Guesthouse Gertie and Gabi, our traveling sisters on their first overseas outing, start their day by unlocking their private room and going down the hall for their showers. Sometimes they are the only guests in a home, but today they are in a guesthouse which has six rooms. Nonetheless, there is no one in the shower and they have plenty of hot water.

They told the family they wanted breakfast at 9:30 and have cereal and omelettes. They chat a bit with another guest and go out sightseeing. They asked the family for suggestions the night before and they pointed out the more significant sights and little-known details of the area.

At lunchtime they pop into a cafe for something light and quick, then buy some fruit at the grocer's next door. In the evening after a museum, they stroll along an area the family recommended, where there are several nice, inexpensive cafes. They price menus posted on the outside along the sidewalk before choosing a cozy-looking place. After dinner they meet some other travelers from the guesthouse and they find a movie theater showing an American film with subtitles. Most movies are dubbed, they have discovered, so they always ask first before buying a ticket.

They knew they would be out rather late, so they informed the family, who gave them a key to the front door. One time Gertie forgot to ask for the key and they arrived back well after midnight. The family matron was not impressed as she appeared at the door to let them in. Still, they have found that since they are sisters, people generally treat them more favorably. They do not know why, but many natives are delighted to meet two sisters traveling together. Their two brothers traveled together to Europe a few years before and had the same experience.

The sisters often take a taxi to get to the train station; otherwise they use public transport to get around town. Since they usually stay in the center of town, they walk to most sites and save on transport fares. Gertie and Gabi also travel with Eurail passes, and they will often buy a couchette on the night trains, which is still a bit cheaper than a night at the guesthouse.

I would make up a fairy tale ending in which these travelers all met on a clear, sunny day in a well-manicured central park and lived happily ever after on a commune in Denmark, but you probably would not believe me.

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