Guest: a person entertained in one's house; a person to whom hospitality is extended. -Merriam-Webster's DictionaryA guest never forgets the host who treated him kindly -Homer
Our anniversary trip to Florence required a 4-hour layover in Switzerland. I do not care for sitting in an airport any longer than necessary, so I proposed extending the four hours to four days in Geneva. I've never seen Switzerland, and the extra days on the ground would help relieve the jet lag from an 8-hour flight.
That decision afforded my wife and I the opportunity to experience hospitality, Geneva-style.
It was our first time booking with Airbnb.com, a booking site where travelers stay in a person's home instead of a hotel room. After verifying your identity and requesting (not booking) a reservation a person is "invited" to stay in an entire apartment (or private room, or shared room).
We were invited by Kathy, the owner of a cozy 1-bedroom apartment, complete with kitchen, 1.5 baths and living room, located in the countryside just five minutes from Geneva International Airport.
Kathy had only known me from my Airbnb profile and photograph, but she treated us as if we were special guests. The kitchen was stocked with food because she did not want us to be hunting down a grocery store as soon as we arrived. A bottle of wine was waiting for us because she knew this was our anniversary trip.
And she made available maps, travel brochures, information on Geneva attractions and two complimentary transportation passes for the duration of our stay.
We enjoyed long walks to a local village (Le Grand Saconnex) a short 15-minute walk from our apartment, as well as beautiful views just outside our door of the Swiss Alps.
Our decompression after a long flight was made easier by our extended layover in Geneva: the Hospitality Hound recommends more than a few hours to anyone flying a great distance.
The English essayist Max Beerbohm said people are either born hosts or born guests.
Our new friend in Geneva is a born host, one who truly exemplifies the meaning of hospitality.