Note: This blog is part of a series on a recent bicycle tour across Austria, along the Danube. To read from the beginning, click here.
As you might imagine, sometimes on a trip with 15 other people I’d find myself longing for time by myself.
A few times, in the morning, I managed to secure a secluded table in the breakfast rooms, and I sat there in my own head, reading my book.
One night while watching the Patriots game in our hotel room in Vienna, after celebrating all afternoon that we’d reached the end of our bike tour that day, I decided I really needed a few minutes alone. (Key words here = “celebrating all afternoon.”)
I told everyone I was going down to the bar to get a drink. When I got in the elevator, I caught site of my reflection in the mirror. “Oh hi,” I said to myself with surprise and enthusiasm. “I miss spending time with you!” (You see what I’m saying?)
At the bar, I ordered a snifter of Baileys and took it outside on the patio. I couldn’t wait to sit there quietly and enjoy the fresh air and the sound of my quiet thoughts in my head. But the chairs were locked to the tables, and there was nowhere to sit comfortably.
I sat on the ground behind a little shed adjacent to the patio for a few moments, realizing quickly that if anyone came looking for me, they wouldn’t find me and would be worried. So, I went back to the bar and sat down next to two women.
Due to circumstances beyond my control, I was wearing my sister-in-law’s flip-flops at the time. She’s a size 5, and I’m a size 7. I was self-conscious about how my heels hung over the ends of these very tiny shoes.
“These are not my shoes,” I blurted out to the woman seated to my left.
The comment started a conversation about each of our travels. The woman and her friend were from Mexico. They asked me many questions about our bike trip and told me they were going to Copenhagen the next day.
I realized I’d forgotten that I wanted to be alone and that I was no longer inside my own head.
Then my sister-in-law was standing over my left shoulder. “Oh hi, Jenny!” I said to her. Turning to the women, I exclaimed, “These are her shoes!”
I was instantly glad to be found, to not be alone, to be a part of my group.