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.
Along with salt, butter, and shower curtains, screens were not a thing in Austria. Only one hotel room had screens on the windows and doors.
The night we stayed in Emmersdorf, we had a balcony on the first floor overlooking the courtyard entrance to a very classic, elegant inn. It was a warm night; when we went to bed, we kept the one window and the door to the balcony wide open to let the cooler air in.
In the middle of the night, I thought I heard a “meow,” but I disregarded it and dozed off again. Soon after, I rose to find my water bottle. As I walked across the room, I saw a small creature—bigger than a squirrel but smaller than a cat—dart by me. I startled then remembered that faint “meow.”
I followed the shadow to investigate and quickly became acquainted with a furry kitten.
“Hi, Kitty,” I said. I picked it up, and it wiggled and purred in my arms. I put it out on the balcony and headed back in the room, leaving the door open. The kitten beat me back inside. I repeated the process, again refusing to shut the door, somehow expecting a different result. The kitten scampered back in, once again.
“Okay, fine,” I said. “You can stay.”
I crawled back into bed. After no less than five minutes, Little Kitty was on the bed, purring and butting his head into me. I petted him/her and cuddled. He/she walked up and down the bed, onto Jacques, waking him up.
“A kitty,” he said, automatically beginning to pet it in his sleepy state. I loved him for enjoying the surprise, not being annoyed.
We took turns petting our little friend, hoping it would settle down and sleep. The kitty would lie down, sit still for a moment, and then spring back to us for some attention. At one point, it walked across the telephone on the night stand, which made it ring.
We gave the kitty about 30 minutes of love, then we gave it the old heave-ho out the door. Jacques did the difficult deed, closing the door.
Hearing this story in the morning, a friend in our group, in the next room, told me he thought there was a critter in his room the night before. “I bet it came in through our window.”
My guess is the poor little thing just wanted some brie and bologna. Can’t say I blame it.