Now, mostly when I stay in a hostel or guesthouse, it’s pretty easy to get in and out of. The doors might be unlocked or a staff member present; there might be keypad entry; they might give you keys. Regardless, I hadn’t been prevented from accessing my accommodation prior to Dubrovnik.
I arrived in the afternoon, left my stuff at the guesthouse [it was open and a handwritten sign on the door said my room was on the first floor and the keys were on the bed] and had a walk around the old town to find something to eat. However, it then took me almost an hour to get back into my accommodation, as the owner had only given me half the keys – the key to my room and another random key, but not a key to the front door. I was staying in a house, so it wasn’t staffed, but the owner had locked me out when he left. I banged on the door for half an hour with no luck. I could hear music on inside, so thought I’d better knock louder. After this too failed, I was starting to get a little frustrated. I don’t have a working phone, so I couldn’t call the owner. There was no wi-fi, so I couldn’t have Skyped him. And my already useless phone was, in any case, flat – so I couldn’t go to an internet cafe and sign into Skype there to call him. And the phone number itself…was on my phone. So I was stuck outside, with no idea if or when the owner would return. It was getting dark and cold, and I was getting pretty frustrated.
Then I spied an open window – a very small window at ground level, just over a foot wide and partly hidden behind a sheet hung out to dry. This could be a possibility. I stuck my head in the window to see if anyone was there, and, as I suspected, there was not. I called out a few times with equal success. I started to wonder whether the window would be big enough for me to squeeze through if it came to that. I did not particularly want to spend the night sleeping on the street – not when I’d paid for a room! The window had a wide lede sloping down towards a couch inside. A soft, padded landing sounded promising. The only problem I was left with was getting in without anyone seeing me, as the last thing I wanted was for one of the neighbours to call the police and report that someone had broken into the house! And it was basically peak hour – everyone was returning home from work, so the lane the house was on was never empty. On top of this, two other houses had kids leaning out the windows watching me. So I waited. And waited. And waited. It took almost another half hour before the lane was empty enough for me to break into the accommodation I’d booked. And the second I saw that the lane was empty, I supermanned it through the window, arms stretched out before me. My hips got a little stuck, and my feet were under the sheet, so if anyone walked past at that time they would have seen a pair of legs and my backside sticking out of someone’s window.
I pulled myself in and found myself face to face with a grey cat, who seemed none-too-impressed that a human had used her little window. That’s right, Cat had to break into her guesthouse using a window that’s left open for the cat.
I was a little concerned that someone might have seen me, and equally embarrassed that it had come to this. I also didn’t really want to admit to the owner, if and when he returned, that I’d had to break into his guesthouse. So I headed upstairs to find another set of keys – most of the doors had sets of keys in them – and attached one of the front door keys to my key ring. I was the only guest there, so it wasn’t like I was depriving someone else of the ability to enter. And if I was, well hey – there’s always the window.
Thankfully, no visits were made to the property by Dubrovnik’s police force.