Weekly Travel Highlight No. 4 - Dogs Know Best
Like most house sits, we get a tour of the house before the homeowner leaves so that we can learn the routine - where the water and gas shut off are, how to get the mail, quirks of the pets and house.
In Güssing, Austria, this included a walk with the dog down the rural road past a corn field or two, past a couple neighbors houses, and to a fork in the road.
if you go this way, she said, you’ll come through the forest and up the hill and around back to the house. It takes about 1.5 hours total. But if you go this way, you’ll take a shortcut through the woods. Zorro may stop at one of the houses and demand treats. The owner will invite you in for coffee, but he speaks no English.
We filed that away and promptly forgot about it since there were other more pressing things to learn - eating habits of the dogs, our own settling in and finding markets and grocery stores, and cleaning up the dead mice the cats would bring in for us.
Until one day on the way back from our walk in the woods, Zorro stopped cold in front of a house right off the trail. Stubborn. Heels dug in. Not sniffing anything, or intent on anything. Just waiting. Refusing to move.
This must be the house, I said to Jill as the side door opened and a man came out in his stocking feet.
Kaffee, he said in German, as Zorro wagged his way over, having gotten, or nearly gotten, what he came for.
We followed him inside where several other people were sitting drinking coffee and eating cake. It looked like a home and a cafe and a bar and a restaurant all in one.
Zorro got his treats and a full bowl of dog food, and we ate some cake and drank coffee and tried as best we could to understand what this man was saying to us. He wasn’t big on gestures to accompany his rapid German, so most of it was lost on us.
Our google translate helped a bit, at least it helped us communicate to them about how we travel full time, are here for several weeks, and showed them the parasol mushrooms we had gathered by the shirtful in the woods. Mushrooms they readily identified, confirming for us their edibility.
We now know to plan a few extra hours for any walk that takes a shortcut through the woods!