August 9, 2008

Woman Lives in Spanish Airport for Decade

A German woman has been living in a Spanish airport for 10 years, along with her cat, suitcases and books, say authorities who admit to looking the other way.

Known only as Bettina, 48, or as "the woman with the cat" has become a fixture at Palma de Mallorca's airport where she washes herself and clothing in restrooms and quietly moves from bench to bench. She came to Spain after a relationship ended and she lost her job. But employment opportunities there were also limited and she moved into the airport where she lives on gifts of food and money from strangers and friends, reported The Guardian Saturday.

Bettina is reportedly popular among airport staff.

"She is intelligent, discreet and does not bother anyone. She says she has made this her home because she has everything she needs here," cleaner María Jesus Rueda García, 54, an airport employee, told The Guardian. "Things didn't work out so she has come to live here. She can get by and is not a beggar because she has income -- I have seen her take money out of the cashpoint (automated teller machine). This could happen to us all."