FS Title

Four Star
Part Three


"Come on sleepy head" Jools gave my arm a shake.


"Its six o'clock already, we haven't got long to get dressed, get breakfast and show you round the bus."

To emphasise the point there was a rapping on the door.

"Come on girls, shake a leg" Den stage whispered through the door.

I crawled out of bed to find Jools already in the shower. Well I guess I can get my clothes organised and find my notes. Berlin today, over three hours drive, just what I need!

"Your turn and don't take all day we need to do your makeup and hair."

"Yes mother"

I dived into the bathroom before she could retaliate.

It was a bit strange being Nena again, the white blonde hair, the slinky feel of the clothes and mostly breasts. How weird is that?

The still tired pair who joined Den at the impressive breakfast buffet did however look like, well if not a million $'s, at least a bag full of Euros! Having missed breakfast yesterday and it being a while since I last stayed here, I took a double take at the stuff on offer. I know it's a four-star hotel but champagne, salmon and fresh fruit salad were still a bit over the top. You could have a different breakfast every day for months from the stuff on offer, I decided on some scrambled egg, Nurnburger wurst and beans to go with my tea and fruit juice. The fact that Jools slipped me an almond croissant, (how good are they?) and a chocolate brioche, (yummy) just goes to show how well she knows me!

"So you ready then Nena?" Den asked.

"I guess so"

"Lets give you the quick bus tour before the punters start turning up."

The passengers were mostly just starting breakfast so we had maybe fifteen minutes. I'm glad I insisted on some flat shoes yesterday, the walk down to surrogate bus would have been murder in heels!

"Here we go, our carriage for the week"

Our 'carriage' was quite impressive; in fact it made the now destroyed Betsy look positively steerage class! The latest model from the Neoplan factory no less, a Starliner II, definitely a bit different! Inside though it's a coach just the same, seats, lockers, toilet and kitchen. The biggest difference really is that the driver and courier sit in an almost separate area below the passengers. Oh and of course, unlike our own bus its left hand drive!

"So what do you think?"

"I'll let you know later, it looks fantastic though"

"Ot oh, here they come girls" Den advised. He'd driven the bus up to the hotel while Jools showed me over the bus so that we were now parked outside the reception.

Most of the passengers were loaded by twenty past however the arrival of one half of a duo of sisters didn't auger well!

"Um hi, what time are we leaving?"

"At half past" Jools supplied, "is there anything wrong?"

"Only my stupid sister, I'll be back in a mo" and she darted off.

"What was that about?" Den enquired.

"Sounds like all is not well on seats eleven and twelve!" I offered.

The rest of the stragglers climbed aboard then one flustered and one dishevelled sister almost ran up to the coach.

"Made it"

"Sorry Manda" the disheveled half of the duo mentioned as they climbed up to the passenger area.

"My guess is someone got the time wrong"

"Looks that way" Jools agreed.

"They the last?" Den asked.

"I think so, I'll just do a head count"

"Make sure there are bodies attached Nena!"

"Dennis!" Jools stated.


I returned shortly, "all here"

"Lets get this show on the road" Den released the brake and eased us down into the town.

It was a tad weird being sat in the front of a strange bus, the familiarity of Betsy now gone and not only that but I'm not riding shotgun! Once we cleared the twists and turns of Braunlage I climbed the steps up to the passenger area.

"Güten morgen"

"Morning Nena"

Hey that's a more positive response than I usually get.

"I know it is still early for you but I think the effort is worthwhile. We will join die autobahn in a few minutes then it is direct to Berlin. Julia and me will come for drinks once we are on the autobahn. So for now, please enjoy the drive."

I bobbed back down to Den as a thought struck me.

"We have got drinks and stuff Den?"

"Don't panic girl, I found a supermarket near the hotel when you two were getting ready yesterday afternoon. You'll have to rough it with real tea bags and coffee but I got a load of cans and some of those small bottles of beer so we should be set for now."

"Bottled water?"

"I knew I'd forgotten something"

"I'm sure they'll live. I'll do a walk, we should be at the motorway by the time I get back."

"See you in a few minutes"

I clambered back up to where Jools was chatting with the couple sat on the front seat opposite.

"ready Nen?"


"Okay, have to go Jane, duty calls"

I led the way to the back; there were a couple of rows of empty seats so we regrouped.

"God she can rattle!"

"In two?"


"Says Miss Talk for England!"

"I do not!"

I raised my arms in submission, "come on"

The morning coach walk took us well onto the first stretch of motorway, everyone wanted to talk to Nena and sure as eggs are eggs, Jools was not exactly shy of gabbing away! We were barely back at the front of the bus when Den slowed the coach.

"What's up?"

"Dunno, a police car went down a few minutes since and now there's a lane coned off"

"At least its not us this time" Jools advised from her perch on the steps.

The single lane reverted to two after about a kilometre; unlike the motorways at home there were only about six cars in the queue! We picked up speed again and had driven maybe another kilometre before Den spoke again.

"Ot oh!"

"What's up?"

"Blue lights and stuff"

We slowed again and joined the file of vehicles passing the emergency vehicles.

"Looks like someone's gone off the road"

"Yup" Den agreed.

It's human nature to be curious, I'm sure half the bus were looking to see what was up"

"Urgh gross!"


"There was a body on the road, just laid there"

What can you say? It' not something you expect to see and I guess we all react to death differently.

"You okay Julia?" Den asked.

"Yeah just a bit surprised"

"Come on, let's do the tea run and hope the passengers didn't see it,” I offered in the vain hope of taking her mind off of the corpse.

Of course the passengers saw, well some of them anyway! Thankfully the roadworks around Braunschweig provided some distraction especially as the sat nav was giving some interesting instructions, I think it was confused as some of it was in English, some in German. Well it kept the holidaymakers amused at least.

We were on the main Berlin motorway heading towards Magdeburg before we finished watering and feeding.


"Yeah I think so"

""They're still glowering at each other on row three" Jools mentioned.

"They'll get over it"

"I hope so Den"

"So you ready for the guided tour Nena?"

"I thought I'd let Jools do it"

"Good idea"


I couldn't keep a straight face for very long.

"Had you going for a minute there Julia" Den grinned.

""Just you wait Nena Ziegler!"

"Soz, I couldn't resist it"

"Well do. It's quiet on here."

"You wouldn't think this is the German equivalent of the M1,” I agreed.

Indeed the motorway was almost empty of traffic, it had noticeably thinned after passing VW town, that's Wolfsburg and looked more like five on a Sunday morning than nine on a Tuesday.

"So are you ready for Berlin Julia?" den asked.

""Well I read Chris's notes last night, it looks to be a full trip."

"Last time we came we had a hired guide, the drive around was nearly an hour longer than planned."

"Which is why I'm doing it this time" I added.

"Well you sure have enough notes girl!"

"Preparation, my middle name"

"Well I think I'll catch forty winks"

Jools stated.

"Okay, I'll wake you before we get to Berlin."

I followed her up to the passenger area to check they were all happy, then returned to the crew area.

"Well you are certainly chipper this morning, I was a bit worried about you yesterday"

"I dunno why but being Nena, well I just feel more relaxed."

"You happy though? I mean about being Nena?"

I thought for a minute. Am I? Well as me, that's Chris, I was struggling to cope with the fire and stuff. But as Nena, it's sort of like putting on a coat, it conceals everything else. It doesn't make them go away but I can cope with them. Don't ask me why, it just is.

"I think I am Den, I think I am."

We drove along the almost empty autobahn for a while in mutual silence.

"I remember the first time I came to Berlin" Den started.

"Uh huh"

"Just after the wall came down it was, about 1991 I think. This road was a lot busier, and narrower for that matter."

"That wasn't with Global?"

"Nah that was back on Wally's. Mind you the tour was pretty much the same as this except it was mid March"

"Bet that was lovely"

"I remember it being bitterly cold. Anyway we did the city tour and all that and set off back about four and this road was heaving, like the M25. Anyway we get out of Berlin and it starts snowing, hard enough to settle on the road. So the traffic slows right up and just along here somewhere its just about parked."

Den has dozens of these stories but I've not heard this one before.

"So Bill looks at the map, 'if we go off at the next junction we can cut across', well he had the map so when we get to the turn we goes off into the East German countryside. So it's dark, there's Russian army trucks everywhere and Bill directs us onto a side road. So we follows this lane for miles and eventually we gets to a bridge across some river. There was a weight limit but we decided to chance it but that was one scary ride!"

I expected that to be the end but den went on.

"So we end up in this town, it's not even on the map, but luckily there was a signpost for Magdeburg so we headed that way. Well the road, if you could call it that was more potholes than anything, railway lines, allsorts. So we get to Magdeburg but we're completely lost so I spots this copper and pulls up. My German was zilch and bill could order beer so you can imagine the fun we had explaining things.

After some to do he directs us onto the right road and we set off again. To this day I've never worked out how we got where we did but we got back to the Harz. Ah, here's the Berlin Ring"

"I'd best wake Jools then"

"Okay, mines tea"

"Coming up Herr Kapitan!"

The drive around part of the ring was still pretty traffic free and Jools joined us at the front as we turned towards the centre and Tempelhof Airport.

"Not far now" Den advised as we joined our first traffic queue since Braunschweig.

"It's not very busy" Jools noted.

"Not compared to London or Paris at any rate" I agreed.

"Depends on the time I guess but more people use the public transport than back home."

We turned onto a wide boulevard and despite the traffic you could see why the Germans love the city. Unlike the cramped approaches to so many towns and cities, this place was built to impress! Den seemed to have the route down pat leaving myself and Jools to sightsee on our way to the Hauptbahnhof and Zoo.

"Time for your chat Nena" Den mentioned as we turned into Zooplatz.

"Oops. Half an hour?"

"Round it to eleven thirty"

I grabbed the mike and ascended to passenger central as Den manoeuvred Helga into a parking spot.

"I hope you all had a good journey"

"Yes thank you"

"Not bad."

"Well here we are in my capital city, Berlin. We will give you a break here until elf und halb, sorry elefen zirty when we will depart for our included city tour. We should return approximately at three pm and you will have time then to look at some shops, maybe visit our zoo before we leave about four thirty.

So, there are toilets in the Bahnhof and you can purchase sandwiches and snacks in the shops by the station. If you are not joining us for the tour please let one of us know and please meet us here at four thirty, we will try to park close to here. I hope you all enjoy your visit to Berlin."

There was a flurry of movement as they prepared to disembark from Helga, oh I didn't mention did I, Den has christened the bus Helga, in honour he says, of a train conductor from his first trip out here.

"How many?" I asked when everyone was off the bus.

"Seven" Jools replied.

"We going for a leg stretch?" Den enquired.

"Maccy D's?"

"It'll do, we'll eat after the drive round" Den advised.

"Okay" I agreed.

The three of us left our behemoth behind and made our way to the fast food joint of choice, more for the exercise than need. It was a gorgeous day, blue skies, high twenties and just a slight breeze. Jools and I commandeered a table while Den went to buy.

"What's with that totally fake German stuff?"

"What do you mean?"

"You know 'elefen zirty'"

"Well I am supposed to be German you know, it would be uber odd if my English was perfect"

"Hmmm, I guess"

"And anyway, I think the passengers like it, makes me more approachable if I make some mistakes."

"The large building coming up on our right is the Berliner Dom, the main cathedral of the city"

The Berlin tour had gone quite smoothly up until now, Checkpoint Charlie and the famous painted Wall were safely behind us and now we are stuck in traffic in Alte Berlin.

"This flippin' traffic" Den sighed.

"No worse than London or Paris" Jools pointed out.

I had to agree with her although the slow moving traffic meant I was having to talk more than I might wish!

"This area was traditionally the heart of Berlin and many of Germany's premier museums are located here. Behind the Dom is the Alte National Galarie, the building beyond the Lust gardens is the Altes Museum and the welt famous Pergamon Museum, the German equivalent to the British Museum in London is beyond that."

The traffic shuffled along so at least they got a good look at the attractions.

"The large square on our left is Bebel Platz and has the State Opera house and to our right we can see the library of the Humboldt University."

The traffic moved along a bit before we once again stopped amidst the tourist buses and construction traffic that currently clog old Berlin.

"The road we are now on is the Unter Den Linden, or Under The Lindens, and before 1945 this was the home of café society in Berlin. From here the tourist buses departed and many open-air cafés and restaurants took up the pavements. Since unification in 1989 many government departments have returned to Berlin and new offices have replaced the alte apartments in this area."

We continued to inch along the street.

"I wish they'd hurry up and finish all this building" Den moaned.

"What are they doing anyway?" Jools enquired.

"No idea" Den shrugged.

"The guy in the shop back at the Wall was telling someone that it's a new underground line to replace the old east west trams."

"Well I just wish they'd finish it" Den grumbled.

I flicked the mike back on.

"In front you might just see the Brandenburger Tor, the most famous symbol of Berlin."

Whether they saw or not I'm not sure because we swung right to make our way around to the Reichstag for the last stop of the city tour. The day had turned into a right scorcher and the coach air conditioning was working overtime. Den aimed us at the on street coach parking and Jools and I braced ourselves for the short walking tour to come.

"Here we go" Jools sighed.

"From here we have a short walk so if you please to leave the bus, we will start soon."

Jools headed to the centre door while I took station at the front as the passengers, bless 'em, started to file off. Between us we managed to round everyone up and I got back on to get my sunnies.

"How long do you reckon?" Den asked.

"Forty five? I'm not sure really."

"Okay, see you in a bit."

I told you that it was hot, well there was at least a gentle breeze blowing across the Tiergarten so unless you were stood still too long it was almost bearable. Jools led the way and I acted as sweeper, keeping the stragglers moving as we headed to the first stop, the Russian War Memorial. The bright sunlight made it seem less sombre but we fairly quickly moved on through the trees towards the Reichstag, the restored seat of government.

At the Reichstag I gave a potted history to my audience, the irony of the Germans giving the job of revitalising the German parliament to an English architect was not lost on them. These walking tours can be a chore but whether it was the weather, my attire or just a good group, this one was going swimmingly! We left the seat of government behind and made our way the couple of hundred metres to that symbol of Berlin, the Brandenburg Gate. It's closed to traffic again now and a fancy new plaza, Pariser Platz, with government offices around it, but its still the 'must do' site for the visitor to Berlin.

We let our charges loose for a few minutes, taking the opportunity to snaffle an ice cream. Even the relative shade given by the Gate still felt hot, the breeze funneled through the central span eased things slightly, it actually felt good to have my skirt flapping in the wind!

"So, how's it going?" Jools enquired between licks.

"Going? How is what going?"

"You are such a blonde Nena! How are you feeling, about you know," she motioned toward me, "being a girl again?"

"Oh right. I hadn't really thought about it too much. Okay I guess."

"Well if it helps, you look very comfortable."

"Thanks I think."

I concentrated on licking ice cream for a while and contemplated what my girlfriend had said. I look ‘comfortable' being Nena, what does that mean? I absently licked away.

"Earth to Nena, come in. Time to go."


"Come on Dolly Daydream, time to herd the masses back to the bus."

"Sorry I was miles away."

I finished off my ice cream and followed Jools to where our charges were amazingly all gathered waiting. They all seemed happy enough and we set off to rejoin Den and Helga to finish our tour round Berlin. As we approached the bus I could see Den talking to someone and on arrival that materialised into two someone's Maureen and George our mates on the Trollies.

"There you are girls, Nena you remember Maureen and George?"

"I think from the Schwarzwald?" I ad libbed.

"That's it girl, how are you doing?" George enquired.

"Very good thank you."

"And this must be Julia?" the other half of the double act suggested.

"Sorry, Jools, meet Maureen and George, mates of your boyfriend and me, they work on Wally's"

"Nice to meet you."

"Dennis was just telling us about Chris, I hope he's okay." Maureen mentioned.

"He sounded okay when I spoke to him last night." Jools replied.

"Maybe Nena here should take over full time, we only see her when Chris is ill." Maureen stated with a wink.

Was I rumbled? Do Maureen and George know? I blanched at the possibility of being outed to my friends.

To be continued.

Maddy Bell 10.10.05


Pictures of Nena have been generated using Ania's 'Cherie' Fkiss doll on Angy-Chan's template and are Copyright 2004. They are used with permission, if you'd like to see more go to www.acharsi.prv.pl

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