Gaby Title.jpg
Part 38
Euro Drew

I awoke to the incessant drone of my clock alarm.

"Come on Drew, up and at 'em!" Dad shouted into my room

"Jules you up yet?" I heard him go on

I jumped out of bed and got dressed ready for the trip. When I got downstairs dad already had the car packed and even Jules was ready. We ate a quick breakfast and by seven thirty we were ready to depart. It was early enough that our drive down to Nottingham was uneventful and it was only a little after eight when we were parked at the station.

The wait for our train seemed interminable but it was on time and just before eight thirty we were on our way to London. You really don't want me to recount the journey in full suffice to say that we pulled into St Pancras only a couple of minutes late. Dad hustled us to the taxi rank and we were soon in a black cab to cross the capital to Waterloo. Our train was due to leave at 11.35 so we enjoyed the ride past Oxford Street and Trafalgar Square and we were soon at check-in, Waterloo International.

We queued to get through security and then we were into the terminal proper. We just had time for a drink before our train was called and we dragged our bags up onto the platform, our carriage was toward the front of the train so we had quite a walk. We got ourselves settled into the air-conditioned splendour; we had table seats so we had a bit more space to spread out. While we waited for departure I sent a text to Mad, she'd just got a mobile, and then we were off.

Now being a child of the nineties, trains don't often feature in my travel plans, we usually take the camper, so I was fascinated by the views over south London as we started our journey. Dad was reading, Jules had her Discman(r) going so I sat munching crisps watching the Kent countryside slip past.

A quick stop at Ashford and then on toward the tunnel. I just about spotted the sea before we descended toward the tunnel and our crossing of the Channel. I joined dad in a walk to the refreshment carriage; I mean what's to see in a long black tunnel? We got some Panini, American muffins and drinks and rejoined Jules in our seats.

The noise of the tunnel suddenly abated and we were flashing through French countryside. I watched fascinated as we slipped north toward Lille through featureless countryside broken occasionally by the flash of a train going the other direction. I was surprised how many people got off, and on at Lille, I mean I'd only heard of it as a place bike races visited or started at. Dad told us that it was an industrial place but from what I saw it looked really gross, all concrete in bizarre shapes and blocks of flats.

The countryside between Lille and Brussels was a bit more visually inspiring, not much mind, and we were soon passing the huge railway yards on the approach to Brussels Midi. We had a through ticket on the Thalys (dad says you say talis) service through to Köln in Germany and we could see it at the platform as we drew into the terminal. We were glad of our front carriage position at this end, we were near the front of the queue for immigration and despite arriving a few minutes late we were through the station and onto the next platform with a minute or two to spare.

We didn't have booked seats this time but despite a fairly full train we again found a table seat for the couple of hours to Köln. Strewth, Brussels has got a lot of stations and tracks! It was nearly one continuous platform until we left the city and then we started travelling a bit quicker.

At least the countryside was getting a bit more interesting, a few hills and trees breaking the monotony. Jules dropped off and dad was still reading his book when we descended into Liége. When a refreshment trolley came along we got some drinks and the poorest excuse for crisps I've ever had, paprika flavour! Yuck!

The line seemed to get more rural as we went towards Germany although there was a lot of work being done, new stations and stuff. I couldn't believe how many bikes were parked at each station, literally hundreds, I mean at home we might get half a dozen! We stopped at Aachen briefly and now we were in Germany the train seemed to pick up speed. I was still glued to the window as we sped toward Köln, dad pointed out the distant Eifel Mountains and all too soon we were travelling over the city before pulling into the huge station.

"Come on kids, if we are quick we can get the connection, mum says it's platform 8/9"

So we jostled ourselves down the stairs to the concourse and after a quick check on the board we rushed up onto the platform just in time to clamber onto our last train of the day. This was a come down, the crowded carriages were spartan in the least but at least we managed to find seats amongst the shoppers that made up most of the passengers. We clanked along between stops and we were soon in Bonn. We had about another twenty miles on the train and they were at least quite interesting as we joined the River Rhine, so we all spent the time spotting ships and stuff.

"Next stop for us, get your bags kids"

Well here we were but where was mum? The plan was that mum would meet us outside the station here in Remagen (ray-mar-gun apparently!) to take us to the hotel. Dad had rung her last night to confirm the times; we were to ring if we missed a connection so it was worrying that the ever-punctual mum was not there to meet us.

"Herr Bond?" a small guy called from across the road.

"Er yes" dad replied

"Sehr gut! Jenny sent me to pick you up" he replied in heavily accented English as he joined us on the station steps. "She is sorry but the director called a meeting at short notice. Oh sorry, I am Michael Thurau the team mechanic, call me Mike the mechanic" he laughed at some apparently secret joke.

"Nice to meet you Mike, I'm Dave"

"Ok Dave come on round, the van is around the corner"

He grabbed Jules and my cases and led us across the square to where the team minibus was parked. He put our bags in the back and motioned for us to get in, dad in front us kids behind. Within a couple of minutes we were leaving Remagen at some speed, Michael driving with familiar contempt of the other traffic.

"You girls miss your mum eh?" he asked over his shoulder

Before I could say anything Jules beat me to it

"Very much Mike, we both miss her being around"

"Eh and you too Dave" he continued in a suggestive tone, verbally nudging dad.

"Er well yes. Of course"

Mike chuckled to himself as he changed direction yet again. I turned my attention to the scenery as we turned away from the river Rhine. Everything was fascinating! Were they vineyards just back there?, what's an 'ausfahrt'? Mike pointed across to a small town on our left.

"That's Bat Noonar where we are based"

I guessed the signs for Bad Neunahr meant the same place.

"Aren't we staying there?" Jules asked

"Neh, neh, neh that is for how do you say, toorist. You are staying a few kilo's up the valley at Altenahr. Quieter you know, smaller, friendlier hotels yes?"

"Er fine" dad replied

Mike continued to point things out as we drove up an increasingly twisty road.

"Romischer Haus" he indicated a wooden building that didn't look very Roman to me. There were vineyards all over the hillsides and the villages were decorated with huge barrels. There wasn't a lot of traffic about but there were quite a few cyclists, roadies out for a spin, families on the cycle track which wove about the valley. There were ruins and castles, pretty villages and lots and lots of vineyards! The road twisted sharply round under a viaduct then through a short tunnel and we were in Altenahr.

"Nearly there now" Mike advised us, and we were soon pulling off the road into a parking lot.

"Here we are, Hotel Krone!" Mike pronounced as he put the brake on and turned the engine off. "I have to get back now, get booked in Jenny should be here in about an hour."

He busied himself getting our cases out and left them by the door.

"You ok now girls, mum will soon be here eh"

Again Jules beat me to it.

"Thanks Mike"

"Yes thanks Mike" dad added

"No trouble, see you tomorrow"


"Yes at the race, Jenny will tell you" he was back in the bus and gunning the engine, "wiedersehn!"

"Bye" we all echoed as he turned back down the valley.

"Well kids, looks like we're here"

"I guess so" Jules commented eyeing up the 'Krone'

"Come on lets get inside"

Jules and I found a sofa in the reception and collapsed into it while dad booked us in. there was a bit of arm waving, the girl at the desk kept looking over at us and gesticulating then dad came over.

"Ok guys, your mum booked three rooms for us but they've managed to overbook this weekend."

"What do we do then dad?" I asked

"Well they can do two double rooms, the girl on reception thought you two could share and I'd take the other"

"Why would she think that?" Jules asked

"Well she kept saying 'zwei tocta' and pointing at you both, my German's not up to much, I guess she thought I'd prefer not to be sleeping with either of you. Drew you and I will share and your sister can have the other room"

"Ok dad" I agreed

Dad returned to the desk and tried to explain in pidgin German our agreed arrangement.

"Neh, neh, die madchen in eine zimmer, varter im autra!" the receptionist seemed to be laying down the law loudly before the conversation returned to quieter levels.

"Come on kids" dad called. We got up and pulled our cases along as the receptionist led us through the building.

"I'm afraid you two will have to share, she won't let Drew share with me"

"Daaad" Jules whined

"Look we can swap about when we're in" dad advised

"Hier die madchen" the girl opened a door and Jules and I filed past into the room.

"TV, alarm, dusche, toiletten" she reeled off as she opened doors to show us.

"See you in a bit kids" dad suggested as he was led away to the other room.

I collapsed onto one of the two single beds in the room.

"I'm whacked!" I stated to no one in particular

"Don't get too comfortable"

"What was all that with Mike in the van, he kept calling us 'girls'?"

"Well I am" she replied

"Yeah but I'm not... oh shit (sorry!) He thinks I'm a girl as well!" the realisation suddenly hit home.

Jules gasped before making another leap of logic.

"I've just sort of worked out what the receptionist was saying"


"You're not gonna like it Drew"

"Like what, spit it out!"

"Well I think she thinks you're a girl too," I groaned as she continued, "no wonder she said you couldn't share with dad, there's probably laws and stuff about young girls sleeping with older men"

"Joools that is disgusting"

"Well we'll get mum to sort it out when she gets here, I bet her German is quite good now"

"I hope so"

"So do I, I don't intend sharing a room with my brother for a week!"

"Feelings mutual"

Well I must have been more tired than I thought as the next thing I remember was the door opening.

Mum looking pretty buff!
Mum was looking really buff!

"Hi kids!"

"Mum!" Jules exclaimed

I woke with a start and joined my sister and mum in a hug.

"Whoa, take it easy kids" she exclaimed

Mum looked really good, she was tanned and looking really fit (in an athletic way! Although she looked pretty hot in that miniskirt!)

"Where's your dad?"

"Here, I heard a commotion and guessed it was you"

My parents hugged each other and did embarrassing things with their tongues before breaking for air. They parted grinning from ear to ear.

"That's gross" Jules stated.

"How was your journey?" mum asked

Well I wont repeat it all again but we managed to convey the high points of the trip to mum in only fifteen minutes.

"... and then the receptionist thinks Drew's a girl," Jules concluded

A sudden look of comprehension lit dad's face.

"So that's why she was so insistent"

"Damn!" mum was a bit put out, I could tell by experience.

"We'll get it sorted out, Drew can come in with me so Juliette is on her own" dad soothed.

"I was hoping to get some time alone with you Dave" Mum pouted.

"Oh" he replied

"Look mum, Drew can stay with me as long as he behaves himself, then you two can do your luvvy dovey stuff" Jules offered.

"You sure luv? What about you Drew?"

This was one scenario I wasn't expecting, Jules replied first.

"I wouldn't have said if I didn't mean it would I"


"Yes Mum?"

"This alright with you?" I could see the hope in her eyes, I couldn't deny her and Dad some time now could I?

"I guess so"

"Thanks, I'll make it up to you both"

"I'm starving" dad suggested

"You haven't eaten?" mum asked

"Just sandwiches on the train" I replied

"Men!" she rolled her eyes, "ok then, get yourselves organised and meet me in reception in " she checked her watch, "say half an hour?"

"Ok" Jules agreed

Mum left with dad and I closed the door behind them.

"What did you suggest that for?" I asked

"You agreed!" my sister accused

"Well I could hardly complain after you offered could I, and I guess the olds deserve a break too"

"Erm, you know what this means though"

"What?" I could hear trouble approaching

"Well you'll have to be my sister around the hotel"

"It's a conspiracy, it has to be!"

"Sorry Drew, I only just thought about that. Look you don't have to wear a dress or anything"

"No, everyone thinks I'm a girl already!" I huffed

"Calm down, look did you bring your sleepers?"

"They're in my wallet"

"Well put them in, I'll do your hair a bit, a bit of lippy, wear one of my tops and you'll pass almost anywhere."

"I only want to pass here not anywhere else" I stated

"Okay, but everyone will expect to see you looking more girly after you've freshened up" she commented

"You win, but nothing too girly"

"Fair enough"

So that's how, on my first night in Germany I went to meet my parents wearing Jules trousers and tie-dye top with my face made up and my hair brushed out. Sheesh!

Mum took a double take when the pair of us appeared in reception. Dad however gathered his senses first.

"Ah there you are girls"

"Hi dad, mum" I replied

"You two ready to eat" he continued

Jules made gagging noises "food, food!"

"Come on you two" mum finally found her voice, "the car's outside"

We left reception and mum led us to her car, a smart Mercedes A class with the team logo on the bonnet and doors.

"Ta da! Ladies and gentlemen, your carriage awaits!" mum made a big show of it.

"Cool" I stated

"Come on get in, I know a good place to eat but its a few k's away" mum instructed.

Juliette in Germany
We joined our parents in reception.
Gaby in Germany

We got in and mum pulled onto the road and started heading higher up the valley.

"So you two, are you going to tell me why Drew is wearing your clothes Juliette?"

"Well" I started

"It's my fault mum, we thought it best, for appearances at the hotel if Drew acted like my sister, if they thought a boy and girl were sharing they might kick us out"

"I see your logic" mum agreed "but don't you think you've gone a bit overboard?"

"Huh?" Jules queried

"Well" mum continued, "they are going to expect Drew to look like this all week now aren't they?"

"I guess so" my sister offered

"Drew you ok with that?" mum asked

"I guess it's done now" I replied

"Okay then. How do you guys like schnitzel?"

Of course mum then had to explain what schnitzel was and after she pointed out the Nurburgring as we crossed under the track, we were soon parked at the restaurant in the village of Nurburg.

"Told you" mum stated smugly, as we looked bewildered at the menu with thirty different varieties listed.

"You win" dad told her, "I can't even pronounce half of them"

"I'll order a platter so you can try some different ones okay?"

We all agreed that that was a good idea and half an hour later we were getting stuck into our meal. I don't know what they were all called but I enjoyed most of the varieties. We finished with ice cream and coffee and left to return to the hotel just after nine.

"What's this race tomorrow Jen?" dad asked as we threaded our way through the lanes.

"It's the regional championships"

"Do you qualify? I thought you could only ride if you had a local licence"

"It works different here, I can ride the event as long as I have the right regional permit much like I would at home and my team is registered here too. No foreigner has ever won a championship so I don't know what would happen then."

"Well we'll find out tomorrow eh mum?" I suggested

"Maybe" she replied.

We were soon back at the 'Krone' and us kids were soon in bed and asleep. My mind was in turmoil! How do I continually end up in these situations? Hopefully tomorrow would be more normal?

Maddy Bell 30.06.03
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The images used above have been selected from various sources. If you hold the copyright to any image and wish it removed contact me. Thanks to everyone involved in Cosplay, particularly Anime Turnpike.