I mentioned before that everything looked different from Lake Como; well the air even tastes different! Once we'd got our bearings with the tourist map it only took five minutes to reach the old town which today was buzzing with tourists from around the globe.
"Hey look Drew, there's a poster for the race." Claire pointed to one of those advertising things outside of the shop we were perusing.
"You wouldn't see that in Swindon." I offered.
"I don't think I've ever done a race with advertising before."
"Most of the stuff in Germany gets at least posters round the course."
"I don't suppose we'd get much attention if we painted ourselves orange and raced naked back home," she lamented.
"Oh I don't know, I think I'd pay to see that."
"Drew, you are a one," she playfully slapped my shoulder.
"Ow!" of course it had to be my sore one.
"Oo, sorry Drew, you alright?"
"I'll live." I allowed carefully rubbing the hurt.
"Mand said one of the girls on your team got selected for the Worlds?" Claire suggested as we tried to get a grockle free photo of the painted house fronts.
"Three of them actually."
"Wow," she paused as she did the calculations, "there's only five on your team?"
"Last time I checked."
"So everyone on your team is going to Denmark?"
"I guess so." I admitted.
"No wonder Caroline and Steve keep asking your dad's opinion, he's like super coach," she enthused before adding, "We're not in the same league are we?"
"Well we'll soon find out, they're riding the Cup too." Hmm, wonder when they'll get here?
We had finally got our pics and were sat on a seat by the Alte Rathaus.
"Be honest Drew, do you think we've got much chance? Mand's quite good but the rest of us, we're gonna be shelled out as soon as it goes uphill."
"Who says the other teams are any better? Come on, let's go look at these bridges."
We wandered through the old town to the first of the famous bridges which is called according to the sign the Spreuerbrücke. Well it's picturesque I suppose , but not the most famous, we had a ten minute walk towards the lake before finding the one on all the postcards, the Kapelbrücke. It's twice as long, twice as busy and with all the painted plaques inside, twice as interesting.
Bzzzt, bzzzt! My handy signalled an incoming call.
“Who else blondie?”
“Coulda be loadsa people.” I mentioned.
“So where are you?”
“I know that dummy, we saw your Dad's car at the race HQ.”
“So you guys are here too? Dur, of course you are. I'm with Claire; we're just getting some eis by the lake.”
“Aha, so it is you I can see?”
“Where're you? Gret and Tali with you?”
“We got here this morning, look over by the pleasure boats.”
I glanced over and spotted three figures bouncing about waving their arms around.
“We'll come over, er remember that I'm on the boy's team so it's Drew?”
“Two minutes.” I shut the call off and stowed my phone in a pocket.
“Here,” Claire handed me my ice cream, “wish I could speak a foreign language that well.”
“Well you can start practicing, that was Roni, and you are just about to meet the German team.”
“Come on, they're only the other side of the bridge.” I told her starting to head in the right direction.
“They won't bite and they do speak some English,” I smirked.
I nearly lost my ice cream when I was mugged by the girls.
“What's up dynamo?” Gret enquired backing off a bit.
“I've got some gravel rash, fell off in Italy,” I admitted.
“So who's your friend?” Tali enquired.
“Claire, she only has English.”
“Ello Claire, nice to meet with you.” Tali offered.
“I'm Roni and Godzilla here is Greta.”
They exchanged handshakes.
“I've er seen you guys racing with Drew, do you really beat the boys?”
“Only when they have a bad day.” Roni grinned.
“Which is every day we ride!” Gret stated.
“You can exaggerate.” Tali allowed, “So you guys have been doing the sights?”
“Yeah, we've been round the Altstadt, seen the bridges.”
“Looked in the spielhaus?” Roni suggested.
“There's one here?” I excitedly asked.
“Up near the Rathaus” Tali grinned.
“Come on wunderkind!” Roni encouraged.
“What's a speelhorse?” Claire asked as we were whisked along by my other teamies.
“Spielhaus, it's a erm toyshop.” I told her.
“Toyshop? What do you want to go there for?”
“The wunderkind, she collects the model autos.” Gret supplied.
“Er model cars.” I sheepishly admitted.
“I thought you were going to say dolls .” Claire smirked.
“I'm a big girl now so I've moved on.” I joked.
Roni led the way and in short order we were at the shop in question.
“We must have walked right past it,” Claire observed.
“He can be hours in these places, we'll go get a coffee eh?” Roni suggested.
“We'll be in the square.” Gret advised me.
Having got as far as the door it would be impolite to not go and take a look at least. We might be in a different country but they do a passable German around here and the Swiss obsession with railways includes the miniature ones and the peripherals too. I found the modelleisenbahn department up on the second floor and started to peruse their wares.
My handy started to buzz, I'm popular this afternoon!
“Gab, it's Amanda.”
“Sort of, so where are you guys, I'll come and meet you.”
“I'm in the model shop, Claire's with the girls getting coffee.”
“I thought Lor and Sal went swimming.”
“They did, no Roni, Gret and Tali, they're here to ride the Cup, we kinda bumped into each other.”
“The girls you ride with for Apollinaris?”
“You won't want me then, I'd best not come.” Her voice sagged at the other end of the line.
“Don't be so daft, I'm sure they'd like to meet you and anyway there's still some shops me an' Claire haven't done.”
“If you're sure?”
“Course I am, meet me outside here in ten minutes.”
I gave her directions from the hotel before getting back into model car mode. To be honest they were mostly the same stuff I can get in Bonn or Koblenz but somewhat more expensive – can't see the point in buying just because they're here. Then I spotted a shelf away from the standard releases and a shelf ticket, ‘Schweizer Speciale' – their spelling not mine!
So alright I spent a chunk, they took Euros which was handy, so I left the store clutching a bag with half a dozen Swiss edition models and not much change out of a hundred euros. Most of them are Swiss Post vehicles, in the famous yellow and white colours but there's one that's painted for Swiss TV and a Mercedes van for Milka chocolate, you know the one with purple cows? Now then, where's Mand?
There were a few people about but no sign of Mand, hang on that girls wearing the same t shirt she had on this morning, not Manda though, wrong colour hair. She should be here by now, it's not that far from the hotel and I'm sure I've been more than ten minutes.
“There you are,” Mand observed from behind me.
“Yeah sorry, was just buy…ing.” I only then saw her as I finished turning. “What the heck have you done to your hair?”
“I er fancied a bit of a change?” she mumbled looking at the floor.
“Mand, that's not a bit, that's a lot!”
I don't think even a lot really covers it, gone were her light brown tresses replaced with a head of almost white locks, she'd even done her eyebrows which made her look almost albino.
“I didn't think it would come out like this, I can't do anything right, I shouldn't've come.” She made to run off but I caught her arm which caused her to turn into my embrace.
“We can get something to tone it down.” I suggested.
“It says you shouldn't recolour within forty eight hours.” She sniffed.
“Why'd you do it, I liked your hair colour.”
“Blondes have more fun?”
“I'd dispute that. Come on let's see if the others have got any ideas.”
“I told you, my teamies from Germany.”
to be continued....
© Maddy Bell 17.07.13