Hostess With The Mostest
Part 4

Well dinner was quite pleasant; tortellini on a cream sauce followed a thin vegetable soup and a sort of set summer fruit yoghurt provided desert. We chatted amiably during the meal then decamped to the Stube for a drink or three. After a couple of small beers I was starting to relax somewhat as Den and I continued talking.

"Ah! There she is girls! Come on Nena time to party!"

Ingrid grabbed my arm and dragged me out of my seat, leading me to the door

"Den! Den!" I pleaded

"You'd best take this Nena" Den waved 'my' bag in the air.

"I'll get you for this" I replied as in one fluid motion Ingrid propelled me out of the door, swung back to grab my bag and joined me and the girls outside.

"Here she is girls, Nena meet Maria, Trude, Sonja and Anna" Ingrid stated in German

"Hi Nena" Trude greeted.

"Hiya" Sonja agreed

"Er hi" I nervously replied, it looks like I was going on one of Ingrid's 'girls nights' whether I liked it or not, I was already being propelled out into the street much to the amusement of several of my passengers. The 'other' girls were all dressed comfortably, I was grateful that I wasn't the only one in a skirt. We walked up into the town then through the arch to where I could already hear the pulsing beat of the music in Dino's Tanz Bar.

I hesitated as we approached the door.

"Come on Nena, it'll be fun!" Ingrid mentioned

"I, er feel a little out of place"

Leaning close to my ear she went on,

"Don't worry Chris, I know, I'll make sure you're okay"

"B, but..." I started

"We'll talk later, now come on lets have some fun!" and I was dragged into the bar.

My body switched to auto pilot while my brain took a time out. If Ingrid knows, who else does? Has Den just been winding me up? Do all the punters know?

"There you two are, here" Anna thrust a drink at each of us before heading back to the bar, Ingrid led the way to a table in the back where the others were settling in.

"Nice jumper Nena" Sonja stated

"Er thanks" my semi engaged brain instructed my mouth

"Not many boys yet" Maria mentioned

"It's early yet, Michael and Jens said they'd be down later" a now returned Anna advised

"They work at the 'Krone'" Ingrid filled in for my benefit

I nervously sat and listened to the conversation, expecting any moment to be outed.

"It's okay Chris, the others don't know and I'm not telling" Ingrid whispered in my ear, I relaxed a bit but I still felt like a spare part. The conversation flowed around me, occasionally I was asked a direct question but the others took my quiet demeanour as shyness. We were on our second round of drinks before the DJ started up and a few people hit the dance floor including the other girls, I was 'encouraged' to join them by Trude and Maria. I've never been a great one on the dance floor but I relaxed enough to mimic the others movements, presenting some semblance of dancing.

More drinks, I've no idea what it was, some sort of cocktail thing, the two guys from the Krone joined us and I was sort of enjoying myself. It was more than a bit weird 'dancing' with my skirt flapping around my legs and doing my best not to trip in my admittedly low heels. My worst fear as you might guess was some guy hitting on me, given the chance I probably would. Working on the theory of safety in numbers, I developed a limpet like attraction to the rest of our party and the nearest a bloke got to me was Michael and Jens dancing 'with' me. Phew!

"Den was right" I groaned three hours later as we queued for bratwürst in the town square

"What did he say?" Anna asked

"There you go girls," Jens said passing a 'sausage in a bun' to each of us. I laughed inwardly at the thought of Pratchett's 'CMOT Dibbler' character; well I was three sheets to the wind!

"He said it was an experience I'd never forget"

"But you had a good time eh?" Maria asked as we sat on the wall to eat

"Of course she did" Ingrid mentioned

The conversation moved away from me to the 'totty', mostly holidaymakers, whose company we'd spent the evening. Being heavy with alcohol, I concentrated on eating my würst and was surprised by the tugging on my arm.

"Come on Nena, time to go home" Ingrid instructed

"Er okay" I stumbled to my feet.

"Give me a hand Trude"

I had their assistance all the way back to the hotel and up to my room.

"Night Nena!"

"Night" I answered with a vague doorward wave.

I awoke what seemed like moments later to the insistent ringing of my alarm.

"Uuurgh!" was the total amount of conversation I could muster.

What a night! I finally crawled out of bed and realising I was still dressed, stripped and clambered into the shower. The sharp needles of water eventually returned me to some degree of consciousness and I wished it hadn't as a killer hangover kicked in!

What the hell happened to you?" Den asked an hour later as I joined him for breakfast.

I shot him a look that could have killed at twenty paces!

"As if you don't know, why didn't you help me out?"

"You looked like you wanted to go"

"And what did you tell Ingrid?"

"What do you mean?"

"She knows!" I hissed across the orange juice

"Well I didn't tell her" he replied, "what did she say?"

"Just that she knew"

"Well even with a hangover you look okay" he mentioned


I finished my breakfast and waited while Den had a second coffee before we went out to the bus. My, or rather Julia's, denim skirt felt good on my freshly shaved legs, another t shirt, this one in lavender completed today's outfit, I opted for the flat walking sandals after yesterday but the strappy pair were in my backpack. I was still feeling a bit rough as I greeted the passengers; I failed to see any indication that any of them knew I was anything but what I appear so I relaxed somewhat. After a quick check on numbers, we started off towards Innsbruck for our Mayrhofen and Krimml day.

"Guten morgen" I started once we were on the main road

"Morning" most of my charges replied

"Heavy night Nena?" one wag suggested which raised a few chortles at my expense.

What could I say?

I smiled and glibly replied "is it that clear? It was a good party"

This seemed to satisfy the inquisitive and brought smiles to most of the others faces too.

"We have a short drive to Yenback (Jenbach) where we will put you onto the Zillertal train to Mayrhofen. Den will meet us at the top where we have time for shopping and lunch before moving on to Krimml. Okay?" mumbled yes's came back.

"A car went straight into the restaurant last week apparently" Den noted as we made the corner at the bottom of the steepest part of the descent.

"Good job it was there, it's a long way down!" I mentioned as I started my walk up the bus. Much like yesterday, I was accosted with small talk by the punters, the weather, today's trip and my evening out were the popular topics this morning!

I eventually rejoined Den down the front as we passed Innsbruck, the short run down the valley past Schwaz only took thirty minutes and we threaded our way to the mainline terminus of the narrow gauge Zillertallerbahn. A sometimes benefit of being a courier is the number of free excursions I 'have' to go on. Leaving my passengers to follow on under Dens tutelage, I went into the ticket office to get the tickets, this train ride was included in their twenty Euro charge for the day.

"Please everyone, our train leaves in fifteen minutes from gleis, sorry platform three, so if you can make your way over, we will be in carriage five at the rear" I thought my 'accidental' use of German made me more plausible.

The punters dutifully trooped down the subway steps while I checked with Den.

"I'll head straight off, I'll meet you at the usual spot" Den stated

"Okay, I'll try not to lose anyone this time" I referred to a previous trip when as Chris I lost a passenger who got off the train at Zell am Ziller. We had the police out and I must admit to getting into a bit of a panic, luckily the old guy was still stood on the platform when the local Gendarmes got there.

The little Achensee steam train hooted as it arrived from its short trip down from the lake and our transport tooted a reply as it too arrived at the station.

"See you at the top Chris" Den mentioned as he returned to our bus.

"Later" I replied.

I quickly made my way over to the huddle of punters now watching our Dampflugzug chug into place. After a quick head count I managed to usher my charges onto the train and get the m settled.

"Please, your attention!" I mentioned, "we are going to the terminus, please do not leave the train before, Den has just told me a passenger got off early on the last trip and the poll its eye (polizei) had to rescue them! We don't want that do we?" the little anecdote caused a few chuckles.

 Global 101!
We gave Den a wave as he passed us near Zell.

It's not a fast train, in fact they run buses to the same schedule for the little over 30km trip, but especially on steam journeys it's more enjoyable. Right on time the little wood burning locomotive started the 10.10 to Mayrhofen. The day was again turning warm so the carriage windows were down, resulting in occasional blasts of soot-laden smoke surprising the occupants.

I checked everyone was okay with a walk up the carriage and again had several conversations on the way. As myself, I rarely got more than a few words out of anyone and on this trip I generally ended up sat enjoying the view. Today however we were pulling into the terminus and I hadn't managed to sit down! I'm glad I put these sandals on.

After giving everyone a chance to use the toilets and get their photographs, I swung into host mode again. Ten minutes later we reached Mayrhofen's main street.

"We leave here at one o'clock, the coach," I looked across into the coach park," yes, the coach is just over there." I pointed to our transport. "The shopping and restaurants are mostly up that way, enjoy yourselves!"

After answering a couple of questions I walked round to where Den was already nursing a coffee at the snack bar.

"My feet are killing me" I moaned

"You've just been sat down for nearly an hour" Den replied, catching the girls attention he ordered a coffee for me.

"I wish, I was on my feet all the way up, everyone wanted to chat to 'Nena'"

"At least you look a bit chipper now"

"Well I must thank the aspirin for that. Which reminds me, Ingrid!"

"Look Chris, if she hasn't said anything to anyone else I don't suppose she will. What exactly did she say?"

"Danke," I mentioned as my drink arrived, I passed her the exact money. "Well like I said earlier, just that she knew and we would talk later"

"Well no point in worrying about it, this lot haven't cottoned on which is the main thing"

"I guess"

"Anyway, what happened last night? I didn't hear you get back"

"I think it was after two," I supplied, "there's not much to tell. Go to bar, drink, dance a bit, eat dodgy food on the way home, collapse into bed with clothes on. Just like a night out in Nottingham."

"Well I've never seen you looking as hung over as this morning before, how much did you drink?"

"You sound like my mother Den" I mentioned "well if you include what I had before I was kidnapped, three beers and five of what Sonja called a 'Ski Jump', some sort of local cocktail thingy"

"It's a wonder you could walk this morning"

"Tell me about it, we sitting here or going for a walk?"

"Walk" he agreed.

"I hope you all enjoyed your visit in Mayrhofen?"

"Lovely place"

"Nice shops"

"Bit expensive"

Well I think they enjoyed themselves!

Den was already manoeuvring the Setra out onto the road.

"This abend, sorry afternoon we go across the Gerlos Pass to the Krimml Wasserfälle, sit back and enjoy the ride"

They all seemed happy enough as we tootled back down the valley to Zell where we turned onto the Gerlos road and started the ascent to pass. This bit of road always seems to take for ever although it's not much over 20k's to the top. It has become traditional that we stop at the dam near the top for a coffee break and today was no different. I brewed the drinks; everyone had something during the fifteen-minute stop. I just had time for a quick look in the kiosk and ended up buying another neck scarf, for my mum honest!

Back on the bus started the descent to the falls, the road down to the falls really is impressive, switchbacks and at one point a full 360° loop! We joined the twenty or so other coaches in the coach park; this place is always busy!

"Hello! Before we get off I need to advise you? Please be very careful the path is very, how do you say, bumpy. Also only use the underpass to cross the road. The entry to the falls is five uro; you can see the lower falls for free though. There are special taxi's to the top for anyone not wanting to walk, price is about ten uro. We are here for one hour thirty, we leave at three p.m."

Having been several times before, I decided to read for a while, Den wanted to wash the coach so that was settled. I pulled my copy of 'Valley of the Horses', Jean Auel's epic, out of my bag, slipped my sandals off and settled down. I lost track of time, as I became engrossed in the action, Ayla had just rescued Jondolar when Den poked his head back inside.

"You want to get a drink?"

"Er okay, won't be a minute"

"I'll just put my stuff in the locker then I'm ready" Den advised

I marked my place and put the book on the dashboard while I put on my shoes, I had one on before I realised that I was putting the strappy sandals on. I must have pulled them out to get the book. Ah well, in for a penny! I did a quick check in the mirror, still looking pretty good despite the heat.



We walked round to the small café / bar at the start of the waterfall path. There were several other coach crews there as you might expect and, sod it, a couple that I was on more than nodding terms with as Chris!

"I think I'll go back Den"


"George is over there, he's bound to recognise me" I hissed

"Too late he's spotted us, "hi George, still on the trolleys then?"

"Hey Den how's it going"

We walked over to his table me trailing reluctantly.

"And who's this lovely creature?" George asked

"George meet Nena, Nena this is George, he drives for Wallace Arnold. Nena's filling for Chris, he went down with food poisoning on the way down." Den laid it on thick

"Hello Nena, hope Den here's behaving himself"

I tried to sound upbeat as I replied.

"He is being, how you say, a gentleperson, no, gentleman"

"Maureen will be back in a mo" George mentioned.

The waitress came to take our order and the woman mountain that is Maureen joined us. After a repeat of the introductions, Den and George started talking coaches, which left me to 'chat' with Maureen. It was clear that she was sizing me up as we talked, I was certain that she recognised me but I sort of deflected her with the tale of last nights exploits. She was a little confused I could see now but if I know Maureen she'd stew on it for a while yet.

"Time to get back Nena" Den advised, rescuing me from further interrogation.

"Take care Nena, don't let Den take advantage" George joked

"Might see you later in the week" Maureen suggested

"Teuss" I waved as we left them.

"I'm sure Maureen knows"

"You're just paranoid, George certainly didn't recognise you"

"I am not paranoid!"

"Hello Mr Stubbings, are you enjoying yourselves?" Den went on.

I slapped my smile back on and joined the Stubbings to return to the bus.

Today's trip was certainly packing stuff in; we've still one more stop before we head back for our late dinner. We had everyone on board at five to three, the air con was proving a good draw and instead of heading back up the hill we headed down the valley. Forty minutes and a crossing of the Thurn Pass we arrived at Kitzbühel for a stop of about an hour. After directing our passengers towards the town, Den and I locked up and headed down ourselves, I'm afraid I'm a sucker for the tradition of coffee and 'kuchen' in the afternoon.

Kitzbühel is a very pleasant little town and we were soon sat outside a café with our coffee, Den tucking into strudel and little ole me some concoction of raspberry's, cream and a sort of blancmange! Well it tastes a lot better than it sounds! My feet were by now quite tired so I slipped my shoes off, aah! Luxury! We had a second coffee, I toyed with the idea of another slice of cake but the look Den was giving me halted that thought, spoil sport.

When we were done I couldn't face putting my footwear back on so I walked back to our transport barefoot on the baking pavements, swinging my sandals in my hand. Den just shook his head. I spotted one of the sports stores were having a sale and I emerged ten minutes later, fifty Euro's lighter and sporting some decidedly feminine looking sunglasses.

"Well, what do you think?" I asked Den

"I think that anyone thinking you are not a girl must be very mistaken!"

"Thanks, I think." I stated

"You want an ice cream?"

"We just had cake"


"Well in that case, pistachio and strawberry"


We walked over to the ice cream bar and Den paid for a couple of double scoops, I got the cake earlier.

"You feeling a bit happier now?" Den enquired

"A bit I guess, but I'm sure Maureen knows and then there's Ingrid"

"You worry too much"

"It's not your neck on the line" I stated

Den opened the bus and the passengers started arriving back.

I'd noticed that one bloke, Mr Brand, was always knocking into things, just clumsy I guess and this time he managed to wipe every thing off the dashboard with his camera bag.

"Oh I'm so sorry" he apologised

"That's okay, no harm done" Den told him as he helped pick up the debris

"Didn't take you for a fan of this stuff, " he waved my book at Den, "my wife likes them but I prefer westerns."

"Oh it's not mine," Den replied, "it's Nena's"

I could see the cogs turning over.

"In English?"

"Yes, there is not so much translated into German and it helps with my English too" I hastily explained.

"Right. Yes. Excellent idea. Your English is already very good, where did you learn?"

"Mostly at school but I spend a summer, two years ago, in England as how you say, au pair"

"That explains it then" he gathered his bags again and commenced causing chaos further down the bus" both Den and I just shook our heads.

A few minutes later and the head count was done and Den pointed us back toward Seefeld.

"I hope you've all enjoyed today"

A chorus of slightly weary voices answered in the affirmative, I could hear Mr Brand loudly explaining my reading material to his wife, "she reads English books you know, to improve her English."

"Dinner should be ready when we get back to the hotel so you can go straight in to eat. Those of you going to the Silvretta tomorrow, we leave at nine o'clock again. I will come around once we get onto the autobahn if you want drinks. Otherwise sit back and relax." I finished my little announcement and as we were only just going through Brixen I settled down for a few minutes.

It was five past seven when we pulled up at the See Hotel, tired, hungry and apart from the two children on board pretty happy (children and coach travel do not go well together!)

"Ah Ingrid, we need to talk" I mentioned spotting her in reception

"Sure Nena, eat first, we can get a drink afterwards"

With that settled I joined Den in the restaurant.

Maddy Bell 02.02.04 © 2004

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