Within relatively quick succession and only on this day randoms started to converse with me, in German on the lifts, i remember little to nothing about why. Differently I’m not entirely clear on why i seem to add additional layers of not so native speaker to my response but there seems to be evidence that something of the Brit abroad is being unnecessarily painted on.. still despite some rusty German and additional layering they seemed to make a head from the tail of the responses i gave both opting to question how it was i came to speak German… Shock that a Brit would speak a foreign language, the German language… somewhat or perhaps just marginally unduly, there are plenty of UK dwellers who have found their way clear to speaking a language other than English .. (some, it could be harshly argued, have similarly seen their way clear to speaking less) .. back on the point of the ski lift people, relative to other countries, they have a point, the British do seem to have reduced propensity toward the foreign languages, i only speak this one due the half Swiss side, an explanation that settled their surprise.
My notes are taking too long – its two weeks since i returned to work over two weeks since the skiing – not so much happens back here, though the work questions are resolving themselves. Still time to attempt to pick up the pace on the retrospectives.
We made our way across to Gerlos and close to the far end of the ski area.
We were running out of time to make it back to Zell am Ziller, it was going to be tight with a couple of key lifts that we had to get too before they closed if we were to make the connection. We made it too just above the first of these connections, only no Cirrus, the back markers of our small collective had arrived but no Cirrus… time was finite, with everyone down the unsubstantiatable working theory was that he must have fallen. The lift was getting away from us, the sun was low and the unknown closing time was looming, Cirrus eventually arrived – Photos / Selfie … timing, its all in the timing & the timing saw a curly mustached man stand authoritatively in the middle of the piste as we headed down. Rather than complete the run he pointed us toward the piste side restaurant, an unexpected sort of dead end and the piste turned into a mountain side restaurant car park, it became clear we would be skiing no further. We’d only made it as far as the Umbrella bar – not even as far back as Gerlos and it was anything but clear how we were to proceed from here.
I headed back over to the curly ends mustache man, he seemed friendlier now as this person with the perplexed air duck waddled himself over to seek out some advise.
A ski bus, I’m told, it comes all the way up here with the stop somewhere over by the car park, things were looking up. There is no doubt its smoothly and well organised, trains arrive and buses are waiting, here this somewhat odd little dead end of a valley has its ski bus connection. We barely had to wait any time at all for it to turn up.
It wouldn’t take us all the way home but it was a connection back to Gerlos, the minimum target we had and the place we knew to have bus connections back to Zell am Ziller. The stops are not announced and one tends to rely on general motion to inform a decision, here the general motion was to exit the bus and so we exited the bus, as it transpired possibly a little prematurely and not in Gerlos center. Still we came upon a stop for Zell headed buses and had 30 minutes until the next, 30 minutes …. and Daud didn’t even need to put in the effort of sniffing out a bar, there were two in plain sight, the immediate future required little insight to be predicted.
When that was done and it was insufficiently eventful to warrant much thought here, the abiding memory was a spot of sitting, darkish lighting and re-acquaintance with smoke thickened air. The bus, when it arrived on time or possibly before was unexpectedly headed all the way to Mayrhofen. It was not comfortable, it was convenient, the bus was rather full and like us each of them came with a snow board or skis. In the aisles they stood, most notable a tall one, posh accent, young and rarely throughout any part of the less than swift journey back, we got to hear about his premature knee operations among other topics. The two most obvious types of Brits abroad, the boozed up, lairey & disrespectful or the hoity, entitled & disrespectful. Many Brits fly beneath either such radars but if the microcosm of this bus were to be taken then certainly only a few people stood out, only one was unmissable.
Back in Mayrhofen i took the opportunity to return my equipment to the hotel and to freshen up a little before heading out to rejoin the others for dinner.
The portion of my mixed grill wasn’t exactly the largest – rather imagine if this were presented to an American they might be left to wonder how they’d come to order from the children’s menu but the atmosphere and all round nature of things was superior to yesterdays dinning. Daud & Milton opting for a meat fondue and certainly ending up with the best option of any of us.
Charlie was tired after dinner and had it in mind to return to his room an idea Daud could not not agree to and so in an emergency change of plan he sought to bring forward any intention to return to last nights Brückenstadl bar. I’d long held and expressed the view that the bar was less likely to be of such interest in the earlier hours as it had been lively in the later slot of yesterdays visit.. But something needed to be pulled out to keep the attention and stop the dithering which seemed set to turn back the less enthusiastic and more uncertain of group members. It worked, Daud secured the wobble, no doubt it’s a skill.
Guarded by a solid set and bald security chunk we again meandered in unfettered by being padded down and checked on with suspicious gaze. We settled on the table next to yesterdays again conveniently free, although the seats were laid down beneath assorted coats, jackets and assorted clobber. We’d barley cast a intentful eye toward it when members of the table behind were on their feet and gathering things up, the clobber was clearly theirs and withing moments it was gone, most helpful and polite indeed.
It was a little less lively than last night at the beginning and the music of choice seemed to have a little less of the local popular choice about it, a little more international in flavor. As we stayed the place filled up some more and Charlie woke back up from his post dinner slump.
After a while of being there the security chap came wondering, he did that quite a bit – random wonderings – this time he found himself over by our table. Approaching Milton, who was sat at the tables more exposed end, he pointed to the cage that hung aloft above the stage and said something, apparently suggesting to Milton that he might want to go up there, a spot of performing in the bird cage. Milton, so often (if stories are too be believed) the victim of impromptu bouts of involuntary performance volunteering at the hands of his friends (those here today – Daud) though normally when under a substantially greater weight of alcohol. Milton declined and no halfhearted efforts to convince him to receive the notion in a more positive light would be about to change that.
Daud, married these days, distracts the stumpy candle of his attention span through the smart phone and was glued to it, here where he’d sought to be but busy in his researching of other places where we might go.
He found somewhere else on one or other review site, professing however how useful the telegraph website was proving to be in such matters. By now we’d been stationary for some time, no member inclined toward a more buoyant and exuberant form of participation.. Some might be on another day, with more lubrication and/or less fatigue from the day before, either way the dance floor remained unsoiled by our feat aside for some shimmying, scuttling runs across toward the toilets between the jostling bouncing masses. In short we’d taken from the place as much as we were about to and leaving seemed about right, besides the bar he was advocating (called Scotland Yard) was located not so many additional steps of what was the route back.
As we approached it was dark, we had an agreement – if it were closed there would be no more random ferreting about and we’d go off home, if it remained open we’d go in … it looked dark, it looked closed as we approached.
It wasn’t – somehow the world seems to want Daud to have his way, that his pursuit of alcohol and generally flighty ways should be gently and persistently reinforced .. the winds they see fit to fuel his sails. Personally i remained largely agnostic, its holiday and being out and about seemed to have its charms while going back and getting some reasonable sleep before the next days early start, that would surely have its advantage.
The bar was a little smokey and relatively quiet, well we’d come from a pub/club, this was a more traditional pub that would not look out of place in a UK market town… I’d been offered the incitement of cider appearing on the menu, in way of an unnecessary additional attempt to try to sure up my compliance with the idea of coming here – there was cider, not necessarily a favorite but at this point a pleasant alternative, for those such as myself who are disinclined toward bear.
The consensus was this was probably a bar for earlier in the evening, a place where we could actually talk with quite some ease to one another and sit in comfort on cushioned benches.. Generally by now energy levels were low, Charlie and Milton were first to leave. When Milton departs you know things must be serious, rarely one to leave Daud to drink on most holidays it is Milton who stands among whichever group is the last group standing. I was flagging. The warm, the hour, the comfortable seat, the dusky sort of lighting – as i neared the end of my drink a return to the hotel was calling. Meanwhile Daud had returned from the toilets and had attempted a now well established maneuver of using his return leg to sidle up to the bar, close enough though to be in ear shot, a tactical error that allowed for an interception.
Despite instructions to the contrary he went on to procure an additional pint of Guinness for Damon, when its arrival was not welcomed and attempts were made to reject the idea of consuming it, the rejection seemed to hit an emotional nerve… the disappointment in Dauds face was palpable, might the drinking be soon to end? might the intentions be scuppered .. it was like a puppy having its favorite toy bone taken from it and placed within sight but out of reach. It was though time for hotel, time for sleep – personally thoughts were now quite clear, I’d had my fill and thoughts had turned to tomorrow/later that day – shortly after we left.