I woke to a most unbuzzing feeling – the stomach in moderate objection and the head floating and drifting about me. A little bit frazzled and unfocused i followed what i knew to be true, from past days rituals and undemanding thought, it was time to get up, get dressed and head down for breakfast… It wasn’t the fasted and most efficient of such efforts and when i got down to the breakfast room there was a stumbling block, i was none too hungry. Difficult to prescribe whether it was potato off last night still occupying all my digestive energies or some other gift still loitering from the evening before but i couldn’t really face too much of this. Cereal and some drinking, aside from that i made rolls of ham and cheese from the morning portions (as i did every morning..only today i had more left overs to play with) and meandered my way back to the room.
Collect things and out to the station for a return to Zell Am Ziller, the most rounded, interested and seemingly expansive of the ski areas around here. This is what had been agreed – i cant say i recall much of what filled the time between breakfast and arriving at Zell but i can say we were all there aside from Daud. Daud was not here, he would not be joining us this morning. My left foots little toe was now not its customary size, shape and colour,quite the uncomfortable fellow traveler looking back at me as i sought to achieve something through inspecting it.
The story went that Cirrus had heard someone outside his room, walking past in the morning and offering a “What the …. has happened here?!?” He’d taken little notice but when they had gotten up they’d seen the toppled sideboard, the lone glove, the dishevelled de-pegged rugs (the floor in their hotel was covered by long rugs that were stapled/pinned to the floor – only no more).. His fellow inhabitants among our group had a theory, it went along these lines … Daud had come back last night or rather this morning at an unknown juncture, having made it all the way back to the hotel he’d gotten up some stairs, then either presumed he was all the way back or had run out of steam and set about nesting in the corridor, lying down, mistaking the rug for his bed sheets he’s grabbed hold and tugged them free to cover himself… it made for a distantly possible theory and a brilliantly amusing mental picture.
The bus connection confused even those who had conducted themselves in a more sensible manner the night before. At first i thought it was just me but there was nothing familiar about the route it took, same little red ski though – while i may not have paid much attention to landmarks last time, through the mental fog i couldn’t escape the sense that something was quite different. When eventually i got round to mentioning my thoughts about the route i was not alone, Charlie had also been left wondering on the same matter. We were correct, that was a bonus, the bus arrived at the desired destination only from the opposite direction that it did last ti
Having approached from the opposite direction the bus pulled into the Rosenalmbahn I,instead of its close neighbour, the Wiesenalmbahn.. Everyone on the bus was getting out, so we all gathered up our things and did what we had been doing and followed the direction of majority travel – diligent compliance to the wisdom of the crowd, that can never go wrong.. Well not quite everyone had opted to make it off the bus, something we noticed as the doors closed, the bus drove off and Milton looked out at us. He knew we were getting off, he’d been stood right with us on the bus.. we just looked at each other Cirrus, Charlie and Me, stupified, amused, bemused and just a little bit disbelieving… to be fair this wasn’t quite a first instance of such things for Milton but it was the first on this trip .. there was something horribly brilliant about it, it might even mean a lot of waiting around for his return but for the moment it seemed a little worth it.
There was the hope that the bus would stop again at the Wiesenalmbahn and that he might be able to make his way from there, either way there was little we could do here and headed up where the crowds seemed to flow, up the escalators, where sure enough we found the ski lift waiting.
Things were to work out almost ideally again with a call from Milton to explain that he was indeed let out by the other lift and would swap over lifts where they intersect at the middle stations.. What doesn’t make a lot of sense it that somehow as we pulled into the middle station he had arrived and was waiting to get into a gondola, he rejoined us. Quite how he had arrived here before us and not just before but sufficiently before such that he was able to get off his lift, walked across to our lifts middle station and all before we’d arrived – seemed improbable, Milton is not the worlds fastest moving man and yet here he was… improbable but really exceedingly handy.