Sunday, 5 August 2007

One down, one to go...

Sorry to post just after you have Mark, but never mind.

Got back from a trip to Italy to go to the wedding of a former housemate of Ann. We got cheap plane tickets and flew over to Milan. Before heading to Como, where Shanti (the friend) lives, we headed for Cinque Terra, a coastal stretch containing 5 development protected towns connected by walking trails. The distance from one to the other was only 9km, but it took us about 5 hours due to all the ups and downs along the way. At the end, we rewarded ourselves with a swim in the sea, much to the relief of our feet.

In Milan, we stayed at a newly done B&B that the people living above Shanti had decided to open. Breakfast was plentiful and the people amusing. Various guests were already there, Titi from Belgium (although born in Hawaii and lived in Belgium), Karuna (Shanti's sister), Danni and Kirsten (Two girls that Shanti and Karuna grew up with in Swaziland) and some Canadians who I can't remember their names at the moment but one went to 6th Form College equivelent with Shanti.

One evening, we headed out to a village outside Como where Dominico (the groom) was born and met many of his friends at a pub there. They were an amusing bunch who 'speak very well english'. Pub was good, wide selection of beers, including many from Belgium.

Neil, you think French Ice Cream is good? Try Italian Gelato, it kicks its rear end rather fiercely.

The wedding itself was on Monday, but on the Saturday, there was another wedding at the same church (which you could see from Shanti's lounge) and so, inbetween putting Henna onto their hands and feet, the girls were trying to catch glances of what was going on.

The day itself was fortunately quite mild for an Italian summer, which I was glad of as my only particularly good smart shirt is dark red. The service itself only took about 45min, although there was a great deal of meeting and greeting before and after.

After the service and before the bride and groom had left, a heart with the couple's initials made from rice was formed outside the church doors. When the came out, friends picked them up and hurled them into the air three times (normally only the groom but the friends wanted to throw the bride afterwards).

The reception was in a villa about a kilometer down the road. Shanti and Dominico had wanted to row there but it was too windy and so rode in a car. The food was great.

At the end, all the guests were presented with some Jordan Almonds (which we had been eating the whole time there as Shanti had ordered an incredible amount of them, far, far too many).

I'd heard a lot about practical jokes which are apparently traditional. The two 'legendary' ones told to me were placing a tree trunk in front of the church doors, leaving a two person saw for the bride and groom to use to get in. The second was bricking up the front door of their house and leaving only a crowbar and a hammer for them to get in.

The jokes here were tame compared. Cups of water were placed all over the bedroom floor, water balloons in cupboards. Furniture placed together and then wrapped in clingfilm. Dominico had just lend the keys to his friends so no real damage was done due to trying to get in etc.

We headed to Milan a day early as out flight left early in the morning. We went to the Duomo, good view from up there.

I now feel prepared for next year. Mark and Monica, I warn you, the standard has be set high...