Monday, 30 May 2011
And they lived happily ever after....
It was indeed, the stuff dreams are made of: Once upon a time a dear friend called C, married his beautiful princess S in (the above) fairytale Italian castle and they lived happily ever after... even after the wedding was attended by a group of drunken school buddy Irish mentalists.
Boy I feel blue. I have so so so looked forward to going to Trieste and my dear friend's nuptials. I knew it would be special for many reasons: sunshine - hurrah for a hot sun beating down on my old tired face; no kids - need I say more?; a wonderful celebration in what looked to be a beautiful old majestic castle, right next to the sea; hanging out with people who I have spent my lifetime loving and meeting new folk who undoubtedly would be brilliant; spending quality time with Husband; getting a lie in; drunken dancing and U2 songs for cert. And now I am back to porridge. But for a second, just indulge me if you will, while I remember one of the best times I have ever had.
We flew out on Fri morning with 2 other couples - husband wanted to sleep so I sat with the others and talked their ears off. To my left was a bloke (who looked like Howard from Take That) who was also going to the wedding, with his beautiful pregnant girlfriend. By the end of the flight I felt like I had known them for years. When we arrived at the gorgeous hotel - set into the cliffs, overlooking the sea, we threw our clothes off, our swim gear on and headed to the beach area. There, as the grey sea whipped up a storm, we drank beer, met some others who had arrived earlier and began the banter that would last for 48 hours.
Dinner was a taxi ride away in a pizzeria in town - where we all mixed up the tables and sat with old friends and new ones. Afterwards a terrific storm hit us all as we stood outside a bar drinking in the centre of Trieste. Did it dampen our drinking ability? Oh no - we just hovered in shop doorways and proceeded to get drenched. One drink too many for my emotional self and I beat a hasty exit. The next day was sadly grey and cold. My body refused to let my hangover sleep itself off so I stuffed as many breakfast pastries down my gullet as possible and tries to read while husband snored. The day passed in a haze of eating - mind you being presented by raw fish and octopus tentacles with a hangover didn't do much for the appetite - and lounging. And then it was time to get a frock on, slap on the warpaint, totter on heels (dodgy with my ankle) and get ourselves on the coach.
We arrived to this entrance:
And proceeded to here for actual ceremony:
To say it was stunning is an understatement. Words kind of fail me. The view was spectacular. It was as if the gods of love had finally woken up and given the weather gods a kick in the arse - as suddenly the sun poked out from behind the ominous grey clouds and then it shone. The bride arrived and the groom swooned. When they proclaimed their love for one another and then kissed there wasn't a dry eye in the castle. It was simply magical.
From there we went to a terrace and drank prosecco watching the sun go down. We moved to another sheltered terrace and feasted on tasty canapes washed down with even more prosecco. It is one of the drinks you just can't get enough of. Then to the amazing dining room - filled with circular tables, candles, two splendid chandeliers and enough red wine to sink a ship. There were 5 courses, 4 emotional, poignant, witty and wonderful speeches in both English and Italian, 3 phone calls from Husband to work to find out the score in the Champions League final and much clinking of glasses toasting the 2 happiest folk in the portrait filled room. The atmosphere was relaxed, warm and full of joy. Every person was having a ball. Next to my table were a group of fabulously shoed Italian girls who had attended Uni with the bride - I had admired their shoe candy earlier - shoes which they later discarded when we went down into the tunnels of the castle to a fairylit stone-walled grotto replete with wishing fountain - and there we ate the cream filled cake, sucked on the ripest strawberries and washed it all down with potent mojitos. As you do. I bothered the poor DJ the whole night, basically spelling out his play list - Gaga, Madonna, Born Slippy, Gnarls Barclay - and then forced the man to download Beyonce's Crazy in Love for us all to shake our booties too. The night ended with us all in a circle to Sunday Bloody Sunday with a load of Italians wondering 'what the hell?'
We came, we drank, we danced our shoes off. It was 4am and time to leave. I never wanted it to end. We coached it back to the hotel where a drunken kilted Scotsman tried to get me to hold a wooden sign spelling out 'LOVE' that had done its rounds that evening - but somehow he ended up on top of me, our legs splayed out on the floor. At least one of us had underwear on and by one of us, I mean me. This guy had trekked the Sahara in his kilt and it was his secret weaponfor all occasions. After all that sweating over what to wear, I needn't have bothered as he stole the style crown of the event - as all the Italian fashionistas asked to have their photo taken with him!
I managed 4 hours sleep and then had to pack and fly home. Of course the sun split the skies and there were plans for a wedding post mortem lunch on the terrace at our hotel. I would have sold my Husband to have stayed. But I had to get back and rescue my Mum from our two kids. I hugged the groom and his lovely bride goodbye with a huge lump in my throat. I have known this guy since he was 6 - I have weathered his storms in life with him and now, now he has his happy ending. It was a honour to be there and witness that moment. Life is fleeting - before you know it, it is over. But those days, the ones filled with love and laughter and sunshine - well those are the days that make life worth living - the stuff dreams are made of.