When we arrived in Rapallo, we again asked the taxi drivers to take us to the hotel and they pointed and said it was too close. With all of our luggage, we walked through the center of town and through a shopping area. After getting a peek at the shops, I was very excited to go shopping the next day.
We arrived into town too late to meet up with the wedding group who had been shopping at a high-end outlet mall (Prada, Dolce & Gabana, Chanel, etc.) and then had an extended rehearsal dinner. We instead, went on a walk down on the pathway that followed the ocean to this old, lit-up castle-looking building. We quickly found a restaurant to eat at complete with a tourist menu and a pretentious guy two tables over who was all sort of entertainment for our hour and a half meal. When we got bored listening to him, we started throwing the remnants of our breadbasket to the Mallard ducks who were floating near the castle. It was like wild kingdom there for awhile as both the ducks and fish were going for the bread.
On our way from dinner to the hotel, I got hit on twice in one evening (which is NOT a common occurrence for me) and I got to play the dumb girl who didn’t know what to say and instead just smiles and giggles, because I really didn’t know what to say to the Italian men since I didn’t speak their language. I think Andy coming out from the shop where he was buying us some water said everything that need to be said. Rapallo was a lot more touristy than Genoa, but it was beautiful and we both liked it. Andy was in heaven with the armada of sailboats and I was thrilled to start shopping the famous Italian goods!
The next morning, I began shopping at a shop that was literally right next to the hotel. It is so cool how everything is co located, whether it is the pharmacy, the hotel, restaurants, clothing stores, shoe stores, bakeries, wine shops, you name it. I left the shop with a bag of clothes that were “just in yesterday.” Literally, I have the latest Italian fashions. Doesn’t that just sound so cool? Probably most of you don’t care, but I was impressed with myself. It was clear that the Italian women were into the latest fashions too because there were bags of reserved clothing behind the counter and even though the clothes were just in “yesterday” the sizes were already starting to get a bit picked over. On my way back from shopping, I ran into my friend Jonas (the groom) and was able to talk with him and some of his friends before meeting up with them later in the day for the wedding “riviera boat tour.”
We met on the dock for the boat ride at 2-pm but I guess the boat was actually leaving at 2:30pm. There was a lot of trickery going on with times throughout the entire wedding experience as Linda (the bride) generally runs on “her own time” (as others described it) and so meeting times never seemed to be accurate and everyone just understood that and went with it. Once we had all boarded the boat, we went to Portofino, a neighboring town in a couple of coves over that was quite ritzy with shops like Louis Vuittan, Chanel, etc. We mostly just walked around, but Andy did find a few Kappa shirts and a hat since he had left his sailing club hat on the night train to Milan. Next we went to an old abbey in another cove. I decided to hike up as far as I could with my new friends, Britten and Brooke and had all sorts of fun. Britten and I discussed planter faciatus until there was really nothing more to say about it, since she is battling it right now and I have continual problems with it (although I seriously contend that a weekly Chinese foot massage makes it go away all together.) We met some other nice new friends on the boat named Kelly and Ron. Brooke works for Microsoft, Ron used to but now has his own business. Kelly is an accountant and Britten is just leaving a job as a recruiter for the University of Puget Sound. They were really a lot of fun to get to know.
After the boat ride, we went to the hotel to get ready for the “girls/guys nights out” aka bachelorette/bachelor parties. I didn’t have shoes to wear with the dress I wanted to wear, so I ran down to the shoe shop near the hotel and bought a new pair of shoes and matching purse. Did I mention I was in heaven (until the “you’ve been spending a lot of money” discussion happened)?
I can only speak for the girls version of the night and I guess what Andy told me of the guys version. Ten of us girls wandered around looking for a restaurant that would seat us outside. We didn’t find one, but chose a nice restaurant that was able to assemble a table for ten inside. Linda helped the ordering process along as she speaks very good Italian (as far as I could tell) and we enjoyed some nice anti-pastas (appetizers), an entree and of course, plenty of excellent wine, of the Barbera varietal. I got to know Linda and her friend Lily who I have both heard so much about over the years. I also was able to talk more with Kelly and Britten who are a blast.
After dinner, we ended up meeting up with the guys after the crazier half of the girls went in some three-wheeled truck with a bunch of drunk Italian guys who were thrilled because their soccer team, AC Milan, had just one the Champions League championship (that means they are the best soccer club in Europe.) Imagine Linda in her designer dress riding it the back of this truck with eight other people, half of who are drunk Italian guys. The saner ones in the group (or I guess you could call us the chickens) made sure that they got out of the vehicle and were okay before meeting up with “our” guys. All I got out of the guys version of the night was that they saw a fight. We went back to the hotel early (10:30ish) with a promise from Lily that we were going to be so disappointed on what we missed out on by going to bed early.
The next morning, we slept in and then went for a run. Linda had invited all of the girls to go to her hotel and get ready for the wedding with her at noon (the wedding was supposed to start at 6-pm), but I opted to join Andy on the beach. We ended up lounging most of the day in the sun with the unique European beach chairs with face shields. It was nice and relaxing and we ordered one of the best fruits salad I have ever had, especially at a restaurant. We shared the beach with some Italian women who clearly were regulars. They knew how to position their body so they could get ever square centimeter of their non-bikini-covered skin tan.
That evening, we walked back to the hotel and got ready in our fancy clothes. We took a cab to the hotel where the wedding was since I think walking that far in my fancy shoes would have doomed my feet for the evening. I brought my flip flops anyway even though it was probably the most sac-religious thing I could do in Linda’s book.
The wedding was supposed to be a “return to the elegance of the earlier decades” like 1930s and 1940s. People were asked in the invitation to be dressed up formally in either black, white or red. Lucky for us, it was simple and cost-effective to have a suit and dress made at the fabric markets in China. My gown was so elegant and it was the first wedding I absolutely felt like I was wearing the right thing. Specifying the dress code, really does make it easier for guests to figure out to wear, I guess. I was very impressed that almost everyone stuck to the theme and people looked really sharp! We thought the wedding was supposed to start at 6-pm, but it didn’t get going until 6:45-pm or so. We waited where the wedding was to be at this rock outcrop right on the water. Luckily there were no waves in the Mediterranean because if there were, we would have been wet.
All of the ladies were missing until about 6:30pm when they started coming down the stairs to the ceremony area one by one. They had been busy getting Linda ready and the word was out that she would be coming soon. She did not disappoint and arrived at the top of the stairs with her father and a gorgeous gown. Nobody would have expected any less from her.
They did a unique thing with the wedding where they had all of the guests write a message about the couple, love, or hopes and wishes for them. Basically the entire ceremony consisted of people reading those messages. They were varied from wishes in Italian to a story about Linda’s “yellow day” to short and sweet sayings about love and marriage. The only bummer was that it was a bit hard to hear over the water, but other than that it was very neat. The ceremony finished with Jonas and Linda reading their vows to one another. Linda’s vows started with “A long time ago in a galaxy (or country or something) far far away…” and continued with a bit of a Star Wars theme, but again it was hard to hear. Then, she did the coolest thing that Andy could ever have imagined and played the Imperial March as the music that they walked out to. You know the “dun dun dun…..dun.dun.dun….dun.dun.dun” that signifies the presence of Darth Vater in Star Wars. Andy still brings that up every day. I will tell you what, she is a girl who you never know exactly what is coming next. After the gorgeous gown and the Darth Vater music, she was wearing these cowhide high heals with blue (her something blue) spots and pearl earnings. She is one unique gal and it was so fun to see how she put the wedding together.
Appetizers and champagne started the after party which was followed by a six course feast, tiramisu cake, lots of wine and coffee. The open bar started after that, but by that point, I was finished drinking and turned to the water. Andy and I were one of the few who made this decision this early. We were glad we did.
We danced out on a balcony overlooking the ocean and it really was magical. The music was awesome, but the DJ kept changing my favorite songs to fast and mixing them into the next song which wasn’t as good (in my opinion.) It was really so much fun and we were so glad that we went.
After midnight, we had to leave the hotel where the wedding was so we headed down to this British pub somewhere in the middle of Rapallo. It took us awhile to find it and as were were walking there, we ran into Ron and Kelly. Ron was taking Kelly home because she had had enough. She had that “I drank too much” look in her eyes, well you know what I mean. Later Ron came back to the bar, after Kelly passed out and said, “you know, my Italian phrase-book doesn’t seem to have the phrase, ‘my wife just puked in your hotel’s ashtray.’” We were laughing pretty hard when we heard that. Poor thing. That is what mixing champagne, wine and vodka will do to you quickly.
Those boys from Sun Valley can drink. We left them at 2:30am and still missed half of the party. We felt like rock-stars staying out that late though. What a fun day and excellent time in Rapallo!
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