Ultimately, the reason for this amazing trip was to attend our friend Tracy's destination wedding that was to be in Stresa, Italy. The town of Stresa sits along a portion of Lago Maggiore, and seemed to be mainly populated by Italians and white-haired tourists. We were the youngest people in Stresa, apparently! This was a fact that we found pretty hilarious, and we lived up to expectations as "Those Young Whippersnappers!"
First of all, Stresa is gorgeous! It's lush and green, with flowers everywhere, hotels that take your breath away, and clean cobblestone walkways along every road. It was impossible not to feel like you were temporarily living in a very vivid dream. There were swans in the lake, for goodness sake! (Along with roosters at our Hotel La Fontana, but more on that later...)
As I mentioned in my last blog, Lucy, Jimmy, Ben (Lucy's brother from London,) Rebekkah, Joe, Sharlene and I were all staying at La Fontana, with the rest of our friends staying either at the Villa, or in one of the amazing hotels around the main road. The Fontana was a cute little hotel (not a pensione, as I'd said before) that was about a five minute, or less if you were in a hurry, walk to the Villa. The manager, Guiseppe, was very kind to us, and took a liking to our little group. He carefully complained about "those terrible boys" that were also staying at La Fontana, who turned out to be a bunch of tourist golfers. Golfers are a naughty bunch, apparently! But he gave Lucy the key to the hotel so that we could come in later than the curfew of 1 am. Later, he gave her a second key, as there were times when part of our group (mostly me!) wanted to come back earlier than the rest. Every night was a party, full of wine/champagne/beer, laughing, and sometimes some Italian drama! All of this was BEFORE Tracy & Brian's wedding, even!
Our group took over a little bar, run by Massimo The Italian Sam from Cheers, as it was the only establishment that was open until 3 am. The latest I ever stayed there was around 1:30 am, however. I believe I was the second oldest person in our group!! I needed my beauty rest, though, and I was also drinking a bit more than normal for me, so I left to preserve my liver, really. The bar was adorable, and Massimo made sure that we were treated well! He even stood up for us when one of the nearby hotel managers came over to ask us to be quiet... that was a little drama that luckily was gotten on video by Joya, but which I have yet to see. I was there for the actual confrontation, and Joya's translated narrative... HILARIOUS!!
Above is Bekkah, at an outdoor table at Massimo's bar. This was my favorite spot to sit and have a conversation and a drink with my friends... it was also the front row seat for the infamous Italian showdown!
I will need to continue on a new blog for the wedding day, as it deserves it's own blog. But I need to tell you about the other event that was celebrated here in Stresa: Krisztina's birthday!
On the day before the wedding, it was my housemate Krisztina's birthday. Her boyfriend, Jim Evens (from here on out known as "Jevens"), made elaborate plans to surprise her, including a cake ordered from a local bakery, to be brought out at her birthday dinner. He asked Lucy if she would pick up the cake, as he wasn't able to casually leave Krisztina to do anything without causing suspicion. Now, the night he asked Lucy, we were all out drinking until quite late, and had to walk Jimmy home (Lu's hubby) to ensure that he made it, and get him into bed safely. All of us had really over-indulged, so the next day we were feeling a might fragile. Lucy had a receipt for the cake, and somehow, Jimmy actually knew where the place was, and told us where to go, though he wasn't in any shape to accompany us.
Lucy, Sharlene & I picked up the cake around 10:30 am, and were headed down the main road back to our hotel with it, when we spotted Krisztina and Jevens walking towards us from across the street. We knew that she wasn't supposed to see it, and we panicked for a bit, all trying to hide behind the same column, whispering madly, "Put the cake down!" "No, pick up the f*#@ing cake!" "Hide!! Hide!" "F$#k! F@&k! F%@k!" all while running around in front of a china shop with the sales person watching the whole thing! We finally ran (with the cake) inside the establishment, and then proceeded to display interest in the knick knacks, while keeping our backs to the store front and also peering across the street to make sure that Krisztina hadn't seen us... it was HYSTERICAL!! It was Laverne & Shirley & Shirley goes to Italy. :-) Luckily, she hadn't seen us!
The surprise after dinner was a success, and the evening itself was so much fun that I forgot to take ANY photos of it! We were seated by a blonde Italian bombshell and her little tiny chihuahua, who was very happy to have us all eat at her restaurant... She even insisted on taking a picture of us "beautiful people" with her own camera as a keepsake. And she gave Krisztina a bottle of Limoncello in a bottle shaped like a woman's shoe, for good luck! It was an unforgettable birthday dinner!
My next blog will be on the wedding day itself. One word for you: Magical.
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Thursday, June 3, 2010
Stresa, Italy - a.k.a. The Town We Took Over or Part Deux
I was last seen in the construction industry, wearing a hard hat and yelling at guys. Just kidding! I never yelled! My guys liked working with me, actually. But I was losing my creative self, which is very important to me. So... I left. I am also most happy when I'm helping to inspire people, either with my crafting posts, showing something amazing about nature, or sharing my latest favorite bookmaking project... I love working with my hands...oh to feel things! I am always looking for ways to expand my knowledge about nature, life, people, my art.... that's what this life is for, I believe.