Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Weddings in Clouds

Wedding Day

Today is the first day that we didn’t have travel or scheduled activities during the day. We were entirely free until 6:30, at which point we had a bus scheduled to pick us up and take us to Santo Wines for the ceremony. We actually slept until 10am, mostly because we’d learned to close the blinds so as not to have the sun blazing in. The plan was originally to take a tour bus up to Ancient Thira, and we walked to the end of the boardwalk with that intention.

It was hotter out than any day we’d had so far (or seemed that way anyway) and we were jetting off with very little water and no breakfast, so by the time we got to Kamari Tours, we’d decided to go back to our hotel rather than have Marina collapse and fall off of a mountain. Instead, we got some water, then picked a place to eat that didn’t serve gyros. We settled on King’s Restaurant by virtue of it being nearby when we decided that we desperately needed food.

A note about that lunch.

During our stay, the music in a lot of the restaurants has seemed off. Santorini is a very tourism driven island, and as a result, most everything is geared toward the tourist. It’s beautiful, but it’s not somewhere you’d go if you’re after authenticity. As a result, most restaurants play either instrumentals or American music, sometimes in a sort of confused mix of current music, stuff from the 70’s and a wide variety of genres. After we got off the bus on our first day in Santorini, for example, we walked home to the tune of “Part-Time Lover”. Which isn’t something I’d expected to hear.

It was about 11am, so we figured King’s Restaurant would be playing something mild and relaxing. We were wrong. For some reason, and only this time (as we’d passed the place before) they were playing the filthiest music I’ve ever heard in my life. Moans and inexplicable crying babies and one song that was roughly a minute and a half long and was comprised of the experience of being in a motel with walls that are too thin. It eventually got to recognizable songs and LL Cool J seemed gloriously tame by comparison. Which is something. Given that we were the only customers in the restaurant, it was a somewhat uncomfortable experience. There we are, trying to enjoy our crepes (I had a Florentine sort of thing, Jordan had chicken and Marina had nutella, which they had on the menu as nutella but refused to call anything other than chocolate) and everyone walking by is associating us with lots of moaning.

Moving on from that, we decided to postpone the visit to Ancient Thira until tomorrow and focus on actually going into the Aegean. Given that my feet were still a mess and that pebble beaches aren’t easy to walk on in general, we went and bought aquasocks and, on a whim, cheap snorkeling equipment. The sea was cold at first, but nice eventually and very calm and snorkeling is sort of terrifying if you’ve never done it before. You’re putting a lot of faith into a cheap bit of yellow plastic that you’ve bought for 13€. We didn’t invest in fins because who are we kidding, but the water was clear and fish were pretty much everywhere. After a few attempts (most of which involved going under the surface, gasping, losing faith in the idea that I was going to be able to breathe underwater and resurfacing), I got the hang of it and swam out far into the sea. I have no idea how far, except that Marina kept telling me to come back like a concerned mother. Which is fair enough.

Final note about swimming in Kamari: The airport of the island is located a little northwest of the beaches, so every once in a while a small plane will start flying directly at you and you’ll realize there’s nothing you can do to get out of its way and prepare for impact. It passes over and lands, of course, but it’s still sort of terrifying.

At 5:30, we started getting ready for the wedding and by 6:30, we were waiting for the bus to arrive to take us to Santo Wines. The bus told the hotel it was waiting to meet us, but wasn’t actually there. About a mile of back and forth by Myles later and we deduced that the bus was waiting one block over, and was huge. Myles’ family had rented a minivan and was planning on driving on their own as we were supposed to get a bus that seated eight, but instead we were given a bus that seated roughly fifty. Myles told the bus to go and ran off to get to the venue and the bus sort of didn’t. It waited, because evidently the bus driver didn’t trust him and was sure there were more people waiting to get on the bus. The people in the minivan were waiting on the bus to drive so that they could follow. After a few visits from Tim, it was decided that the entire party would just board the bus, as it was 7pm and the wedding was timed to start at 7:30 so that the sunset would be incorporated.


Everyone got on and we made it to Santo Wines on time and managed to get into position on a balcony overlooking the caldera.

I’m not one to be sappy, but the ceremony was goddamn beautiful. A cloud had covered the sun from view prior to the start only to move away when Andrea started toward the balcony and the view throughout was amazing. That’s not to diminish all the other weddings I’ve been to in my life, but this would be hard to compete with. A pair of local musicians played (on violin and on some lute-sort-of-thing that I’m not entirely sure what it was) and the officiant conducted the ceremony in Greek and English. The vows were great and memorable. There was complimentary wine, which I’m always going to be a fan of. Overall, awesome.

We headed back to a restaurant around the corner from the hotel for the reception. There, more wine, toasts from pretty much everyone (including a toast by Marina on behalf of the three of us who aren’t related to anyone) and prawns big enough to mug you in a dark alley if you run across them at the wrong time of night. Then dancing and eventually candles and sparklers.

I managed to resist the urge to write my name in the air with the sparkler. This wasn’t about me.

Congratulations again to Andrea and Myles.

No comments: