Diary of The Travelling Seanchai :-
Getting that Wedding Feeling!
2007-04-28 to 2007-05-22
Not for me, heaven forbid, but with my brother Seamus taking the plunge I headed back to Dublin for his stag do! Now, always one to shirk my responsibilities my brother Caoimhan (Cin) had arranged it all! We went off clay pigeon shooting down in Wicklow with about 10 of Seamus` mates. We warmed up with some target practice and I came joint first, bit of a marksman am I! In fairness though, I can`t help but think that one of those alongside me had mistakingly shot at my target because there were holes in the targets before I even got there!
But never one to point out an injustice when it clearly was going in my favour, we ventured on to the clay pigeon shooting where I really did come into my own! All those years of Limerick education held me in good stead and I decimated pigeon after pigeon that were thrown up..
We went on a pub crawl around Dublin where we acquired a new, essential factor for any group of marauding stag groups…. a solitary girl! My friend Louise came out and gave the group a much needed credibility for other girls that were out and of course the bouncers. 10 guys can`t just walk into a bar but when we have one girl with us the common perception of, `Well it can`t be a stag do because there is a girl with them`, worked perfectly for us!
The wedding was to find us in San Gimignano, a beautiful little town outside Florence. But before we could get there, we had to go from Forli airport to Bologna airport where Cin had booked the car from, by mistake! Oh, how we laughed…. grrrr!
The town of San Gimignano is steeped in history, Machiavelli had a castle there when he wasn`t deceiving people. Also in this little square was the World Champion Gelato makers with endorsements from Tony Blair no less! It was weird seeing this tiny shop with all of the famous people adorning their walls.
We spent the day before the wedding in the amazing Florence. One day would never be enough to see all of the sights, particularly when there were so many tourists there, making each of the lines to the museums hundreds of meters long. I preferred to walk around and look at the buildings, the hawkers selling their knock off Prada Bags and the food markets selling all sorts of food (I had the boar stew which was surprisingly very tasty!)
There is a term in psychology called the Stendhal Syndrome named after a French novelist that fainted after walking around Florence and taking in so much beauty in one day! I suppose it would be the same if you walked around the Liverpool FC Trophy Room or the Playboy Mansion but I could kind of understand it. Statues were everywhere, cameras were clicking, the architecture was superb and the huge squares (piazzas) enticed you to sit down and take it all in. A definite tick in the box of, `To see again outside peak season.`
We had a great day for the wedding, beautiful weather in a church high on the hill with a stringed quartet playing as we walked on rose petals. Fierce romantic as we`d say at home! The reception then was held in a castle where we were regaled by the quartet again as we sipped cocktails in the garden before dining in the open-air courtyard no less!
It was all very grand and if I wasn`t so pathologically single I might have had a moment of weakness and considered settling down! Oh, that gives me shivers just thinking about it!
The show was stolen by my brother Cin who took over the DJ`s decks and faded in and out about 10 songs for the rest of the night! He was dancing away and acting like a right eejit and it was hard for us to convince all there that he doesn`t even drink!
My best man speech went well thankfully, just the right balance of tears and laughter! Still it is nerve wracking as only those that have found themselves in that position can testify to!
We partied on till the early hours but the next morning I was up early because I was off to Athens for the Champions League Final! Since following Liverpool is like a religion in our house, no one batted an eye that I was shooting off to hopefully see them win our 6th European Cup.
And it looks like the name of my first born, boy or girl, is going to be Adam!! My mate came through and got me a ticket for the game! I took off to Rome and spent a few hours in a local tavern watching the FA Cup, jaded from the night before. I took a cab to the airport and passed the Colliseum, a quick pic later and another box ticked (kind of!)
I thought it wise though, before the football masses descended to check out some of Ancient Greece first though. I have to say that as I was walking to the Acropolis on my first morning, I couldn`t get over how dirty the streets were in central Athens, graffiti all over the place and rubbish bins overflowing. Apparently the Olympics from three years ago has really backfired on the Grecians with thousands of promised jobs not materialising and massive tax increases to pay for everything else.
I was told that the huge numbers of stray dogs had been rounded up before the Games, taken away, neutered and then supposedly released again after the tourists had left! But, there are some animal activists that are sure that there aren`t the same number of moggies running around so there is a theory that a lot of them were `put to sleep` instead! I can hardly believe it because there are hundreds of the big mangy dogs running around.
I met John Doyle, the Roy of `Roy and HG`, a comedy duo from Australia at the Acropolis and introduced myself. I said to him that it must be great to be able to walk around without attracting attention and fans wanting to talk to him, to which he replied, “Yes, it would be!!” OH-K then, I`ll leave you to it then shall I?!! I didn`t make the same mistake when I saw Pat Cash (Wimbledon winner 1987) there aswell.
I had met Will (from Wales) and Stephanie and Veronica (Long Island natives) in our hostel and we all took in the sights together. We had a full day and night and we headed to Mike`s Irish Bar (run by Greeks, of course!) where they were playing Karaoke. Now I am on record as saying I hate Karaoke but against my better judgement I got up and sang about 4 times!!! Ok, I`m a sucker for a microphone!
We met Nathan, Grace and Rebecca (all from the States) and a late night was had! It was funny to see the Greek half of the crowd cheer when they could understand the lyrics of a Greek song and keep deathly silent when the song was being sung in English!
Will and I went down to the Champions League Headquarters in Athens, Syntagma Square where we had a few drinks and listened to the ever growing and increasingly boistrous Liverpool fans singing their famous chants. It was great! I met some Irish friends of mine that I`d originally met in Sydney and we`d hardly finishing shaking hands when `Alan Jackson from Radio Merseyside` asked if he could do an interview. He asked us how we knew each other before the interview started and we told him we hadn`t seen each other in years and his first questions were all about how we met up and how we had just travelled all these miles to see each other etc etc. It started to sound like a love story! UNCOMFORTABLE!
The crowds are really building up now in anticipation for Wednesday night. Will and I ended up back in Mike`s Bar and kicking and screaming I was dragged up for another 5 songs last night (all different though from Sunday night to be fair!). I met Dennis from Dundalk who was mates with some of the lads that I had met in the Druid`s Rock bar in Rome! Small world alright!
But now it`s all about the Cup Final, there will be a separate blog for that for sure so stay tuned. COME ON THE REDS!!
That wasn`t in the Script…