If anyone actually reads this blog, or can remember my post last July, I was due to embark on my next solo adventure this month. A few days in Florence ahead of my friends’ wedding in another part of Tuscany. Well, my friends, this plan was scuppered, thanks to the NoroVirus that decided to take up residence in my immune system a few days before I was due to fly. Bollocks.
BUT, it’s all gravy because I rebooked my flight for a few days later, and made it out to Tuscany for the three day wedding extravaganza which was, of course, way more important than my solo session. Priorities, Cronin.
It turned out that the aforementioned three day wedding extravaganza was BLOODY AMAZING. Seriously. I’m not even exaggerating. And I’ll be buggered if anyone can find a more beautiful place on this planet than Tuscany.
After a 1.5 hour delay to my flight, and a very disappointing BA business class experience (I mean, the seats aren’t even any bigger?!) I landed in Pisa, to be greeted by a squirrelly Italian man holding a card with my name on. (Well actually, it said “Carolin Cronein”, but I digress…) I rocked over and he led me to the minibus transfer that had a bunch of my pals already in it. Another 2 hours later, after travelling through Chianti and all other manner of places, we arrived at the wedding venue in Casabianca. This venue we had all to ourselves and was a charming mixture of hotel rooms and apartments with kitchenettes, slap bang in the middle of the Tuscan hillside. It was stunning. After hanging up all my shit, I went and found the bride and groom to say HEYYYYY, and shortly after commenced smashing my way through all the pizza and prosecco that the bride and groom had laid on for us. The weather decided to shit it down, so we didn’t get to enjoy it alfresco, but FEAR NOT READER, there was plenty of time for all that.
Essentially, the rest of the night was spent drunk, chatting to old friends and making new ones, and then I rolled right to my bedroom to hit up my bed that was clearly meant for the entire Von Trapp family because it was fucking enormous.
Day 2 – the wedding day. Miraculously, we awoke to glorious sunshine, and my first thought was POOL! I am a water baby and never happier than when by a body of water, whether it be the sea, a pool or a hot tub. First thing’s first though – let’s go and suss out how the Italians do breakfast. Well, I can sum this up in one work for you. CAKE. Shitloads of cake. I mean, why not, eh? I think this is a part of Italian life I can really get on board with. Although those of you who know me well will be pleased to hear that as well as cake, they had lots of sausages, to keep this Cronin happy. The wedding wasn’t until 3pm so we had all morning to do what we wanted…some groups went for a drive, some went back to bed…but I enlisted my pal Robbo for some swimming action and we headed down to the pool, receiving a LOT of weird looks en route, which I like to think were looks of respect and not at ALL looks of what-the-fuck-are-you-thinking. Ya see, the thing is guys, it wasn’t THAT warm. Probably about 17 or 18 degrees, and when an outside pool isn’t heated, that ain’t a comfy temperature. Not to be deterred though, I walked right into it and Robbo decided to dive bomb his way in. A terrible idea for a bloke because you are guaranteed to experience, as he puts it, the “seed cock” effect. Don’t do it, lads.
After a lot of flouncing around, people began to join us and we spent a fab few hours chilling and chatting by the pool until it was time to get our frocks on. It was so lovely to be in a pool that had an outlook over the hillside, and didn’t have any little German children raging about being little shits (see previous blog post from my Day 5 in Malta)
But yeah, I needed a solid 2 hours to turn a damp, bedraggled Cronin into a half passable one, so off I went to my room, brazenly wandering through the venue in my bikini as if I was on a beach in the Caribbean, determined not to cover myself up because I WAS ON HOLIDAY. Once I was dolled up in a dress I could barely breathe in and heels I couldn’t walk in without looking like a constipated flamingo, I headed to one of the little apartments to get on some pre-wedding bevvies with my pals. Having these apartments was brilliant actually, because it meant that there was a hub that groups of friends could head to when the main venue wasn’t hosting any activities.
Soon enough, it was 3pm and the Gods were smiling on us because at that very moment, it suddenly got inexplicably warm. Like, my shoulders burnt. Which I was obviously thrilled about because anything that takes away my perma-translucent skin state is always welcome. The ceremony was everything that we knew it would be. Understated, beautiful, and with a glorious view to boot. We were quite a small crowd really – maybe 60 of us in total – and it made me realise that when I get hitched, I want it to be on the smaller side, rather than 300 people, half of which I barely know. It was perfect.
The rest of a wedding went without a hitch. We had a good few hours of prosecco cocktails and canapes while the bride and groom had their photos taken, which we could consume outside whilst wandering the grounds and generally getting slowly tanked up. The main dinner itself was SIX COURSES of delightfulness, and to be quite frank by that point I had drunk so much prosecco I can barely remember the specifics, I just know it was tasty. The Father of the Bride speech made me weep. This probably comes as no surprise to those of you that know me, as I am a big old emotional sack of tears, but this was different. The speech was tender and clever and funny, but you see, the bride had a shit year of it last year. She suffered from Cancer. Or, as the Father of the Bride (or maybe it was the groom, I can’t remember…I told you…..DRUNK!) said, “Cancer suffered from her”. Because she beat it like a mofo. In any case, she is all fine now but the minute it was referenced in the speeches, I wept heavily. I tried desperately to cover it up so the rest of my table couldn’t see. (I am obviously now totally busted) It just made this whole trip seem so much more IMPORTANT, in the grand scheme of things, ya know? The Groom’s speech in general was adorable and the Best Man did a stellar job with some cryptic comedy.
Anywhoo, we ate, we drank, we laughed, we cried, and we danced. The venue looked even more beautiful at night, lit up with fairy lights and alcohol fumes. I rocked that dancefloor until the very end and went to bed happy and content. Seeing your pals get married is such an honour, and getting to witness it in such beautiful surroundings was quite overwhelming.
Day 3 – the aftermath. Needless to say, we were all hanging. Some more than others! Thanks to my trusty, failsafe strategy of sticking to Proscecco all night and avoiding any temptation to smash back some Patrones, I actually felt alright. And most importantly, felt well enough to hit the pool again. Yeahhhh I loved that motherfucking pool! Cue more frolicking, beers, music, and chilling; it was a relaxing day. A BBQ followed out on the grass, which was cut a bit short by a thunderstorm, but ya know what? Fuck it. We were just grateful the weather had been perfect for the majority. The plan THEN became, lets-go-back-to-someone’s-apartment-and-carry-on-drinking. We appointed apartment 22 as the chosen venue, which I’m sure Laura, Lee, Bex and Seb were THRILLED about…and a bunch of us stayed there until late that night, just having such a good laugh. When I got back to my room that night, I felt really sad that it had all come to an end. Like, proper weepy-style sad. I know, I’m such a soppy cow.
3 days in this wonderful country was nowhere near enough, but I’m super grateful to Ian and Megs for inviting me out there and giving me the chance to see it. I’m going to go back next year and explore the breadth of the country to see what other delights it has in store. And obviously because it has the best food ever. I mean, at one point, they served Tiramisu made with CUSTARD instead of cream. CUSTARD. What fresh joy is this?!
It would seem apt for me to end on a food-related note, so that’s it from me. I am currently scanning the BA website to see where else I can fly to in the next few months. The travelling bug is still thriving inside me, and I’m determined to spend all of my money on it before I become too old and decrepit to enjoy it