Its the weekend after our big trip to Italy, and jetlag is still with us. It was such an amazing trip and thanks to the Cracknells/Pearsons/Flea for making it so good!! I will try not to go on and on (especially as 50% of the people that read this blog were there!)
We arrived at Milan airport on Thursday 1st Sept after leaving Oz on Wed, and after a Skype session with Scott at Milan airport, we picked up our hire car and went to a hotel just near the airport to freshen up and get some sleep. The hotel was very art deco and our room was great. We had all these ideas of staying up to beat jetlag, but after a bite to eat we rewarded ourselves with a little cat nap about 2pm. We woke up with a start at 11.30 not knowing what was going on, realising we had sleep through. It was dark and there was nothing to do but try and sleep again which proved difficult!
Friday morning I was full of beans at the thought of seeing Kate in a couple of hours. The drive to Como from Milan Malpensa takes about an hour and twenty if you dont take any detours! It consists of mostly a motorway buffered by roadworks and then you reach Como which is quite a bustling little place! Then all of a sudden your view just opens out and the Lake appears - which is HUGE and absolutely incredible. There are houses in the highest of places, and the mountains are completely covered in green. The lake splits into two legs and we drove along the left leg towards a little town called Lenno, where we met the wedding planner who took us on a little boat to the villa that Kate and Jordan had hired for that day and the wedding reception the next day.
Now I had obviously looked at Villa Casinella (The orange villa with the "coiffured" trees in the pics) online and thought wow etc. But little did I know that it is actually one of Richard Bransons places! Nor did I imagine just how amazing it was. We have both said we will never be in a place like it again (quite depressing really! :-) ) We had an army of staff waiting on our every need, surrounded in paradise. It was how I imagine it would be like if we won the lottery. It was used as one of the judges houses in The X Factor, and we saw in the guest book Louis Walsh and Holly Willowby had written in there. Boat loads of tourists came by taking pictures as it is a tourist attraction - we think they might have thought we were celebs! I will stop there as you can look at the pics! And here are our friends Jedward getting some Casinella action also :-) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwRMdK0-u-w&feature=relmfu
The day was spent at th villa relaxing, enjoying the infinity pool and catching up and getting to know both sets of parents, and family. There was a bit of a drama as the easyjet flight that brought out Kates parents, niece (the other bridesmaid) friends etc failed to bring their luggage, which was helpful. Gatwick/EASYJET were not giving any indication of when the bags could get on a flight, and with the wedding 24 hours away it was quite tense. It wasnt just clothes, it was medication and all sorts. However, after countless calls by the wedding planners the bags arrived about an hour before the wedding!
That night we all had dinner and drinks and then got a relatively early night in preparation for the big day. I was up and in hair and makeup at 8am the next morning! It was pretty hectic as you can imagine for the ladies. Russ had a particularly hard morning of playing tennis in the court that sits above the pool. Hard life eh? Although Jordan and his dad are insanely good at sports and are very competitive, so I imagine it was no easy ride!!
Russ and the family went off in one boat over to Villa Balbianello, where the ceremony was taking place. This again is a recommended place to visit for tourists, and was brimming with them and their cameras, which they turned on us once we arrived. It is crazy how many albums we will be in across the globe! The photographer, Me, Ellie the other bridesmaid, Kate and her pop went over in the most amazing James bond speedboat - wooden finish and all.
The Italian/English ceremony was brilliant, I fluffed my lines slightly (the 10 year old was word perfect, go figure) and Kate and Jordan finally got wed! :-) During our glass of bubbly afterwards, one of Kates clse friends asked Russ if he was excited about his mum coming out for his brithday. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT??! Months of planning, keeping it a surprise, and a girl I hardly know just innocently lets the cat out of the bag. She was mortified and kept apologising, but oh well, what can you do?!
So then all back to the villa for the reception, speeches and food went down brilliantly, and then the rain came. It was the heaviest flash flood/monsoon you can imagine, good job we were under a Marquee, although water still swirled around our feet and was so loud! But all just added to the day.Quelle surprise, We were the last ones standing, with the new Mrs and Mrs Kirk. An impromtu gin and tonic fuelled speech about life from Russ suggested to us all it was time to call it a night. What an amazing couple of days...
The next morning we said our goodbyes and hearfelt thank yous, got a boat back to Lenno, picked up the car, and took the picturesque winding road further up the lake to Mennagio, a couple of towns along and picked up the keys to our villa. For some reason we dont have many pics of the villa and this trip, I think we left it to Carole so most are on her camera. The villa was no Richard Bransons, but was fantastic in its own right. Good views of the lake, outdoor table, modern kitchen, hot tub (39c!!) and a table tennis table. What more do you need?! (Scott, I played some good pong).
It was amazing to see Nic Adam Harrison Carole and Roberto pull up to the villa- hugs all round! Felicity arrived on Tuesday which completed the crew. And that was the start of a superb week of pasta, pizza, winetasting, an 850 metre cable car up one of the mountains, and a pretty steep bike ride down it! (I seriously dont think I peddaled for an hour), crazy golf, lido and a speedboat and sea plane day and a fancy fancy restaurant for Russ's bday. We presented him with his new Nikon SLR all singing all dancing camera from Carl and I, photography course to go with it from the Cracknells and lots of cards etc. All in all I would say it was a pretty good birthday!!
The week, as feared went too quickly and it was time to say goodbye until 2012...