Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Wedding

Steve and Ingrid are both from Melbourne, so it was a given that they would get married in Soglio in the Swiss alps. 

Soglio is an almost saccharine mountain village. It is just over the Italian border, down the road from St. Moritz. Perched over above the Engadine Valley, it is an organized mess of cobbled winding streets, flower-pots and surreal centuries old homes. There’s a general store that runs on an honour system (pick your loaf or bundle of chestnuts and pay your Swiss Francs into the box). There are perfect green grassy meadows that one is forbidden to walk upon in order to preserve the fodder for the cattle. There’s daily fresh milk and bread available in the local store. Oh, and there’s a wedding.

Reaching Soglio involves negotiating the narrow zig-zagging road up the mountain side until the 14th Century church tower brings you to a halt. Based on my very limited cross-sectional study, Italy and Swizterland love such switch backs. Having left our bikes in Aprica, Italy, we had very mixed emotions while seeing such incredible roads. A wave of embarrassment, shame and envy swept over us, as we considered all the pedaling we were missing out on, but as predicted, we very rapidly moved on to a state of utter contentment with our motorized transport.

But, yes…the wedding. ‘Enough with cycling, or rather lack of cycling stories’ I can anticipate you murmuring. ‘The wedding, what about the bloody wedding’. It was excellent. It was very Steve and Ingrid. To be fair, the wedding really lasted the entire week we were there. Each day more of the 20 guests would arrive until quite an intimate posse was assembled. Days would be spent going for walks BUT NOT ON THE MEADOWS, cooking up communal meals and relaxing with friends we hadn’t seen for several months. Interestingly, most guests had come from their own exotic travels; Kim and Emily from South America; Steve and Ingrid from Mexico/Cuba/USA/Berlin; Kristian from Indonesia, and the list goes on...

As for the wedding ‘day’, it had a dose of formality, a dollop of intimacy, a seasoning of mountain air, a garnish of delicious food and gave guests the freedom to add champagne to flavor. The ceremony took place in a single-roomed school (20m from our hotel). The civil celebrant married the pair in German with Tilman, Ingrid’s father translating. Ingrid speaks German, Steve doesn’t. This provided Steve with a lot of comic material regarding not understanding what he was signing up for, material much of which he wasted. Following photos ACTUALLY ON A MEADOW (a 5 minute walk from school room) afternoon drinks took place in a vegetable garden of a local well known to Ingrid’s parents (2 minutes from hotel). Local pastries were sourced from a nearby town, but sadly the vegetables were out of bounds. We soon wandered over to the reception which was complete with speeches, theatre, German folk-songs and classic Gildfind humour imported from abroad (2.5 minutes from Hotel). Finally, during the ‘after-party’ we sampled Pisco sours (pisco fresh from South America care of Kim and Emily), learnt the basics of the Charleston (also care of Kim and Emily) ‘one foot forward, one foot back’ and witnessed a thoroughly satisfied Ingrid tick off every box in her hefty wedding day list of jobs. It was really a great day, Steve and Ingrid looked very happy and at the end we only had to walk 2 minutes along the cobblestones to get ‘home’.

Just in closing, in the lead-up to the wedding I had threatened to wear a combination of hiking boots, lycra and merino to the proceedings. Quite reasonable, I felt, given current adventures. This was met with an official wedding invitation clearly banning hiking shoes and merino. Thus in Milano, Ali and I were forced to make a few wedding attire purchases. When in Milano. Unbeknownst to me at time of purchase, my pants turned out to be made from fine merino wool. Hello last laugh.

The Wedding


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