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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

June 21,2016

Wedding Day!!!

Who would know the hair had to withstand a donkey
The morning begins early, as the ship is due to dock at 1:00. Debbie has secured #1 tender tickets through the Diamond Club so everyone will get to the event as soon as possible. The Brides Crew all is dressing in Debbie’s Junior Suite. Lilly is busy doing everyone’s hair and Sarah everyone’s makeup. The place is a buzz for the next 4 hours. We arrive early into Santorini and they tenders are an hour early!!! We barely make our assigned tender only to find ourselves at the top of the mountain 1.5 hours before our transportation. It is 100 degrees outside! Some how we manage to all be on the same tender and keep the Bride and Groom apart. The bride waits the next 1.5 hours in a Jewelry shop and the groom under a covered awning near the cable cars. Everyone take the opportunity to shop and explore a bit in our Bridal attire!

Ready to go!
Here comes the Bride
The bride arrives and the bridal party, Lilly and Debbie are taken to the wedding planners office to dress the bride in 20 minutes. She was otherwise ready so we manage to get this done in a nick of time. The others are taken to the wedding location where everything is set up. It is very hot on white marble with a mild breeze. The bride arrives separately. The spectacular setting is perfect. Everyone is in their place and the fun begins. Becky’s Uncle walks her down the aisle to her smiling groom and his crew- all in sunglasses. The vows are in Greek and English and it is perfect. Tears a bound and its time for Greek music and photos. Champagne and cheers are plentiful during pictures.

While the bride and groom head out for island photos the guests go to Pyrogos winery for fantastic never ending foot and cocktails. Cheese pies, meatballs, sausage, chicken pies, and more. Everyone is dehydrated and begins to try to compensate with every imaginable beverage. The bride and groom arrive and dinner is now served- chicken, lamb or risotto and everyone approves. Speeches by the parents, Brian, and a reading by Sarah again bring tears. Michelle and Megan sing “A Whole New World” and everyone claps. Dancing and cake and back to the boat. The last tender is 9pm. They pick us up at 7:55 assuring us we can catch the cable car in time.

When we arrive at the cable cars the line is longer than would ever allow us to make the ship!! There is NO way! That gives us only two other choices. Donkeys, or walking down the pooped 500 stairs!! The group’s splits and those who can go ahead and warn them we are coming move ahead. I was at the back of the pack so my story occurs there.

Oh Yeah!!!
Justin negotiates Donkeys for 11 people- 55 Euros. They were pretty much done for the day and the Greek men were not too happy about our business but agree. My group included Nana, Debbie, Justin, Brenda, and Becky. In our formal wedding attire we climb aboard our Donkeys. The man was very kind to help poor Nana who is sliding around and asking him to please slow down and saying, “I don’t think I can do this!” Debbie is trying to reassure everyone and remind them to relax and lean back. Justin is taking it all in and Brenda is laughing the entire way down saying she was wanting to do it all along. Becky is quieter than the first time as a child she rode up but she is still telling that donkey to stay away from the side. We were quite a site. People were congratulating and cheering the whole way.

We arrive at the tender and were the final 5 on the vessel to get back to the ship- it was 9:10. Exhausted, dirty, and full of stories we have a laugh. A very beautiful and special day topped off with a special memory despite the smell of donkeys on everyones formal clothes! What a day!

Excuse all typos- this author is tired!

Bride and Groom on Donkey ride

"I'm not riding a donkey in my wedding dress!!! Never say never!!

Grooms mother "I wanted to do this!!"

June 20, 2016

Getting Ready

This day is called getting ready. The Bride and Groom call a meeting of the Bridal party for gifts. Included are T-shirts made for the occasion by Becky’s mom. Grooms crew and Brides Mates have been put on the shirts. Fun photos are taking including matching sunglasses.

The afternoon is spent steaming clothes in an attempt to get out wrinkles. Some of the guests are getting sick, including the Grooms mother! A dinner is held at the Italian restaurant and enjoyed by everyone. The gang splints into men and women for the traditional parties. All I know about the men is it involved the casino. The females hold a scavenger hunt with two teams taking photos of things throughout the ship including dancing on the table, kissing strangers, and finding objects! All had fun!

Monday, June 20, 2016

June 19, 2016

Embarkation Day!!

Hotel lobby waiting
We meet at the hotel to catch a huge bus to head to the port. Thirty people sitting in the hotel lobby with 60+ pieces of luggage is quite a sight! The bus arrives and we load on- front row are of course the Bride and Groom along with Ollie and Aunt Mickie. Ollie and Aunt Mickie sing B I N G O and various other things for most of the trip. Ollie is in heaven. Getting tired of her he then requests Uncle Mike to join him for song and laughs. Meanwhile as you look to the back of the bus to see the majority of traveler’s are sleeping. Arriving at the port we unload the bus to load again on a shuttle bus to the ship. Luckily our rooms are ready and most of us embark without issue. The exception was those who stored “beverages” inside bags that were held for additional inspection. Michelle had agreed to help Matt get his special brandy purchase on board and Justin and Becky had Champagne. In the end the items were retrieved after a bit of a hassle.

Sleeping travelors
Lunch on the back of the ship was a blast as everyone was able to eat together and come and go and get final introductions. After an Emergency Drill in 4 languages that lasted forever we go to dinner. At dinner, a non-group member accidently decided to sit with us and thus we were short a seat. Lilly was the self appointed one who explained to her and she moved. We sit at three large tables are together and probably the loudest of the dining room. Brian is convinced that the Assistant Waiter hates him as his food arrives 10 minutes after everyone else and his wine was ordered first and delivered last.

Table number two had Nana, Sarah, Jeff, Niki, and Erin. They had a photo of someone kissing the amazing parts of the fake statue of David and showed it to poor Nana. Nana thought it was a sausage. The group roared with laughter and the ice was broken. Meanwhile Ollie from Table 3 was going between them all soaking up the attention. Table 3 also has the Bride and Groom, both looking quite tired at this moment. They had finished the plans for the big rehearsal dinner as everyone else works now to prepare remarks.

Junior Suite
After dinner the gathering place seems to be the piano bar for drinks, laughs and song. Around 11 the group fades as the Groom is just getting started and the Bride comes to life. Justin and Becky talk Debbie, Angela, Mike, Brian, Matt, Tina, Jeff and his wife, Andy and Jessica into heading to the ship Club. Debbie is not impressed with the constant thump thump of the no lyrics music but everyone tries to dance anyway. Justin works at serving as Matt’s wingman only to have him fail with a couple girls. Practice will make perfect. Dancing into the night the group looks forward to the first day at sea.

Lunch time

Andrew and Ollie wait for bus
Lunch time Mike
June 18, 2016

Early this morning Ollie, Andrew and Jessica negotiated a horse ride around the Coliseum with an 89-year-old driver. The driver said he had seen Mussolini when he was 11 years old, who knows it could be true. Meanwhile Megan and Lilly set out for a marathon shopping excursion- with Lilly winning the most endurance award.

The remaining guests have arrived from many different directions. Arriving today from Chicago were the Daniel’s crew including Justin’s parents, brother and sister in law and nephew. Grayson joined everyone in Chicago for the same flight. Friends Andy and Jessica, Brian and Angela (aunt and uncle), and the Bride and Groom made up this mornings crew. Debbie, Tina, and The Tappana’s greeted everyone and took them to have lunch across from the Coliseum. The tired crew sat at two tables and experienced their first Roman meal, however they may not remember it given the tired eyes around the table.  After lunch Becky’s friend Sara arrived and finally Mike and Michelle Oliver.

While the final folks were settling in Matt and Grant set out for more adventures. Exploring the Coliseum and surrounding ruins and trying to get into a closed museum they enjoy a big day.

Becky, Justin, Sarah, Nana, and Justin’s family went to the Vatican. They saw multiple services going on and the music and light that was shining through the windows was breathtaking.

As evening came the apartment gang met up with Mike, Michelle, Grayson, Brian, and Angela to head out to dinner near Trevi Fountain and explore Rome by moonlight. Dinner service was outstanding as the waiter kept bringing food and wine for all. A walk to Trevi Fountain and then the gang split with the fatigued bunch choosing sleep over a final evening of Roman entertainment.  
Grayson, Becky, Angela and Brenda
Debbie, Angela, tina at lunch

Table one at lunch
Table 2 at lunch

Tina and a tired Bride

Mike and Michele throw a coin in Trevi Fountain