Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Of pre-wedding honeymoons: Viva Venezia!

Last September 5th, we took the night train from Lyon to Venice. We stayed in La Serenissima for 5 days, five unforgettable days of baroque beauty and splashing delights. Our tactique was to go on a pre-wedding honeymoon so as to unwind and let go before the big day. Yes, we thought it could help us look at our best on our wedding photos! And it did help. Here is why...

Sunday, September 6th: 9.30 a.m. Arrival at Santa Lucia, Venice. OhhHH! But who is that at the end of the platform? Isn't it Stuart A. Staples from The Tindertsicks? YES, it's him!!!In Venice for the Mostra and Claire Denis's film (White Material), we shook hands with him and Marco posed next to him in the sun. What a plunge! Our pre-wedding honeymoon starts under very good auspices.

Sunday, 10.30am : Private view from the terrace of our hotel on the local canal. Hotel dalla Mora, Santa Croce ; far from the madding crowd, and yet, very central. A wonderful place to stay that was recommended to us by an Italian friend of ours. Don't waste the tip - pass it on!

Sunday 11 am: Ciao Piazza San Marco! Bello Marco @ The Caffè Florian. A classic!

Two espressos + two croissants = 30 euros (the biggest part of the bill is the band playing live on the piazza for you, they charge 6 euros per person!). An expensive treat...but a real treat so, no regrets.

Palazzo Ducale. Think Pink! Well, let's say we were in the right mood, the honeymoon type of mood- how can you go pinker than that??

Sunday afternoon: Passegiata in the Gardens of Palazzo Querini-Stampalia , designed by Carlo Scarpa. This fountain piece reminded me of the snail shape of the city itself...

Monday, September 7th : On the Canal Grande, aboard the vaporetto that was taking us to the Biennale of Contemporary Art at l'Arsenale. Palazzo Ducale partly covered and disfigured by gigantic billboards promoting Chopard or Guess-Marciano...Signs of the times. I heard the Bridge of Sighs silently crying out behind the cover of this ugly curtain of compulsive consumption. Jarring sobs...

Installation at the Biennale.

Marco experimenting the box of colours - a stunning installation.

Playing hide-and-seek, like a chameleon!

Ok, time to leave the box of colours. We tried them all...

After the Arsenale and the Lido beach, where we took a nice swim into the Adriatic, we went back to central Venice.

Monday evening: Mostra film festival. Before the open-air screening of Claire Denis's White Material on Campo San Polo, we stop by our favourite cornucopia-land of pastries - La Premiata Pasticceria Rizzardini. A must, if you go to Venice! We literally succumbed for the Mandorle (sort of almond tart) and the Moro (chocolate, almonds and orange zest).

Tuesday, Sept 8th : Shopping in the districts of San Zulian, Chiesa della Fava and San Moisé - above, the shop window of Ermenegildo Zegna. For ladies, I recommend a beautiful but super tiny place: Ninfea, a jewellery shop (5228 Calle Lunga, Santa Maria Formosa), an incredible bric-à-brac, where, among other treasures, you can find stunning brooches, necklaces, earrings and bracelets made of 1930s bakelite.

For our second visit to the fabulous Osteria- Enoiteca, Alla Mascareta (Castello, 5183 Calle Lunga, Santa Maria Formosa), we got totally out of control, you know the pre-wedding excitement thing.... After 3 or 4 hours of excessively good food and wine, Mauro Lorenzon, the exuberant owner, shows how touched he is by placing his hand on his heart to say goodbye. I am totally PAF! (in a nutshell: quite drunk!). Hum, so much so that when we left the Enoiteca, it took us an hour or so to find our way back to the hotel...

The map became all blurry, the Twilight Zone was happening...the calles were dancing in front of my eyes. Where are we?? Pffew!

Wednesday, Sept. 9th: Ca' Rezzonico (here above, covered by a beautiful screen during the renovation works on the facade)+ the palazzo Venier dei Leoni, or the Peggy Guggenheim foundation; for my third visit to the place...I was a bit disappointed, but well- it remains an incredible collection of modern art!

Cannaregio: one of our best memories, Trattoria Alla Palazzina; GREAT food, impeccable service and great view on the canal! If you go visit this typical district of Cannaregio (my favourite), try also the Osteria Ai 40 Ladroni and the Osteria Anice Stellato, both on Fondamenta della Sensa.

The amazing Paolo Olbi book-binder shop: hand-made articles, covered with marbled paper. We found our wedding photo album in this shop; one of the blue and white photo albums that you can see in the window display. A lot of joy!

Thursday, Sept. 10th: Last day in Venice, we travelled from one bank to the next using the traghetto (0,50 euros) - an experience brief in time but lasting in memory. Loved it!

And off we went for our next stop! After 5 days revelling in Venetian arty lifestyle, and bacchanals, there we were. All relaxed, fresh, and softened by the chiaroscuro quality of natural daylight in Venice. Our pre-wedding honeymoon had done marvels! The strategy had worked very well so far. We were all set to embark on the ferry boat to attend Mirela & Tom's wedding in Rovinj, Croatia. A week prior to our wedding, we were looking forward to sharing nuptial wishes...without having to commit yet.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Wedding season - Part 1: Mirela & Tom's wedding in Rovinj, Croatia

Thursday, September 10th. After Venice, we moored in Rovinj, Croatia. A picturesque port on the Adriatic, if there are any! Charming, and authentic. But wait a minute, we were not there to do sightseeing, we had to attend a wedding: Mirela and Tom's wedding -remember, he is German, she is Croat, they met in India and live in Beijing...Ok, let's get going!

Friday, 1 PM: Miguel (left) and Marco (right), on their way to the town hall. Believe me, they didn't go unnoticed by the locals, who rubbed their eyes - were they seeing double?...

Friday, September 11th, 2PM: That's it - Mirela and Tom are married, gorgeous couple!

Friday, lunch at a restaurant, a beautiful place that took us quite a while to reach as it was lost, or well-hidden, in the middle of Rovinj countryside. The scenery on our way was stunning, very similar to the landscapes of Provence (cypresses, olive trees, vineyards and arid soil) but with oak trees everywhere, for a change! Both Strangely familiar and truly exotic. Let's raise our glass: Vive les Mariés!!!
After the civil wedding, we enjoyed an afternoon of total rest at the Villa Meneghetti, paradise on Earth. Our pre-wedding therapy was therefore working... Don't we look happy and rested?

The same for the newly weds, who seem to savour that moment of comfort and let-go with a good glass of the Villa's Bordeaux Coupage red wine. Prost and Bravo to Tom & Mirela! Just for you to know, they were truly incredibly chilled out, although they had organized their wedding in Croatia from Beijing...A wedding planner was fortunately hired to help them finalize the last preparations and details on the spot, at the gorgeous Villa Meneghetti. What a wonderful job they did together!

Saturday, September 12th: One hour before the religious service. An armada of Reservoir Dogs presents for general review: 5 on the dandy Richter scale, as our excellent friend Rob Sidhu would say...These men in black are ready to charge the final assault and wedge a war of seduction on you ladies, beware!
Outside the Cathedral of Rovinj. Before Tom makes his big statement...

After Tom and Mirela said YES. Well said!

Then, everyone was invited to go back to the Villa Meneghetti to revel in and celebrate in the traditional Croatian fashion -this local folklore band was incredible! Very festive music- it made me feel like in a Kusturica film with Goran Bregovic's music. Not to mention, the various sorts of Schnapps that we gulped down in between the Sirtaki-like steps...

The newly weds, experiencing the Jacob sandwich! From left to right: Miguel, Tom, Mirela, & Marco

Croatian delights, miam-miam! Raw fish and prosciutto, I loved you so much.

The oil pit! The Villa's olive oil won the award of best olive oil in the world in 2006. Delicioso! We bought 2 bottles...

Dinner at night by candlelight, under the oak trees in the park of the Villa Meneghetti. Magical!
Marco and I, dancing in the dark; totally in love!

Oh man, what's going on here? Getting loose on Tina Turner...

Hrvala (thank you, in Croatian), Mirela and Tom, for such a beautiful celebration of your love! You helped us complete our 'Tactique de l'Adriatique' with high flying colours, mission accomplished. Our stay in Rovinj triumphantly ended our pre-wedding honeymoon trip on a higher note, the very one that creates the contrapuntal harmony in the wedding march; the very same one that, soon, was going to play for Marco and I too...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Dressed rehearsal : Love from your fashionista bride!

Before I give you the details of our pre-honeymoon (pré-lune de miel), and drown you with photos of our wedding day; here is an appetizer, or rather, a dressed rehearsal for the bride-to-be that I was back then, before I left for old Europe...
Remember last August 17th, I was part of a beauty video shoot for Weddingbells magazine, well here is the result...

I did have a lot of fun doing it. Hope you too enjoy it!

I'll keep you posted with more wedding-related news. Soon, very soon...
Bye for now. ;)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A honeymoon...but what for, honey?

At the Drake, Marco and I, last Friday - chilling out in the shade and discussing our wedding plans... (Photo Miguel Jacob)

Soon, we are getting married in France, as you already know... Soon, we will go on our honeymoon. But what is a Honeymoon, this moon of honey, for? I looked it up and found that, in Ancient Egypt, the Pharaohs who were getting married would drink a beverage made of honey and propolis for a full lunar month (29 days) to favour prosperity, fertility and happiness over their couple, hence the name Honeymoon. The tradition of a honeymoon has significantly changed over the years in Western culture. The custom of a newlywed couple going on a holiday together originated in early 19th century Great Britain. Honeymoons in the modern sense (i.e. a pure holiday voyage undertaken by the married couple) became widespread during the Belle Epoque, as one of the first instances of modern mass tourism; thus merging the two terms into one, that is to say, the holiday voyage taken after a wedding literally became the honeymoon...

The most popular honeymoon destinations at the time of the Belle Epoque were the French Riviera and Italy, particularly its seaside resorts and romantic cities such as Rome, Verona, or Venice.

But why go on a holiday after your wedding when everything is done and you already feel relaxed? That sounds a bit redundant, doesn't it? For it is a well-known fact that wedding preparations can be exhausting, and even tedious to some extent, although very exciting at the same time! On our end, we had to organize everything from across the Atlantic; I am a French woman abroad, remember! It then took us a certain amount of time and energy to sort everything out with my family and friends in France. Let me tell you that after 7 months of wedding preparations, talking on the phone to do a check-up with my family every weekend, writing countless emails to my sister (one of my two amazing maids of honour) to make reservations, sort the flatware and tableware, the cakes, the flowers, and so on and so forth, plus liaising with our international guests to help them plan their trip to France; yes, after all, the thing we desperately need NOW is a break ! So why not reverse the whole process and set off for a nonchalantly romantic trip, a real holiday voyage before our wedding? It should help us look beautiful for our photos on our big day! Why not glow like two suntanned lovebirds who are just back from a holiday abroad? Isn't that a cunning plan?

Dancing and singing through the pastoral landscape of France, like Audrey Hepburn with Fred Astaire. Looking good! From Funny Face.

That is why, in early September, we will embark on a modern pre-wedding honeymoon. We will go to Venice, Italy, for a few days, and then we will take the ferry to Rovinj, Croatia. There, we will attend a friend's wedding, she is Croat, he is German, they met in India and now live in Beijing...Two citizens of the world, in a word.

Then, we will eventually fly back home to Toronto, back to work; just a couple of days after the wedding. Beaming with the glow of joy and wearing our new golden bands (memo: ...that we made ourselves), we will be happy to resume our daily life, the two of us officially united. I will probably have to get used to my new name and not forget to sign, Christine Rochet-Jacob. I am so looking forward to being Just married!
To be continued...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...