Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Wedding bells in Canada, turkey in New Jersey

Our trip to Toronto for a very special wedding has come and gone all too quickly. Our trip began with a train ride to Barcelona on a Sunday afternoon, arriving in time to locate an Irish pub that was showing the Scotland vs New Zealand rugby game. And we were in time to catch the second half. There was some good natured rivalry with some Kiwis, who were fairly disgusted that Scotland had scored some tries against New Zealand. We were very happy for the same reason even though Scotland went down to defeat. After the game we had time to walk down Las Ramblas past all the vendors and immobilised people dressed to portray various statues to the marina at Port Vell. It is always lovely to see all the huge yachts at their moorings. Later in the evening we walked to the Market restaurant beside the Santa Caterina Market. It is always busy serving the freshest food. Once again I had the most delicious sautéed baby squid in garlic, oil and parsley topped with a fried egg. This is truly a mouth watering good dish.

Early Monday morning we were boarding our Lufthansa flight bound for Frankfurt and then Toronto. Even though we arrived in Frankfurt early we just had time to negotiate the labyrinthine terminal to catch the next plane. Although this flight was comfortable one has to wonder about the new Austrian chef employed by the airline. This was without a doubt the stodgiest most heavy menu I have ever seen. Doesn't this chef realise that you are sitting on a plane for nearly nine hours and not spending that time toiling in a field?

It was nearly dusk as we drove into Toronto along the Gardiner Expressway. This piece of highway hasn't changed in many years. It is still crumbling away and hasn't got a long life left. It seems that no alternative plans have been made to replace it. As former Torontonians we were pretty alarmed by the number of high rise condominiums that have sprung up along the old railway lands. Toronto seems to lack much foresight in its urban planning and high rises are springing up willy nilly. Even our hotel in the historical TD Bank building had a high rise stuck on top of it. However, the original old vault down in the basement  was very interesting and led to "The Path," a gigantic underground pedestrian walkway that runs for kilometres, all of it lined with lovely shops . For anyone familiar with Toronto it goes from Union Station to the Eaton Centre. After a few false starts we got used to navigating underground and travelled around easily.

Our Toronto visit was very enjoyable, dining with old friends and making plans to see them again in the future. We were fortunate to have lots of laughs when we watched Carolyn, my husband's daughter, performing her stand up comedy routine at a local lesbian bar. We did meet her boyfriend later in the week.

The main reason for our trip was to attend Nadine, Seamus' elder daughter's wedding to the charming Jorge. Our first meeting with him was at an Italian restaurant in the theatre district followed by a trip to the cinema to watch Skyfall at 11:00pm. It was just like being in Spain going out late at night. Later in the week we met his gracious parents, sister and grandmother who had travelled from Mexico for the wedding.

Finally, the big day arrived. After a quick make over by Drew at the mac store, I was ready. We were ready. Pictures were taken before the wedding at a church opposite the St.Lawrence Hall in the freezing cold. It didn't matter. Nadine was stunning in her strapless, slim wedding dress that flounced elegantly as it reached the ground. Jorge looked very handsome in his suit. After all the picture combinations were taken there was a little lull until the wedding. Finally in the historical St. Lawrence Hall, wine glasses in hand, we took our seats for the ceremony, which was quite beautiful. There was one very funny moment when the lady performing the ceremony asked Jorge if he took Nadine in sickness and so on. He questioned, "Really?" which caused much hilarity before he gave the right answer, "I do." We won't mention the glitch with Jorge's ring.

After more drinks and mingling it was time for dinner and some good natured speeches. The tables had white rose centerpieces, that complemented Nadine's bouquet of white roses and anemones with the most amazing dark purple centres. Jorge's mother had bought lovely material for napkins, which she had made by local artisans, who sewed on lace borders and monogrammed the napkins with N and J, the initials of the bride and groom. Unfortunately, no mariachis performed during the meal. After the meal it was time for the DJ, more tequila shooters for several people, not us, and chatting with the other guests. Later at night some quesadillas were served before everyone was on their way. The wedding was very special. The couple looked very happy and it was one of those days that we will always remember.

The next morning we drove to the airport, just missing the Santa Claus Parade crowds. Our destination was the Philadelphia area, where we enjoyed visiting relatives and friends. There was lots of dining including a sumptuous Thanksgiving dinner complete with roast turkey. This was a treat since we have never seen turkey in Spain. On Black Friday we visited friends in Maryland, who live in a beautiful, old house built in the seventeen hundreds, overlooking the Chesapeake. George Washington visited the house during one of his campaigns. Later we visited our friend's daughter in Baltimore, another newlywed and her husband, in their home in the historical area near Federal Hill. It was a treat to stand in the park atop Federal Hill looking out on the picturesque Baltimore Harbour. It looked totally restored with no tall buildings in sight. We would like to return another time and explore it further.

On Saturday we reluctantly said our good byes before our return trip. It was really lovely spending time with friends and relatives. Best of all was being there for Nadine and Jorge's wedding day.

No comments: