When two worlds collide, and bond and flourish. Not a culture clash but a coming together. Bollocks to Brexit.
A wedding is not always just about the day, oh no, but about the experience. This was an extravaganza, an excitement fuelled gathering of family and friends, spread over a few days of perfectly organised and choreographed delights. Simply delightful.
The Portuguese sun shone brightly, blue skies a welcome sight and twinkling water a glorious backdrop.
The night before. A getting-to-know each other get together. An essential pre-requisite to the big day. Nothing better than a beach bar, drinks and nibbles. Informal, no pretence. Catching up with old friends and acquaintances, renewing former friendships and creating new. A little early cross European bonding to boot.
Brightly colourful airy dresses for the ladies, some brightly coloured shorts for the chaps, designer sunnies resting atop receding hairlines, deck shoes and loafers, jewel encrusted sandals sparkling on the wooden deck, Prosecco and Portuguese beer, perfect. And the band played.
The big day. A morning of promenading, perusing, pooling, pedalling, pitching and putting. Enjoying the best the Algarve has to offer. Making the most. Melting into the mood. Marvellous.
The big moment. Late afternoon. A light refreshing wind cooling the scene, blowing softly from the watching lake. White chairs symmetrically laid out on the lawn beneath the glorious blue sky. Linen de rigueur, lazily fluttering from the gentlemen’s tanned frames, more brightness from the ladies, a fashion designer’s haven. Camera’s clicking, the arrival of the bride, the vows, the rings, the readings, the smiles, the kisses, the iPhone photos and then the party. The champagne, the canapés, the strings, the speeches, the dinner, an Ode to Joy ovation and the sun set.
English and Germans sat side by side, clinking crystal and sharing stories, the groom beginning his wise and welcoming words in German, masterstrokes for European relations. The tone was well and truly set, the deal was sealed.
Then the surprise. Stunning, scintillating yet so simple. The sax. Spotlighted and silhouetted, sailing into shore. The most beautiful sound filling the air. Cool, classy and captivating. And the band played. And the guests grooved and gyrated, shaking moves that they thought had eluded them. The band interacted, interspersed, and enthralled. Wedding proposals were mockingly made. For sax read sex. And then it was 3am.
The lunch. The day after. Summer casual. A sprinkling of Hawaiian. Chilled. Chat. Memories of the night before. More bubbles. Few can fight the fizz. The sax was back. Middle and ageing ladies, phones out photographing. No shame. Husbands, no contest. Simple sweet surrender.
Barbecued beef, sumptuous salads and an ice cream cart, with hundreds and thousands to sprinkle. Nailed it. Nourished. England won the test match. The groom was pulled into the pool. The wine continued to flow.
And then it was all over. The band packed, taxis were telephoned and then began the long goodbye. Old friends warmly embraced, new friends kissed as if known for years, hearty handshakes held and the man hug, so uncomfortable once yet now the new thing, a modern day phenomenon in this new age. How very European.
This was without doubt a sun-kissed success, a meeting and mixing of minds, of international integration and a cultural celebration. Yet above all, a Portuguese party like no other. No-one who was there will ever forget it.
Obrigado Phil and Anja.