Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Wedding

It is official; Tracey and David, after 8 years together, are officially husband and wife as of July 26, 2010!! Drew and I were honored to be their witnesses for their matrimony in Malcesine, Italy.

Tracey and David met, as Drew and I did, online many years ago. After four years of courtship, David proposed to Tracey in 2007 while they were on vacation at in Costa Rica after David had completed that other grueling mountain bike stage race, La Ruta de los Conquistadores. The Costa Rica race is where we first met and traveled with Tracey and David, so we are especially lucky to have now been a part of two of the important milestones in their life as a couple.

On Monday morning at 11 o’clock, we met the interpreter, Tainia, at the Municipio (city hall) of Malcesine, a 30-minute taxi ride from Riva, to sign the paperwork. Because of the sprained or broken finger impairing Tracey’s ability to put her normal signature on the paperwork, we are skeptical that this wedding is legal. Just kidding.

After the paperwork, we were able to walk around beautiful old Malcesine for some shopping at the many tourist stores and general sightseeing

and a cup of joe.

After lunch of pizza and pasta (what else?) at a waterfront restaurant, it was time to meet at the Malcesine Castle, built sometime before 590 A.D.!

overlooking Lago di Garda

and the red clay tile rooftops of the town. They were to be married under the canopy you can see in the lower part of this picture on a terrace of the castle.

It was a truly beautiful and romantic place for a wedding, and the ceremony was fantastic. Tracey and David were married by what we would call a Justice of the Peace. She was a wonderful middle-aged matron who seemed truly happy to be performing this ceremony for a couple of Irish people she had never met before. The translator was great as well, facilitating and translating the Italian civil ceremony into English. The verbiage was concise, practical, and elegant at the same time.

It must be universal to exchange rings,

kiss the bride,

and sign paperwork,

before the happy couple can be announced

After the ceremony, we had time to look around the castle

at the thick walls

And go to the top of the keep.

We had several hours to enjoy the town of Malcesine before our dinner sitting, so we changed into casual clothes and walked around the beautiful town.

We thought it was cool how this vine is growing out from inside the building up to two separate balconies.

We stopped in a bar to have a toast of grappa (regional whiskey) and lemon liquors to celebrate the newlyweds.

And then strolled down to the lake shore harbor
For a quick nap on the warm rock.

As dinner time approached we made our way to a cove near the restaurant below the castle

It was time for a seven course meal at the finest restaurant in town

As we watched the sunset on the lake

I wish I had taken pictures of each course, but we were too busy eating! We started with potato chips, fresh olives and champagne. Second was an appetizer of cold fresh salmon and bread paired with a refreshing white wine. Third we were served an ultra thinly shaved pork salad, which surprised us all with how light and tender it was. The fourth course was ravioli in black truffle (mushroom-y) sauce paired with rosé. The fifth course was shrimp risotto for Tracey and David and grilled onion and chicken salad for Drew and me. For the main course, after a civilized 15 minute break in which we were served a smooth red wine and encouraged to take a stroll along the beach (!) came out fillet mignon. Not a tiny cutlet, as we expected, but a steak that weighed at least 6 oz and was served with gravy and sautéed potatoes. By this time, we had polished off 4 bottles of wine and enough food to last us two days, but of course we couldn’t say no to a slightly raisin-flavored sweet dessert wine to accompany our two, yes two, desserts: molten chocolate cake and panna cotta (custard). Wow, what an amazing meal. I have never eaten such a civilized and delicious meal made extra special by the wonderful conversation and company of our dear newlywed friends.

We rolled out of there to capture fireworks in celebration of Santa Anna day, and Tracey and David!


  1. Beautiful! What a joy to share their day with the two of you... and you've recorded a great journal of the day... photos and more, the special memories they will cherish forever. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Hi guys,
    I trust the trip back to the U.S. was uneventful! Though I see you have been already been working hard. Just finished reading the update on the wedding and guys I have to's so lovely to have an account of the day, with pics and video. Its's most definately the best gift we could ever hope to receive, and a very much heart felt thank to you both for same. We will be in touch by email.

  3. Congratulations on the wedding. And of course finishing and supporting the event respectively.

    A great blog. Thank you

    I am one of a bunch of slightly older fit kiwis (New Zealanders) who are contemplating having a go at the TransAlp in several years time. Would you recommend entering? Are there better multiday mountain bike events you have participated in or have heard about? What are the best features and the worst?



  4. Ruth, thanks for reading. When you start to plan your trip and want more info on the hotels and prices, shoot me an email.
    Tracey, it was a great honor to be a part of your wedding day, and the trip was infinitely more fun because I was traveling with you!
    Geoff, Glad you enjoyed our account. Drew would be happy to email you about the other 3 or 4 multi-day races he has done. He is on the road right now, but I'm sure he'll get back to you in a few days.

  5. Geoff,
    Thanks for following our blog. The race in Europe was epic. It was not technically difficult, but the amount of climbing made it rather abusive. The views were incredible and by booking hotels near the finish line every evening we had great days in the saddle and great evenings in the restaurant. I have participated in the following endurance races and they all offer different epic qualities.

    Trans Rockies: British Columbia
    La Ruta de Conquistador: Costa Rica
    BC Bike Race: British Columbia
    Trans Alps: Europe

    I would highly recommend the Trans Rockies 7 day stage race. It is epic in that you will push your physical limits, riding skills, and get way in to the back country. Excellent support and well organized. You will be in a tent city every night and the weather can be very unpredictable. The next race I really enjoyed was La Ruta de Conquistador. The organization is a little frustrating at times, but I attribute it to the culture. Costa Ricans are the most laid back friendly people I have ever met. The 4 day race was muddy, technical and involved long days in the saddle. I highly recommend you plan on staying a few days before and afterwards. The only race I would stay away from was the BC Bike race. It was incredibly technical and very frustrating. They have a strong cult following, but I am not part of that cult.

    If you want more information or just to touch base send along your e-mail to me. Good luck on whatever adventure you plan on undertaking. Some day I hope to make it down to Christ Church and poke around in your neck of the woods.