Trip Start Aug 15, 2006
29Trip End Sep 19, 2006
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To the castle!
As a group, the fifty-strong wedding party walk back through the town and up into the enormous fourteenth-century Bojnice Castle. The ceremony is held in the castle's chapel and is a traditional Catholic mass, with plenty of chanting and audience participation. The assistant priest is wearing the regular white tunic but has a clearly visible 'Team Norway' shirt underneath, so I wonder if perhaps he has a game straight afterwards. In due course we congratulate the newlyweds and then move into the grand hall, at about 2:30pm. One of the other traditions is to break a plate at the threshold of the reception venue and the groom has to then sweep up the bits. To make things difficult, someone will quite often tip over his pan with the bits on it as soon as he finishes. Today this person is Jane but she does it with a dramatic, powerful, exaggerated kung fu kick that sends the pieces flying in all directions, hitting passersby and castle staff and leaves the non-Slovaks running for cover, believing that Jane has gone nuts.
The walls of the hall are lined with portraits of movers and shakers from the past five-hundred years and the tables are nicely laid out in front of a bride and groom table up front with thrones for Matt and Kaja. We get through some speeches and enjoy a yummy meal. By about 9pm we have already been going for eight hours and things are kind of dragging a little. The gypsy band is phasing itself out and the DJ is busting out some Slovak dance hits that no one recognises and therefore doesn't dance to. I'm not sure if it was an acceleration of drinking, some better music or some of the fun traditional games but things start kicking into life around 10pm. From then until 4am we have a fantastic time. Nick the English guy carves up the dance floor with his 'do the shopping' dance, which inspires the 'in the kitchen' dance, the 'warm up stretches' dance and numerous other variations on a theme. I show off my hitherto undiscovered break dancing abilities, including a protracted backspin.
By the time the lights come on at around 4 o'clock, everyone is soaked with sweat from dancing and full to the brim with alcohol and the never-ending supply of food. Part of the buffet feast is a great big pig, garnished with all sorts of trimmings. By the time we leave, the only part of the pig remaining is the head. Ryan, one of the Aussie guys, quietly picks it up, wraps it in a few napkins and hides it in a plastic bag. He then sneaks down the hill ahead of everyone, tricks the hotle receptionist into letting him into Nick's suite, and places the pig's head of Nick's pillow. Eventually, the hard core of about seven revellers make it back to the hotle and Nick predictably invites everyone back to his suite. Everyone is in on the joke, except Nick of course, so we all have a great laugh when he walks into the bedroom.
Nick's surprise bedmate